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. 


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