The Tale Of Professor Brand

It began the eve of Valentine’s Day. Everyone was in a good mood, sharing smiles and compliments. Each person in Louisville had a skip to their step. Some would say “love was in the air”.

But Ashlynn Kate would disagree. That is... if she could speak.

Ashlynn Kate was a good girl. She was smart, reserved-listened to her superiors. She understood righteousness and did everything she could to be the best version of herself, to show everyone a little bit of kindness. Because everyone could use a smile and encouragement to make it through their day.

But eventually, giving one-hundred and ten percent became too much for her to handle. Her school work piled up, due dates became past due, grades began to lower, her education started to slip out of her hands. Her two side jobs took all of her time, and anything extra was occupied by volunteer work at her church with the youth. She adored working with younger children and infants in the nursery, it was the highlight of her day: just to see those toothless smiles and hear their deep-belly giggles. Classes and studying had taken back seat.

It had been a few days since the end of Finals. The test results came back only a few days later and Ashlynn’s final grades were pathetic. Two ‘D’s and an ‘F’. She felt defeated. After all that time she spent slaving away looking over text books and previous notes, it was to no avail.

So now what was she supposed to do? She couldn’t retake the exam, it was done! Most of her teachers wouldn’t give a flying flip. All except for one... Professor Brand.

Oh the man was an angle in the midst of chaos. He taught through repetition, questions and answers. He brought fun into boring lectures, every week he would come into class with a fresh Halloween costume. One week it was a clown, the next-a tooth fairy. Every student in his class adored him.

And then it hit her.. Go to Brand. Maybe he could help her. Maybe he could help her study. Her grades could get a boost, she’d never have to take the classes again!

She’d go to Brand and get everything fixed. Easy. Done.

She gathered all of her stuff and headed out of her dorm, but not without telling her roommate. She made it to the Campus auditorium, and took a sharp left, finding herself at the library. Through the library and out the back door was a shortcut to the Biology Lab. Something Ashlynn and her friends had found when they all had woken up late.

After a few minutes she reached the lab, a large building with large-pane windows on the second floor. She opened the two glass doors and jogged up the two flights of stairs located to the south of the entrance, and hit her target. First door on the right.

Ashlynn gave a few sharp knocks, “Professor Brand?” With no answer she called once more, “Brand, it’s me! Ashlynn. Do you have a few minutes?”

She cracked open the door and peered in-it was pitch black. No lights were on, but she could see the slight outline of Brand’s coat and duffel bag in the distance. “Professor?” She reach in and flicked on the lights. His desk was a mess. Papers were thrown everywhere, his anatomy skeleton tossed on the floor with pieces strewn across the platform. “What on earth...”

In the corner of the room was a slumped mass, heaped up with a brown sheet messily tossed onto it. Though a hand, a human hand, bloodied and just barely seen from under the sheet sent Ashlynn’s heart rate skyrocketing. She ran towards it and ripped the sheet off. There sat Professor Brand, slumped over with a bowler hat in lap, dead.

Grey skin-absent of blood, a gash on his temple, and a bloodied whole in the left center of his chest. His eyes were rolled to the back of his head, only bloodshot veins and white was seen. He couldn’t been dead for more than a few hours.

She reached for her phone, but it was snatched from her hand. She gasped and a pillow cases was thrown over her head, cutting off a scream. Flailing hands and and restless legs dropped and it was pulled tightly against her throat, cutting off her air flow. She was pulled into the darkness. Never to be seen again.

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