Saturday, January 1, 2022

Empowered: The Grad School Chronicles (1.08)

(Restart Story) 


Your dream is interrupted by the blare of your alarm. Cracking your eyelids open, you reach over to your phone and turn it off. 

"What a strange dream." You remember having a conversation with Dr. Anderson, and something about supernatural abilities unique to historians, but that's about it. Fantastical, to be sure. 

Swinging yourself off your bed, you head straight to your coffee maker and switch it on. Then you stop, and realize you don't remember how you got home yesterday, or what happened after your seminar. 

"The last thing I remember...I was talking to James...and then..." 

But nothing comes to mind. You know you were supposed to check-in with Dr. Anderson yesterday, so you decide that the first thing you'll do before going to Metternich's seminar would be to see if you can catch him in his office and ask if he remembers meeting. 

The journey to campus is uneventful. You chose to take the bus, not wanting to risk riding your bike while you're feeling so groggy. Once there you head straight to the social sciences building, bounding up the stairs to Anderson's office. 

You enter the hallway and find a mostly desolate space. Professors at Eliot University are not known for their sense of camaraderie towards each other, so you have heard. Most prefer to keep to themselves, rarely opening their doors to peers. Even so, the quiet is unnerving. 

Anderson's door is at the far end of the hallway, to the left. When you get there, the door is cracked open slightly. You knock. 

"Dr. Anderson?"

No reply. You knock again, and are met with silence. 

You reach out and slowly push open the door. You flip on the light switch and look around. Nobody's there. You walk tentatively over to Anderson's desk, and see nothing too unusual. Then you spot a post-it note hastily attached to the edge of a book. It's made out to you, your name clearly inscribed on it. 

The meeting we had yesterday was not a dream. Meet me on the rooftop at 5:00pm if you wish to learn the truth about Eliot University. 

You quickly pocket the note and leave the office, shutting the door with a barely audible click. You rush down the hallway towards the exterior accessway, pausing near a balcony overlooking Eliot University. A few minutes pass as you collect yourself. Just as you are beginning to come to terms with what Anderson wrote, you hear an unpleasant voice behind you, each word dripping with an accusatory venom that sets your teeth on edge. 

"You're one of the new first years, correct? Looking forward to seeing you in my seminar. We'll see if you really deserve to be here." 

You turn to see Professor Metternich staring at you. He is tall and auburn haired, looking to be only a few years older than yourself. His cold blue eyes are unblinking as you respond. 

"Uh, yeah, I was just heading there." 

"See that you do."

As he saunters towards the nearest stairwell, you begin formulating a plan. You'll go to Metternich's seminar, and then after, you'll head straight for the rooftop. Hopefully there your adviser will have some more answers. 





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I hope you are enjoying this interactive short story. If you can spare it, please consider donating to my Coffee Fund so that I can keep writing stories like these. Thank you again for reading my work! 

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to Lifehack.org and the Davis Humanities Institute.