Today marked the third day since we were imprisoned within this school. We had spent most of our time yesterday sitting and walking around in small, gloomy groups as none of us wanted to single a member out as a traitor, but neither did we want to die. Left with no other choice, we instead decided to observe each other for any signs of suspicious behaviours.
With just under half a day left until the chosen time to vote, tension was high in the air as we wandered about the school grounds, also on the lookout for any masked students. Checking the time on my watch, I could see it was almost time for lunch and I was becoming hungry. Wanting some food to satisfy my hunger, I went back inside the canteen and saw Tao pacing about nervously while staring at the ground.
“Hey, what’s up?” I asked him, walking over. He looked up, his eyes widening, before immediately bolting out the door without saying a word. “Wait! What– “ I stopped mid-sentence, a crazy theory developing within my mind. Was Tao…the traitor? Determined to be the one to find out myself, I glanced around at my surroundings, for any signs of the other members; they were all busy doing something else. Having no time to waste, I followed the possible traitor into the school building, shaking my head in disbelief along the way.
Just what was he doing inside here? I was curious to know, and managed to tail him all the way up to the science faculty before he finally stopped going any further. He entered the lab in which Lay, Luhan and I had first encountered him on the first day, making his way over to the masked student that had attacked him. That was what I found puzzling. He had only been unconscious, not dead when I left the room that time. What was he still doing here? Lying on the ground in a pool of…blood.
Tao knelt down next to the body, slipping something white inside of the student’s closed fist before dashing out of the room again. Strange.
I walked over to the student and pried open his fingers; it was velvety and cold, and there was no warmth or any signs of life anywhere. It was now obvious he was no longer alive.
With a grunt, I got back up again, staring down at a third piece of paper in my hands, with the letter ‘O’ on it. An idea forming inside my head, I took out the other two scraps and placed them in order of which one I had obtained first. My eyes widened as I stared at the three letters before me; spelling out the word ‘TAO’. My heart sank as I realised the truth.
So he really was the traitor after all.
Not wanting to waste any time, I slipped the papers back inside my pocket and returned to the canteen where everyone were waiting for me. Before they could say a thing, I immediately blurted out without any hesitation. “Let’s vote now.” They all looked at me in surprise.
“Why? I thought we had until tonight.” Kai frowned, glancing over at our leader, standing in the corner with an equally surprised expression on his face.
“It’s because…. I think I know who the traitor is.” I answered, just noticing my suspect in the corner of my eye. He was looking down at his feet; whether it was out of nervousness or guilt, I had no idea.
Suho seemed interested in hearing what I had to say. “Go on.”
With a deep breath, I slowly said his name.
Silence. There was only silence and looks of disbelief afterwards.
“No! It can’t be him!” Kris spoke up in a furious tone, clearly upset by my nominated choice. I hadn’t noticed that the two of them were that close.
“But it is him. I’ve got the evidence to prove it.” I then brought out the pieces of paper, unfolding and handing them out for everyone to look at. “The T was found in the hands of the masked student that attacked Tao. The A was found in the broadcasting room, and the last one…” I glanced at the ‘traitor’. His face was completely pale.
“I followed him into the school building just then. He went back to the room where the first letter was found. The student, who had been unconscious the last time we saw him, was dead. Tao was putting something inside the hands of the body, before walking off. That was the third paper.”
No-one said a single word.
“Don’t you think it’s strange that these appear in places where Tao had been? He was in the broadcasting room too, you know.”
There was a look of sadness within the eyes of Suho as he processed the information said. “…I’m sorry, Tao. But I can’t let this go on any longer. This has to stop now.”
“What the hell are you saying?! Do you really think that he’s the culprit? Have you ever seen a mass murderer that gets easily scared?!” Kris snapped, pushing to the front of the crowd and grabbing a hold of Suho’s shirt collar.
“Who knows? Perhaps he’s only pretending to be weak.” I suddenly said without thinking first. He turned to face me with a glare, before pushing our leader away from him and charging at me. I closed my eyes, bracing myself for the impact of the attack, but it never came.
“Stop this already!” Tao was holding Kris back with both his arms, preventing him from attacking me. He slumped back, all the fight having been drained out. “It’s not fair,” was all he whispered in a low voice before stomping away into the canteen building.
There was an unreadable look on Tao’s face and he was about to take a step in that direction when he was abruptly stopped by D.O. “I trusted you, Tao.”
The look on the traitor’s face turned into one of hurt. “I…I didn’t…”
“Didn’t what?” I asked, to which he opened his mouth and wordlessly closed it again.
“Now here’s the bigger question. Who…Will be the one ending his life?” Suho said, bringing up the most important question. Everyone turned to face him with a mixture of reluctance, sorrow and refusal on their faces.