In which a young teen sees Sophie and recalls her friends.

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Sophie entered the convenience store and observed the people inside. She could see two of them, the cashier and a young boy paying in front of him. “Looks like there are only a few customers!” thought Sophie. “Better get the mint and the deodorant.” She quickly went to the hygiene section where dental floss, toothpaste, and deodorant could be found. She saw two more customers there, both young girls who looked like elementary students.

While Sophie was searching for her brand of deodorant, she didn’t notice a young woman walk behind her. The teen looked at Sophie’s naked body and trembled. She began to recall something that had happened recently to her friend.

She thought:

I first met Aimee at the start of our second year in high school. We were classmates. I had just transferred to her school and was eating alone in the canteen when she sat beside me. I was reading my book while slowly eating my lunch.

“Would you like to have my vegetables?” Aimee asked me.

I looked at her lunch box and smiled. She had eggplant and okra, both within my edible criteria. Even though I was thirteen, I still could not eat radish, onion, mushroom, and bitter melon.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I would not like to throw them. It would be a waste.”

That was the first thing I learned about her: she did not like vegetables.

“I’m taking them then. Thank you.”

We quickly introduced ourselves while I happily took her vegetables. In exchange, I gave her half of the rice cakes I had bought earlier on my way to school.

“What book are you reading?” she asked.

“Dostoevsky,” I replied.

“Which one?” she asked with a slight grin.

I knew from her eyes and smile that she had read all of Dostoevsky’s books. I just knew it. I felt it in my blood. So, it was time for me to test my theory and learn how familiar she was with one of my favorite authors. I had this habit of finding out things by not directly asking my main question and instead inquiring about multiple side questions that would eventually lead to the final and eventual conclusion.

“The one with an inquisitor,” I said.

“Brothers Karamazov. I read that when I was eight,” Aimee said.

Oh, I see. So, that’s how she played. Challenge accepted. No need to check more on Dostoevsky then. My brain was rushing, and I suddenly felt unusually excited, but I had to control myself. Should I bring the discussion to history or science or literature or philosophy and see how wide her scope of knowledge was? It was not every day that I met someone like her.

“A jink a jink a jawbo,” I said.

“Ulysses,” she said. Not blinking.

“Fallor ergo sum,” I said.

“Augustine,” she replied. Still not blinking.

She knew what I was doing. Alert, alert. I better level up my game. Let’s see if she knew the shallow parts of the waters.

“O draconian...”

“Da Vinci Code.” Not blinking, still.

I knew she would not get the next one. But deep inside, I hoped she would.

“Senbonzakura...” I started my line.

“Kageyoshi,” she said. And there she was, finishing my line. I wanted to jump, hug her, and shout Hallelujah.

She smiled and finally blinked.

“I knew it was you who wrote it,” she said, suddenly changing our topic.

“Wrote what?”


It was me, indeed. Yesterday afternoon, I was bored in my new school and wanted to see if someone in our class would recognize it. It was like me wanting to fish, to find out if anyone was similar to me. So, I wrote it on a piece of paper.

But it was too early to admit it. I wanted to test her more.

“What is that?” I asked, pretending to be clueless.

“The longest word in English dictionaries, 45 letters.”

“And what does it mean?”

“A lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust.”

“Okay,” I said slowly, emphasizing the slowness of my speech. “Let us say that I knew what that is...” I was about to do a bluff, but she cut me.

“Don’t bluff. I know you are smart. You are a transferee, so you don’t know everyone in our class. I am sure not one of our classmates knows that word, and nobody would be geek enough to write that on a piece of paper and place it on the teacher’s desk to be seen by all. No one in our class paid attention to that paper except me. I knew it was you.”

She caught me. I already liked her when we started our conversation, but at that very moment, I was certain that I would love her from that day onwards.

“This meeting, it’s not a coincidence. Is it?”

“No. It’s not. I’m recruiting you.”

Now, I was totally impressed. I would say yes to anything she would ask me.

“For what?”

