TIP: Everything you read right now, is as same as before.
Enjoy the Trip! (Part two)
Day 48 – 13 days left
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!
"Geez! Alright!" Robbie slapped the off button from his alarm app on his phone.
The sun which penetrates the window heated the whole room since Robbie turned off the air conditioner. This keeps the pure air in his room stays inside. But in return, the room became stuffy since no fresh air circulates inside.
After preparing himself, Robbie stepped out of his room. But not ready to walk outside since he still got 50 minutes before the morning event started.
"At least today's gonna be a good day now," Robbie muttered.
He looks to the left, where the hallway is still empty. No students or employees are guarding it since Robbie just woke up too earlier.
"Yeah. It's gonna be a good day," someone heard his barely-hearable voice.
"I know, right?"
Robbie looked back to see who was just replied to him. But no one was in his sight.
Who's just replied before?
Right after he just questioned the unanswered voice, students walked out of their rooms gradually, warming themselves up away from the still-biting cold air.
"Oh look, the traitor," a student greeted him.
"Aren't traitors should be-"
"Ever. Get lost and go home," Robbie cut him, ending the conversation.
Grumpy-minded, Robbie moved to the couch in the lobby, sitting down on that 15-years old fabric. It's old enough to make it less pillowy and added some moistures that trapped inside from various guests. There, Robbie covers his face and copes with his stress.
Greeted 'nicely' right?
Mullet appeared out of nowhere, bringing him a cup of chocolate milk. He keeps his track jacket open – exposing his green shirt with a villain mask printed.
"Feeling red, bruh? It's still morning," he passed the cup.
"Shut up," Robbie sipped the chocolate milk, "Thanks for the choco. I'm just still tired now,"
"Me too. But we still have a few minutes before we all gather up," Mullet replied.
"45 minutes, to be exact. What shall we do now? Playing tag?"
"No idea," Mullet chuckled, "I am too lazy to pull out my phone – playing a game,"
"Let's not use phones now," Robbie scrunched his eyebrows, "why don't we enjoy this hot choco with some good choco talk, yes?"
Mullet nodded, "Where should I start?"
45 minutes later, all students are already gathered in the courtyard. They are waiting for the game that will be announced by one of the employees who uses his free time to start the game. Everyone is ready, added with the warm temperature that recharges their stamina.
"Okay. Since everybody is here, I will tell you about today's game," The employee spoke with a paper in both hands.
"The game here is to find and assemble words. Each group will go to five stops and work together to find a box with a word inside. Take it out and assemble it into a sentence in each outpost. Bring the boxes with you. When you finished all five words. Bring all 25 boxes you collected, and guess the correct thing from the five sentences you assembled. The winner is the fastest group who comes back here and solves the puzzle,"
"Any questions?" The employee asked.
"Can you please tell me what box it is?" a student gave him a question.
"Unfortunately, we can't tell you. You all have to find out,"
"Does every word in the box has numbers in it? So we can assemble it easier?" another student asked.
"Yes. Each word has a number. There will be 5 papers with words on them. On the first stop will be paper number 1 – 5, the second stop will be paper 6 – 10, and so on with the next three stops,"
"Can we split to each stop?" the third student asked.
"No. all of you must finish it in sequence," the employee answered, "any other questions?"
But there were no questions popped out.
"Okay. Since there are no questions, I will show you the group here. Each of you must line up with your members. You have five minutes. Go ahead, and see which group you're in,"
A whiteboard was revealed by the employee - showing lists of groups with each name printed on a paper, "Here,"
The whole students are busy looking at which group they are on. Some are happy and chit-chatting, and some are upset due to not being matched with their friend or being matched with someone they hate. Meanwhile, Robbie has his name on group number 8. Not to forget, his friend, Mullet, with him as well.
"I guess this is a coincidence, right?" Mullet pat Robbie's back – surprising him.
"I dunno. I think so," Robbie lifted his eyebrows.
"You look drowsy, come on, hit it," Mullet pat his shoulder again, "Weren't you just sipping a coffee this morning?"
"Bite me," Robbie pouted, "I am just too tired this morning. Don't you wanna smother yourself on the bed right now?"
The green light indicates Robbie's group can start the journey. The team goes down the footpath with a happy cadence accompanying the atmosphere. It takes them a minute to reach the first stop. The first spot they arrive is a forest with no boxes found. Only an empty land that they had to look around and have enough luck.
"Welcome to the first stop, kids. As explained before, there are ten boxes with a word inside. Your search limit is only around this empty land. You have ten minutes to find five of them. Get the teamwork inside of you all,"
The employee pressed the air horn, "Go!"
The whole team spread out to find each box that barely found, even though they were all had to circle around the searching spot. This is due to whether Robbie's teams are bad at finding or the boxes are too hidden.
