25 - student - NYC That's all for now.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Short Story - Part II

Hunched over, a light finger pressed his shoulder. Lucifer turned and blinked at the figure peering down at him. It was tall and gaunt, shrouded in a deep cloak festooned with brilliant blackness. Lucifer could not decide whether he should describe it as dull luminousity or a luminous dullness. Either way, it both swallowed and radiated light. Lucifer found it quite impossible to distinguish any detail as the material refused to allow focus.

The light pressure he felt on his shoulder remained, and it was in notable distinction to the growing heavy presence of this figure. Of further significance was the tremendous heat emanating from that contact point while the rest of the figure appeared nothing more than like a freezing wind. Oddly, Lucifer felt no fear as he was alternately warmed and cooled by this mysterious apparition. Quite the contrary, he experienced a welcome calm even as the figure spoke.

“Revitharum feclorum divintium. Influentia contrafista luciferio. Expartio oustle bavaerum.”

The strange words had a deep icy quality, as if etched into stone. They also carried with them an unmistakable expression of antiquity – of beings as ancient as rock and earth. Lucifer did not understand but felt a foreign echologic compulsion – he repeated the words softly and involuntarily.

And as in an instant, the pressure on his shoulder ceased and the figure dissipated. As white light returned, Lucifer found himself sprawled on the lawn. Several students were clumsily attending his comforts. His neck now supported by a bunched sweater, a North Face girl fussed over him anxiously.

“His eyes are opening! Are you okay? I saw you just totally… like… collapse! And then you started mumbling in a weird language, and then…” she squeaked excitedly.

Another girl kneeling beside the first dropped his wrist satisfied that he did, indeed, have a pulse. Later that day she would walk into the registrar’s office and switch to pre-med, much inspired by her healing touch. But still sitting beside Lucifer, she interjected into her friends torrent dialogue.

“Corinna’s a little excited, but she’s right. I was standing over there when you came out of Uris Hall. One moment it looked like you were puking on the statute and the next you were dancing while staring up at the sky. Then you collapsed and began mumbling… feh color um da vinci um or something…over and over”

Lucifer blanched slightly, the warmth and calmness was leaving him, taking color from his skin and replacing it with the creeping white tendrils of fear. He knew deeply that the figure was real – just as clearly as he had known that the Green Dragon walls truly moved. But the blindness of these witnesses greatly tested his natural convictions. Ever accruing evidence suggested Lucifer’s own madness.

But he was growing accustomed to solitary knowledge. Hours alone in the studio had honed his capacity to “go insular.” The fear receded. Color returned.

“I’m fine,” Lucifer managed. His throat was cotton. “Just a bit of epilepsy. It’s a pain sometimes,” he creased a pacifying smile.

Corinna’s friend nodded knowingly, she had heard about epilepsy. She was inspired to find the cure. Later that day, after visiting the registrar, she would look it up on the internet and donate to the “National Society for Epilepsy.” Two weeks after that she would become the stuff of urban legend – falling two hundred feet into Cascadilla gorge while trying to pee off a bridge. Apparently she owed her survival to a particularly large badger or raccoon which had broken her fall. It was rather difficult to tell the exact species from the condition of the carcass.

But for now, she finished nodding, stood and pulled Corinna with her. “He needs some space to breathe, Cor. Give him some space.”

Corinna compliantly retreated, glad to have her friend in control. In general, Cor was a fairly compliant girl. She went with the crowd and did as the crowd. In high school, she had gotten into alcohol and drugs at an early age – her allowance more than sufficed to cover a steady stream of addictions. And that generous income was supplied by Daddy Duggan – a man made rich through his best-selling line of self-actualizing books. Among the more popular titles were Duggan’s Guide to Independence and Duggan’s Manual for a Clean and Healthy Lifestyle.

Lucifer sat up and noticed that a considerable crowd had formed. Many of the faces were familiar though not intimate – they belonged to names that Lucifer had heard or known. Many of these faces wore expressions of bewilderment and disturbance, as though this scene upset the placid tranquility that their parents paid for in tuition. Misfortune normally distributed blinders to these students, but her negligence had left them somehow irretrievably soiled. This spectacle would haunt their conscience, at least until Thursday’s Sigma Nu Spring Bash.

He dragged himself to his feet and shuffled toward the refuge of Uris Hall hoping to get lost among the academic traffic, hoping to escape the judging modern peerage. Corinna and her friend followed.

“Are you sure you’re alright? I mean, anything we can do to help,” the friend offered, ushering Corinna through the doorway.
“Yeah… we can help,” Corinna squeaked.

Lucifer cringed. “No. You’ve done enough. Thank you. I have an appointment.”

He disappeared into the stairwell, leaving the two girls alone in the hall. Corinna saw that her friend was miffed, and so she too became miffed. They stewed together in their miffage for a while before the friend became mollified by the thought that she saved a life. Corinna was also coincidentally quite mollified by that sentiment. So when her friend announced triumphantly that she was heading down to the registrar, Corinna decided that she too would make the journey. After all, she could think of nothing better.


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