Divine hunter chapter five

in #story3 years ago

CHAPTER FIVE
Days had passed and Michael had seen nothing
of Jake or Nina; in fact, things were quiet, a little
too quiet. Apart from working, he’d spent most of
his time doing research on the internet and
finding out who the friends of the dead students
were. He’d gathered a list of those who he
wanted to speak to so he could see if he could
find out if there was any connection whatsoever
between those who had died. There had to be
something. Even though the cops had asked all
the questions they could and had concluded that
none of them even knew each other, there still
had to be something they were missing.
His research into what kind of creature could be
responsible for the deaths hadn’t really pulled up
anything solid either. A couple of passages he’d
read had caught his eye. The website had written
about a spirit who causes un-natural death to
those who perform disrespectful acts, cause
harm, have affairs etc−known as a Sowin−but he
had to look into it further and unless he could
come up with something solid on the students
there was little evidence to support the theory.
Damn, he was hitting nothing but dead ends.
He’d had no luck locating Nina either. He’d found
out that some of her classes were in the Micro
Biology building which was right next to the
Psychology department. He’d asked around, but
no one had seen her. She hadn’t shown for
classes for the last two days. He had a bad
feeling.
Sitting down at his table in the dining hall at the
south end of the campus, he read some papers on
Humans in Biological Perspective, which he’d
printed out from last night in prep for today’s
classes, while he finished off his breakfast
omelette. He had another half hour until his first
lecture and figured he needed the extra run
through before then. It was funny how he’d
settled into his latest role. It was boring subject
matter but he was actually quite enjoying being
Prof. Michael Warden. It made him feel like he
had a bit of purpose for once; like he was still
relevant in a world that was very different to him
now.
He was about to take a sip of his coffee when he
looked up to see Nina walking over to the line for
the buffet cart. She looked so different that he
wasn’t sure if it was her at first. Her hair was
pulled back neatly into a slick ponytail, she was
still dressed in all black, but gone were the heavy
boots and long skirt, replaced by skinny jeans,
gray converse pumps and a loose woolen sweater
that hung off one shoulder. She had half the
makeup that he’d seen on her before and no
longer looked like the brooding Goth girl with the
heavily back combed hair that he’d met only a
few nights ago.
She looked happy.
Michael watched as she carried her full tray over
to a small table on the other side of the dining
room and sat down. He contemplated going over
to her, but quickly changed his mind when
someone else approached her table.
Jake.
He spoke to her and when she looked up at him,
her whole face lit up with an adoring smile. Jake
sat down on a chair beside her, they shared a
laugh and a joke and then he leaned in and kissed
her on the lips.
Only a few days ago Michael had seen how
distraught she’d been over her boyfriend’s death
and now she was cozying up to some other guy?
The same guy who she’d seemed to have
problems with not too long ago. Something
wasn’t right.
A female voice interrupted his thoughts. “Hey.
Penny for them.” Lacy stood beside him looking
elegant in black leggings with black knee high
boots and a royal blue long-length sweater that
hugged her slim figure. She was holding a juice
box and a granola bar−her breakfast of choice, it
seemed; although, how she could function on that
little amount of food was anyone’s guess. Hell,
he didn’t even need to eat anymore, but still
wouldn’t be able to manage on that.
“Hey, Lacy.” He blinked, realizing he’d taken too
long to answer.
“May I join you?” she asked politely.
“Of course. Please, sit down.” As she did her
fresh, rose tinted perfume filled the air around
them as it always did when she was near. He
couldn’t help himself as he inhaled deeply. She
smelt like spring flowers. Her hair was loose
today, neatly ironed into place.
“How are you settling in?” she asked, smiling up
at him as she stabbed her straw into her apple
juice.
“Good, thanks.” He nodded, glancing back over at
the two unlikely lovebirds that were now holding
hands on top of the table.
Lacy must have sensed he was preoccupied. “Is
everything okay? You look a little distracted.”
Michael turned his attention back to her. “Yeah,
I’m fine. I just didn’t get much sleep last night.”
At least it wasn’t a lie.
Her expression changed to one of understanding,
like she could relate to it.
She gave a small sigh. “Well, this job can do that
to you.”
Michael nodded. “Has there been any word on the
jumper?”
“Nothing, as far as I know. They’ve sealed off the
area around her dorm and are still interviewing
students. That’s about all I’ve heard.”
“Yeah, it can’t be easy for the cops. I mean,
She’s the fifth one now, I’m sure people are
feeling pretty anxious.” He noticed Nina and Jake
getting up to leave. The guy had his arm flung
over Nina’s shoulder as they headed for the door,
both still laughing and joking. Michael’s brows
lowered as he watched them.
Lacy followed his gaze and turned around to see
what he was looking at.
“You know those two?” she asked. Michael shook
his head. “No. Not really. The girl, Nina, her
boyfriend was one of the jumpers.
“Oh!” Lacy turned back and raised an eyebrow.
“Clearly she got over that quickly.”
“I know, right? Strange thing is, I spoke to her a
few nights back, my first night on campus, and
she seemed distraught as though her whole world
had ended. And she looked completely different
too.” He finished off his coffee.
“Different? How?”
“Her whole style has changed in the space of a
couple of days and she’s acting differently. If I
didn’t know any better I would swear she wasn’t
the same person I spoke to the other night. And
now she’s all loved up with that guy, Jake.” The
more he thought about it, the weirder it felt.
“I’m sure it’s nothing. You know what it’s like
being young. These things happen all the time.
You’ll never understand it, so why try?” She
laughed a little and Michael couldn’t help but
smile at her. Perhaps she was right. Maybe he
was just looking for something that wasn’t really
there. He would keep an eye on them regardless.
“So, how are you finding it here?” Lacy asked. He
was glad of the change of subject. He’d had his
head in nothing but this stupid case since he’d
gotten here, well that and studying for his fake
job.
“Classes are good. It’s been a little easier than I
thought. I have a couple of lectures today that
I’m not quite sure I’m fully prepared for but apart
from that, things are going okay.” He watched as
Lacy bit into her granola bar then wiped away a
crumb from the corner of her mouth. She was
certainly attractive. Well groomed with striking
features which he guessed would turn any man’s
head as she walked into a room. But it was her
smile that he liked the most: it was genuine. He
could see it in her eyes and he felt comfortable in
her company. He had a sudden need to know
more about her.
“What about you, how long have you worked
here?”“This is my third year,” she replied, her
mouth still half full.
“And I’m guessing with that accent you’re not
from around here.” He popped an eyebrow up at
her.
She laughed softly. “Good work,” she mocked.
“No. I was born in a place called Chelmsford in
England.”
“So how did you wind up here? If it’s okay to
ask, I mean.” Michael was surprised how eager
he was to know more about her. It was nice to
be focusing on something other than suicidal
students and spirits and all things supernatural.
Besides, she seemed comfortable enough to
answer.
“I moved over here from England when I was
fifteen to live with my grandmother because. . .
Well, let’s just say me and my mother had a
turbulent relationship. It was work that brought
me to Maryland; been here ever since,”
she explained.
Michael picked up his cup, forgetting that he’d
finished his coffee already until he glanced into
the bottom to see it was empty. “Do you have to
be in class yet?”
She glanced at her watch. “Not for another half
hour.”
“Great,” he said as he rose up from his seat. “I’m
going to grab another coffee, would you like one?”
She smiled up at him. “Yes. Thanks; white, one
sugar.”
As he walked away, Michael smiled to himself. He
didn’t know why it pleased him that she took her
coffee the same way as him, but it did.
He returned with the drinks and they chatted
easily for the next half an hour after which he
realized one good thing: he’d found a friend here.


