"Are there any questions before I begin from where Mrs. Helens had left off?"
The man by the name of Grey Everlasting inquires the class. His grey irises throw my calm state of mind out of whack like a hurricane twisting the originally serene sea.
Whether it be his face, hairstyle, or overall appearance, the man is identical to the photograph that my dad had left behind all those years ago.
While I could be mistaken as my mom did not specify anything about the killer other than his grey eyes and gender, there was no other explanation for why this man's photo would be in my dad's possession.
One uncanny factor lies in the fact that the man looks exactly the same as a photo from thirteen or more years ago. Not a single wrinkle or sign of aging can either be attributed to his superior genes or some other reason.
If he really is my dad's murderer, then I will never forgive him on my mom's behalf. The murderer had caused my family years of grief and I refuse to allow such a person to run freely in life.
I have to help my mom find out the truth of the incident so she can finally move on in her life. She has so much to live for than clinging onto her past with my deceased dad.
After comprehending all of these pieces of information, my heartbeat speeds up as if a horde of elephants began to stomp on it. Clenching my chest, I inhale a deep breath while exhaling slowly.
Okay, I am calm now.
Numerous questions pop from my mind, but none are answered. Yet, a single question stands out from the rest: Supposing he was the culprit, why would a murderer coincidentally teach my class?
One of my classmates raises her hand in response to Mr. Everlasting's question.
"Yes," Mr. Everlasting calls upon the girl.
"Mr. E, do you have a girlfriend?" She asks while twirling a lock of hair around her finger.
"No, not at the moment," he smiles without minding the question. He then points to another classmate who also has his hand in the air.
"Mr. E, what's your favorite food?"
"Maple syrup and pancakes. A few blueberries would enhance the flavor greatly."
"I do tend to like researching in medieval guns and weapons while during my free time, I read novels or bake pastries for a local orphanage my apartment happens to be near."
Another asks, "So, why did you decide to become a teacher? Also, what was your major in college?"
"Hm," Mr. Everlasting ponders for a moment. "After graduating with bachelor's in math and minor in physics and writing, I earned my masters in applied mathematics. While I did not complete a teacher's program, I am competent when it comes to teaching those subjects."
"I decided to become a teacher after being recommended by a good friend of mine to this school's principal. As a child, I had always wanted to become a teacher and so, I chose to accept the offer. Alright, so any other questions?"
"Mr. E., have you always lived in NeverDusk City and if not, where did you use to live?" Leon inquires from the seat next to me.
"I used to live in EverDawn City. I'm sure that most of you are aware that EverDawn City is the nearest city north from NeverDusk. It should be around a three-hour drive from here."
After several other mundane questions, Mr. Everlasting glances at his silver watch. "It seems that this Q and A session has taken more of our time than I have initially expected. I will answer one last question before I move on to the next course of action."
Scanning the room, he calls out, "You over there with the coat and sweats."
The one he called for was me.
"Mr. Everlasting. How old are you?" I probe.
"I will be turning thirty this year."
"And, can you answer one more thing?"
Mr. Everlasting nods, "Since your first question was so short, I will permit one more."
"Do you believe in the supernatural? Like angels, demons, and other stuff we normally see in novels."
While I did wish I could ask if he knew my father or not and judge him based on his reactions, it would give me away. The slim chance that he is the murderer could put both me and my family in jeopardy to silence us or some other situation.
"Yes, I do," he responds with prompt words. Opening a name roster, he announces, "I will now be taking attendance and then, we will proceed with a short quiz to access how much you all know about the material. If I pronounce someone's name wrong, please feel free to correct me as I apologize beforehand. Furthermore, it may take at least a week before I remember all of your names."
Subsequent to roll call, I am stuck with a mini-quiz where I am absolutely positively confident that I bombed. I mean, I did not even know how to answer the first problem the moment I opened the test paper and once I answered the long second question, I ran out of time for the rest of the examination.
Plopping my head down, I stare at my tray of unidentifiable school food consisting of green hot dogs made of mystery meat and multicolored, slimy carrots. I often wonder if I should endure the stomach ache to satisfy my hunger or allow my stomach to growl for the rest of the day. School food in America is worse than prison food.
"Tired?" Leon places his tray next to mine and sits down.
"Yes, very." I bite the bullet and nibble on a decent looking carrot. Meh.
