Divine hunter (chapter 3 continued )

in #story3 years ago

Chapter 3 cont


After a long day spent mostly sitting in on classes
and getting a feel for how things worked around
the department, Michael was finally at his
apartment building. Lacy had been kind enough
to show him around the lecture halls, meeting
rooms, and the two counselling clinics that were
regularly used by members of the community as
well as students; the latter being the main focusin
light of recent events. They’d finished up having
coffee in the staff room before she’d asked one of
her students to walk him to the building where he
would be living for at least the next couple of
weeks.
Benjamin Hall was one of many colonial type
buildings that he’d seen on the university
grounds, this one being quite small compared to
the others. As he walked through one of the large
oak doors, he was faced with yet another
reception that was on the left. This time, an older
lady with short gray hair stood behind the
counter, barely tall enough to see over it. She
looked up at him.
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah, hi. I’m the new sub from the psychology
department. I understand there’s a room available
for me.” Michael towered above the woman who
had to stretch her neck to look at him.
“Name?” she asked as she lifted the glasses that
were hanging on a cord around her neck. She put
them on and then pulled out a drawer from
underneath the counter. Her voice was quite stern
considering the size of her. And she wasn’t at all
polite.
Michael gave her his details and she began sifting
through some cards and pulled one out. “Here we
are. You’re in room B-7.” She pointed across the
way towards a wide staircase that was framed by
a chunky oak handrail and wooden panelling
which also ran around the bottom half of the
walls. “It’s the first floor towards the end of the
hall.” She passed him a small key ring, which had
the SPU logo on it and two brass keys attached.
One of the keys had blue around the ring. “The
blue one is the key to this building. The door will
be locked from nine every evening so that key is
the only way to get in. There will be a guard on
duty from then, but he’s off patrolling the
grounds most of the time.
The other key is for your room.”
“Thanks,” Michael said.
“Can I help you with anything else?” She placed
the card back in its holder amongst the
others.“No. Thanks. That’s everything.”
“Very well,” she said and carried on with her
business.
The large reception area was more like a common
room. It was brightly lit and the walls were
painted in the university colors: some white, some
navy blue. There were a few soft, brown, leather
chairs and a couple of sofas to match which had
low coffee tables in front of them and there were
two vending machines tucked away in the far
corner: one for hot drinks and the other contained
snacks and sodas.
Up the stairs, Michael walked along the narrow
hallway, where the decor matched the lobby,
watching the small brass numbers counting
upwards on the navy doors on the left-hand side
until he got to his, which was the very last one
opposite a floor length window that overlooked
the university grounds.
Inside, the room was bigger than he’d expected.
It had a spacious living area with a black leather
sofa and one chair, and a TV which sat on a
wooden unit in the corner by a small window. The
decor was cream throughout with dark wooden
floors. In the corner of the room to the left was a
small kitchen area which looked to have
everything a person would need: kettle, stove,
microwave and an under-counter fridge.
Just next to the kitchen were two doors which,
after investigating further, turned out to be a
small bathroom with a mirror above the sink and
a very petite bedroom with just about enough
room for the single bed, which was dressed, and a
small closet against the far wall. It was as big as
a small apartment which wasn’t what Michael
expected at all. He thought he’d have a room like
the dorm rooms the students usually have, but
this was much bigger than those.
Michael noticed some paperwork on the kitchen
counter and picked up an information sheet which
explained about the fire drill, where the exits were
and other general safety information. There was
also a list of codes for the telephone, most of
which were to dial through to different areas of
the campus and a code to dial out which was 09.
At the bottom of the list was a Wi-Fi keyand
instructions on how to set up an account−faculty
only. In fact the whole building had Wi-Fi which
was perfect for Michael’s research and would
also come in handy for the teaching he had to do.
He had no idea how to teach even one class of
psychology, let alone a whole term.
After fetching what little belongings he had from
his car, Michael had begun to settle in. It was
dark outside. Most classes had finished for the
day, except for a few evening courses, which
meant that the university was quieting down
slowly. He decided to take a look around the
grounds to familiarize himself with the place and
thought he’d start with some food. He still loved
his food almost as much as when he was alive
and not having a single thing in his new
apartment meant that he’d have to eat out
tonight.
