Walking to Class
By George Economou
A bad case of student burnout
morning, another class, another
endless midnight, and...
Peter stepped off
the bus, wearing his sunglasses despite the dark clouds hovering above, in
order to conceal his bloodshot eyes from the world. The cool breeze stroked his
face; soft rain fell on his long, greasy hair. He rolled and lit a cigarette as
soon as he was off the bus, and watched the first blue cloud of smoke blow
Suddenly, the sidewalk began melting, tilting one moment leftwards,
then reversing. Peter tried to balance on the ever-shifting landscape, avoiding
the pits of lava that erupted through the asphalt. He walked into the vast,
seemingly abandoned campus—no bikes, or students, or cars. Music blasting
through his earphones, cigarette still between his fingers, he waltzed among
the lava pits and melting streets.
The grass next to the sidewalk had turned brown, sparkles of fire
occasionally erupting to wither a flower. Steadily, cautiously, Peter continued,
despite by the destruction; he had no time to waste on his way to class.
The yellow-brick buildings were still standing tall, and voices
could be heard over the music—signs of life. He walked uphill, turned left, bypassing
the big auditorium building, and skirted the campus lake.
“Want to buy some dreams?” a crocodile standing on its hind legs
asked with a horrid grin. Startled, Peter jumped away from the grinning monster
into the path of an oncoming bike. He and the rider fell onto the steaming
“Watch where you’re going, buster!” the angry bear yelled as it
picked up the bike and hastily rode off.
Shocked, Peter stared at the bear, then ran across the narrow
street. The lake was frozen, but intoxicating steam was emerging from the solid
surface. He stood there puffing on his cigarette, removed the headphones and stared
about, and saw through a veil of blue smoke the usual traffic and students
smoking, chatting, and laughing. They seemed oblivious to the crocodile on the
corner, and the bears and tigers riding bikes amongst them.
He threw the finished cigarette on the ground, where it was
swallowed by the asphalt and vanished into a small pool of fire. A crackling
echoed through the air, yet no one but Peter turned towards the lake, from whence
it came. The ice broke, and water fountained; a ghoulish whale, impossibly
large for the lake, emerged from the depths and splashed everyone around it
with freezing water. Peter ran, as the whale on the ice stood, staring about in
menace, still splashing a fountain of ice.
A few moments later, his body abused by drugs and alcohol had to
pause for breath. He found himself in the parking lot of the natural history museum, right
next to the lake. The whale was nowhere to be found and the lake wasn’t frozen.
Ducks paddled freely across the water; pigeons and crows chased worms in the
In the parking lot right behind him, a large crowd milled, a few in
costumes, but most just staring about anxiously. He saw himself amidst the group,
guzzling his 7am beer, as nervous as the
others. In the next instant, a blaze of fire from the sky hit the group, which
disintegrated into dust! The beer-drinking version of himself was dead and gone,
yet he was still there. Why? How?
He walked away slowly; he could feel curious glances, but didn’t
care. He put the headphones back on, allowed himself to relax, and rolled
another cigarette. There was a class to be attended.
To his left stood the small yellow-brick dorm for biology students.
A hot river of beer suddenly flowed from the windows and doors. With the inside
of the house flooding, desperate people tried to swim in the scorching beer and,
soon, their corpses littered the burned grass outside the house. He stood perfectly
still, simply watching, until the house crumbled. Beer flooded the street,
reaching for him with foamy fingers.
On burned shoes, he fled. People walked by, ignoring the ruined
house, the cries of despair, the boiled bodies. Peter didn’t go near, either; a
hole had appeared in his shoe and his sock was drenched. His foot hurt. He
crossed the street, ignoring the oncoming traffic, still smoking and listening
The vast building of the biological institute, with its labs,
loomed. With a quick glance, he saw himself standing inside one of the labs on
the ground floor, cutting up a frog, laughing at some young woman’s joke. The
windows all broke, the dead animals kept in the basement fridges emerged, and a
skeletal lion devoured his pretty lab partner. Three students tried to fight
off a menacing dolphin that was missing its tail. Windows shattered as people
jumped from the second and third floors, trying to evade murderous animal
specimens seeking revenge. Blood poured onto the grass and splashed on the
Peter desperately sought the stairs to the math building, away from
the killing spree. Bikes passed him on the narrow trail of blood. He could hear
screams over the loud rock music in his headphones. Another cigarette rolled
and lit, he increased his pace. In the quad he saw tents and heard party music.
