By: Natasha Tar
Update: On March 30, 2018, Magnolia Thresh, a fifth-year kinesiology student, submitted the following story to the Burnaby Police Department:
The walkways of Burnaby campus were quiet and undisturbed. The full moon was out, as I made my way across the Academic Quadrangle courtyard, holding my jacket closed against the breeze. I stopped at the edge of the reflecting pond, despite wanting to get home. My friend once told me that someone removes the koi fish in the winter, but I still peered into the water, hopeful.
In the moonlight, I could make out bubbles rising in the middle of the pool. I moved across the walkway for a better look before a foreboding shape rose out of the water. It grew until it surpassed my height and eclipsed the moon. From its pale silhouette, I could make out the shapes of wheels, rearview mirrors, and limp hands. What floated before me was a small mountain of cars. No, not a mountain, I thought, casting my eyes to the water once more.
I pulled out my phone and turned on the flashlight. Below the surface, hundreds of vehicles descended into the deep. The light illuminated rotten human heads, some serene and others with looks of terror slashed across their faces. I turned off the flashlight. It was an iceberg. A gruesome iceberg made of frozen cars and people. That was all I remembered before blacking out.
In October 2017, a car drove into the AQ reflecting pond. The older man behind the wheel, who asked not to be named, cited unfamiliarity with the area as the cause of his blunder, but later admitted he knew exactly where he was going.
“When I was a student here in ‘67, my brother and I found three Volkswagen Bugs in the surrounding forests of SFU,” he explained. “There were symbols carved all along the insides of the cars. My brother became obsessed with them and spent every moment trying to interpret them. One day, I went into the forest to check on him, but he and one of the cars were gone.”
The man noticed tire tracks near the forest. He followed them until they tapered off right at the edge of the reflecting pond. His brother was never heard from again.
“After that, I became a bit like my brother,” he admitted. “I studied the symbols within the remaining cars for hours, but knew that the key to it all must have been in the third car. I gave up on my brother and the symbols when I graduated.”
Driving his car into the AQ pond was a last-ditch effort at retrieving his brother. “I’m lucky to be alive,” the man commented. “It was a foolish endeavour in a moment of weakness. I can’t even tell this to the police; they’d think I’m a looney.”
Soon after the incident, a local publication picked up the story and made it into a joke about parking availability on campus. The article advertised the reflecting pond as a new parking lot for SFU students who could not get parking anywhere else on Burnaby Mountain. Unfortunately, it became a popular story that attracted the very real, post-ironic attention of desperate students.
Later in the semester, professors began to note an unexplainable decline in turnout for lectures and tutorials. Some students approached campus security about friends who hadn’t turned up for class in weeks, but they were laughed away.
“There was this girl in my humanities tutorial, Samantha or Stefanija or something,” said second-year Shay Ogilvie. “I never got her phone number or anything, but I noticed she hadn’t shown up in a while, which was weird because she’s really smart and usually smart people don’t skip class? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.”
When asked about the article on parking spaces in the AQ pond, Ogilvie replied, “Article? Oh yeah, the girl in my tutorial definitely said she was going to look into that actually. I told her not to listen to anything the paper said, though. It’s all fake news. They have tits on their cover every other week.”
Recently, