Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Stars Within the Glass" by Karl Bjorn Erickson, Part One

Shadows deepened as the fluorescent lights began to flicker on around the university
campus, and the warmer lights shown down from the dormitory windows above. A soft
November rain began to fall as students and visitors headed indoors. A lone campus
security guard walked briskly down the sidewalk, jingling keys and a heavy flashlight
hanging from his belt and a radio gripped in his hand. Suddenly, a young man raced by, nearly knocking the guard off his feet. The runner barely paused, then bolted towards the eastern edge of the university campus. Before the guard could make pursuit, he tripped over a hidden sprinkler head. The young man was already fading into the dusk. The radio lay shattered and quiet along the path.

David Lightholler ran like he had never run before. She was his first love, and now
she was utterly gone. He put out a burst of speed, but slid on some moss and nearly lost his balance. Her blond locks of hair on porcelain skin were like a raging fire in his mind that refused to be extinguished. He raced across Nickerson, almost hoping to be struck and killed by a speeding truck. Unfortunately, traffic was light. Only one Honda’s brakes squealed, and he barely noticed the blaring horn and the driver’s gestures. The math and science building lay just ahead.

Why did Laura do it? Why did she take those pills, and why did it take all day for her parents to call him—like his feelings didn’t matter? He would never stroke her hair or kiss those warm lips again, and he could barely remember the scent of the sweet perfume she had worn on their last date to Golden Gardens. Her laugh, oh, how he ached for the sound of her laugh! David’s legs lost it, and he hit the pavement, nose striking the sidewalk. A rivulet of blood streamed out and mixed with a tear, as he stifled a sob. His head ached almost as badly as his heart. Someone was locking the doors to the science building up ahead. It was Dr. Jenkins, his astronomy professor. David fished a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed at his bleeding nose as raced towards the double doors.

“Dr. Jenkins!” David called, running towards the professor.
“David!” Dr. Jenkins exclaimed. “You look awful, son. What happened to you?”
“I had a bike accident by the canal,” David lied. “I just need to use the restroom and wash up, if you don’t mind.”
“I’ll call Campus Security for you,” the professor offered as he withdrew his cell phone from his jacket pocket. “They’ll be here in no time.”

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