Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Paranormal Psychology, Part 10

I looked around me to find that I'd only been out for a few minutes. I was covered in dust and relics, all of which looked to be Celtic in origin. The bookcase I had hit hadn't fallen down, I had simply smashed into it and knocked the shelves down. In front of me a small, bone-handled hair comb lay among the wreckage but in a small clearing where no other relics touched it. It was threaded through with a slim, silken lock of hair. It was also broken in two. Next to it lay a small nameplate that read "Specimen A: bean sĂ­dhe".

"Huh." I said, the half-word sounding lame in the silence and dust. I noticed then that there was the sound of soft shuffling, as if shoe-less feet were being drug across the rugged classroom floor. I turned and saw a young man, eyes rolled back into his head, stumbling towards me down the book aisle, arms limp at his sides. He stumbled into the bookshelf on his left, and suddenly the lights went down again. He must have hit the pressure plate.

I turned around and began my flight anew. I pulled out my cellphone again and, to my relief this time I could see the end of the aisle even in the dim light. The sound of my footfalls rang out against the ground as the far wall grew closer and closer and finally I turned the corner. Before me was the door that led to the stairwell that Abode had indicated earlier as the way to his office. I entered with only mild trepidation as I heard the shuffling sounds grow louder.

Bruised from the fall, tired from a crazed sprint across campus, bewildered by the events surrounding my flight, I was less than enthused upon seeing the several flights of stairs ahead of me. I hadn't, however, run this far and endured this much to be overtaken by a couple thousand shuffling college students. Dug in and determined, I began my jog up the stairs.

Ten flights up, I paused my jog up the stairs, with seemingly thousands of flights left to go. I took a breather as only one hounded by thankfully stair-inept zombie-students could. Sitting down on the stairs, I looked down to see that my pursuers had begun climbing on one another after one too many trips on the stairs, but had reached an impasse when their numbers had succeeded in blocking the entrance to the stair well. I sighed as I watched this, shaking my head sadly.

At this point, I became aware of a sound distinct from the clamor of silent bodies climbing over one another that was coming from below. This sound was the sound of a sharp krak against the hard-surfaced stairs, which I suddenly realized were made of marble. It was coming from above, so I turned my head up. Above, Abode was walking down the stairs haltingly, a cane in one of his hands. His head was bowed, and as he came closer I realized he held a book in his hand as he walked and from the sound of it was reading aloud to himself.

"...and if your mind on urgent truth is set, need you go hunting for an epithet?" were the words he was mumbling when he came within earshot. He almost walked by, completely oblivious to the sounds below or the fact that I was sitting on the step he was passing, but I spoke up.

"Professor Abode? Excuse me?" I said, feeling quite foolish for the way I was starting this conversation. He looked taken aback, and peered down at me.

"Ah, be ye... Oh! Mr. Tham! I didn't recognize you for a second there." The professor said, his voice changing from an odd accent mid-sentence. "What brings you to my humble staircase?"

"Um..." I mumbled ineffectually, pointing downwards to the thronging mass of college students. Abode peered over the edge quizzically. He looked quite piqued for a second, but regained his composure nicely.

"I see."

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