The Discovery

When you return to school for a conference, you bump into one of your old professors, who is rambling on excitedly about a new discovery. He asks you to follow him to his office—he has something he wants to show you. What is the new discovery? Why is your professor so excited? Write this scene.

Darby Turner had looked forward to attending the Habitable Worlds Spring Symposium in Baltimore. The conference was not far from her alma mater. She had attended the John Hopkins University for both her undergraduate and post graduate work. This was a trip home. The conference was not for another day so she decided to walk through the old halls in which she had once spent so much time. The sights and smells filled her with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. She began to wonder how many of her old professors still held forth in their lecture halls.

“Darby Turner? Is this Darby Turner I see before me?”

A shot of lightning ran down Darby’s spine as she recognized the voice. She turned and said, “Yes, Professor Crocker. It’s me, Darby Turner.”

The deep blue eyes behind the thick glasses still had the slow burn she remembered from her undergraduate years. They still disturbed her in a way she found hard to articulate. Darby took a moment and a breath before she said, “I see you’re still here, Professor. Was just wondering how much has changed around here.”

“Nothing much has changed and everything has changed. If you have a moment, I would like to show you what I have found,” said Professor Crocker.

Blurred and quick cut flashbacks played through her mind of Professor Crocker’s eccentric antics. She knew better when she answered, “Certainly, Professor.”

She followed him down the hall and down the stairs to his office. Darby entered the small cramped room with not just a little trepidation. Professor Crocker motioned her to an old wooden chair that was obviously missing a caster. She did her best to balance as she sat.

“Calm yourself, Miss Turner. Calm yourself. I am not so befuddled that I am unaware of the view most students have of me. Students and faculty. I can assure you that I mean no harm,” spoke Professor Crocker in an almost sing song cadence.

Claiming that he meant her no harm only heightened her awareness. Hoping to keep her voice even, she said, “What is it you’ve found, Professor?”

Professor glanced at what appeared to be a covered bird cage atop an uneven stack of books with an almost vindictive smirk. Darby acknowledged the bird cage by gesturing with her hand.

“And what is this, Professor?”

“Fairy godparents!” exclaimed Professor Crocker; gesticulating wildly as he spoke.

Darby had been afraid of this. Professor Crocker had seen fairies around every corner. He had devised makeshift devices out old kitchen utensils to track them. He had taken his classes to the field under the pretense of studying local geology. They always ended up searching for fairies. It had always ended in embarrassment for him.

When Professor Crocker saw the dejected look in Darby’s eye; he grimaced and pulled the cover off the cage. Whatever Darby expected to see under the cover was not what she saw. Inside the cage were two diminutive creatures. Each were no taller than Darby’s hand. They were humanoid in form only stretched with dark blue-gray skin and naked. Instead of wings of gossamer, they sported what appeared to be bat wings. A wing on one of them appeared to be broken. As soon as Professor Crocker removed the cover, they both began to make high pitched mewing. Darby had to find a way out of the room. She started to edge her way towards the door.

“Just wait, Miss Turner. It will not be long before they start to grant me wishes. You will see. You will all see,” said Professor Crocker with uncomfortable edge to his voice.

Darby left the room and the campus. She wanted desperately to get home.