The fall night air was crisp. The moon bright in
the sky with a hazy glow around it and one or
two stars had managed to glisten through the
light mist that was now creeping over. It was a
perfect night for a stroll around the grounds.
He walked across the green and past the football
field which was brightly lit with flood lights in all
four corners. Training was over and what
remained of the team−a couple of players and a
coach−were walking across the grass to the exit.
He reached the food complex on the other side of
the campus. It was certainly the busiest part of
the campus where, he would guess, that most of
the live-in students spent their early evenings
socializing. There was everything they needed:
several food outlets including a burger joint, a
restaurant, and one bar− Lucky Seven’s, which
looked quite large−situated at the end of the
block.
On the opposite side of the complex was an
entertainment building called The Hub. It had a
ten lane bowling alley, electronic video games,
pool tables, computers with internet access and a
shop for school sports equipment.
After familiarizing himself with it all, Michael
grabbed a burger from the takeout window at
Denny’s Ranch: a half pounder with extra cheese
and bacon, topped with Denny’s Special Barbeque
Sauce−no good for the prevention ofheart disease.
Not like he had to worry about those kinds of
health problems anymore.
He sat on a secluded bench on the grass out of
the way of the busy complex and watched the
students−illuminated by the tall, ornate street
lamps that lit up the campus−enjoying their down
time now that most classes were out.
He finished off his burger and was thinking about
heading back to his room when he spotted a
familiar face coming out of the bar. It was the
young Goth girl from this morning. The one he’d
seen at the memorial table. She was followed out
by a boy who seemed to be annoyed with her.
While he was still saying something to her, she
stomped away from him with her head down. She
cut across the grass and headed in the direction
that Michael was sitting. Her long black skirt
dragged on the floor and now and again revealed
her purple Doc Marten boots. Her hair was
backcombed into a black, shoulder-length mass,
much like how it had been earlier, and her skin
looked paler under the false lighting.
Michael remembered her looking at a photo of a
young man, one of the dead students, and
wondered how she knew him. He stood up and
walked towards her. “Excuse me, Miss.” She
clearly hadn’t seen him because she looked up at
him with a startled gasp. Her face was glum and
he noticed runs in her thick black eye makeup.
She’d definitely been crying.
“Is everything okay?” he asked.
“Fine,” she said solemnly. “Did you want
something?”
“I saw you this morning. You knew one of the
boys that died didn’t you?”
The girl frowned even more than she was already.
“Yeah. Why?”
“I was just wondering how you knew him.”
“Why?” she repeated. “Who are you anyway? I
haven’t seen you here before.”
“Michael Warden. I’m new here. . . Psychology
sub,” he explained.
“Someone was talking to me this afternoon about
what happened here over thelast couple of weeks.
It’s terrible.” He didn’t see the harm in lying to
her in this situation. After all, he couldn’t exactly
be honest could he? “Oh, I’m really a dead person
and I believe that an evil spirit may be
responsible for your friend’s death.” Somehow, he
didn’t see that going down too well.
“He’s my. . . ”—she lowered her head—“was my
boyfriend, Danny.” The hard edge had suddenly
disappeared from her voice.
“I’m sorry.” He tried his best to be sensitive as
he could hear the pain in her voice. “I don’t want
to trouble you. I can see it’s hard for you to talk
about.”
She shook her head and her sullen tone quickly
returned as she tried to hide her sadness. “No,
it’s fine. I mean. . . there’s nothing I can do
about it now is there? He’s gone and that’s it.”
Michael saw straight through it.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but can you
think of any reason why he would have done
what he did? Did you know he was so unhappy?”
Nina sat down on the bench thumping her black
denim bag down on the floor. Michael joined her.
“No, in fact, he was the opposite.” Her voice
softened again this time and Michael was
surprised when she continued. “We’d both just
decided to get a place together as soon as term
ended. So, no one was more shocked than me
when he killed himself.” A tear ran from her eye
down her cheek following the trail that was
already there. “He didn’t even leave a note.”
