I've never believed in fate. The whole concept is just infuriating! The idea that my actions aren't actually up to me, that they were pre-planned or foreshadowed or whatever...it pisses me off just thinking about it! The only people who believe in fate are people who don't want to take responsibility for their actions, people who aren't happy with how their lives turned out. In other words, boring losers who aren't worth my time of day.

For some reason, I was thinking about fate that morning on my walk to school, but after brooding on that subject for a while I shook myself out of that funk and started thinking about what to do next with the Brigade. While I'd never tell it to him in person, Kyon was pretty smart, giving me that idea to make my own club. It'd been less than a week since I started it, and I already had a weird cast of characters around me, and together it shouldn't have taken us long at all to find something really weird.

Despite what Kyon might think, I usually try to hide my emotions in public, but I'm sure as I approached the school I must have had a huge smile on my face. That was when I first saw the ambulance, the police officers at the gate, and what must have been everyone at my high school in a crowd. I can still remember what I was thinking, as I started sprinting up to the gate. What was going on? Had a student caught some kind of advanced super-plague? Had a fight over a guy driven a girl to violence? Had someone jumped off the roof?

When I finally fought my way through the onlookers, up to the officers, I gave them my best smile and asked them what had happened. The officer who looked back at me looked like he was past middle age, I had no idea why he was still on the force. He gave me an annoyed look with his wrinkly face and told me, "Stay back. Find a teacher."

I must have thought that sounded boring, so instead I looked around until I saw someone at least kind of familiar: that lame guy Kyon usually hung around with, whatever his name was. Didn't we go to middle school together? Whatever. Anyway, I approached him and told him to spill the beans.

Only when I was that close did I see that he was really pale for some reason, and his eyes were kind of unfocused. "It's Kyon," he told me, his voice barely above a whisper. "He...he's dead. Kyon was found in the classroom, he'd been stabbed."

As that guy talked, I felt the bottom fall out of my stomach. I don't know if I actually lurched from where I was standing, but I feel like I must have. It was a struggle to think, I remember that. All I could think was how insane that was. Kyon died? He was killed, murdered? My brain was doing its best to process that fact, struggling to latch onto something, anything, to feel, something to fill that terrible emptiness. Then, out of nowhere, some part of me thought, 'Woah, isn't that crazy? This'll be a fun mystery to solve!'

The thought must have made me smile, at least for a second, because I felt my lips move, and I saw that guy's face as he saw my expression. His eyes...he looked like he was going to deck me, like I was the scum of the earth. But he didn't say anything, he just walked away. He left me alone. Alone with myself.

I don't remember how I got home. School had been cancelled for the day, but I'd be back there tomorrow. The next thing I do remember from that day was sometime early in the afternoon. I was struggling to find something to do. I waffled between doing my homework, trying to find something watchable on television, napping...No matter what it was, I would be doing it, start to forget everything, then something would make me think.

'Is Kyon done with his homework yet?' 'Should I find Kyon's house, hang out with him?' 'This is boring, I should call Kyon and pester him.' Every time it happened I dropped what I was doing and moved on to something else, until finally I had nowhere else to run.

It's weird...I've forgotten so much of that day, somehow, but I remember what came next really, really well. I was on my laptop, surfing some online encyclopedia for weird incidents around UFO's, and there was this one really stupid one. Like, clearly it didn't happen, and I found myself wanting to email it to Kyon to see what he would think. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't, it just hit me.

Kyon was dead. Kyon had died and there was nothing I could do about that. And...and...even if it was just for a second, I smiled. I smiled because it was weird, out of the ordinary. What was wrong with me? He was my friend, he was my only friend and now he was dead and I was alone again.

I think I cried until I fell asleep. It's a hard thing to look at your darkest impulses, and while I probably should have confronted them, I didn't have the energy. I sobbed into my pillow and felt alone in a way I hadn't felt since Kyon and I had first started getting to know each other. I was still a teenager, and when the walls came down and my hormones flooded my brain, I fell apart. Now, I look back and wish I could tell myself that the worst was still to come.