A Dark and Moon-lit Night

Your humble scribe may or may not have participated in, spoken with, associated with, or even know one or more of the parties involved in the following story, which is purely a work of fiction. And it may or may not have happened on a college or university campus between the Front Range and the Atlantic Ocean.

Scene: A college campus in autumn, several hours after the sun has set. The almost full moon hangs high in the night sky, dimmed for a moment or two by wisps of cloud. Two older students, grad students perhaps, stand near Old Main, the administrative building, watching the night sky, contemplating the wonders of Collegiate Gothic architecture, and noting the bats flitting around.

Older Student #1: “You’re right. The building does look a little creepy by moonlight.”

Older Student #2: “Like the Hotel Dracula or something.”

O.S. #1: “All that’s missing is creepy music.” Thoughtful pause. “Or the sound of a chainsaw.”

O.S.#2: (after laughing, quietly) “Oh yeah. Anything could be hiding behind those bushes.”

After a moment or two more, the sounds of footsteps and humming alert our intrepid, ahem, heroes to the arrival of a third party. The two step to the side, incidentally disappearing into a pool of shadow, and behold an undergraduate, subspecies clueless, wandering toward them, oblivious to ought but whatever is on his mind. The Older Students exchange a look, followed by a grin, a wide grin, and any neutral observer might have heard a voice-over of The Brain asking Pinky, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” O.S. #2 points to the hedge beside Old Main. O.S. #1 nods with enthusiasm usually reserved for Free Beer Night and they proceed to duck for cover.

Undergrad: (walking by) “doo dee doo, hum, hum, hum.”

The bushes beside him rustle.

Undergrad: “Huh?” Slows but continues on.

Rustle, rustle, really loud and strong rustle that paces the student as he moves.

Undergrad: “What’s that?”

Silence.

Undergrad starts walking again.

Rustle rustle rustle.

Undergrad: (sotto voce) “I don’t like— YeeeaaaaAARRRRRGH!!!!!”

O.S. #1 leaps up from behind hedge, flapping her white jacket.

Undergrad: “Aiiieeee!” Runs off as fast as his feets can carry him.

O.S. #1 and #2 emerge from behind the shrubbery, laughing so hard they can barely breathe.

O.S. #2: “Oh maaaan. Did you see the look on his face?”

O.S.#1 [pulling on jacket, mimicking credit card commercial]: “Priceless.”

Two older students slap palms. O.S. #2: “Ssssscore.” They proceed to the parking lot with steady steps and slow, discussing third party’s research topic. Campus cop drives by and O.S. #2 waves. Cop waves back and continues on, shaking her head at the stories undergrads will come up with. A ghost in the bushes at Old Main? After all, everyone knows that it’s the art building that’s haunted.

THE END

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