Michael pulled a napkin from his pocket that he’d
got from at the takeout stand, and handed it to
her.
“Thanks.” She sniffed as she wiped her eyes.
“The police are treating it as some kind of suicide
pact aren’t they?”
“They’re wrong,” she snapped. “Danny only knew
one of the others. Jason Miller. He was in his
Chem lab, but Danny didn’t even like him very
much. He never had that many friends. We don’t
exactly fit in here.”
“And there was no other connection with any of
them? Maybe he was involved in something you
didn’t know about.She shot him a funny look. “He
never kept anything from me.” Then shook her
head and sighed. “Look, I was the only person
who really knew him. I would have known if there
was something wrong.”
“When was the last time you saw him before. . .
you know?”
She hesitated. “Two days before it happened.
We’d had an argument. I tried to speak to him,
but he wasn’t answering my texts. I figured he
needed some time to calm down so I didn’t think
anything of it.” Her face was blank and there
were more tears balancing on the edges of her
eyes ready to drop any minute.
Michael felt a little uncomfortable hitting her with
so many questions, but it was vital for him to get
as much information as possible. “What was the
argument about?”
“It wasn’t even anything serious. A guy from my
English class, Jake...” She waved her hand in the
direction of the bar, “He’d asked if I’d help him
out a little after lessons. He was struggling with
the course and wanted my help that’s all. So a
couple of times we went to The Hub after class
and I helped him study.
It really made a difference, so I continued to help
him and have been for the last couple of weeks.”
“That guy you were just with?”
“Yes. Danny was fine with it to begin with but he
became really unhappy about it all of a sudden.
He’d always been a little insecure, but it was
never a real problem before. He seemed desperate
about it; asked me to stop helping Jake, but I
told him I didn’t see any harm in it. We argued
about it and I told him he was being ridiculous.”
She dropped her head again and said quietly, “I
never thought it would be the last time I saw
him.”
Michael felt for her. On the outside, Nina seemed
cocky and thick skinned with an I-don’t-care-
about-the-world attitude, but that really wasn’t
who she was. Inside, she was as vulnerable as
everybody else. She just dressed differentlyShe
reached down for her bag and stood up to leave.
“I have to get back and study.” Which was just
as well as Michael didn’t feel the need to upset
her any more than he already had.
“Again, I’m sorry for what happened to your
boyfriend.” He stood and turned to her before
leaving. “Will you be okay?” he asked with
genuine concern.
She wiped her eyes, which smeared her thick
make up even more. “Yeah,”
she nodded.
“Well, if you remember anything else, or just need
to talk, I’m always on campus.”
“Thank you, sir,” she replied and gave him a
strained smile before walking away. Back in his
room, Michael had thrown on some sweat pants,
made himself a mug of coffee and was now
sitting on the sofa with his bare feet propped up
on the coffee table and his laptop on his knee. He
had quite a lot to do to prepare for tomorrow’s
lessons, but, honestly, had no clue where to start.
He flicked through Mrs Hart’s notes, which had
been given to him earlier that day, trying to make
some sort of sense of them but, honestly, they
might as well have been written in Chinese for all
he could understand of them.
Michael was pleased to read that she was
teaching Statistical Methods in Brain and
Cognitive Science at the moment, which was also
something he knew absolutely nothing about. By
some miracle of mammoth proportions he had to
know enough to teach a class about it in the
morning. He had approximately eight hours.
It was going to be a very long night.
A few hours passed and, after several cups of
coffee and a bacon sandwich, Michael was well
on his way to constructing his first assignment at
SPU. He was surprised, and relieved, at how
much information was out there on the internet.
The clock in the bottom corner of his laptop
screen read 02:14 so hethought he deserved a
break and decided to make yet another cup of
coffee. Not that he had anything else in his
kitchen to make. He made a mental note to go to
the store after work and get some groceries.
Having nothing to snack on was not helping with
his all night study session.