“Every year, our school holds a quiz competition where students form three-member teams that will compete against others. Each can recruit members from any level. The winner of that quiz will then compete against other schools.”

“How many have you recruited?”

“You’re the first,” she said.

“And my younger sister. So, there are three of us,” she added.

“Strategically, wouldn’t it be better if you partner with two fourth-year students? As they would know more than any of the lower levels? Wouldn’t that guarantee you more of a win?”

“You are talking tactically. I don’t just mean to win this year’s quiz. I need to win also next year, and the year after that. So, three years in total. And I can do that by developing and nurturing a team as early as now. That is strategically better.”

“Then, who won last year’s quiz? You were first-year then, weren’t you?”

“My team. I partnered with two fourth-year students.”

“That’s my point.”

“But this year, I have my sister. First-year. She had just entered high school. And I have you.”

“You know me?”

“I know your school. No student here will admit it, but I’m very much aware that our school is delayed by at most two years compared to the standard of the best high schools in other villages.”

And she was right. She captured it correctly. Though I was a new transferee, most of the things they were teaching in our lessons here had been covered two years ago in my previous school.

“And more so with Mathematics and Physics,” she added. “Our school has a lot of catching up to do.”

I looked at her and from her smile, I knew that she knew that I knew.

“So, we need you,” she said, “to win this year and the next two years. In this school and against other schools.”

“You need me to win.”

“Our team needs you to win.”

“Can I think about it?”

“Sure. But you like this, don’t you?”

How much did this girl know about me? It did not matter. Because she knew that I would say yes.

She just smiled there quietly.

I was very transparent, and she knew that I knew that she knew.

“And Jennifer,” she said to me, “I would like you to be my friend as well. For the whole of high school.”

“Call me Jenn,” I replied.

Before our conversation ended, she had captured my heart completely.

After our classes, we fetched her younger sister so we could hold our first team meeting in the library.

“Have you thought of a name for our team yet?” I asked.

“I thought of doing that as part of our first meeting. We’ll discuss as well our areas for the competition.”

“About your sister... is she like you?”

She stopped walking and looked at me amusingly.

“And how would you describe me?”

I would have said charming and totally adorable and added sweet, but maybe that sweet part was just on my mind, but I replied:

“Smart and driven.”

“Oh, wait till you see her. She’s much smarter than me for her age. And very competitive.”

We continued walking and finally reached the front of a classroom where first-year students went out.

“Aisha,” called Aimee, and one of the female students in front looked back at us. “There she is, my sister.”

When I saw her, she seemed different. She had that fierce look, which most people would consider arrogant.

But then she smiled, and her resemblance to Aimee became apparent. They were almost like twins. I found out later that Aisha had the habit of frowning when thinking, so she often looked annoyed and gave an aura of grumpiness. That was her resting face, unlike her sister, who was smiling by default.

“Hello, Sister,” Aisha greeted Aimee. “Are we going now? I still have some stuff to do in the library.”

When I heard her voice, it was sweet and soft, like those you hear on radio stations. She could easily be a voice actor someday or do voice commercials.

“Good, we’re going to the library, actually. We’ll have our first team meeting,” said Aimee.

“Nice! So you got our final member?”

Aisha looked at me. I knew what she was doing. She was computing if I was a worthy third member of the team. Was it my turn to be tested? But then she smiled and grabbed my two hands.

“Welcome to the team!” she exclaimed.

Aimee introduced me to her sister, and she was right; Her younger sister was more of her.

“So, regarding the team’s name, have we agreed with my recommendation, the Sophists?” Aisha asked while we were walking toward the library.

In my few minutes of knowing her, I learned that she was the kind of person that would drive the flow of things according to her will. These two sisters were comfortable with being assertive. She looked at me with her question as though I had heard her recommendation before and had given it much thought and as if my only option was to agree with her.

“What do you think, Jenn?” Aimee asked me.

I knew Aimee was asking me about Aisha, not the team’s name. I liked Aisha, though she was a pushier version of Aimee.

