When I woke this morning I didn't expect to be holed up in a broom closet shaking and sweating in fear. I sat there pressed against the old rags and mop heads that smelled of mildew and weak soap. Even in the midst of fear it disgusted me. What had caused me to run like a fool anyway? I'm not a runner, never have been. I guess I didn't expect to walk in on my professor changing into a…a what?
Class had ended and Gilly nudged me as we walked out the door. She knew I had a crush. Dr. Malcolm Conway aka Conner had been our physics professor for the last two years. At first taking the class had been all about him but within the first week I fell in love with physics. Who know? He wasn't just a pretty face anymore, I admired him. He opened the door to my little box of a world. Gilly always thought I should make a move but I didn't want to. I respected him too much to go mucking about with our teacher student relationship, but we had only two weeks left before the term ended. There would be no more classes to take and I was moving on. So, she convinced me to go for it. What did I have to lose?
This was the last class for the night and I paused outside the door waiting for everyone to leave. Gilly left me to it and I watched her walk down the crowded hall while I wondered what the hell I was doing. This was nuts and unprofessional and the scariest thing I'd ever done. I chickened out and stood there in the quickly emptying hall for, I don't know, twenty minutes, an hour. It was my last chance and I was blowing it based on a crumbling world's idea of right and wrong. I couldn't do it. It was a big fat fail, and why? Because I prefer to wait for things to happen to me instead of making them happen? Because I never do what I truly want to do because my main concern is what others think? Because I'd rather wait around until the man I adore walks off with some prettier smarter woman? No! Damn it, not this time.
A surge of adrenaline pumped through me. I was not going to talk myself out of it and I stopped thinking entirely, walking as fast as I could back into the room. I suppose, had I been thinking, I would have noticed the flickering lights and the strange sound coming from the back room that he used for a private office. Over the years I had been privy to that room on occasion. He would ask me to grab things he'd forgotten for class. So it wasn't out of the ordinary for me to barge right in. What I saw didn't compute. Not even a little.
He turned quickly when I entered and he froze just like I did. We stared at each other while his face shimmered and changed. His skin turned a soft blue and then black markings crawled and settled like a tattoo across his cheekbones and down his neck. The bridge of his nose smoothed and shorted a little and his ears sunk away, almost flush with his head. His eyes were last, filling in with a deep dark gold, but the shape was the same and his hair was gone.
If I was expecting such a thing he would have been gorgeous, but this was Earth. Regular, normal, stupid earth! He spoke my name and I came back to myself, then I bolted from the room. He came after me; his voice was not his voice. It was deeper and huskier and I heard him running behind me but I wasn't going to waste time looking back. I slammed into a wall as I rounded a corner crushing my shoulder, which even now throbs with my heart beat. I turned another corner and I saw an unlatched door. I yanked it open, slid inside, and carefully, quietly, clicked it shut.
That is how I ended up in a broom closet this fine Friday night.