Monday, 25 November 2013

The Professors Nightmare (part 4)

Susan Applade could still feel the finger marks on her neck. It was the only part of her that was hot, as she sat on the ramp of an ambulance, with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Jim came over. "This trip was doomed from the beginning."
"Your girl friend would tell you this is the prime reason not to continue with this job." She wheezed.

"Yes well, I won't tell her."
"What happened, Jim?"

"You know what happened. Your brother tried to murder you!"
"But why? And why did he stop?"
"I wacked him. Quite hard, with an archaeological mallet. And when he simply fell back, I threw those egg cups you were given by Albin. They poisoned him, as there were still bits of egg in it. He suffered a severe shock and is now in hospital. What I don't guess is why he did it?"

"I have a feeling it's to do with the umbrella."
"The umbrella? What's so special about it?"
"It had Wicca symbols on."
"My brother worshipped it."
"Did he?"

"I don't think he was worshipping it to a point of insanity. I just remembered him being thrown out by my parents once because he was worshipping a different religion. And he said, at hospital when he was being treated for the motorbike accident, he was on the way to some worship ceremony to do with the summer solstice."
"So you reckon there is an evil Wicca curse on the umbrella?"

"No. But think about the murders. Albin was found dripping wet! You use an umbrella to protect you from the rain. Runcorn was found sun burnt. You use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun! It makes sense."
"But he tried to strangle you! What's that got to do with umbrellas?"

"I was using my umbrella as a walking stick. It's one of the many things you can use it for!"
"Very clever! But why has it been cursed?"
"I don't think it has. Don't know why. Just a feeling."
"What Wicca symbol was it?"
"The symbol of the goddess of the three moons."
"So you're thinking the renewal of life and death is the curse."
"I don't know."
Jim paused for a second and thought. Then he kicked the ground and screamed. "I've got it!"

"Why it was cursed!"
"Tell me more."    

"The Goddess of the three moons is a special symbol that represents-"
"Life and death. We've already done this part."
"I was going to say the new moons."
"So, your brother was going to a summer solstice ceremony when he was involved in the bike crash. The umbrella was sold by the African bloke here, at Stone Henge- the sight of many hundreds of special ceremony's, for the summer solstice! The returning of the umbrella to it's place of birth must have triggered something, and the fact that your umbrella caught his foot, raising memories of the original injuries, must have done something."
"Genius, Jim! You're brilliant!"
"Thank you. My only problem with that theory is that it sounds too, I don't know, far fetched?"
"All the best theories are. Where's the umbrella now?"

"I don't know." He went to ask the paramedics who had found them out in the field. "No idea."
They continued talking, bouncing ideas, to a point where she couldn't talk any more- because she'd nearly been strangled. Obviously! And then they returned to the hotel. Surprisingly, she was never given a chance to do a trip ever again. Well, not until the incident at the church, where the bat creature attacked.

But as for the umbrella, she never found it. In fact, it had disappeared that night as it was washed away in a sudden flood. And it would float through the night for ages after, to a point where it was hundreds of miles away. Until the day where a budding professor ripped it from the water and thought the irony that an umbrella was submerged in the substance it was meant to protect from. And so the DCI thought, as he considered the irony of a budding professor with his umbrella was killed by the very substance it was meant to protect him from. 
And so the professors nightmare continued...     

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Professors Nightmare (part 3)

