The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 14: The Army Returns (Part 1)

It started out subtly:  cold sweat on her hands, the crawling sensation she was being watched, tension coiling through the back of her neck.  Between homework, classes, and crying over the fact that she had to turn in her uniform last Saturday, Kendra didn’t have time to consider who–or what–her stalker was.

 

When she first spotted him, she was crying studying in her dorm room.  Her roommate was out and about, so she was all alone–save, of course, the random stuffed octopus perched eerily on her windowsill.

 

“AAAAAAAAIIIIIIEEEE!”  In her terror, she yeeted her calculus textbook across the floor and nearly spilled perfectly hot dining hall coffee.  When she came to her senses, she realized the octopus was just staring at her contentedly.  Smiling, its innocent visage harbored no malevolence she could observe with the naked eye–which meant it was harmless, right?  She knew there was a cymbal kid named Franklin who was obsessed with these things, so maybe….

 

But she didn’t know Franklin.  Franklin didn’t know where she lived.  And, most crucially, Kendra was not on the drumline.

 

She backed away slowly from the thing and its stitched-on ovular eyes.  She couldn’t take her eyes off it; if she did, she was afraid it would attack her.  But it didn’t.  After half an hour spent hiding in her laundry basket, Kendra emerged to find her room just as she’d left it, except now the octopus was gone.

 

She was on the Bursley-Baits bus the next time she spotted the octopus.  After an afternoon spent practicing Taps on her horn in the band hall, she was wiped:  her palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy.  Her vision was so blurred with exhaustion she almost did not spot the octopus swinging from one of the straps standing passengers were supposed to hold onto.

 

Though horror rose in her throat, she did not scream.  She was in public; whatever this was, the octopus could not attack her here.  It could not do anything, anyway, because it was a stuffed octopus.  She was imagining things.  Franklin must have stuck one here to troll passengers and forgotten about it…right?

 

She decided she was sleep-deprived; she was seeing things.  So she went to bed early that night and woke up refreshed, her eyes naturally sliding open to greet the day in a rare moment of bliss.  She gave a slight smile, took in her surroundings, then–.

 

The octopus, the same octopus from her windowsill and the bus, was sitting inches from her face.

 

The screech that emitted from Kendra was a cross between a banshee’s shrill and a five-year-old cackling as his mother vacuumed the carpet.  Her roommate, the people in the adjacent rooms, the residents of the hall two floors below her, and an unsuspecting clump of pedestrians on the sidewalk bore witness to her scream.

 

“What the flippin’ frick is wrong with you!?” hollered her roommate.

 

“O-O-OCTOPUS!!!!”

 

“What th–oh, that?  Where’d you get him?  He’s so cute!”

 

“HE’S A DEMON OCTOPUS, HILARY!  HE’S BEEN STALKING ME ALL WEEK!  HE’S–.”

 

Calmly, Hilary plucked the octopus off Kendra’s bed and stroked its plush head.  “Aaaawwww, hey there, widdle guy!  where’d you come from?”

 

“I don’t know!!!!  But he’s been on the bus, so he needs a deep cleaning.”

 

“Oh.”  Hilary tenderly set the octopus onto her desk so she could clean him.  “Why are you afraid of a stuffed octopus anyway?”

 

“HE’S ALIVE!!!”

 

“Alright, Kendra, calm down.  I’m sure the octopus isn’t really alive.  You’ve been reading way too many creepypastas, sis.  Here, let’s get breakfast and try to think through this rationally.”

 

To Be Continued………………………………..

Alias

Alias came to Earth from a distant planet roughly 80 years ago and has been inhabiting the United States ever since. Captured by authorities in 1959, Alias was entombed in Area 51 until escaping in 2019 and has been at large ever since. Nowadays, Alias seeks to integrate into human life and earn an English degree. Recent sightings indicate Alias is a member of the Michigan Marching Band.

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