Sadly, the boxes are too hidden to be found. It feels like all the boxes are being camouflaged.
"I can't find it!" said one of Robbie's friends.
"These boxes are too hard to find!"
"Come on. Some groups are already advanced!" the employee warned them, causing panic and impatient being intense in their mind.
While Robbie was scoping around, he found piles of leaves and dry leaves stacked oddly.
"Yo," Robbie snapped his fingers to attract Mullet.
Being called, Mullet followed Robbie that already come closer to it, "Hmm?"
"I guess this one…,"
At last, one of the boxes was found after scattering the leaves off. The box itself has a paper written:
"Guys!" Mullet calls everyone, "We found one! Just find some odd piles of leaves or something that is placed oddly,"
With the advice from Mullet, the whole team begins to search more carefully, akin to detectives snooping the crime scene. Thankfully, it worked well.
"Found the last one!" said a student behind the bushes.
Without waiting, Robbie collected the final word, which the whole sentence reads:
It has two big round things.
"Good. Now it's time for you to move to the next stop. That's because you guys are the last ones to finish. Now go and catch up. You can reach the final spot in the first place!"
The employee stepped aside, letting the team march to the next. The group cadenced the same chant while walking down the footpath. The shiny sky mixed with groves of trees between them make the route more relaxing. This is due to they are always seeing buildings and buildings.
"Does that mean all boxes are hidden with the same method? Like that one before?" Mullet asked.
"I think so. That's why we need to figure it out,"
Upon reaching the second stop, the other groups are still snooping around the abandoned furniture. They are all seeking the same hidden box but with different words inside. Unlike before, some groups are struggling to find them.
"Let's figure out the weak spot and get this over with," Robbie spoke after the employee finished speaking.
Mullet pointed out an abandoned monitor with the front casing not properly closed. Feeling suspicious. He moved closer to that white metal box like an inspector. And the jackpot he gets, the box was hidden inside.
While touching the metal casing and the box, Mullet got the answer. The employees disassembled some abandoned parts and hid all of them inside. Thanks to his quick thinking, he messages everyone in the group.
"Everyone! Try to disassemble anything there, there is might something inside,"
Hearing the tips from Mullet, all the students in the group focus on any abandoned furniture and take any of its parts off. Some are just casually taking it off, while others are roughly yanking the pieces like delinquents.
Luckily, in less than five minutes, all five words have gathered. And even better, the group was able to pass three teams and on its way to overtake others and have a sweet comeback. Not to forget the clue that they had to remember:
Operated by both hands and legs.
"Come on! We're almost at the final stop!" cheered a student in the middle.
After struggling with the slowest start, the group can overcome everything thanks to Robbie and Mullet's intelligence and great teamwork. Still, they need to perform a speedrun if they want to win the gold medal since team 5 is already there. And not to mention, his ex-friend, Kano, is there – delightful as a sunflower.
"Alright. Did you bring all the boxes?" the same employee from the start asked Robbie's group.
The whole team member passed the boxes they found to the front line – sorting them all from number 1 to 25. Since team number five is almost winning, Robbie's team becomes panicked and more haste. Some boxes fell off and slowing down the group from tasting the victory.
"Alright," the employee spoke after all boxes were collected, "now you remember five sentences. I will give you a tip on the final answer. The thing in this puzzle has wheels. Go ahead. Guess what it is,"
Recalling the five sentences they made, Robbie makes his answer for their long trip.
It has two big round things.
Operated by both hands and legs.
Must have energy to use it.
It also included in sports.
Commonly used by most people.
And the tip is… the thing has wheels…
B-Bicycle! It's bicycle!
Suddenly when Robbie was about to answer, a voice stopped him.
"The answer is Radio!"
Kano's voice muted the whole atmosphere – commanding all eyes on him.
"Congratulations! We have a winner! Team five reached the first place!" Cheered an employee.
Kano's team victory took all of team eight's efforts as well as lowered their optimism to the lowest level. They are really disappointed since they're almost winning the first place. But their rashness killed their dream. All the blame on each other was now useless.
"The answer is a bicycle," Robbie answered.
"Alright, we have the second place here!" the employee applauded, "Team eight!"
Apart from all the claps and applause from the others, Team number eight members are too disappointed to accept.
"Why are you all so upset? At least you reached here earlier than others," the employee spoke.
"It's all your fault! I told you not to push me!" a member grunted.
"Who pushed you?! And could you be faster back then?" and the blame game happens in team eight – frontally.
"Enough! It's our mistake! We were too hasty! Just relax! This is all just a game. Not a battle royale game or life and death situation," Robbie stopped the ruckus.
"Wow. I didn't expect that…," the employee raised his eyebrows, "This is just a game. What's the big deal? This is all meant to foster all of your cooperation. Not to dissociate you because of a small mistake,"
Still disappointed, Robbie stepped back into the lobby. The first thing he sees right into his eyeballs is a pale-lemon-colored wall that intoxicates his eyes. The wall is too similar to the liminal space that nobody should go into.
(Yes. Don't get yourself no clipped out of reality)
His dissatisfaction does not come from the loss that impinged him. But how his teammates that being lustful about winning without prioritizing teamwork.
When Robbie makes his first steps walking in, he wants to expect pure tranquillity with few people inside. But expectations being a traitor. The crowd of guests forced that 17-year-old male to lift himself up to the second floor.
"Hey," Mullet pat Robbie's back, startled.
"I thought you were flying," Robbie greeted.
"Whatever," Mullet giggled, "You want to play outside, no?"
"Nope. I just want to laze out. Or at least read the journal," Robbie whispered the word journal.
"Okay. I just wanna stay in my room," Mullet stared at the wall that bitters his tongue and eyes, "I will be in touch,"
Even though they walk back to their own room to slack off, they end up at the same route. But unfortunately, Robbie and Mullet both gave no conversation on their way to the third floor. Whether they are too tired or no more topic to be brought. However, if they want to procrastinate, they still have time.
Just after they stepped onto the third floor, a teacher welcomed them.
"What are you both doing here?" she spoke, "aren't you supposed to be outside?"
"We're actually taking some of the stuff we left in our room," Robbie canceled.
"Five minutes. You can come back here at 3 PM," her final words before leaving them both without anyone on the third floor.
"You know what," Robbie looked both ways while stabilizing his breaths, "how about we take out our snacks and sit somewhere instead? A bit of healing next to the river or somewhere secluded might works,"
While tracing the pathway to somewhere they don't know, The two slow down their walking speed. Only trying to look at their shadows despite groves of trees hiding them.
"This reminds me of my childhood," Mullet spoke while seeing his own shadows consumed by trees.
"I rarely walk straight when going through this forest back then. That's because I want my shadow exposed, so it seems that mine is walking on the trees' shadows," Mullet pictured his childhood experience.
"You wanna do it now? Okay then," Robbie wondered how his friend does, "just make sure nobody thinks that you are drunk,"
"Meh. Nobody is here," Mullet tilted his head left and right.
"Well… at least I wanna know," Robbie unzipped his tracksuit, "how about you try?"
Mullet stops, knowing that Robbie wants to know how, "Okay, then. Follow my lead,"
Mullet continues to walk again until they reach a field where the sun can cast its shadows. And thus, the two begin to walk in a zig-zag pattern – making their shadows walk over the trees.
Not for long until the two reached a river and a log to sit on. Without waiting, they open their snacks and sharing it while chit-chatting.
"I told you that is a stupid idea," Robbie laughed.
"Yeah. What kind of a man would like to do that stuff? Isn't that disgusting instead of humorous?" Mullet replied, "Anyway. I dunno if you found this place. But this kinda remote, tho,"
"Yeah. At least we are away from all of these… threats," Robbie looked at his watch, "Wanna go back?"
Good things don't last forever.
"I wanna read the journal now. You want to stay in my room?" Robbie asks while his left hand holds the doorknob.
"No. I want to take a nap," Mullet shook his head, "Wake me up in two hours,"
After his friend moved back to his own room, Robbie finally entered room 314 – his room. The sun yet still lightening but not as shiny as five hours ago. He looked around like a camera. Nobody is inside. I guess I can read now.
He dragged his backpack closer by pulling its handle loop using his index finger. Unzipping it, he pulled his journal given by his "father," Even though the cover is a novel titled The Sherman's Reservoir. The book has no contains of it at all.
Pulling the chair next to the window, Robbie looks outside. There are seven students playing hide and seek. Their happy faces can be seen, although Robbie is meters away from them. Ten seconds later, six kids spread up - leaving the seeker on the spot.
"Page 178," he muttered.
Thus, Robbie decided to read the whole journal for the next two hours when he had to wake his friend up for dinner. Time goes again until it reaches 10PM. He decided to stop reading and hit the sack.
On his bed, lights turned off, Robbie swarms his mind with what the shadow person says to him.
(Read ch. 39)
There is a warm wooden bedroom across the hall from here. You might gonna do something worthwhile in there. And also, remember to close the door once you are inside.
"Do something worthwhile… what is it?" Robbie hummed, "Sheet rope and this bed,"
"Hey," his roommate called him, "You want to sleep or what? Turn off the bed lamp,"
He switched it off and let his drowsiness put him to sleep – preparing him for tomorrow.
To be continued…