Monday, 23 February 2015

The Haunted Typewriter (part 4)

Applade and Nightingale wheeled Vivien out of the room and quickly began to make their way back to Applade's classroom. The door swung open and revealed the same classroom they had left, except for one factor: the candles had all been blown out. The typewriter had typed so madly and quickly that the paper sheet it was accustomed to printing on had exploded from it's roller and flapped away through the air. Now, the black inked words were being printed into the windows and the walls.
As Applade walked forwards to the nearest window, watching the flexing of the glass as invisible keys carved words into it, and felt a sinister chill pass over her. The clunk of fingers pressing down the keys was ever constant, and shrill dings cut through the air as the typewriter got to the end of the line. There was a slipping noise like a throat being slit and then the clunking continued. The windows bulged with the impact of every extra letter and then suddenly the windows shattered all at once. A swarm of screaming letters swarmed into the room and buzzed through the air, scrawling across desktops and the floor, staining them with inky smears.
"Run!" Applade cried, noticing Vivien and adding, "And roll!"
As they exploded from the room and into the corridor, Vivien looked at her and said, "In the future, I'll just accept run as an instruction!"
Applade grinned. "Sorry about that. In this current world, everybody has to be so politically correct, I wasn't sure whether to include it or not."
Nightingale, who was just in front of the two of them, turned and said, "Can we talk later and run some more?"
Nightingale didn't hear the answers, just concentrated on what was happening at the end of the corridor. The text had oozed from the doorway and into the passage, seeping over the walls and irritating the light fittings. The globular fitting suddenly exploded as the dark words seeped in and the walls broke away into themselves. He heard the roof crumple as the shrill ding screamed ever louder, and then they ran out into one of the courtyards. They turned to watch as the words oozed ever further from the windows and consumed the west wing of the university when they heard a life threatening roar and the darkness of the ink seeped over their eyes.

Susan Applade awoke in a hospital with a drip stuck in her arm and nothing but a mere blue curtain separating her bed from Vivien's and Nightingale's. A nurse noticed she had woken up and came to tell her that it was all the fault of Doctor Tryan. His architecture lesson had found a depiction of a type of fish called the Sarpa Salpa in a building they were studying. Naively, they'd gone to find one of the fish and brought it back to the University, only to realise that it had been commonly used as a hallucinogen. Somehow, that hallucinogenic chemicals had infected Derren Banks, herself, Nightingale and Vivien, meaning what happened to Jenkins and the thing with all the letters and the typewriter was all imaginary. Disappointing but relieving.
A few days after being released from the hospital, Professor Vivien decided to have a look at the fish. "Sarpa Salpa." He mused to himself.
"Something curious about the species?" Applade asked.
"Yes. As a marine archaeologist, I know lots of things about fish, and I'm sure I'm not mistaken in this. The Sarpa Salpa needs to be eaten to be hallucinogenic."
Nightingale's eyes widened. "So how could we have been affected?"
"My question indeed." Vivien replied. "Very curious."
Applade remained silent, because she'd been suspecting the very same. For, beneath her desk at the front of the room, she'd found a piece of paper with words printed over and over again in rapid typewriter font. There was a greasy stain running alongside the paper, alongside several small cuts from where it had been forced from the typewriter, but no one else had entered the room.
It must have been the typewriter that forced it out.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Haunted Typewriter (part 3)

"Are you sure we've got enough candles?" Nightingale asked, studying the set up of Applade's classroom. It was long after home time, and the clock face at the top of the tower that jutted out from between the library and the hall had long since struck 7 and 12 at once.
"I've witnessed a lot of seances," Professor Vivien replied, "and if there's one thing I know, candles help."
Applade lit the last of the forty candles and blew her remaining match out. The wall of windows was hidden behind musty curtains, and once the lights were switched off, merely the orange glow of the flickering candles illuminated the room. She pulled up a chair and sat down next to Vivien and Nightingale. The typewriter was positioned in the centre of her desk, a fresh roll of paper inserted, alongside a fresh ribbon. "Are we ready?" Vivian asked.
Applade nodded. "As we'll ever be."
They all joined their cold hands and Vivien looked at the typewriter. "Oh Soul of the Ancient Text! Heed my call!"
Nightingale had to stifle a laugh. "Angus, are you sure about this?"
"Be quite, Jim." Vivien replied. "I can almost hear the spirits."
Applade rolled her eyes. This stood against everything she had once believed in, but she had to give it a chance. Last terms events had proven nothing if not that she should stop being so sceptical so much.
"Spirits of the typewriter! Can you hear me?"
"Spirits of the typewriter!"
Silence once more.
"Can you hear me, spirits?"
Silence. No! There was a noise. Like fingers tapping coins. And then, the typewriter keys began to drop and heighten, again and again. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Ding!
"We can hear you." Read the roll of white paper.
Apple's eyes opened wider and wider.
"We?" Replied Vivien.
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Ding!
"We are the Lords of the Written Word."
"There is no Lord of the Written Word." Vivien replied. "The written word is the product of man kind."
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Ding!
"There is no mankind, but the mankind that the written word has bred."
"What does it mean?" Applade asked.
"John 1:1." Nightingale realised. He broke the circle of hands and raced towards the bookcase at the back of the classroom. From the top shelf, he pulled a small book wrapped in a leather sleeve. It was, of course, the Bible. He flicked to the fourth book of the new testament and began to read. "In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"Rubbish!" Applade cried. "That 'Word' most certainly isn't the same one the typewriter is referring to. And in any case, 'Word' in this instance comes from Logos, the Greek word for communication, or message. And, as I'm sure Angus will agree, that's commonly accepted to mean Christ himself, as it was through him that God communicated."
Angus shook his head.
"Oh please don't tell me you agree with this?"
"You said it yourself, Susan. 'It's commonly accepted to mean Christ.' That doesn't at all mean it's right."
Applade turned back to the typewriter. "Ok, Lords of the Written Word. If you are real, prove it."
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Ding!
"Go to Professor Jenkins Room." It read.
Applade shot a head towards Nightingale and Vivien. "Is it worth going to look?'
"We may as well." Nightingale replied.

