October 6

Night Class (Part 2)

 

[…continued from October 5 entry…]

 

Rutland hadn’t watched the local news at home, or listened in his car radio on the drive to campus. He wondered what horrible accident had happened here. He wondered why the bodies had been arranged in this bizarre manner.

Should he do anything? Call 9-1-1 or campus security? Check each victim for any lingering signs of life?

At the same time, a frustrating sense of teacher’s responsibility itched at the back of his mind. His current students were waiting for him. He had a class to teach.

These students in the road were beyond help. They were obstacles.

Did he dare to move their bodies out of his way, as easily as he’d moved the traffic cones?

As he stepped closer, Rutland’s shadow rippled over Trevor’s body, but the boy’s frozen, startled face remained in the car’s spotlight. The corpse’s open eyes bothered Rutland, and he leaned down with forked fingers and pressed them closed. The lids felt warm beneath his fingertips.

Trevor’s eyes sprung back open, but the rest of him didn’t move.

Only a reflex.

Rutland brought the tip of his shoe close to the boy’s torso. Gave it a nudge.

No response.

A flash of lightning strobed over the scene, and the boy’s shadow moved. In that instant, Rutland saw the arrangement of bodies with more clarity. They definitely stretched to the opposite hill, but instead of continuing in a straight line they spread over the muddy quagmire of the quad. The area in front of the school’s administration building looked like the aftermath of a lost battle. Too many to count before the quick curtain-drop of darkness. At least a hundred, he estimated.

He wedged his foot gently under Trevor’s stomach. He wondered how a recently dead body would resist a slight attempt to lift it from the road. The body seemed springy in its response—not quite the dead weight Rutland expected.

Another flicker. Not lightning, as Rutland thought earlier, but the timer kicking in, the streetlamps gradually powering up. The corpse-line and hilltop battlefield victims flashed in the light, then the canopy of darkness dropped again.

“Hey! Get away from him!”

The voice from the hill projected the rent-a-cop gruffness of Campus Security. If Trevor’s body shone bright in the spotlight of his car headlights, obviously Rutland was equally visible to any passing official. His behavior must seem pretty suspicious, prodding at the nearest victim with his toe.

“We’re dead, you asshole.”

That voice was closer—like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, booming from beneath the stage.

Strong fingers closed around his ankle, wrenching his foot away from Trevor’s body then releasing him.

Trevor’s corpse rolled to the side then sat up in the road. Unblinking, soulless eyes glared up as, placing a palm flat against the road for support, the dark-clad figure struggled to stand.

 

[…continued tomorrow…]