“Did you base it on the Greek name Sophia, meaning we are lovers of wisdom, or from Sophism, meaning we are clever but use deceptive arguments?” I asked Aisha.

“You got it!” said Aisha, laughing. “Clever and deceptive.”

We were about to enter the library when Aimee stopped walking.

“I still think my suggestion is better, the Dialectics, seekers of truth. What do you think, Jenn?”

“Sounds electric,” I said without thinking.

Both of the sisters laughed. Did I just say something stupid?

“You’re funny!” said Aisha as we entered the library.

In the end, we decided on Aimee’s suggestion, for I was the tie-breaker. Our team’s name would be the Dialectics.

While Aisha was finishing her errands in the library, Aimee and I got the chance to chat.

“Why did you transfer to our school, aside from following destiny’s call so you could have the chance to meet me?” she asked.

I almost burst out laughing when she said that, but we were in the library.

“My parents,” I said.

She stared into my eyes and didn’t ask anymore. She knew I didn’t want to talk about it.

“What other hobbies do you have? Aside from reading,” she asked.

“I’m a good singer,” I said. I was lying.

“Great, I’m a superb singer too,” she replied. She was lying too.

“We must start a band,” said Aisha, suddenly appearing from the back. “I’m the best singer in this group.” That was not a lie.

After Aisha finished her errands, we split the areas of the competition among us: math and physics for Aimee, history, literature, and geography for me, and sciences and arts for Aisha.

“And that is for this year only. Next year, we are going to switch areas. And then the year after that. So, by the time we are in the fourth year,” Aimee said while looking at me, “each of us has a mastery of all topics, and we will be unbeatable.”

“Yes, sister-general,” said Aisha. “Wait, but what about me? When I’m in the fourth year, both of you will not be here,” she added.

“By then, you can win the contest alone,” Aimee said. “Well, yes, you’re right,” replied Aisha.

We stayed for two more hours in the library before going home. If it was up to me, I could spend the whole day with these two and would never get bored, though most of the time we would just read our books.

That night I could not stop thinking about Aimee. If she was my neighbor, I would have given her a visit.

The next day, while having lunch, I found Aimee reading a familiar textbook.

“That book is not from this school, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s from your previous school. And do you see this?”

She showed me and I recognized it as a book from another school. I realized that, in addition to our own lessons, she was studying books per the curriculum of other schools.

“What for?” I asked.

“College entrance exams,” she said.

“But that is two years from now.”

“It’s not too early when you study in this school.”

“Don’t tell me you are aiming for...”

“Yes, so it’s not enough for me to pass their entrance exam. I need to get the scholarship as well.”

“Yea, it’s expensive there.”

“In terms of effort investment, studying like this is more profitable, because it covers more than our subjects, so I don’t have to study our lessons, plus it helps in our quiz competition. And it has the potential to pay for college too.”

I did not realize she was this driven. I wondered what motivated her.

“Are your parents… teachers?” I asked.

She smiled, and she understood what I meant.

“Yes, they are teachers, but no… that is not why I’m doing any of this. I have my own reasons, but let me tell you about my parents.”

“My mother used to be a teacher but had to quit because of her chronic illness. My father was also a teacher. He stopped working for a while to take care of Mom, and when he began looking for a job again, he joined a research company that paid more so we could sustain Mom’s medication.”

After saying this, she held my left hand, which surprised me.

“Let’s go to college together.”

“You mean to the same school?”

“Yes, you can keep pace with me, right?”

Really? She had a strange way of saying she wanted to be with me. Of course, I would love to be with her in college.

“I think I like that,” I said, pressing her hand, “let’s inspire and motivate each other.”

“My parents are betting their everything on me,” she quietly said.

I did not expect her to reveal that. I knew though.

“I have to take care of them and my sister. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to achieve. But at a minimum, I want to take care of my family.”

I just stayed silent, holding her hand.

“Hey, I have an idea,” she said.


“Would you like to have study sessions with me?”