The sound from the boiling kettle was just
beginning to die down when Michael heard a
noise coming from outside his building. It
sounded like distant sirens. He walked over to the
window, opened the curtains and peered out. He
saw a flashing blue glow rising up from behind
one of the student dorm buildings across the
green and opened the window which increased
the volume of the emergency vehicles. He saw
scattered lights being switched on around the rest
of the building and the one next to it. It looked
like the whole campus was waking up from the
commotion. He threw on a hooded sweatshirt,
pulled on his Nikes and headed out to see what
was happening.
By the time he reached the student dorm building
a crowd had begun to gather in the parking lot
trying to see what was happening. Some of the
students were crying, some seemed to be in
shock and one or two were even videoing the
scene on their cell phones.
Unbelievable.
Michael squeezed his way through to the front.
There were two police cars, lights still flashing,
and an ambulance was just pulling up beside
them. Officers were ushering the onlookers to
stand back including Michael now. He stretched
his head to glance around the officer that was
standing in front of him and could see a gray
blanket covering every inch of what appeared to
be a body on the ground. Whoever it was, was
dead. Another jumper he presumed.
He watched as one of the medical crew pulled
back the blanket. A young girl with blond hair lay
still and lifeless with her eyes wide open. She was
dressed in her night clothes−light blue pyjamas
from what he could see−and there was a pool of
blood by her head. One of the ambulance crew
checked her over only to confirm the obvious and
placed the blanket back over her face. Heheard
sobs in the crowd and one girl fainted across the
way from where he was standing. An officer went
to assist her followed by a medic. This was the
fifth suicide in just over a week and Michael knew
that if he didn’t find out what was going on
pretty quickly it wasn’t going to be the last.


The ambulance had taken the body away and,
after taping off the area where the body had been
with yellow tape, most of the police had gone.
Students had begun to return to their rooms.
Most were still shocked and upset by what they
had just seen. A few of the officers had stayed
behind to get statements and any other
information they needed from witnesses.
Michael made his way back to his building.
Before going back to his room, he bought a hot
cup of coffee from the vending machine and
decided to hang around downstairs for a little
while.
There was a security guard, a large man with
graying hair and mustache, now sat behind the
desk watching a small portable TV.
Michael noticed the guard watching him as he sat
on one of the sofas near the door.
“Have you just come from the drama?” the guard
asked with a deep gravelly voice. He had a strong
accent. Michael guessed from the south
somewhere−Texas maybe?
“Yes. Were you there?” Michael replied.
“I was the one who called it in.”
“You found her?” He sipped on his coffee.
“I sure did. I was out doin’ my rounds. By then
there was nothin’ could be done for her, poor
soul.” He had no idea how right he was about
that.
Committing suicide definitely wasn’t the best
thing for her soul. “Cops just tookmy statement.
Makes you wonder what’s goin’ through these
kids’ minds. It’s gettin’ crazy ‘round here lately.”
He reached over and turned the sound down on
his TV. “Haven’t seen you before. You new here?”
“Yeah. Just got here today. I’m filling in for
someone. I’m only here for a couple of months.”
That was only partly true. He hoped his
investigation wouldn’t take anywhere near that
long.
“Well. You couldn’t have come at a stranger
time,” the guard said. Then he turned the sound
back up on the TV, leaned back in his chair and
propped his feet up on the counter.
Michael finished his coffee, which was just as
well as the guard was clearly done with the chit-
chat. He needed to wait until the heat died down
a little over the new jumper before asking any
questions so he figured he might as well go up to
his room and get back to what he was doing
before he completely gave up on the idea of
studying for the next four or five hours. His first
class was at nine and, although he couldn’t care
less about his teaching skills (or lack thereof), he
had to make a good impression on his first day
so he needed to make sure he was ready for it;
putting it off wasn’t going to help. Why couldn’t
the position have been for something more
interesting like a football coach? Well. . . he
wouldn’t be much good at that either.
1 Like

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.62
TRX 0.10
JST 0.075
BTC 56868.17
ETH 4584.42
BNB 621.05
SBD 7.13