Divine hunter chapter 3

in #story3 years ago

CHAPTER THREE
Michael had been in Oakland for three days, had
checked out the area and done some research on
the town’s history, but nothing unusual had come
up. Getting close to the student’s friends around
campus and seeing if there was any connection
between the victims was the only plan he had
right now.
He walked along the quiet corridor of the
administration building at SPU.
His footsteps echoed lightly as he passed a long
row of gray doors that ran uniformly down one
side. The sound of muted voices reached him
from time to time from a couple of the rooms as
he walked by but none of those were what he
was looking for.
Towards the end of the corridor, there stood a
small wooden table against the wall. Framed
pictures of each of the dead students were placed
upon it along with various other objects. A
pegboard hung right above on the wall with more
pictures pinned to it; a memorial of happier times
before each of their friends had met their demise.
There were also messages of condolence from
those who knew them.
Michael read one of the notes:
Dear Emily. . .
I wish we’d known the hurt you must have been
feeling to make you do something so desperate.
At least you are now at peace. Forever in our
hearts.
Your Friends
Jo and Sandra x
A young woman approached the table and
stopped beside him. Her dark, backcombed hair
almost covered her whole face, but Michael got a
glimpse of her pale complexion and thick dark eye
makeup as she threw him a sideward glance
before placing a small glass next to one of the
framed pictures: a young man who looked to be
wearing almost as much makeup as she was. He
watched as she pulled a lighter from her pocket
and used it to light a small candle which she then
placed inside the glass, She stood staring silently
at the picture.
Michael thought he heard her sniffling and
decided to step back from the table feeling that
this was a moment he shouldn’t be intruding on.
He was about to continue down the hall when a
tall, middle aged, bearded man approached
quickly. “Nina!” he snapped. “I’m sorry, you can’t
do that in here.” His harried expression suggested
he was a faculty member.
“Do what?” the student replied in a brash tone.
“The candle. . . It’s against university safety
rules. You’ll have to put it out I’m afraid,” he
ordered as he peered at her over the top of his
narrow rimmed glasses.
The female’s shoulders slumped. “Fine!” she said
quickly, and blew the flame out. She gave him a
sarcastic smile and walked off down the corridor
in the opposite direction.
As Michael turned away, he noticed that the man
had caught sight of him. Hoping to avoid him,
Michael continued down the hall.
No such luck.
“Excuse me,” the man called after him. By the
time Michael had turned around to answer, he
was standing right in front of him. Jeez! This
guy’s keen.
“Can I help you, sir,” the man asked, again over
his glasses which he seemed to do a lot making
Michael wonder why he wore them at all.
“Maybe. . . ” Michael replied, taking a step back
so he didn’t feel so crowded by him. “I’m looking
for the Dean’s office. I have an appointment.”
The man’s features relaxed. “Ah, I see. Well,
you’re heading in the rightdirection. If you come
with me, I’ll take you there myself Mr. . . ” He
waited for a response while holding out his hand.
“Warden.” Michael shook it firmly.
“Mr Warden. Ed Wilkinson.” He continued to
shake Michael’s hand while
he spoke. “It’s right this way.”
After eventually letting go, he led Michael down
another short corridor to a room with several
windows overlooking the outside. “Miss Taylor,
the Dean’s secretary, will assist you now,” he
said as he opened the door and walked straight
in.
Michael followed.
Michael followed.
“Morning Ed,” said a young blond haired woman
sat behind a desk opposite the doorway. She was
well presented, wearing a cream blouse and her
hair neatly tied up in a bun on top of her head. To
one side of her were two tall, metal filing cabinets
and to her right, the wall was covered from floor
to ceiling with shelves full of books.
Mr Wilkinson gave her an affectionate smile.
“Morning Sarah.” He gave her a little wave on his
way out and nodded to Michael before closing the
door.
Sarah gave Michael a friendly smile as he
approached her desk. “What can I help you with?”
she asked as she left whatever she was typing on
her computer.
Michael noticed her large, brown eyes behind her
glasses, the kind of eyes that smiled with her. “I
have an appointment with the Dean,” he
explained.
