By Gabby Klein, October 31 2019 —
(Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)
You’ve been waiting for this for ages, hoping to feel the searing spotlight burn itself into your eye sockets and have the roar of the crowd rattle your bones. The energy rushes through you and you’ve never felt more, dare I say, alive. The drumsticks are solid in your metacarpals, as you raise them up in front of you and, in synch with the others on stage, start to tap out a beat on your ribs. You’re the Skeleton Man Group and you’re the greatest thing this damn town has ever seen. You’re amazing, you’re original and you’re dropping out of university, baby! As you sit in the scorching Cali sun, bleaching your bones, you’ll come to a wonderful realization — you’ll never have to take another midterm again.
(Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)
Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. Eye of newt and tongue of bat, grant us power over this vat. For the sake of your GPA, take the power we provide and turn it into cyanide! Well, maybe not cyanide, but something much worse, the fate to those who we wish to become… “occupied.” Cookie dough and chicken stew, make this the most foul brew. To poison our peers and allow us to escape from our fears, concoct a potion to give them the gift of food poisoning. Honestly Sagittarius, you’ve spent more time making this potion, and chant, than you have studying. Luckily for you, your plan is a complete success and you’ll be the only person who will show up to the midterm.
(Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)
You’re so ready for this. You’ve studied, you’ve prepared and now all you have to do is walk into that midterm and totally ace it. It’ll be a breeze, a walk in the park, a piece of cake. As you walk through the halls of ICT, wondering if taking a victory lap now would be overkill, a hand snags your arm and pulls you into a dark hallway. Before you is a perfectly normal-looking arts student, wearing a beanie with coloured hair underneath, a plaid overshirt overtop an overdone ironic graphic tee, glassy eyes, pale skin like they haven’t ever seen the sun, breath like rancid meat half their face hanging on by strings of skin straining against the weight. Totally normal. Until they bite you. And not a nice, “This is a consensual decision made between two adults” bite, but an “I’m a rabid animal trying my best to kill you” kind of bite. It’s safe to say that your day will take a dive. You’ll go to admin and try to figure out what this will mean for your test, as you’ll be missing a good chunk of your shoulder and you really need to know if you can get accommodations for that. Unfortunately, the lady at the desk will scream a lot, which is not particularly helpful nor sensitive to your situation. In the end, you are forced to take the test with the rest of your newly-acquired hoard, as now you are considered one being altogether or a “hivemind” by the accessibility services. You’ll end up failing the midterm anyway — it turns out 30 decomposing minds are not better than one.
(Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)
In the top right corner of a bulletin board in the back room of the pool, there exists a sheet of laminated paper with the bright red words “Assessment Days” on it. If a random person were to look at it, they would assume that it is a schedule for the lifeguards to be tested on their general fitness and other life-saving techniques. But if someone were to stick around on one of those days, if they were to watch the lifeguards, they’d see more than mere test anxiety in their eyes. This is because their “assessment days’” are when you come out to feed. You hover around the bottom of the pool, tail swishing with the slow and steady motions of a predator, watching the tiny legs of the swimming camp flail in the shallower water above you. In an instant, you push fluidly off the bottom and start to reach for one of those tiny legs. You pull, just enough to throw the child off rhythm and start the panicked motions that you’re used to. One of the lifeguards runs and jumps into the water and guides the child to the wall and out of your range. You glide closer, the top of your head coming out of the water just in time to catch the supervisor congratulating the lifeguard and praising the child for their bravery. You turn and retreat back into the grate at the bottom, discovered and foiled again, cursing humans and their need for “test days.”
(Feb. 19 – March 20)
You appear and disappear at will. No one knows your face, but they all know what you’ve done. You’re a myth, you’re a legend. You’re the Phantom Shitter.
(March 21 – April 19)
In the featureless black of the corridors lurks a presence. A shadow only caught out of the corner of the eye, that shifts and distorts and shines in pale strips of moonlight. It slides, leaving trails of slick slime on desks and door handles alike. It’s you. The plan has been put in motion, and you are ready. You watch your peers push open doors and grab onto desks and you wait for the right time, the perfect moment and then you’ll strike — sneeze directly into their bored and unsuspecting faces. Finally the day will come when your plan will be realized — the midterm. Your classmates will drag themselves through the doors of the classroom, red-nosed and dripping. Barely able to hear your prof over the coughs, you smile. Through this great power you have obtained the curve that will land you a passing grade.
(April 20 – May 20)
On a dark and stormy night there will come a mighty crack of thunder and lighting. In TFDL, the last remaining soul lies slumped over an economics textbook, their lonely corpse still letting off curls of smoke. The wisps will merge and condense, forming a transparent figure. You’ll look around, confused. You’ll try to walk away, to walk anywhere. But you won’t be able to. You hover above the textbook, seemingly unable to move from it’s area. Morning comes and your body will be taken away. You won’t go with it and no one will notice. When someone picks up the textbook however, that’s when you’ll move. You’ll be passed from student to student, drawn into helping them study every time, like a compulsion you can’t avoid. Eventually, you’ll be dropped off at Bound and Copied and you’ll sit in the blissful absence of questions for days, or maybe years. Time blurs together until a new student picks you up and heads to the counter. Back in their room, they’ll open the book and stare up at you, finally able to see you. You’ll look back, unimpressed with a reaction you’ve seen too many times to count. You’ll open your incorporeal mouth and ask the haunting question: “You need help with economics or what?”
