East Texas University: Harrowed Halls Edition

Plot Point One: Sweat Lodge
Freshman Orientation

Arriving at The Ravens Roost Multi-use Indoor Arena—the basketball arena— the students find their seats and check out the other freshmen.

They are greeted by President Nelson and given a quick over-view of the night’s festivities. The sweat lodge tradition is based on Native American sweat lodges that were considered places of rebirth that provided important revelations. After singing the Raven’s fight song, the students were dismissed to the basement to meet with Seniors to get their advice on how to survive at ETU. Several of the students noticed the fire extinguishers were missing from the walls and a couple of janitors being berated by a faculty member for some recent graffiti that hadn’t yet been removed from the walls.

In the basement, students identified themselves and shared a bit about why they are at ETU. They got the “Zebra Speech” from Robby Niles, a recent graduate of ETU. Upon exiting the room, they found a campus security guard looking at a smashed video camera. Professor Glen Maclanahan (“call me GlenMac”) introduces himself to the students and explains that the equipment was for capturing video of a ghost. While standing in the hall talking to the professor and Jackson, a pair of janitors carrying buckets of water and sponges pass them back out toward the arena. The custodians grouse about having to clean up graffiti right away instead of in the morning.

Most of the students head upstairs when they hear the band kick off their first song. As the night wears on, someone brought some alcohol to the party and the parents and faculty begin to leave. Something doesn’t feel right to double Dee and she follows an unusual student down stairs after she is told “you’re all going to burn”. Dee and a few of the other students witness a vision of the girl being burned alive and Dee receives a strange mark on her hand. GlenMac arrives shortly afterward to explain that he saw the heat spike on his infrared camera and came to investigate. He is extremely excited about the student’s encounter and pleads the Freshman to relate every detail. He even offers to pay the student to come to his office the next day for a formal interview. (Note: Any time after this encounter, any of the characters may experience “High Strangeness).

The students head back up to the party that is in full-swing. The band is loud, the lights are low and the freshmen are dancing! Several of the students notice a smoke smell and a couple others see the doors are chained shut when they go to leave. Suddenly, some of the strange graffiti burst into flame. When they go to investigate a strange four legged animal shape is seen under the bleachers and several quills are shot out from the shadows. It’s the Needler! Panic suddenly hits the entire crowd as the center of the gym floor bursts into flame with the campus security guard standing in the middle. Everyone runs!

Dee runs to the center of the fiery circle and grabs the door keys from the guards neck. She heads toward the front. Maynard, Donnie and * the Pregen* get outside thanks to Louis’ lockpicking of one of the side doors. The three of them leave Louis to fend for himself against the moving shadow as they race to their vehicles. Dee gets the key and opens the flood gates as the crowd pushes past her to get out. Maynard and Donnie try to run down one of the shadow beasts and unload their shotgun into some nearby cars. The beast runs into the woods as if it was called. Louis hides from his beast and it eventually retreats as well. They eventually get back into the Roost and turn on the sprinkler system, which had been locked. They also find Professor GlenMac and the two janitors unconscious in the basement.

The fire department arrives on scene as do the police. Most of the students leave but are all called into President Nelson’s office the next morning as their names and descriptions were shared by dozens of witnesses. Police Detective Blaine Bishop listens to the story they give President Nelson and Professor Maclanahan. He vouches for them and calls them heroes. Afterward, GlenMac reminds them of his offer to pay them for their eye-witness account of the ghost when they meet later. Nelson, in turn, asks that the professor be their mentor for a few semesters in light of their rocky introduction to college life. He tells the students to expect an email from the professor in the coming weeks.

Weeks later the students take their mid-term exams and all but Dee (who is still suffering from nightmares about the burn mark she received) do well. They agree a night out on the town is in order!

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