Nightingale pushed Vivien and helped to lift the chair up the steps to Jenkins room. The door wasn't locked, surprising as the old goat surely couldn't still be on premises. Applade pushed it open and walked in, over to the desk. He wasn't in the room, it was empty- no! The chair behind the desk was missing. Applade rushed forwards and stared behind. The chair had fallen, Jenkins lying strewn across the carpet, his face lagging unconscious.
Then his hand lifted and a pen scrawled across his face, writing, "Do you believe me now, Professor Applade?"

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Haunted Typewriter (part 2)

"Where's Derren, Professor?" Asked one of the second years, looking curiously at the empty seat Derren had sat in.
Applade swept her hair from her eyes. It was a good question, because Applade didn't know herself. Doctor Danton had carried Banks to Jenkin's office, the University Master in question coming to visit her. "Get on with your next lesson, Professor." He'd said. "We'll call Banks' parents and the ambulance service. I imagine the doctors will want to observe him. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Professor Applade."
Applade snapped back to the present. "I'm sorry to say, I'm unsure, however I am under the impression he may be with Professor Jenkins."
Nightingale shot her a questioning eye from the back of the class, to which she replied with a look that said, "Don't get me started."
When the class ended and the steady stream of pupils had dissipated out of the door, Jim switched on a kettle on the right of the room and turned to Applade. "Where is Derren?"
"I returned here at lunch and found him unconscious next to his typewriter." She said, taking cups from beneath the right wall worktop.
"God." Nightingale breathed. "This is like Professor Albin and the Umbrella Affair last term."
"My thoughts entirely." Applade replied. "God, Jim. Do you reckon this university is cursed or something?"
"Probably." Nightingale laughed, as the kettle began to whistle. "Still, a terrible affair. And almost certainly reason for Bella to have more of a go at me."
"True, very true." Applade laughed, as she began to make her way around the gratified desk, searching for left over pens and pencils.
"Ah yes, the famous typewriter." Applade said, coming to Banks' abandoned desk. "I had a look at it after Danton and I took Banks' to  Jenkins' office. Olympia Deluxe Typewriter made in Western Germany. British Racing Green, I suppose you could describe it as. I've no idea where he could get the ink ribbons from."
"I always wanted a typewriter." Nightingale smiled. "Although, if I ever get one, I plan not to bring it anywhere near here."
Applade laughed. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have a little play with it. And I'm sure Derren would like us to type up the lesson's notes for him."
Nightingale sat down, passing a mug of tea to Applade. "You dictate, I shall type."
"The Celts of England were, of course, best known for," Applade began, but was interrupted by a thumping on the door. "Come in!" She cried, with the same irritated tone she reserved for when a student interrupted her class during a brilliant lecture.
The door swung open and Professor Vivien rolled in, the metal wheels of his chair allowing him to glide across the stone floor of the classroom. "I do apologise if I'm interrupting you, but you're the only friendly looking people in the university."
"Thank you." Nightingale said. "However, I should warn you that we're certainly the most dangerous people you'll ever meet! She was nearly killed by an umbrella last term." He added, stabbing a thumb towards Applade.
"And I believed that my sister led an exciting life." He laughed. "Nice typewriter."
"Not so much." Nightingale laughed. "One of our students got knocked unconscious by it."
Vivian wheeled himself around to look at it. "Very nice piece of kit."
"'Piece of kit.'" Applade repeated with a laugh. "Very masculine."
"How offensive!" Vivien replied, grinning. "No, I joke, Professor Applade. That was strangely masculine for me."
"Please call me Susan." Applade smiled, offering her hand.
He accepted her hand. "And me Angus."
"You can all call me Mr Nightingale." Nightingale laughed.
Their laughter was interrupted by the sudden tickering of the typewriter as the keys bounced, but when the three turned to study it, they realised nobody was sat in Banks' seat. There was a fantastic ding as the bell of the typewriter rung and Applade took that as an opportunity to wind out the paper and read the printed sentence. "One has fallen, and he shall not be the last."