Thousands of ghostly youths mingled, drinking beer, laughing, vomiting, pissing
on the bushes, and passing out.
On a faraway picnic table he saw himself sitting, drinking coffee,
and smoking a cigarette, next to someone he didn’t recognize. Smiling at each
other, they made a perfect pair, and an arrow of emotion pierced his heart. Tears
blurred his vision. When it cleared, he watched the earth open up and swallow
tents, partyers, and picnic table into infernal depths. What remained was a
direct entrance to hell, yawning wide as if inviting him to jump in too.
Peter, heartbroken, felt compelled to jump, but flames erupted from
within the hole and sealed the entrance. Not
yet! Some have to suffer longer before being eternally damned. Peter
A high shriek breached the sky. Peter looked up. A huge red dragon
stood atop the math building, breathing flames into the cloudy day. Awed, Peter
rushed towards the majestic creature. A flap of the mighty wings, and a strong
tornado swept away all; bikes and bodies twirled towards oblivion. Unfazed,
through the tornado he walked and in the eye of the storm stopped, for once in
his life, within absolute stillness! Euphoric, he smiled. The cigarette was
burned out, so he threw it into the violent winds, where it joined the rest of
the dead. Nowhere and everywhere, the swirling wind around him was the only
reality. His headphones grew wings, flew away, and his smile widened.
Abruptly, both the stillness and violence ceased; he was standing,
mid-trail, among trees on fire amidst a heavy snowfall. The dragon was gone.
Peter walked through the snow and the fire, and stepped inside the math
building. He was surrounded by walking corpses, carrying books and backpacks,
while sipping blood from plastic cups. He stared at the zombies all around him,
but none paid him any attention.
He brushed his hair away from his forehead, put his sunglasses atop
his head, and turned right. Ahead of him, the big doors leading into the main
auditorium burst open; corpses flooded the corridors. Feeling invisible and
invulnerable, he shoved through the flow of them. They were grunting, grating laughter,
and grinding their teeth, but not one tried to bite him. He reached the narrow
staircase and climbed hastily, relieved to escape that river of death.
From above, he stole a last glimpse. The zombies milled about—horrendous,
hungry, and lost. He sighed and turned his attention away. He saw a tall ape
sitting at a table in the corner, staring at a laptop, a plastic cup to its
lips. The ape didn’t notice him either; thus, Peter stepped into the classroom
He was running late, the lecture was about to begin, and everyone
else was already there. He sat next to a girl, whose name he couldn’t remember.
Then he noticed that the walls were on fire, the floor was distorted, and
cracks were appearing on the ceiling. The building was about to collapse; he
could sense the foundations rotting. No one else noticed, though, their
attention focused on the lecture. The walls burned quietly, smokelessly. Soon his
classmates had no eyes or noses, and didn’t seem to feel the black blood
running down their faces.
The woman next to him gave him a faint smile with what was left of
her face, then fixed her attention blindly on the blackboard where the
professor, a toothless 8-foot-tall yeti, began lecturing in a harsh voice that
made the windows crack. Snow fell inside the room and was turned into ice,
despite the blazing heat. Peter sighed.
Another morning…another class…another
Gad Economou, email@example.com, of Risskov,
Denmark, who wrote BP #75’s “Walking
to Class” and “Whispering Ghosts” (+ BP #74’s “The Family F,” BP #72’s “In
Dreams There Is No Time,” BP #68’s “Angel of the Dark,” and BP #64’s “The Day I
Started Believing”), is a 20ish horror author from Greece, whose first novel,
THE ELIXIR OF YOUTH, was published in Greece in 2010. He wrote this first novel
at age 15, and has since written more novels, as well as short stories, all
horror. See www.facebook.com/GeorgeGadEconomou.