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The New Students

Helen E. Davis



The following is a piece of amateur fiction, a pastiche, created by combining the characters from one popular fantasy series with a world created by another. It is meant to be neither serious nor cruel. No money has been accepted for this, nor ever will be. I just wondered what would happen if.....




There is a place so wretched, so foul, an eldritch building reeking of unworldly stench and decay, whose ivy-covered crumbling walls and ill-set windows cannot contain the shrieks of the doomed, whose very draftiness seems the most solid of its vaporous components. Withered bushes clutch the stony soil beside the sagging front doors, whose wood has the texture and solidity of cottage cheese. The darkness within is not silent, but crawls with a steady clinking, the sound of two heavy chains drawn across each other, and the buzz of a thousand grave-seeking insects. Moldering window boxes huddled inside the windows, their grave-dark soil littered with the bone-white caps of sporophytes. A bell rings, and all falls silent, save the sighing of the rafters.

But beyond the cafeteria, Miskatonic University isn't a bad place.

***


A decrepit bus rattled and wheezed its way to the walk which led up to the cafeteria, and there disgorged its collection of passengers. The first group was sallow-skinned with broad, flat faces and bulging eyes set too far apart for comfort. They wore stomach-wrenching jewelry and walked in shoes which seemed too tight, even though they were much larger than one would expect for figures of that size. One pulled off a baseball cap which, even with the strap completely undone, seemed much too large for his balding head. He scratched a leathery, scabbed over crust at the crown, then pointed off to the right. With grunts and croaks, his companions followed.

The second group was heavily cloaked, despite the warm September day. Their hoods were filled with shadows, but within those shadows came the occasional flash of white tooth or flicker of red eye. From beneath their robes came the sound of claws scrabbling over the cobblestones. The largest reached down to pick up his bag, and something gray and tensile twitched beneath the edge of his robe. The smallest dropped a bag from his pocket, filled with small orange cubes, and squeaked in alarm. Another grabbed him firmly and hauled him away, leaving the cheese on the pavement.

Then came a pair shrouded in white, whose limbs twisted in unnatural positions, hurting the mind and eye to observe them. They were followed by a heavy-set man whose face seemed as set as a plastic mask, and who carried the strong stench of graveyards and damp basements. His white gloves were stained with dirt, and he squished as he walked. At the very last came a trio dressed in black robes and pointed hats, each with a broomstick in hand.

"I don't care how much more the train costs," said the female of the group, Hermione. Her voice was clipped in an upper-class British accent. "I'm not taking the bus again."

The shorter male, Harry, rubbed his forehead and the scar displayed there. "That stop at Innsmouth was really bad. I'm not sleeping at the hotel again."

"Look," said Ron, the taller, red-headed male, whose voice evoked the country houses and rolling hills of a PBS British import show. "If you'd only used the pest repellant, the bed bugs wouldn't have bothered you."

"I did," said Harry. "And those weren't bed bugs, they were leeches!"

"I think there was a remora in mine," Hermione sniffed.

"So," said Ron, pulling out a twelve-inch magic wand from a pocket in his battered robes. "We're at the University. Where do we go now?"

Hermione flipped open a student guidebook and peered at it. "New students are to report first to the administration hall to receive their room and boarding assignments, and then they may take their luggage to their dormitories."

Harry opened his own guidebook and peered at the map. "Oh great," he groaned. "The administration hall is across the campus this way, and all the dormitories are across the campus that way. We'll be hauling our trunks forever."

"I'm not hauling mine," said Ron, tapping the trunk with his wand. It rose up several inches, and began to drift in the breeze.

"Don't do that!" Hermione hissed, throwing herself on top of the trunk to make it settle back to the ground. "People will see!"

Ron looked around at the nearly deserted streets. "So what? It's a magic place, isn't it?"

"She's right," said a voice behind them, in a normal New England accent. "Floating your trunk is a bad idea here."




Helen E. Davis
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