Ye Old Yet Unfinished Story

Neil, a tall and gaunt boy of seventeen, ran his long bony fingers through his hirsute black hair as he walked up the winding stone walkway, bordered on both sides by skeletal black trees which were surrounded by a sea of emerald grass. The scent of rain embraced the vast courtyard, deep and heavy with an element of musty peaches. He paused and lifted his head ever so slightly as strains of flute-like music began to float through the air, almost as though rained down from the ever-darkening blanket of clouds. A scowl began to darken his deathly white complexion until his face seemed to reflect the clouds, and he resumed his journey with a quickened step and defensive air.
After what seemed like ages, he reached a solid mahogany door, presumably the front door, which was embeddedin an endless wall of crumbling stone, smothered by vibrant emerald ivy. The stormclouds dominating his face had not yet lifted, au contraire, they only darkened, and a moment later a torrent of dazzling rain fell from the skies. Without a word he pounded on the door which was promptly opened, though only enough for him to barely squeeze in. Once inside the massive building, he took a moment to look around, but saw nothing; the room was completly and utterly pitch black.
He felt a figure appear behind him, but he was unable to turn and see who or what it was, it was as though he was rooted to the floor. A hand, or what felt like a hand, rested itself lightly upon his shoulder, emanating a soft pulsing glow mixed with a feeling of warmth. A small stack of papers was then placed in his left hand, a soft corroding candle in his right. Then the figure disappeared.
A flame appeared at the wick and flickered erratically for a moment as Neil drew in a sharp breath of air at the sight, but then calmed itself and settled, steadily casting out a thin blanket of light over his surroundings. He looked at the papers in his hands and found only a depiction of a looming oak door with a faded brass plate marked “Psychology.” Though it was his first time at this particular boarding school and it was already quite different from the rest, it didn't take him long to figure that he was to go to the psychology department. So, with candle held aloft, he headed down the dark dank corridor, footsteps echoing like stone struck upon stone.
Neil walked past the looming oak door with a faded brass plate marked “Psychology,” and continued on down the hallway, fading off into the distance. Then he stopped, stood there for a few moments, and walked back to the door. He looked down at the paper then up at the door. Then he looked down at the paper and up at the door a second time. He gazed antagonistically at the brass plate as if expecting it to change its mind and have a different subject printed upon it, decided he might as well see if it really was the psychology room, and gripped the gleaming door handle which hadn't been there just a moment ago. He took no notice of this, however, and pushed the door open, shoulders straining as he did so.
He stepped inside and squeezed his eyes shut when the door closed with a loud resonating boom, then they slowly opened to find a man leaning down over him, attempting to get a look at his face. The man then tried to stand upright in the seventy-three foot tall room, but cracked his shoulders against the ceiling, forcing him to slide to the floor.
Neil watched with a slight case of drop-jaw as the man straightened his lanky appendages, which almost completly filled the room, and waited as he proceeded to adjust his black and white striped three-piece suit.
“Uhm, uhm, uhm, uh-,” rattled Neil.
“Is this the Psychology department?” bellowed the man. “Yes, this is the Psychology department. You are quite right. Indeed. Yes. Yes it is.”
Neil gazed at the man's shoes, which were taller than he was and filled the room with an overwhelming scent of leather. “But, but, but where-”
“Where are the other students?” exclaimed the man, whose name happened to be Theman, “They are gone. Gone, gone, gone. They are,” he said, answering Neil's next question before it was asked and wiping away a tear the size of a small dog, “they are gone. Graduated, dropped out, eaten-”
“Eaten!” said Neil, his eyebrows completing a successful high jump.
“Yes,” said Theman, with a slow shake of his head. “Eaten. You see that chap sitting over there?” he asked, pointing to the far corner, dim and black. Slumped in that corner was a young man, pale white with dark eyes rimmed reddish-blue. “He's been haunting these halls for the past ten years, terrorizing the lot of us.”
“I only just arrived yesterday,” whined the young man, whose name, Neil later discovered, was Thatchap. “How can I be terrorizing these halls if I only just arrived yesterday?”
Theman leaned over Neil and whispered, which came out more like a shout, “That's what they all say.” Neil nodded slightly and wondered how long it would take him to escape from the room. “At any rate,” continued Theman, “we have to feed him some of the students to appease him. He's very vicious, you know.”
“I had no idea,” said Neil, who hadn't seen anything in the corner and was begining to doubt Theman's sanity.
“No!” cried out Theman. “Horrible! Impossible! Well, come to think of it, not really quite so impossible, as that is obviously why you have been sent here...”
“You doubt that which is told you. Doubting everything is the first step to paranoia.”
“What's the second step?” asked Neil with an air of amusement, tainted with bored sarcasm.
“The second step is analyzing everyone's actions and motives,” Theman said quickly, “but we're not going there just yet. Now, a question, do you ever talk to yourself?”
Neil chuckled softly to himself at the absurdity of his situation, as well as at his new place of residence, and arched a slim eyebrow at Theman. “Sure, sure I talk to myself. Doesn't everybody? What does this have to do with anything, anyway?”
“You'll see,” said Theman with a coy smile.

(more to be added as time continues)

Samantha Conner ©2005