This felt like a dream coming true for me.

“During weekends?” she added.

I didn’t know if I was too transparent, but I would have said yes even to study sessions after school at her home.

“Yea, I think I like that.”

If there was something I wanted more than anything, it was to see her room, and my wish had been answered.

I just smiled at her, though I really wanted to run to her and hug her.

When Friday came, Aimee and I left our school early so we could show each other’s house. I wanted to show our own first, so I didn’t have to worry about her going home alone from my place. We just told Aisha to study anything she liked in the library. It was an afternoon of free learning for her.

My house was not very far from our school, but I was worried about going back there with Aimee.

I made an excuse to her, “So we can save time, we can just point to each other’s house, and we don’t have to enter.” I knew it was a lousy one, but I felt Aimee understood what I was really trying to say, and she just replied yes. I had a feeling, though, that when we reached her home, she would still invite me to come inside, which I should turn down.

While walking toward our house, I wished that no one there would see us and that there would be no shouting as we passed.

When we were several meters away from our home, I held her hand and pointed.

“That is our house.”

As expected, there was noise and shouting coming from inside.

She looked at me and just said:

“It’s okay. We can go to my house now.”

We turned back and started walking away from where I pointed at.

We were quiet for a while but then we continued talking again.

“Do you know that we have the biggest library in our whole village?” she asked.

I knew that she was just bragging. There was no way that could be possible.

“If we only include personal libraries,” she added.

I was still not convinced.

“I can rephrase that for you,” I said. “You have the biggest library in the whole village, where the books actually get read by the owners. How about that?”

“I think you are right,” she said, smiling.

“I think Aisha is lucky,” I said.

“Because she got me as a sister?”

“Because she has access to that library.”

And we both laughed.

When we reached their house, I was not wrong. She invited me inside. And she was not lying nor bragging earlier, for they truly had the biggest personal library in the village, regardless if the books were read or not.

It was like a house made of books. The walls of their home were all lined with bookshelves. I guessed it could only be expected to have two bookworm parents producing bookworm children. It was a bookworm family. I didn’t get the chance to see her room, though, but I had the Saturday for that.

I met Aimee’s mother in their garden on the way to the house. She was tending their tomatoes, okras, and eggplants. Now I knew where the vegetables Aimee shared with me came from. She was a very congenial mother.

“Mom, I want you to meet my best friend. Jen-”

I didn’t hear the rest of what she said, for I felt a rush of happiness. Did she just call me her best friend? We just met a few days ago. Well, that was nothing compared to me, considering all things. I was convinced I would love her from the first day we met.

I woke up early the next day, though my scheduled visit to Aimee’s house was not until 9 AM. I was excited. I hoped they would invite me to have lunch at their house, so I could also spend the afternoon with her.

I placed two books in my bag. Not that I was really studying specifically for the contest, I was always reading history and literature books, so I did not have to do extra for that. Instead, I took a book in geography and another in philosophy.

When I reached their home, I saw Aisha helping her mother in the garden. Good for her. It was healthy and relaxing and would help her take a break from studying. But I was surprised when I heard what they were discussing. They were talking about the history of mathematics, that feud between Newton and Leibnitz regarding the invention of calculus.

“Good morning, Madame Kim. Good morning, Aisha,” I greeted both.

They both greeted me back and told me to go straight inside. “Jennifer, wait, have you taken breakfast?” her mother asked before letting me go.

“Thank you, but I had one already.” That was a lie. I walked straight to their house before she could invite me again. I just told myself that I was dieting for situations like this.

Aimee had just taken a bath when I met her inside the house. It was the first time I saw her with her long hair worn down. She usually kept it in a ponytail at school.

“Good morning, Jenn. Let’s have breakfast!”

I greeted her and then just smiled. How did she know I didn’t get breakfast in our house? She noticed that I was looking at the door.

“My mom and sister have already taken theirs. I told them I would have mine with you.”

Oh no. And I just lied to her mother outside.

“I will tell them that you forced me, okay?”