“I’ve been sent from KSU for the substitute
position.” He’d never actually been to Kent in his
life, let alone the university there, but no one
needed to know that.
She tapped a couple of keys on the computer in
front of her. “Name please?”
she asked.
“It’s Michael Warden.”
She typed some more. “Ah, yes. Here we are.
Please take a seat, Mr Warden.” She pointed to
two plastic chairs, under the window which
overlooked the corridor, and picked up the
telephone receiver from her desk.
“Mr Raynor, your nine o’clock is here.” She
paused for a second. “Yes, sir.”
She then placed the receiver back in its cradle
and looked back over at Michael.
“He’ll be with you in a moment.”
“Thanks.” He sat down, placing the envelope
which contained his papers on his knee. While he
waited, he read through some of the book titles
on the shelf next to him: The Hidden Curriculum;
The Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms. The
usual stuff you would see in a university. He
scanned some more until he stopped on a title
that made him pause for breath: The
Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife. It was
hard not to find it amusing, not that his situation
was funny in any way. Maybe he should write a
book; after all, having experienced it first hand, he
should be able to sell a few copies.
The phone made a beeping sound and Miss
Taylor picked up the receiver and paused. “Yes,
sir.” She looked over at Michael after hanging up.
“You cango in now,” she said, gesturing towards
a wooden door on the opposite side of the room.
“Mr Raynor is ready for you.”
“Thanks,” Michael said, then headed towards the
door which had a gold plaque on it that read
Dean’s Office - Professor Joseph Raynor in black
letters.
He entered the large room which was brightly lit
due to a large arched window overlooking the
front grounds of the university. In front of it,
dressed in a gray suit, Mr Raynor sat behind a
dark wooden desk flicking through some
paperwork. He glanced up at Michael. “Ah, Mr
Warden. Please, come in and take a seat.” His
office was full of books on shelves that covered
the walls from floor to ceiling, except for one wall
which had a large oil painting of the main
university building surrounded by a heavy, gilded
frame.
“Thank you, sir,” Michael said as he sat down in
the chair in front of the desk.
“You’re here for the substitute position?” Mr.
Raynor asked, spotting Michael’s file containing
his homemade papers and holding out his hand
for it.
His voice was stern but polite all the same. It
couldn’t be easy running a university department,
which was evident in his well lined face. He was
almost bald apart from a little patch of stubble
either side of his head; probably also the result of
his work load.
Michael handed the envelope over. “Yes, sir.
That’s correct,” he replied.
“And you’re aware it’s only a two month
position?” Mr. Raynor began to flick through the
paperwork which made Michael a little anxious as
he silently prayed he hadn’t missed anything. He
really didn’t want to have to re-plan everything.
He nodded. “Yes, I am.” It was much longer than
he’d planned to stay, but at least it gave him
plenty of time should he need it.
“And it’s a live-in position?” Raynor confirmed.
“Yes.” Michael replied. The university had
accommodation for adjunct instructors and
lecturers filling a temporary position as they
would usually be from out of town. So, Michael
would be on campus for most of the time; right
where he needed to be.
There was a long silence as Mr. Raynor continued
to read through Michael’s papers. This was the
part where−if he could−he would be sweating as
he waited to see if he’d manage to fool the Dean
or not, but he’d realized that sweating was
another thing that wasn’t a problem for him
anymore.
After an anxious wait, Mr Raynor raised an
eyebrow and looked straight at Michael. “There
appears to be something missing.” He looked a
little put out and flicked back through the papers
again as though he were checking he hadn’t
missed whatever it was.
Michael’s shoulders slumped a little. He felt sure
he’d done everything required. He’d checked
everything over three or four times. Dammit. This
washis only way into the university. He didn’t
have a plan B so if this didn’t work
he didn’t really know what else he could do.
“I’m sorry, sir?” He said with a relatively calm
voice, wondering how he was going to get out of
it. What could he have missed?
“The form containing your bank information isn’t
here. . . ” Mr Raynor looked up at him. “For your
salary? You’ll be paid into your bank monthly and
our accounts department won’t be able to
process the payment without it,” he explained.
Michael relaxed and had to fight back his laugh.
Relieved, he smiled at Mr Raynor. “I’m sorry. I
don’t know how I’ve missed that, sir.”