"And that's the leading theory in the creation of Stone Henge." Finished Susan. She went and sat down next to her brother, who she was having to take along for: A. he still needed supervision and B. they needed people to help to supervise the students. "A good talk to you made there Susan." He said.
"No it wasn't. I've done much better in the past, Mark." She replied modestly.
"Not that I've heard. You really are great at this type of thing."
"Well I thank you very much." They'd be sat on the bus for three and a half hours and, because they hadn't gone over everything before the trip, she had been giving lectures for a majority of the ride. "Back in a second, Mark. I need to talk to Jim."
She climbed from her seat and walked over to where the assistant teacher was sat. The bus braked suddenly and she stumbled. But she carried on over to wear Jim was sat, talking to three or four girls, making them laugh with his usual array of jokes. Susan shooed them away and sat down. "You know you can be sacked, even possibly arrested for chatting up students."
"Only if you're a proper teacher. I'm a friendly assistant, who you drag into lesson."
That annoyed her. For once, he'd outsmarted her. "Yes, well anyway. I've got a message from Professor Runcorn. It says to turn to page three hundred and seventy six."
"Of what?"
"No idea. Like all eccentric geniuses, he hasn't dated his journals so I have no idea which to look at."
"How many have you got?"
"Twenty six of them."
"That's gonna be a lot of fun looking through. Which reminds me, what are we looking for?"
"Weird as it sounds, anything with information on Wicca Symbols or umbrellas." She noticed her brother went tense when she mentioned Wicca Symbols.
"That is weird. Any particular reasons?"
"Just a little theory." She reached into her satchel and pulled out the journals. "Let's get looking through!"
It was the last book they looked through that held the information. Information that didn't make nearly as much sense as it could.
When they finally arrived, they threw everything straight into the hotel rooms and rushed to Stone Henge. As they were entering, via the tunnel underneath the road, Susan realized that she was carrying Runcorns umbrella. Funny really. She didn't remember picking it up.
"One of my own umbrellas that." Said an African accent. She turned and saw an elderly African man with a wispy grey beard. It's scary how often stereotypes come into story telling!
"I'm sorry?" Answered Susan.
"I make a lot of umbrellas and walking sticks. I recognize that as one I made for the summer solstice. Ended up selling it to a professor though. Professor Denteld or something. I remember he died, quite mysteriously. In the middle of a storm. How did you get it?"
"I got it from a professor who died. He got it from a professor who died. And I'd wager he got it from a professor who died too."
"I wouldn't like your chances."
"Neither do I."
"Good luck. Miss Applade."
She continued walking. And then she turned around, curious. "How did you know my name?"
He was gone. She put it beside her though, and continued. Nothing was going to ruin this trip.
They spent the rest of the day, writing about what they thought of stone henge, discovering strange artifacts and, of course, having a great time.
But then a group of the students wanted to go for a walk. So she decided to take them for a stroll through the hills, with her brother and Jim.
She was using the umbrella as a walking stick, as it was one of the many things that and umbrella could do, such as: protection from a storm; a shield in the rain and even block out the sun. They'd gone about a mile, when they students said they wanted to head back. Jim said he'd take them whilst Mark and Susan went for a bit of a further walk. They were walking and then she accidentally speared Marks foot with her umbrella. "Oh sorry, Mark! No harm meant." She continued walking but he didn't.
She turned back and saw him there. Standing, angry. "Are you ok, Mark?" She asked.
He remained silent.
"What's wrong?"
He screamed with rage.
"Mark. What's going on?"
He rushed towards her and punched her face.
"Mark?" She said, holding her face. "What are you doing?"
He grabbed her neck and started squeezing it. "Mark?" She wheezed. Her lungs not receiving the air.
"Mark, release me."
"Praise the goddess of the three moons. Praise the goddess of the three moons." Chanted Mark.
"JIM!" Screamed Susan as she nearly stopped breathing. "JIM!"

To be continued.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Professors Nightmare (part 2)

"What do you mean 'sunburned'?" Demanded Jim Nightingale.
"The detective said, Runcorn was the same as Albin in every way apart from the fact that Albin was drenched and Runcorn was sunburnt." Replied Susan Applade.
"Right. What do you think any of this actually means?"
"No idea. They've both been hit on the head with an sharp instrument. It's scary really."
"Excuse me, Professor, but how does any of this relate to Pagan rituals?" Asked Linda Sebble.
"Oh, yeah." Replied Applade. She climbed off the desk where she was sat with Nightingale and drained her cup of coffee. "Right. Everyone put away your books, this work isn't helping anyone."
She was still teaching the forty other students that Runcorn was meant to be with. "Two thirds of you aren't learning anything from studying second year Pagan Rituals. Until we get a new teacher we're going to do a little project. About murder."
There was an excited whisper.
"But it's going to take sometime to get all the facts right. Here's what we're going to do: for the next week, we're going to study famous murders from throughout history- but I'm not going to tell you how it was done or who did it. You'll have to study the clues to the case and if you can, as a class, deduce the true culprit and means, I'll let you guys do something slightly more difficult."
She didn't allude to what it was though.
A week in and the class had deduced the motive in the Julius Ceaser murder, the Abraham Lincoln Assassination and found the culprits of the Mary Queen of Scots case. Which was when Applade revealed her new idea. Nightingale was sat in his seat, taking a sip of his tea, when she announced, "We're going to investigate the recent murders of Professors Runcorn and Albin."
Jim spat it straight back out. "What the hell?"
"We're going to investigate the death of our professors. What could possibly go wrong?"
And so they investigated.
It was Derren Banks who made a breakthrough. He came to the conclusion that both professors had been outside and remembered they had left something in the classroom. When they had returned, they were killed.
The theory seemed likely, so the class started to work new theories around that.
And then the day of the trip arrived and everybody was climbing up onto  the coach, preparing to go, when Jenkins ran out with a bag. "Ah, Professor Applade, good to see you. You weren't at Professor Runcorns will reading."
"No I wasn't. My brother was having an operation."
"Yes, I believe so. Now, because you were one of his friends, he left many things for him." Out of the bag he pulled each item. "His journals, all twenty six of them, his favorite books, some artifacts and some equipment he knew you needed."
He handed them over. "Thank you professor. I must be going now."
"And one more thing. He left you his umbrella, the one that he was left by Albin. It said in his will, check page three hundred and seventy six. See you."
Jenkins passed her the umbrella and walked off. On the bottom of the handle of the umbrella was a picture, illustrated with a Wicca symbol. It was a pagan religion set up in the twentieth century. The symbol was the one at the top of the page, the symbol of the three moon goddess. It symbolizes life and death. Reincarnation and rebirth.
And there was a bit with gold paint in it. It was the part that demonstrated death.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Professors Nightmare

