Anita’s bullets missed the target completely. One hit too close, causing Liliana to react in astonishment, and the other went too far, startling innocent birds into flight.
However, hitting or missing the target was of little importance to Anita. Like releasing emotions hanging on the verge of explosion, she continued to waste bullets, pulling the trigger as if to discharge her pent-up feelings.
“What’s going on?”
Click, as she pulled the bolt, another casing dropped, and the bullet was loaded. Anita, holding the rifle and staring at the target for a long time, gradually lowered her arms. Perhaps due to the recoil and weight of the gun, her shoulders and arms felt tense.
“Hey, something seems off.”
“I said there’s nothing! I just…”
Momentarily startled, Anita turned around, realizing she was about to vent her frustration on someone innocent. She sighed deeply, exhaling slowly as if releasing a breath, and gently placed the gun on the table.
“No, people can feel that way sometimes. I understand.”
Liliana shrugged with an indifferent expression. Then, she took off her shooting gloves and put them on the table. She grumbled something about how thick leather, unlike silk gloves, made her hands itchy, but Anita didn’t hear her.
Because there was something dirty on Liliana’s palm after she removed the gloves.
It could have been from somewhere else, like touching a bicycle chain or another dirty object.
But the Liliana Anita knew was neat and morbidly concerned with her appearance; she was the kind of person who couldn’t give up being perfectly and elegantly dressed, even though she was at a shooting range, not a party.
“Seriously, I wish October would come soon. On hot and humid days like this, not only does my hair get messed up easily, but…”
“Liliana, sorry to interrupt, but what’s on your hands?”
Liliana made a puzzled face, but when Anita held out her hand, she obediently placed her own on top of it. Anita, meaning to assure her that she had no bad intentions, gave an awkward smile and turned Liliana’s hand.
“Goodness. Why is this dirty thing on my hands?”
Anita wanted to tell her that it was not a contaminant, but graphite, which posed no health hazard. Last night. No one was in the room, and nothing had been stolen, but Anita, feeling strangely creeped out, had taken her own measures. She put graphite on the doorknob and stuck a lock of her hair between the wall and the door, hoping to find any signs of intrusion.
And there was unmistakable graphite dust on Liliana’s palm.
“Anything you remember?”
“Well… nothing in particular. Oh! Could it be from the workshop?”
When the workshop was mentioned, Liliana’s face brightened. Anita, who had been staring at Liliana’s face intently, let go of Liliana’s hand. There was no need to suspect someone unnecessarily. Besides, why would Liliana secretly invade Anita’s room if she had any grudges.
“Oh, and. I didn’t tell you earlier because you looked so serious. Your posture is terrible. I’ll teach you next time.”
Unlike Anita, whose relationship with Liliana had everything to do with being short-lived, Liliana was a very affable person. Anita didn’t think they were even close, but by the time she realized it, Liliana had her arm around her.
Trying hard to pull her arm out because it was very uncomfortable, Anita soon gave up. Pulling it too hard seemed rude, and taking it out secretly felt too sneaky. It was frustrating to put so much effort into something as simple as a handshake.
The two of them naturally arrived at the dormitory building.
“Oh? Wasn’t this Anita’s room?”
Anita’s noncommittal answer was met with laughter.
“Today, I almost did something really stupid.”
“My room is 203, but I got it confused with 201 and almost walked into yours.”
At that remark, Anita, who had been glancing at her room, stopped. A lock of hair had fallen off the wall between her and the door. Of course, if it was Liliana’s fault… she was being unnecessarily sensitive.
Still, it’s fortunate that nothing happened.
“Anyway, as soon as I grabbed the doorknob, I felt something strange. I have a pretty good sense, and I felt it. This is not my room. So, I immediately let go.”
“You let go?”
“Without opening the door?”
“There’s no key, how would I open the door? I didn’t even turn the doorknob.”
Liliana blinked as if to ask why Anita was stating the obvious.
“Why? Should I have to turn it?”
Liliana asked in a serious tone as she realized that Anita’s reaction seemed to be unreasonable.
It certainly wasn’t right to suspect someone based on suspicion without evidence, but Anita was human, and it was hard to be rational when your own safety depended on it.
The eerie feeling in the dark second-floor corridor, the moist gaze felt in the café on a rainy day, and the unlocked door.
Anita wasn’t the type to harbor resentment towards people. Mixing in a word or two might create animosity, but wouldn’t that be expected?
If there was one advantage of living as an almost non-existent person, it would be that there were almost no enemies.
Since coming to Aberdeen, Anita had thought about people she had spoken to at least once.
Exclude Rutger, of course. Considering his known personality, he would have openly insulted or even thrown a punch at Anita if he had any interest in her. Not secretly following and spying.
Edmund… didn’t even seem to care enough about her to do that. Anita wasn’t sure what basis Rutger had for thinking that he had an interest in her.
Liliana didn’t look like the kind of person who would stand outside a cafe in the rain.
In fact, Anita was half-convinced that it was him. She deliberately kept her mind off the other suspects, lest she make a decision based on emotion rather than reason.
Anita, who had been holding her head, collapsed onto the bed.
‘Should I just drop out?’
There seemed to be no way to salvage her already ruined life. She had half-heartedly thought about the problem with Rutger, and if it became more complicated, it wouldn’t improve. Moreover, strange incidents were beginning to occur.
Why doesn’t everyone just devour themselves quietly? It was just too bothersome.
After a while of burying her face in her pillow and grunting, Anita pushed herself up.
Things you put off because they bother you will come back to haunt you with interest. She knew there was a price to pay for being lazy and not taking care of things sooner rather than later.
So Anita climbed out of bed with a grimace.