“It’s no problem. Just ask Miss Taylor for a form
on your way out and pop it back into her before
the end of the day.” He picked up a pen from a
leather bound holder and began signing a few of
the papers.
“Sure. No problem.” He smiled.
“Right!” Raynor slammed the folder closed and
placed it down on the desk in front of him. “That
seems to be everything. I’ll get someone to show
you around the department and then take you to
your accommodation building as soon as
possible.” He buzzed through to reception.
“Sarah, could you page Miss Holloway from
Psychology and ask her if she’s free to show Mr
Warden around please.”
“Of course, sir.” Miss Taylor replied politely
through the loud speaker followed by faint
tapping noises that sounded like a computer
keyboard. “Her first class isn’t until ten o’clock
so she should be available.”
“Thank you.”
Mr Raynor stood up and held his hand out to
Michael, who did the same. They shook hands.
“Welcome to State Park. I hope you settle in well.
Take a seat back out in reception and someone
will be with you shortly.” He politely showed
Michael to the door.
“Thank you again, Mr Raynor.” He said before
leaving the office.Miss Taylor smiled at him as he
sat down. The chair was still warm from before.
“Can I get you a coffee or something?” she asked
him as she picked up her cup from the desk and
headed over to the coffee machine.
“Please. Coffee would be great.”
“Sugar? Milk?” He barely heard her ask over the
noise of the machine.
“Yeah, Milk. One sugar,” he replied. Exactly how
he’d drunk it before he’d died.
The slight aroma of ground coffee beans, the
same smell he’d noticed when he’d first walked
in, had now intensified and he couldn’t help but
inhale it deep into his lungs. It was a normal,
familiar smell that comforted him a little.
After the sound of hot steaming liquid dissipated,
the petite blonde female brought him over a
steaming hot mug which had the SPU logo on it.
“Be careful, it’s extra hot.” But he’d already
wrapped his hand around it and taken a sip of the
hot liquid by the time she’d finished speaking the
warning. Michael noticed her eyes widen a little,
probably surprised that it hadn’t burned him.
“Thanks,” he said, and then blew over the top of
it, only for effect, before attempting to drink more.
After watching her walk back to her desk where
she quietly returned to her work, Michael reached
for a community magazine from the coffee table
in front of him and began to flick through the
pages even though he wasn’t really taking
anything in.
He was pleased that he’d managed to get
through the meeting with Mr Raynor, and that
he’d done everything he was supposed to, but he
had no idea what to do next. He assumed the
rest of the day would be spent being shown
around, learning the ropes and other things, so
was pretty certain he wouldn’t be teaching any
classes until tomorrow which was probably for
the best considering he knew nothing about
psychology. Not needing any sleep wasgoing to
be pretty handy tonight as he had a feeling he
wasn’t going to get any.
Instead, he’d be spending the night studying for
tomorrow’s classes.
It will be a miracle if I manage to pull this off.
It wasn’t long until the reception door opened and
in walked a tall, attractive woman with sleek,
long, blond hair. She was tidily dressed in a navy
colored pencil skirt which stopped just below her
knees and a casual, maroon V-neck sweater. The
scent of her perfume followed her into the room,
filling the air with a sweet, floral fragrance and. . .
apple?
Miss Taylor pointed over to Michael as she spoke
to the woman. “Morning,
Lacy. This is Mr Warden. He’s the new sub filling
in for Joanne Hart while she’s on maternity
leave.”
Michael stood to greet her as she approached
him with her hand extended.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr Warden,” she said with
a soft British accent.
Michael realized he was still holding his nearly
empty mug in one hand and the magazine, he
hadn’t really been reading in the other. “Uh. . . ”
He fumbled and then quickly shoved the mag
under his arm, freeing his hand to shake hers.
“It’s Michael,” he said politely. “Please, call me
Michael.” As he looked at her, he couldn’t help
noticing that she had the palest green eyes he’d
ever seen.
“It’s nice to meet you, Michael. I’m Lacy.” She
smiled at him, revealing a perfectly straight set of
teeth, except for one of her bottom ones which
bent
inwards. “If you come with me, I’ll show you
around

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