“Yea, I’m okay with that. Come, let’s eat. We have lots of things to do.”

I didn’t see her father even after we finished breakfast. And when Aimee noticed me, she said:

“Still sleeping. He came home late last night.”

I had a feeling that her father either had two jobs or worked long hours.

Finally, after we finished our breakfast and cleaned the dishes, Aimee invited me to her room. And it didn’t fail to exceed my expectation. I think the best books in their home were all inside her room.

“A complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica?”

“We don’t have internet,” she replied.

“No, I like it,” I told her. “This is so cool!”

“What is so cool?” asked Aisha, suddenly entering Aimee’s room.

“A few decades ago, this was the peak of scholarly erudition,” I said, with my two hands pointing at the complete 32 volumes.

“Can I smell them?” I asked. The siblings were laughing and together said, “Go ahead!”

I smelled the books as though their contents were pouring into my brain.

“This must have cost a fortune,” I said, looking at Aimee’s eyes, checking if I was venturing into an area she would rather avoid.

“Father got them with a huge discount, plus they were second-hand, from another teacher.”

“I see. They look pristine, though.”

“I bet the previous owner rarely used them,” said Aisha, showing a full grin, and then she went out of the room again.

“I’m curious, looking at your whole house, do you do nothing else but read?”

I asked this not because I was against the idea. I was just really curious. She looked at me like she was about to give me a lecture.

“You know, our current stage is the best time for reading. Primarily because it gives the highest return for the effort. When we are in college, we would be busy looking toward our future work, specializing in our chosen field. And when we are working, life will take over, and any additional reading would not have the same impact on our chosen career or the direction of our lives as when we read the same information when we are much younger, which in our case, is high school.”

“I completely agree,” I said, almost apologetically. She passed my test. I knew I could spend my life just being with her.

We spent the rest of the morning reading, and when lunchtime came, they invited me as well. I was able to meet her father and finally got introduced to him. I learned where Aimee and Aisha got their looks; It was from their father. He was soft-spoken and very gentle. I wondered where Aisha got her pushy side when her mother was also nice and sweet. Then I remembered she was the youngest child with doting parents and sister. That could explain it.

After lunch, Aimee had to go out for a while with her parents to do some errands. While waiting for her, Aisha and I continued studying in her room. We were quietly reading when she suddenly stopped and looked at me:

“Do you like my sister?”

I was so surprised by her question that I almost dropped the book I was reading. It came out of nowhere.

“Of course, I like your sister.”

“I mean, romantically.”

After she asked this, I really laughed out loud.

Do I even have a chance to lie against this girl? My mind was computing and the answer was that there was totally no point in lying to her.

“Yes, I like your sister, romantically.”

“I thought so.” And then she just returned to her book and continued reading.

After a few quiet minutes, it was my turn to ask.

“Your sister, do you think she knows?”

“That you like her, romantically? Yes.”

My heart was beating fast as I listened to her say this.

“Even my mother knows,” she added.

What? In my heart, I was screaming quietly.

“Sister likes you too, romantically. And she told my mother. I heard them talking.”

I just stared at her quietly and could not say anything.

“You have my blessing because I like you too for her.”

She just said this when we heard her parents return with Aimee.

That night, I could not sleep because of what Aisha had told me. Should I do anything extra beyond what I was already doing? Aimee already knew my feelings for her. Do I need to make a confession or just let things go naturally? I already had her friendship. Would I be making a mistake if I confirmed her affection?

In the end, I could not sleep. So, I wrote her a letter.

When Monday came, I saw Aisha instead of Aimee in our favorite lunch spot in the canteen.

“So, have you given her your letter?”

“What letter?”

“Confession letter.”

I didn’t know if I should laugh or pinch her. How did she know I wrote a letter?

“I made a bet with my sister,” she continued. “You will do it by a letter. Your confession,” she added and then started laughing.

I had never been redder in my whole life. Aisha was cruel.

She was still laughing when her sister arrived.

