The air whipped briskly through the trees. Clouds hung ominous overhead, lingering, threatening rain and — should the campus be so lucky — an end to broish slack-lining festivities. The sophomore walked with his head down; his hands dampened with each pace and he felt his backpack weighing on him. His back ached, and he felt vaguely hungover though he hadn’t had anything but Emergen-C to drink the night before. He checked his phone again.
Would she — The Librarian Who Must Not Be Named — punish him? They were only two days late, these books he’d overzealously checked out for a group project he’d seriously contemplated contributing to. She’d been so nice: I’ll give you a better deal than any of the other librarians, she’d said cheerily. But then, all at once, something menacing shot through her, her facial expression twisting into something sinister. But if they’re late, well, you’ve seen The Godfather. You remember what happens to the horse?
Thunder cracked. Pulling his hood up as he quickened his pace, he saw the slack-liners hastily pulling on their Chaco’s. Then he was in Mo Pratt. His door, he realized, was unlocked. He entered.
She sat at his desk, smiling. Shivers ran down his spine. In her hand he saw an aluminum bat—the very same model as the one he’d used during his IM softball game earlier that day. He’d struck out twice. Where was his roommate? How had she found him?
“Now what did I say, Thomas?” she asked flatly, uncrossing and recrossing her legs. “What did we agree to?”
He gulped. “That, uh, that I’d have the books back to you by Monday.”
“And what day is it today, Thomas?”
“It’s, uh, Tuesday.”
“Now we’re going to have a problem,” she said, rocking the bat slowly between her hands. “A serious fucking problem.”