A Dark and Moon-lit Night

A repeat from 2015.

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 a 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 the amount of 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?”


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.



11 thoughts on “A Dark and Moon-lit Night

  1. Old Main, huh? Heard a story from one of two primary sources on how they made the click bell strike thirteen, in the 1950s.
    Unfortunately, campus patrol was completing their rounds, heard it, and charged over. Source thinks they broke the lightspeed barrier in their skedaddle.

    There’s a university president buried outside Schwab Auditorium. Wrong answer, though, for the trick question: no one is buried inside the auditorium!

    • I’ve been to at least eight campi that have an “Old Main,” sometimes with that actual name. I’m not sure if it is a requirement for schools founded after 1800, or just something “that growed.”

      MomRed has fond memories of “things engineering students can achieve when inspired,” at her alma mater. DadRed was too busy working to get into trouble. Or so Sib and I have been assured. (He did play in a jazz band to earn some money, though, so one wonders . . . )

      • I remember a colab on a remote controlled UFO with newfangled LED lighting effects.
        It caused much consternation at the Slurp & Burp (actually the establishment’s name, believe it or not. Just a small dive bar, by itself, out in the country, near a couple of convenient hiding places).
        I still laugh when I unexpectedly see a drone.

  2. I have a similar story.
    Our school had a steep, heavily wooded area, which just happened to be a handy shortcut from the “new” Greek row to half of campus.

    Anyway, one full moon night during dead week, my fraternity was playing capture the flag. We were all taking it as seriously as young men can take a competition against friends, so we all had the best camouflage we could improvise, face paint, the whole works.
    So there we were, doing sneak, countersneak, and occasional headlong sprints (hopefully keeping enough control to miss trees), when over the hill came a gaggle of sorority girls.
    We all hugged the dirt.
    They were walking right towards our team’s flag, and we didn’t want to give away or location to the other team.
    In the meantime, they were telling each other stories, trying to freak each other out in the brittle fashion of people trying not to freak out themselves.
    We tried not to breathe.
    They were more than halfway through our dispersed group, when one of them stepped on my friend’s hand.
    There was a cry of pain.
    Most of us were startled enough to move.
    Then the screaming began, fortunately quickly attenuated by the Doppler effect.

    At that point, we called it a night, and returned to our lair for drinks, dramatic reenactments, and raucous laughter.

    Then the spotlights started coming over the hill.
    Fortunately, our version of Otter was:
    A) our president
    B) Mormon, so he’d gotten cleaned up while we were pouring drinks.
    He went out to talk to the boys in blue, and see what the heck was going on.

    He came back shaking his head, saying “you guys aren’t going to believe this”.

    The campus was on lockdown for the rest of the semester as the authorities looked for the gang of satanic rapists that nearly kidnapped a dozen innocent girls.
    For us, omerta was in full effect.
    (But since it’s been over a quarter of a century, it’s safe to tell the tale.)

    • Had a similar story from undergrad days. Our brothers and pledges divided into two teams for capture the flag, on campus. One team had an excellent flag spot in a sunken patio by the graduate dorms. Someone called, and we got a visit from campus police. Showed them the schedule for this as team building work, and we were told to register it next time. Good, sober fun, though.

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