By Gary McGath
Copyright 2008 by Gary McGath. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fan fiction. All trademarks, references to published works of fiction, and allusions to familiar characters are for purposes of entertainment or satire only. This is not a commercial work and is not offered for sale.
Hugh looked at the building and saw there was something odd there, but couldn't make it out till they got closer. "It looks like an eyeball!" he said.
"This couldn't have anything to do with $DARK_LORD, could it?" Rom asked ominously.
"No, no, it's a different binding of $DARK_LORD who does evil eyeballs!" said Linus.
"Er ... Why is the Plot Device sputtering?" asked Hugh.
"Unix, you fixed that memory leak, didn't you?" asked Linus.
"I thought you fixed it!"
"Hang on, everyone," Linus said grimly. "This could be a rough landing." He brought the car down quickly, hoping to touch ground before system failure.
As the car approached the airstrip, Hugh sighed with relief and said, "It looks like we're safe aft --"
"Don't say that!" Rom yelled. But it was too late. Having found a dramatic moment, the Plot Device shut down completely. The car came down harshly and rolled over on its side.
As the car rolled over, the seat belts held everyone in place. A number of people came running out to help them, Grid in the lead. Hugh and Rom soon were in the infirmary being checked out, feeling very sore and very embarrassed. Hugh's left forearm was slightly cracked. They came to the opening assembly, both bandaged up and Hugh's arm in a sling, as Professor Dublincore was delivering his address.
"When you flew in," he was saying, "either on the Bugwarts express or by less conventional and reliable means -- " he glanced at Rom and Hugh as they entered -- "you may have noticed a new device on the roof. This all-seeing unit will help us to maintain standards by detecting their violation. Its name is the Eye of Tripoli."
There was a murmur through the hall, as many students said things like "Creepy" and "Invasion of privacy."
Dublincore continued, "The Eye has already shown its worth -- and I'm afraid I have to tell you some bad news here. Professor Squirrel is no longer with us. His body was found in a non-public area of Bugwarts. The circumstances of his death are still unclear, but the coroner said that no human attack could have caused his injuries. He appeared to have been crushed by a large animal, though there was none in the area.
"He was found when the Eye detected an extremely non-standard printer in the same room. We believe it was connected with Professor Squirrel's untimely demise. It has been destroyed. I wish I could tell you more, but there are some things man was not meant to know."
Hugh was gripped by simultaneous relief and frustration. He wasn't a suspect in the death of Squirrel, who was really the infamous Lord Petitmol. But the Programmer's Printer, the tool which he thought would lead him to his destiny as the Heir of Lovecraft, was gone. Whatever words it printed turned into reality; Lord Petitmol wanted it for himself, but Hugh's heritage had allowed him to turn it against him.
He noticed Hermioport, who was sitting by herself a couple of tables away; everyone else had moved to a safe distance from her. He could smell her even from where he was.
So here he was at the start of the school year, and so far he had caused the death of a professor, had made a student into a zombie, and was wearing a sling on his arm. Things could only improve -- he hoped.