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Haunted Typewriter

Professor Susan Applade of the Lakes District Located Tarrison University of Archaeology had a surprisingly high need for the constant drinking of coffee. Her good friend Jim Nightingale had many jobs, including the cleaning of brushes and and the supplying of witty humour, but perhaps his most important job was bringing a cardboard cup of coffee in every morning.
"This cup is surprisingly invisible." She said.
"I'm sorry?" Replied Nightingale.
"I was just commenting on the quality of this coffee cup." Applade replied, staring at her empty hand.
"Oh, sorry." Nightingale said. "Bella nagged me all of yesterday and then most of the night and then when I immediately woke up, there she was, nagging me again."
"You've been doing this job for six years, I would expect her to have accepted this is what you do by now."
"She's changed from saying it's not a proper job to saying it's too dangerous."
"To think that one cursed umbrella could cause so many problems."She sighed. (See the Professor's Nightmare.)
"Sorry I'm late, sorry I'm late!" Protested Professor Jenkin. "I fell asleep in the library. Now, first day of term, very importance, so on and so forth. Of course, there are some new teachers amongst our ranks. Doctor Tryan and Professor Angus Vivien over here. Doctor Tryan has studied Roman Architecture at Cambridge and Professor Vivien is a leading marine archaeologist, the only one in the country. Sadly, however, an unfortunate accident has left him in a wheel chair, so due to room access Doctor Danton, you'll have to move to the upper section of the university."
Doctor Danton, the man who taught students the value of trench maintenance, flashed red with rage. "Do you know how long I've been in that classroom?"
Applade rolled her eyes. Every so often, Doctor Danton would be challenged to do something and his reply would be something along the lines, "I've been here for a very long time, thus don't make me do whatever it is you want me to do."
Eventually, Doctor Hancock decided that Professor Vivien could use her room rather than Danton's and the entire episode ended easily. It was at that second the bell began to trill and Jenkins gestured for the teachers to go and do what they did best.
"Complaining about the futility of the education system?" Suggested Jim, as they walked out and to class.
"I think he meant teaching." Applade replied.
"Ah right, he meant giving the students a reason to complain about the futility of the education system."

Derren Banks was particularly pleased with himself, having bought an excellent new typewriter from the market. Whilst all the other students were busy scrawling Applade's lectures into black notebooks or then typing them up on silver laptops, he was beating black keys on metal struts with his fingers so that tiny letters would be stamped on a sheet of clean white paper. At the end of every line, there was a loud ding, and then a winding as he began to push the slider back to it's correct position and then continue typing once more. "Banks, what in the name of all sanity possessed you to buy that typewriter?" Applade demanded.
"It's retro," He replied.
"So is Professor Lemmington, but you don't seem to enjoy her lessons much." This was met with a torrent of laughter from the other students. Applade smiled. "No, I mustn't be rude about Professor Lemmington. Nobody has a better knowledge of the Middle Ages than the residents of that time. How old even is the typewriter?"
"1950." Darren read from the plaque.
"1950! That's not retro."
"She'd know plenty about the 50's." One of the lads sniggered.
"I'm sorry?" Jim said, sat behind the lad. "He just said you'd know plenty about the 50's, Professor Applade."
"I meant, I meant because you're a history teacher!" The boy protested.
"Oh really?" Applade asked, as sceptical as a clever person watching a magic trick. "Do you think I was born yesterday?"
"No!" The Student replied.
Applade laughed. "I've always said the third years were my favourite."
"We're second years." Linda Sebble pointed out.
"I think she knows." Jim observed.

The second years had Celtic Study with Professor Applade twice on Monday's according to the new timetable, once just before lunch and then once immediately after. Because of the arm stretching properties of heavy items like typewriters, Banks asked whether he was allowed to leave the typewriter in Applade's classroom whilst he and his friends went to the nearest cafe for a brief chat about things. Applade decided to take this chance to put into place her cunning master plan.
"Thanks, Doctor Danton. I've got to ask, however, how do you know how to pull the bell out of a typewriter?"
"I suffer from Campanophobia. It made typing a difficulty when I first started teaching." Danton replied.
They got to Applade's classroom and pulled the door open to enter when they saw Derren lying unconscious on the floor to the side of the Typewriter. "Not again!" Applade cried.