Michael sailed through his first half of the
morning’s lectures and everything had gone well
−all but the last one anyway−which he’d had to
cut short before anyone realized he had no clue
what he was talking about. It was a little after
two thirty in the afternoon and he had a spare
hour to kill before a scheduled faculty meeting
which he was really looking forward to.
He decided to see if he could find Nina. She had
to be at her classes this afternoon after showing
up this morning so, ducking his head down in an
attempt to shield his face from the heavy rain, he
made his way down the street to the Micro
Biology building and headed down the hall. When
he reached Nina’s class, he glanced through the
small square window in the door and noticed her
sitting at her desk in the far corner of the room.
Everything seemed to be normal as she sat with
her head down writing out her work, so Michael
decided to wait it out in the corridor until class
was out.
Fifteen minutes later, and after reading the same
poster over and over again on the notice board,
something about a Carbon Sequestration Seminar
at eleven in the morning, Michael headed back
down the corridor just in time to see Nina walk
out of the room.
“Nina? Hi,” he said nonchalantly, acting like it
was a coincidence that he'd bumped into her. She
looked surprised to see him.
“Mr Warden, right? Hi.”
Her behavior was the polar opposite of what it
had been just days ago: She wasn’t hunched over
with her chin almost on the floor but the exact
opposite.
She seemed to have more life in her, a spring in
her step. Either she’d had a personality transplant
or she was just really good at dealing with grief.
“How are things?” He already knew the answer.
“Good. I’m feeling much better about things.
Thanks.”
“That’s good. . . good to hear,” he said. “I saw
you this morning at breakfast in the dining room;
you were with your friend. . . Uh, Jake isn’t it?”
“Yeah. Are you two okay now?” She knew he was
referring to their little altercation the other night.
He waited for some kind of tell in her expression,
but if she had something to hide, it didn’t show
at all.
“It was a little misunderstanding that’s all,” she
explained.
“Good. You two seemed pretty close this
morning.” He was pushing it with that one and
expected some sort of attitude back from her but
it never happened.
“Yeah, we kind of are. He’s been so good to me
through all of this. I don’t know what I would
have done without him.” Her smile looked
genuine, and even though it seemed strange for
her to have adjusted so well so soon after
Danny’s death, he guessed it could have been.
Like Lacy said: it was probably nothing. “Sorry
sir, I gotta run.” She began to walk past him.
“Sure. Take care.”

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