100 Words A Day by Hydrargentium

Well, at least 100 words — best served random….

Tag: Goodwin Hall

He recognized her. Chelsea Halligan — Professor Halligan — always kept a tidy office. Most of the other professors in Computing Science were men, and had offices ranging from eccentric to disastrous, but even the other two female professors in the department tended towards clutter and piles.

“Oh,” she said, when she looked up from her cell phone and caught sight of him in the gloom of the corridor. It was times like this that Mongrel wished he could make himself smaller. The light from the window at the end of the hallway would be putting him in silhouette, making him look even bigger and more imposing.

“It’s okay,” he said, trying to sound friendly and gentle, and grimacing at the growly sound of his voice. That wouldn’t help either, here.

“I… my name’s Mongrel. I’m supposed to be here.”

She looked like she was thinking about screaming, or maybe calling 9-1-1. He caught the first whiffs of fear on her scent — something else he didn’t need to think about to recognize — even though she was nearly twenty feet away. This was exactly the kind of thing he didn’t want happening. Once again, he wished he could become smaller.

Then he realized he could make himself smaller and less threatening, sort of. Without moving too quickly, he dropped to his knees until he was sitting down fully on his heels. Remembering something he’d read about inmates in support groups, he clasped his hands behind his back, trying to indicate his commitment to non-confrontation and passivity.

“What… what are you doing?”

The corridors of Goodwin Hall were dark, as if they were inspired by the mines the engineers on the lower floors were learning to build. Somehow, the computer science students on the upper floors didn’t seem to mind.

Mongrel looked through an open door at an empty classroom. The floors were clean enough, but the waste bin needed emptying. He shook his head and smiled to himself — someone else’s job now.

He heard a door close around the corner. Flaring his nostrils, he smelled feminine smells: make-up, something in her hair, Secret deodorant, and of course that ‘female’ scent. The beauty products he had to think about, to sort out chemical tangs. The other scent he just knew, as an instinct.

He listened to her footsteps: not high heels, but still percussive. She was coming his way. The moment before she came around the corner, he fought the urge to hide, duck into the open classroom. Then it passed, and the woman stepped into view.