So, I guessed it was my turn to be cruel and make her lose the bet.

“Aimee,” I said, “hypothetically, if I was going to ask you for a date, would you hypothetically say yes?”

With this, Aisha laughed so loud that water and food came out of her nose. She immediately went straight to the bathroom, still laughing.

“Do you mean… a study date?” Aimee calmly asked me, smiling.

Oh, she knew! And she was doing it again.

“Yes, even if it’s a romantic date, hypothetically,” she added after a few seconds of my silence.

We looked into each other’s eyes and understood each other.

I took the letter from my bag and gave it to her.

“You can read it later,” I said.

That was the last time I was able to talk to Aimee and Aisha and saw them happy, laughing, and smiling, for on that same afternoon, they would both disappear and would not be found until 26 days later. They would have stayed gone for months and years if not for an incident that happened with another female student, 12 days after Aimee and Aisha were reported missing by their parents.

Her name was Junhee, a seventeen-year-old high school girl living in another village. One night, at 8:30 PM, she was on her way home, riding her bike after she had finished her shift at her job. A high school student named Lemuel Molka suddenly appeared on her path, kicked her off her bike, and fled the scene. Another high school student named Tobias Molka, under the pretense of witnessing the attack by coincidence, helped Junhee and offered to walk her home safely. After gaining her trust, he raped her in a nearby warehouse and again in a hotel, threatening to kill her if she did not follow what he said and tried to run. From the hotel, Tobias called his cousin Lemuel and bragged about the rape. Lemuel asked Tobias to keep her in captivity to allow more of their friends to sexually assault her.

Around 3 AM, Tobias took Junhee to a nearby park, where Lemuel and their friends were waiting. They had learned her home address from her cell phone and told her that they knew where she lived and that they would kill her family if she attempted to escape. They overpowered her and took her to Lemuel’s house and then gang-raped her, with the scene filmed for blackmail.

They let Junhee go home in the morning, but with the threat that she must remain quiet unless she wanted the pictures and videos of her rape to be spread around her school. Then she was ordered to return daily after class to the same house, where she was raped up to 10 times by 3 to 24 high school students on each occurrence. After a week, the rapists learned that Junhee had a thirteen-year-old younger sister and a sixteen-year-old cousin. They ordered her to bring them as well, after which they were also gang-raped and blackmailed. According to the police, there were at least 41 high school students involved in raping the three girls over the course of two weeks.

When the parents of Junhee reported the crime to the police, they were threatened by the relatives and families of the perpetrators. They said:

“You should watch out from now on for reporting our sons to the police.”

“Let’s see if you can sleep well after reporting to the police. Be careful.”

The police, on the other hand, leaked the identity of the three victims to the media, and this information reached social media, of course.

“These girls are not even that pretty. Don’t you think some of them are ugly?”

The person who made this comment, later on, became a member of the same police department where the crime was reported.

The three girls soon had to quit school as they were repeatedly visited by the assailants’ parents in the classroom and verbally attacked for reporting their sons to the police. They were blamed for “seducing the boys” and for “not behaving properly as girls.”

During the case investigation at the police station room, 39 boys accused of sexual assault were standing side-by-side in a single line.

A few minutes later, the police detectives brought Junhee with them and told her to point out her assailants. She pointed out a few of them with hesitation. Even though the alleged assailants had their backs to her, she couldn’t lift her head because she was too scared and shocked that she was standing in front of them again. Afterward, they repeated the same process with Junhee’s younger sister and cousin. One of the police officers could not help himself and said:

“This is my hometown, and you girls have brought disgrace to my village.”

The policemen then brought in the boys’ parents and made them sit face to face with Junhee, her sister, and her cousin to begin the questioning.

“Did you try to entice the guys? You destroyed the reputation of our village.”

“The boys who would lead the city were all arrested. What are you going to do?”

“Weren’t you girls waving your asses around and kept going there because you liked it?”

“I am afraid that my daughter will be like you.”