(May 21 – June 20)
Mac Hall isn’t a place that is usually calm. You know this, and I know this. But soon, there will be a time where there is a lull — if only for a second — in the unrelenting noise. In this brief moment, a sliver of moonlight will fall upon you as you sit on a plastic table, desperately trying to cram before a test. It catches your eye and casts a shock through your body, forcing you stock-still. There is something building in your chest, pushing and pulling on your lungs, forcing them to inflate and deflate outside of your control. Finally it happens, and with all of the force and snap of a rubber band breaking, you tilt your head back — and howl. Your body is no longer your own, spurred on by a deep, primal need — the need to destroy UToppings Pizza.
(June 21 – July 22)
Fear grips you as you walk in to write your midterm. You run through your prep over and over in your head. You’ve studied and prepared as much as you could, you have your lucky pencil, a pen, an eraser — all the staples of a test. You’ve even brought a water bottle and gone to the washroom right before! You’re so ready for this. A finger taps you gently on the shoulder as a kind stranger decides to inform you that you have an unfortunate piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe. It’s okay, they assure you, it happens to everyone, but you have never been more humiliated in your life. You turn, trying to make your escape before further tragedy can befall you. As you go, a fellow student gets their shoe stuck on that same piece of toilet paper. A piece of toilet paper that you’ll realize — too late — is not a piece of toilet paper at all, but part of your wrappings. You feel it loosen, then fall off, pulling the rest with it as you collapse into a pile of dust and embarrassment. No need to feel ashamed, Cancer, it happens to everyone.
(July 23 – Aug. 22)
There are many secrets in a food court. Some are harmless, like taking home expired ingredients. Some are insidious, business-destroying. And some are not ever to be spoken out loud. One of those secrets what happens inside the closed La Taqueria. Like most uni students, you like to go to the MacHall food court fairly often. Unlike most uni students, you have a unique way of getting food. Where most see an obstacle in the long, long lines for the more popular vendors, you see an opportunity. Pick someone alone, someone tired, with the blank look of a person who wouldn’t notice if they were standing in a line of actual dinos. Lure them out and into your domain with the promise of a free meal, the ultimate temptation. Then get yourself a free meal of your own. Some might say this is a crime. But a vampire’s gotta eat and at the end of the day, you’re doing a public service. The Tim Horton’s line has never been shorter.
(Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)
The thunder cracks and the lighting strikes, directly hitting a thin metal rod. The electricity jumps from wire to wire, travelling down into the depths of the unknown land of the biological sciences building. It reaches its destination in the chest of a misshapen creature, seemingly abandoned both by God and any sort of ethics committee. You however, hovering over your creation, don’t see that at all. Instead you see, well, yourself. Just as you made it to be, an exact replica. Well, various body parts don’t quite match up, as procuring real body parts didn’t go quite as planned. But the only thing visible on a unicard is your face and that’s all that matters. The face is perfect, papier-mâché and wire shaped exactly like your face, painted to make it like looking in a mirror. You’ve already downloaded all the information needed into its memory core and with the spark of life the lightning gives you, it’s ready. The day of the midterm will come and you’ll send out your brilliant creation to ace your test. Through the surveillance cameras, you’ll watch as it lumbers through the halls and outside into the rain. You’ll watch in horror as the perfectly-crafted face starts to melt slowly, exposing pale flesh and bits of wire underneath. It reaches the classroom and pulls out a chair, placing the unicard on the desk in front of it. The prof looks at it once, twice. Your breath catches. This is it, you’re caught. But they just nod in solidarity, turning away from the melting creature. You’ve done it, although this makes you wonder just what might be under the prof’s perfectly-human face…
(Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)
There is a rumor that exists only in the thickest shadows in the furthest cracks and crevices of TFDL. The rumor of a tutor — The Tutor. It is said that if you can find them, if you can manage to summon them, you will not only pass your midterms, but ace them. Most dismiss this as a fairy tale, a fantasy born from too many sleepless nights of having your future stare back at you in the form of a 2.0 GPA. But you know the truth. You know that not only are the rumors true, but that you can act on them. You can summon The Tutor. Your candles will be placed in a pentagram formation of varying heights, colours and scents. You’ll desperately hope that your CA won’t notice the giant fire hazard you’ve created, as burning down the building probably won’t help you pass your classes or perhaps even stay in school. But finally, with one last flick of your wrist, you will complete and, by extension, the ritual.. You start to chant, letting it build and build, reverberating in your chest until it reaches a crescendo. The candles start to bellow smoke, infusing your dorm with the sick cloying smells of Dollar Store candles. You start to choke, and through your watering eyes you see a figure. It’s them, The Tutor. As the smoke begins to clear, the figure becomes more solid and suddenly they’re right in front of you. It’s your CA. They reach out and, with the very tip of their pointer finger, brush the tip of your nose. In a burst of light that leaves you temporarily blinded, you realize two things. One, that you have all the answers for your midterms and two, that now you are The Tutor. And that might just be a fate worse than failing.