Saturday, January 1, 2022

Empowered: The Grad School Chronicles (1.12)

(Restart Story) 

You brush past your cohort and bound up the stairs towards the rooftop. As you ascend the steps, Mac turns to watch you, a suspicious look on his face. He waits a moment to exchange pleasantries with Nikki and Michael before pursuing you up towards the rooftop. 

It takes a few minutes to reach the small concrete perch jutting from the building like the bow of a ship. Anderson said to meet him there at 5:00pm, in the meantime, you begin going over what he told you yesterday. 

Or at least, that's what you would have done had you not turned to see Mac staring at you from the top step of the stairwell you just emerged from. 

"Hey buddy, what are you doing up here?" He takes a few steps forward. 

"Oh," you begin, "just exploring the building. Someone told me there were some good views to be had up here." 

"You know, you don't have to lie to me. My adviser told me what we're really here for, and given what he told me of your adviser Greg Anderson, I know he's told you too." 

Something about Mac's tone makes you uneasy, so you take a few steps backwards until your back is against the triangular bow of the rooftop perch. 

"Well Mac, what did your adviser tell you? All I can say now is that I'm confused." 

"He told me enough. There's a war happening in this department, in this university, in the world. One pitting those who would limit our potential, and those who would allow it to run free. My adviser said that Anderson was one of the ones holding us back."

"What do you mean?"

"I've said too much already. I would apologize for what I'm about to do, but I can't let you get in my way." Mac grabs a thin pamphlet from his front pocket. His hand begins to glow, and then purple striations begin streaming up his arm. 

"To draw on the strength of the past, to empower oneself. That's why I'm here. I wish it didn't have to be this way, Neil. We could have been friends." He closes the distance between you in moments. A second after that, you find Mac's hand gripping you by the neck. He easily raises you off the ground and casually tosses you off the rooftop. 

The last thing you see is the pavement rapidly approaching. 


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 and the Davis Humanities Institute.