While the inquiry was happening inside the police station, outside the room, the rest of the boys’ relatives were busy getting interviewed by television stations. One father said:

“Why should we feel sorry for the victim’s family? Why don’t they consider our suffering? Who can resist temptation when girls are trying to seduce boys? They should have taught their daughters how to behave in order to avoid this kind of accident.”

During the investigation, one policeman named Magdangal asked Junhee if she saw any other girls in the assailant’s house when she was visiting there during the two weeks she was blackmailed. He showed the photos of Aimee and Aisha, and Junhee recognized both of them. She said:

“On my second visit, I entered a room by mistake, thinking it was the toilet, and I saw two naked women. Each of them was inside a metal cage. They were very thin like they hadn’t eaten for days. One of them has a dog collar on her neck, while the other has ankle cuffs, both being chained to their cages. They didn’t see me. I think they were passed out. I was very scared and went out of the room immediately. When Tobias saw me leave the room, he said, ‘If you don’t follow what we say, you will end up like those two girls.’ I have no choice but to obey them.”

“And you are positive that these girls are the same as in these photos?” asked Magdangal.

“Yes. I could never forget their faces.”

When Magdangal asked Tobias about the two girls that Junhee described, he denied everything. However, later that day, Tobias made a full confession.

He would not have done so if not for the separate interrogation of Magdangal with Lemuel during the afternoon. Thinking that Lemuel had confessed to their crimes, Tobias told the police everything.

In his confession, Tobias revealed what they did to Aimee and Aisha and what happened to them afterward.

Tobias and his friends kidnapped the sisters on their way home from school. They held them captive in Lemuel’s house for 20 days, where they repeatedly beat, raped, and tortured them. They also invited other men and teenage boys to take turns assaulting them. Overall, they were raped more than 100 times by over 67 teenage boys. On occasion, they were raped by 19 boys in one day.

By the end of their captivity, they were severely malnourished after being fed only small amounts of food and, eventually, only milk. Due to their severe injuries and infected wounds, they became unable to go to the toilet and became confined to the floor of an isolated room in a state of extreme weakness.

Their appearances were drastically altered by the brutality of the attacks. Their faces were so swollen that it was difficult to identify their features. Their bodies were also severely crippled, giving off a rotting smell that caused the boys to lose sexual interest in them.

When Junhee brought her younger sister and her cousin to Tobias, the group decided to dispose of Aimee and Aisha.

“Next time, we should not break our toys, at least not this soon,” said Tobias to his group. “Nimrod and Elias got angry with me for what we did to these two.”

One of the boys volunteered to take Aisha and transported her to his uncle’s house. Still in her cage and had not eaten for days, she was abandoned later by the boy, who changed his mind for he could no longer find her desirable. That was the last time anyone saw Aisha until he was found and rescued by Magdangal and his team. Fortunately, he brought a doctor with him, for he was very sure that Aisha was already dead when he checked her pulse, but the female doctor was able to revive her. Aisha survived, though in a coma.

After Aisha was taken out of Lemuel’s house, Tobias held a farewell party for Aimee. They poured lighter fluid on her naked body and set her on fire. Aimee, though severely weak, made attempts to put out the fire but gradually became unresponsive. They continued to punch her, ignited a candle and dripped hot wax on her face, placed two short candles on her eyelids, and forced her to drink their urine. Since she was bleeding profusely and pus was emerging from her wounds, the boys covered their hands in plastic bags. They continued to beat her and dropped an iron exercise ball onto her stomach several times. The attack lasted until they noticed that Aimee’s body was no longer moving.

Afraid of being penalized for murder, the group wrapped Aimee’s body in blankets and shoved her into a travel bag. They then put her body in a 210-liter drum and filled it with wet sand. They wanted to use wet concrete so they could drop the drum on a river but could not find one, so they just used wet sand and left the drum in a vacant lot.

Magdangal and his team found the drum containing Aimee’s body the following day. She was definitely confirmed dead, but they were all surprised when the female doctor revived her, though in a state of coma.