The Demon Professor

"... And that concludes lecture 1, where we discussed how to tell demon summoning circles apart from hopscotch. Essentially, if you see squares in a row, do not shoot -- especially not if the human drawing it appears to be a little boy. If it's a little girl, ask if it's in the girlscouts. If it's not, then -- and only then -- you can shoot."

I rested my chalk on the tray next to the board and clapped the dust off my hands before looking into the audience to make sure everyone understood. The girlscouts had sued our department so many times for lack of training, it simply would not be worth killing another one.

"Ok then. Class dismissed. I'll see you on Tuesday when we discuss the demonic origin story for the Nickelodean hit television show, Chalk Zone."

All the students began zipping up their bags while I tidied up my notes. As I did so, a female graduate student walked down to the front. She had dark, curly hair and a pale complexion, blue eyes and a button nose.

"Ah, Christina!" I preempted her greeting, "How is the research into demonic detection going?"

"I think it is going well." She was holding a book tight to her chest, but still lifted a finger to her lip and paused for a second. She then pointed to the demon circle I had drawn on the board. "I think you made a mistake in the lecture."

I laughed, "It happens. I'll correct it next time. What did I do? Miscount the hopscotch squares?"

"No, I think you impartially drew the 5th astral line for the Faerie circle." She opened the book to page 152 and rested it on the desk in front of her. "I guess it's a simple mistake to make. Jupiter is off by 5 centimeters because of the asteroid belt."

"Ah yeah." I held my bravado and laughed a bit. She couldn't know any better, right? "That's a really dumb mistake to make, after all--"

She cut me off, "You were the one who originally published on the importance of the asteroid belt for summoning greater demons in the first place." She paused again and flipped a few pages forward to 182. I knew what she was looking for before she did. "I've always found it interesting that without the asteroid belt, the summoning circles turn into teleportation circles for greater demons... What you drew there looks identical to what we have here." She pointed to the diagram in the book.

"Oh yeah? Let me see..." I sighed a bit and leaned over her shoulder. I didn't look at the book. She was right. I drew a teleportation circle. "You know what? You are completely right. I certainly need to correct this next lecture so people do not get confused."

"Right?" She nodded. "I was confused when you drew it, but if it's a mistake, it's a mistake."

I rubbed my temples, attempting to sound exasperated. I was actually relieved she didn't dig into it any deeper. "Yeah. Again, I don't know what I was thinking. I'll give you a bonus point at the end of the semester for that one!"

"No need... As long as you have a space in your lab next term?" She didn't look up from the book. She was obviously new at academic negotiations.

I could feel beads of sweat form behind my ears. She had guts. Charisma. Skill. This girl could become a leading academic in circle theory if she kept at it, but I couldn't have someone like her in my lab.

I scratched the back of my head. "It's not a question of skill. You are definitely good enough to be in my lab. It's a question of funding. I didn't do very well in the last grant cycle, so..."

She cut me off again, "Ah. I have funding actually. I have a large following on HunterTube for open source circle scribing. It's not much, but it's enough to fund my research for the next few years, if you'll have me." She closed the book and looked up, right into my eyes.

Damn. She was good.

"Ok. Well, I guess I can't refuse! Put your CV on my desk tomorrow so I can process the paperwork!"

"Really?" She jumped up. "I am so excited! I have been such a big fan of your work since I was a little girl and we learned about you in jr. high! The work you did to harness Pandora's energy to replace fossil fuel was genius!" She raced to the board and grabbed the eraser while talking.

"Wait. Wait!" I held out my hand. "Don't worry about erasing that. I got it."

"No seriously, it's no problem!" She then began vigorously erasing while I cringed. The next class was starting in 5 minutes. That wasn't enough time to make a new teleportation circle. I finished collecting my things while she erased my only escape route.

"Ok. I guess I'll stop by later today with my CV." She said while dropping the eraser back into the tray. I watched helplessly as the dust flittered in the air.

"Yup! I'll See you then!" I laughed to hide the concern I felt.

"Would you mind if I walked you back to your office? I have so many questions and --"

I cut her off. "No. Wait. No need. We can talk later today! I just remembered that I need to audit the next lecture to make sure the professor is teaching properly. Please stop by at 4, if you can!"

"Great! See you then." She dashed out of the room, clearly happy to begin her journey into research. Honestly, I was happy for her.

However, I was stuck.

As a new security measure, the university had placed functional demon detectors outside of every room, capable of finding and incinerating demons of all levels, including those previously impossible to find. Demons like myself.

If I left the classroom in via any traditional route, I would me immediately vaporized. Even worse than that, people would realize I was a demon and retract every single academic article I have ever published!

So I guess I'm sitting in the next lecture on circle error detection while I scribble the circle under my desk.

Prompt: In the Demon Hunters Academy you are known as the very best professor, 80 years old but still in your prime, but you're secretly a demon, and the academy recently got some new demonic detectors, and as opposed to the old ones, these actually work. you can only avoid the main hall for so long.

results matching ""

    No results matching ""