To say that we packed light is an understatement. We packed super light. Someone recently told me a saying that stuck in my mind.
"No one ever wishes they packed heavier."
So true. With fewer baggage comes more freedom, and that's exactly what we're after. Still, when Todd suggested that we take only a small backpack each, I thought he was crazy.
I wrote the following story in a single 13 hour sprint at the end of NaNoWriMo. At 22,000 words, it is almost half of my novel. It takes place in the world of SIxpence Games's upcoming Cultists of Cthulhu: Miskatonic University. It is presented here unedited, save for spelling and grammar.
______________________________________________________Jimmy Sullivan, real name Johan Shlomo Rosenberg, woke up, yawned, stretched his arms, and lay back down in bed. “Five more minutes…” he mumbled to no one. After another two hours, he awoke again. He yawned again, wishing he was sleepy enough that he could return to the comfort of his bed, but knowing he could not regain his pleasantly dream filled slumber. Grumbling, he cracked his back and got up. He went over to the window of his dormitory and pulled the curtains aside. Staring out into the quad, he sipped from the glass of water he had gotten himself the previous night. He was used to being able to see a grand view across the quad of the Hall of Nature and the Sciences, the combination women’s dormitory and administrative building, and the Historical Studies building - the oldest and largest of the buildings on campus, which housed his major, Anthropology, as well as a variety (which he termed a mishmash) of other studies-Archaeology, Sociology, Economics, general History, and yet more. Today, however, Miskatonic University was completely overcome by a thick New England fog, which obscured his view to the point he had to look down from his second floor window to the ground to check that there wasn’t just a sheet of grey paper in front of it.
Jimmy dressed casually but warmly. It was Winter Break-Christmas Break, officially, but Jimmy was Jewish, not that he let anyone know that here, and so it was Winter Break in his mind, Chanukah having ended a while ago. Jimmy was one of the few unfortunate souls remaining at the school, his classmates having been lucky enough to live nearby or have parents wealthy enough to be able to afford train tickets home for the holidays. Holiday, singular, he thought bitterly, then remembered New Year’s. Did that count as a holiday? It was pretty far from a High Holy Day, though given the consumerism levels he saw on disgusting display every Christmas, it was astonishing to him that Christians considered Christmas a Holy Day these days. Whatever, he shouldn’t let it get to him so much. He pulled on a warm coat and stepped down the stairs, taking them slowly, as his cane forced him to.
At the base of the stairs he went over to knock on his best friend’s door, the only one of his friends who had remained over the break. He knocked and stood there for a moment, shifting his weight from his good foot to his cane and back. He was hungry, and that always made him energetic, for whatever reason. After a moment of waiting, he reached up to knock again, and just as his hand reached the door a thunderingly deep note resounded from behind him. He jumped, whirled around, collapsed against the wall, and put his hand to his chest in mock heart attack. Adam had been sitting there at the piano the whole time, unnoticed, waiting for his opportunity, and now that he had taken it, he cracked up and not-ineptly played a quick arpeggio and stood up, bounding forward to give Jimmy a hug.
Adam Smith (yes, descended from the economist, no, don’t ask him about it) had been Jimmy’s friend since Jimmy had moved to the US. Born in Germany, Jimmy’s parents had realized that someone was trying to turn up the heat under the usually-simmering anti-Semitism once the Great War had ended, and took the opportunity to move to a new location, one they hoped would be more approving of their “alternate lifestyle.” They moved into a mostly Jewish neighborhood of Brooklyn, and disapproved when their little boy had become best friends with, not just a goy, but this towering, meat headed picture of Aryan perfection! Their opinions had changed slightly when they learned Adam’s name - they were the kind of people who are always on the lookout for signs from G_d - and their opinion had been cemented when Adam had saved Jimmy, as he had by then taken to being called, from a pack of drunken louts looking for a member of some unpopular group to take out their frustration at Prohibition and the Depression. From that point on, Adam had been like unto a member of the family, and had joined them for more Shabbas dinners than he had missed. The favor had been repaid in full and the friendship cemented fully when Jimmy had pushed Adam out of the way of an oncoming automobile, sacrificing part of the functionality of his own leg in the process. Adam was at Miskatonic primarily to hold up their burgeoning American Football team, and he was acutely aware of how his life would have been much different, and much worse, if the auto had struck him instead of Jim.