The wind was howling through the empty yard. All the students had left and now the lights were slowly beginning to die. Professor Albin was walking to his car through the blisteringly cold rain when suddenly he remembered, “My umbrella!” Walking back through the dark eerie corridors of the university he noted how haunting the place was at night. Finally he arrived at his classroom. Barging into the door it scraped open. He stepped in and picked up his umbrella which was lying against his desk like he had left it. Noticing that one of the windows was open he put his bags down and went to close it. That’s when he heard it. A flapping noise like that of a leathery bird, “No. But how, why, no, no. Noooooo!” He would never get to his car that night. In fact he would never leave that room on his own two feet.

Professor Susan Applade was a teacher at Tarrison University. She taught archeology, as did the other twelve teachers, and was one of the best teachers in the whole of England, never mind the Lake District. She was running late, as usual, and had barely had any breakfast. It's a good job too as, when she entered Professor Albin's room, she would have met it again. Two paramedics and several policemen were gathered around his body, which had severe slash marks to his temple. She knew this because one of the detectives was saying it into a dicta phone. "The victim appears to have severe slash marks to it's temple. It appears that our victim was closing the window, based upon the water trail of the cabinet next to it, when something grabbed his attention from behind. He spun on the spot, as evident from the muddy swirl on the floor, and was then presumably his with the sharp weapon. The victim had a hat, jacket, gloves and a scarf on at the time of death, the hat having had been knocked off at the time of impact. All were wet, so it's apparent he had been outside before returning back in." The detective flicked a button then turned to Applade. "Who the hell are you?" 
"Professor Susan Applade. I was just coming to borrow some brushes for later. Whatever happened here?"
"I can't divulge that  information right at this moment, although I believe there is going to be an assembly amongst the teachers, as to what happened, in the main hall. Can you vouch for where you were last night at twenty past seven?" 
Susan thought for a second. "I was at my home with my brother. He's recently fallen off a motorbike so I've been taking care of him."
"Ok. We may need to call you back later on though so we can ask questions. Can you give us an address?"
She took off her fedora and pulled a card from between a band and the actual hat, which had her name and address on. 
"Thank you, Professor Applade. We shall consult you further on in our inquiries."

Five Minutes later, she was leaning against the back wall of the room whilst the other twelve teachers piled in. Nightingale came in and joined her, bringing with him two cardboard cups of coffee. "I heard what happened. Thought you might want one of these."
"Thanks." She gratefully accepted ones of the cups.

"It's tragic isn't it!" 
"Yeah. You didn't put nearly enough milk in this."
"No. I meant the murder."

"Oh right. Yeah. I guess it is."
"You seem preoccupied."
"Do I?"