"What do you think of the new teacher?" He continues the conversation.
"A normal guy if not good," I reply as I reflect on the man's words. Everything that he answered in the question and answering session did not reveal the information that I wanted to know.
At this rate, I will have to gather information in a different way.
"Hmm," Leon muses while opening a bag of chips. His eyes brighten up when he spots a familiar head of creamy blonde hair.
"Charlo-," he pauses before finishing her name.
Next to the girl is a boy a year older than me. With a wide grin, he speaks to Charlotte, who in return clearly seems uncomfortable with the boy's presence and advances. From here, I cannot hear what they are saying, however, I can easily guess based on their expressions.
Within seconds, the situation seems to escalate as the boy grips onto Charlotte's wrist while reaching out with his other hand.
Leon stands up from his seat with a solemn atmosphere. Pacing toward the duo, he grabs the boy's arm, preventing the boy from touching Charlotte.
After a series of arguments, the boy relents and stomps away with an apparently dissatisfied expression. I doubt that just telling the boy, who I must assume is the same Dennis that Charlotte consulted us about, will be back for Charlotte once Leon separates from her.
"Oh, welcome back," I nonchalantly sip a carton of milk. Since its slightly sour, I will guess that it expired a day or two ago.
Charlotte and Leon sit on the other side of the table side-by-side.
"Since I'm worried that Dennis will not be hindered by this setback, I propose that we stick next to Charlotte until we can obtain evidence of his harassment, so the school can administer enough punishment to stop this nonsense," Leon's frown deepened.
"Eh, I'm included?" I realize that he said "we" instead of just himself.
"Did you truly think that being late to my date, yet receiving the fee is fair? Of course, not. Why not think of this as a way to compensate me from using up my meager amounts of money," Leon pretends to wipe tears off using a paper napkin.
"...fine." I let out an exaggerated sigh in order to show how unwilling I am to accompany someone for who knows how long.
"..thank you very much," Charlotte bows slightly as she looks apologetic.
I pause for a second. Scrunching my eyebrows, I check the date on my phone. "Isn't today the day you normally visit your brother?
"Yes, but I'm sure that Al would understand if I tell him that I'm helping a damsel in distress," Leon reassures.
However, I do not feel that Leon should sacrifice his time with his brother for some random girl he bumped into at a convenience store even if she is a student at our school.
After all, Leon's brother, Alfred Cross, is currently bedridden in the city's hospital and his situation is indefinite. While there are public rumors that Alfred is dying due to some incurable disease, I understand for a fact that none of the doctors know why Leon's brother is dying at a tender age of twenty-three.
"No, you go see Alfred. I'll stay with Charlotte afterschool and escort her home," I decide without hesitation.
"But, I can't trouble you that much. Plus, two girls walking alone at night make me worry a ton, especially when it's because of me."
"Eh, don't worry about it. Remember that I still have 'that' and I'm not so weak to be beaten by guys like that Dennis I just saw," I fearlessly state.
"..you don't have to do all this for someone like me," Charlotte pussies her lips while maintaining a mournful gaze at her lap.
I still don't see why guys are attracted to weak girls like her.
"No, I already decided like right now that I will help you. Don't make me go against my own words," I reason with her as she nods.
"Alright then. If anything happens after school, call me or the police immediately," Leon states as he stares unblinkingly at me.
"Oh yeah, don't you have a club today? I forgot how long it takes for you to get out of school," Leon notes.
"Yup, I should be out by five."
School lasts from nine A.M. to three P.M. and anything that happens after would be extracurricular activities like sports or clubs.
Currently, I'm in two clubs including the Video and Theatre Production Club and the Literature Club. Today would be for the Video and Theatre Production Club.
I wonder if I could collaborate with Journalism to dig up information about Mr. Everlasting once the VTP club interacts with them at our next cross-club meeting.
"Sorry, but could you wait for me to finish club? If you have something else to do, we can try to think of something."
Charlotte shook her head, "No, I don't."
"Then, meet me after school in front of room 230. My club members wouldn't mind another person spectating us, or rather, they would be enthralled by your presence." Well, her looks, to be exact.
Ding dong. Ding dong.
The school bells signal the end of our lunch break as we part to our respective classes.
Please go to https://www.novelupdates.cc/All-Returns-to-Dusk/
to read the latest chapters for free