Mamoru ran away from home on a cold day in the middle of February.
When his father went to wake him up after lighting the kilns in the morning, nothing seemed amiss. But when Mamoru didn’t come down for breakfast, he went to check up on him again and found the room empty.
There was a note on left on his desk that simply said, “Please don’t look for me.” This was the message most often left behind by people who have run away, and also the most ridiculous.
“What should we do?” Maria said tearfully, her breath a white puff in the air. Her hat was covered with snow and even her eyelashes had tiny icicles on them.
Maria and Mamoru lived on opposite sides of town, but I knew that they met up everyday to go to school together. Today, she had gotten tired of waiting and gone to his house. When she heard the story from Mamoru’s flustered father, she made him promise not to tell anyone and came straight to me.
“Isn’t it obvious? We look for him.”
I had already untied my canoe from the dock. If Maria had arrived any later, we would have missed each other.
“Let’s go get Satoru and start following Mamoru’s tracks.”
“But wouldn’t it be suspicious if everyone from team one suddenly skipped school?”
Although Ryou was technically in our group, he usually spent all his time with the members of group two. Maria was right. If we all failed to show up, it would raise too many questions and we would be brought in for questioning.
“Alright. Let’s go to school for now. We have independent observation time during third and fourth period, right? We’ll sneak out then.”
Since it was Saturday, we only had classes in the morning.
“But we’ll never be able to make it back before homeroom.”
“Let’s think of an excuse later. Good thing we’ll have the genius bullshitter with us. In any case, we can’t look for Mamoru any earlier than that.”