Chapter 19.

The death of professor Curry.



It had been a hard day for the professor as he had an argument with one of his students about the veracity of ghost stories, being challenged by evidence that was flimsy at best and anecdotal. He tried his best to remain calm but in the end he had to raise his voice several times. The student was convinced about ghosts and apparitions in general. The burden of evidence was on him but that did not matter, even if he had nothing to offer except that other people had seen them. And then this other very religious student tried to convince him about the the bible and its miracles. To which the professor responded that since miracles implied the breaking of the laws governing the physical world he simply could not believe them. You needed stronger evidence than to merely affirm that the fact it was a holy book meant that everything in it was true. Extraordinary claims needed extraordinary evidence the professor had replied, which only served to inflame the passions of the student who left in a huff.

The professor then left the classroom and took the direction of his office where he sat down and began marking his student papers. It was then that he smelled something strange in the office, a certain slightly acrid smell. He looked around, sniffed under the desk but could not find the source of the strange odor. He was still marking papers when he suddenly saw the blackboard move from the back of the office to the front, thereby blocking the window in the door. He got up, went straight to the blackboard and tried to put it back where it used to be but to no avail as the board seemed stuck and would not budge. He thought that very strange so he left it there returning to his work. He would have time later on to put it back by applying more force if necessary or so he thought.

He returned to his papers when the lights began to flicker on and off. Very strange he thought. The flickering finally stopped and he returned to his work, but by now he had a growing sense of unease. He felt something was behind him or slightly above him. Turning rapidly around he saw something black. It was dense black smoke, smaller than a hand, and it was hovering just above him like a small personal cloud. He thought a small fire was burning in the office somewhere but as he got up to leave quickly the black smoke increased in size and put itself between the door and him. As the blackboard was also in front of the door, the exit was blocked and he was trapped.

He looked on as the black smoke increased in size until it was as tall as he was. Suddenly as he looked on it took a human form, or at least it had the outline of it as it had a head, two arms and two legs. But it was all black and no features were apparent on the face. It simply looked straight at the professor.

“What are you? Are you alive?” the professor said. He had taken a wooden ruler in his hand and was brandishing it as a weapon, pointing it at the apparition. It was a pitiful weapon and he knew it.

“Don’t come near me or I’ll whack you!” he said. He was only a few feet away from the apparition. The professor assumed a defensive position, holding his ruler like a musketeer holding his weapon. The apparition approached the professor slowly, extending the left arm towards him and seemingly wanting to touch him.

“Stand back or I’ll swear I’ll hit you till your dead on the floor, whatever you are!” the professor said. He could feel the sweat on his forehead and the goose bumps on his arms. He was frightened and he knew it. It then occurred to him that maybe it was a practical joke played on him by some of his students.

“Alright guys, you had your fun now lets quit this.” he said. But the apparition still had its arm extended and was continuing its approach. It was now only a few inches away.

“Stop, that’s it. I’m whacking you.” the professor said. He lifted the ruler and with all his force applied it on the head of the apparition but it made no noise as it simply went through it. The professor tried several times to strike it but to no avail as the apparition was unharmed. It was then that it seemed to smile at the professor as it was grinning from ear to ear, advancing slowly towards the professor with its extended arms towards him.

The professor retreated as far as he could at the back of his office until his back hit the wall. The phantom presence continued its advance, inching slowly towards him. He dropped the wooden ruler at his feet as it was of no use to him. He went down on his knees, as if he were praying for a divine intervention.

“Please, whatever you are, stop. I’ll do whatever you want but get out of here.” the professor cried out.

The apparition continued its advance and was now a mere inches from him. Suddenly, the two arms of the apparition appeared to be solid and seemed to have materialized out of thin air. They took the professor by his shirt and lifted him up several feet so that his feet did not touch the floor. To say that the professor was scared out of his mind was an understatement. He was whining and crying in terror.

“Please, release me. I did nothing wrong to you, nothing at all!”

At those words the apparition grinned again, but no smile was apparent. It was simply a black face with a black mouth, a sort of negative image of a person but with no detail. The apparition simply dropped the professor on the floor and then using its hands began strangling him slowly but methodically.

“Please….stop..I,I…can’t breathe.” those were the last words of the professor as he turned red and then expired. The apparition left him in a corner of his office, all crumpled up, and then transformed itself into a black smoke again and exited under the door.



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