"Well if I do, it's because of the trip."
She had planned a trip to Stone Henge with her second years. 
"Worried that you won't find someone to replace Albin as a helper?"
"No. I'm worried that the trip will be cancelled all together. Anyway, how's Bella?"
Bella was Nightingales girlfriend.
"She's fine. Still want's me to get another job."
She didn't agree with the digging up of old things. 
"Do you think you will?"
"I hope not! I love this job. It's great!"
The doors burst open and a bloke with hair the color of chalk stains and stains on his lapel the color of white hair. "Sorry I'm late. Terribly sorry indeed. Everyone please sit down." He was Professor Jenkins, the university master.
"What's the devil is going on?" Demanded Professor Runcorn- he was the eldest of the professors, and Applade's mentor.
"Yes." Cried Professor Felicity Lemmington. "Where is Albin?" Her favorite area of history was the medieval era. 
"I've 'eard rumors of 'im being dead." Interrupted Doctor Danton.  He was a big man, with a small brain who drilled students on the maintenance and creation of trenches and tools.
Nervous muttering echoed around the room.
"Yes well. This morning Mister Benton, our caretaker, was doing his rounds and found Professor Albin dead in his room. The police are conducting an investigation into what happened. I am sorry as to tell you that  you all will be interviewed at some point or another until the police can eliminate you from their inquiries. Now, classes have been cancelled for the rest of the week-" which was an understatement as it was Friday- "and students will return next week. In four days, the reading of his last will and testament will take place and everything will be distributed amongst us lot as his wife passed away three months ago and no other family members are known." The meeting continued on for several hours and many questions were asked but it's boring so I won't bore you with the details. 
In fact, instead we shall skip to four days in the future, when the last will and testament was read. Everybody got something, some better than others, like Felicity Lemmington who got a car and possession of several bank accounts unlike Professor Runcorn who got an old dingy umbrella.
Jim Nightingale was quite lucky because he got fourteen first edition books and a lovely selection of hats. Albin really didn't like Susan and so she ended up with several egg cups. 
She was egg yolk intolerant. 

Two weeks later and she was running late again. This time she was actually running, Jim was with her. They pushed through the busy crowd and climbed over a fence into a small courtyard with a large tree in the center.

Running across the yard they came to their classroom window which she looked through, yes, she thought. The class wasn’t there. She broke the window and climbed through it replacing it with one of the spare slabs of glass she kept under her desk. Jim went and sat down at his desk in the corner and started to get his appropriate books. Susan smiled and then headed to the door. Just before she pulled the handle, she looked into the mirror. She tidied herself down and observed what she saw. There was a 32 year old lady, reasonably tall, exactly five foot nine, quite thin. On her head perched a grey trilby, covering salt and pepper hair, which held a feather and a series of business cards. Her eyes were like that of a sun dawn over in the horizon. She wore a long brown coat and a mulch-coloured scarf over a grey tweed jacket and dress. Across her shoulder rested a battered, weather beaten old satchel, which contained pretty much everything an archeologist could need.
She took a deep breath and pulled open his door.
“What on Earth?”
Instead of her normal second year class of twenty students there were sixty. “Right then, my normal class come inside anyone else, stay here.”
Her class walked in and, after checking twice to see if the others  were still there, she slammed the door shut. The classroom was strange. Its door was next to the right wall which went about around in a half square which led up onto raised platform where his desk was. The front wall was covered with a big black board and the left wall was completely windows with tables underneath. The back wall was covered in bookcases and the middle of the room was taken up by desks. The whole room was completely made of wood. After waiting for everyone to sit down, Applade addressed his class. “What the heck is going on?” 
“It’s the Professor, Miss.” Shouted Derren Banks- one of the prominent stars of her class.

“Which one?” Asked Applade.
“Professor Runcorn.”
“What about him?”
“He’s... He’s...-“
“Spit it out boy!”
“He’s dead.” Said a voice from the door. Applade turned towards the voice and was greeted by the sight of an elderly man in a battered old suit. It was Professor Jenkins. 
Applades world sank, Runcorn had been her mentor and her friend, she wouldn’t have this job without the old Professor for goodness sakes!
“Professor Jenkins, that is terrible news but still why are there forty extra students waiting out there?”
“They are the class that Professor Runcorn should be teaching.”
“With all respect sir, I don’t have a lesson prepared for fourth years studying Roman antiquary.”
"You are more than capable Professor. You have Mister Nightingale with you so I'm sure you can find something."
"We were meant to be doing work essential for the trip, but I imagine it will have been cancelled now?"
"No, the trip will still by continued, but I would prefer it if you were to come back early."
"Of course, sir."
The lesson continued up until the point where Susan heard a familiar voice outside the room. It was that of the detectives from when Albin had died. Susan raced out of the room and bumped into the detective.
"Ah, detective-"
"Detective Shadan, are you here regarding the death of Professor Runcorn?"
"Yes, I am. How can I  help you?"
"How did he die? I'm one of his best friends so he would have wanted me to know."
"Well, I'm not allowed to tell you but, funnily enough, if I were to accidentally say something over the phone to another officer, and you were to over hear me, then I guess that would be fine. Oh look, my phone is ringing!"
Susan smiled as the detective spoke into his phone.
"Yes, the murder was similar to the Albin case. In fact, it was identical in every way, apart from one, instead of being wet, the victim was sunburned."

To be continued.