The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 15: The Army Returns (Part 2)

The ends of her fingers numb, Kendra crept behind Hilary on the short but arduous trek to the dining hall.  Each time she blinked, the puffy form of the stuffed octopus loomed before her, its mouth twisted into a coy smile.  Its elliptical eyes taunted her, their innocent demeanor crumbling as its sinister soul festered within.


Soul?  She shook her head to clear the cobwebs.  This was a stuffed octopus; Franklin the freshman cymbal was trolling her.  That had to be it.  Stuffed octopi couldn’t possibly–.


At the dining hall, she downed more coffee than usual.  She brushed Hilary’s concerned query, insisted she was caffeine- and sleep-deprived.  There was nothing to worry about; Franklin was trolling her; it was her imagination–.


Something soft tickled the nape of her neck.


The volume of Kendra’s scream could have drowned out a jet engine.  While no glass shatter, several patrons did drop their plastic cups, and one dude was unfortunate enough to spill chai down the front of his shirt.  Kendra leapt to her feet and batted her shoulders to brush the wretched thing off her, but there was nothing there.  She glanced wildly around her, impervious to the perplexed gazes of her fellow students, but there was no sign of the octopus–not on the chair, the floor, or in the clutches of a certain Franklin F. Franklin, with whom she was unfortunate enough to have in two of her classes.


The thing that had tickled her neck was Kendra’s own hair.


Her face the shade of the zero in the center of The Horseshoe, Kendra returned to her seat.  “It’s alright, guys,” she managed with a nervous laugh.  “I just got startled, is all.”


With that, the onlookers returned to whatever enticed them on their cell phones, save for the guy who had spilled chai on his shirt.  He was presently aiding a dining hall worker in cleaning up the mess and letting loose a poetic string of curses that would have put Shakespeare to shame.


“Kendra, are you sure you’re okay?”  Frowning, Hilary bit into the dining hall French toast, which didn’t have a very French feel to it once one added syrup, but no matter.  “That was–.”


“I thought it was him.”  Kendra couldn’t bring herself to say the word octopus.  For some reason, she thought of the octopus as being male, primarily because the person she associated with stuffed reversible octopi was male.


“You…thought it was your stuffed octopus.”


“He’s not my–my plushie!  It’s alive, Hilary!  IT’S EVIL!”  This earned her a few more looks from the patrons whose phone screens were not especially interesting.


“It’s a stuffed octopus, Kendra.  It can’t be alive.  Look, I’m stressed about school, too, but this–you need to relax, sis.  I can give you tips to help you destress–”


“I don’t need to destress!  I need to get to the bottom of this–this thing!  Because whatever this is might very well possess me.”  Steeling herself, Kendra stood and slung her backpack over her shoulder.  “I’ll see you later, Hilary.”


“Wait, what about your brekkie?”


Kendra hesitated and studied her un-French toast–English toast?–and gingerly resumed her seat at the crusty dining table.  “After breakfast,” she amended, setting her pack down.


To Be Continued…………………………………………………………………………..


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. Declassified reports from the CIA suggest Alias has grown in power and has discovered the ability to harness unnatural energies.

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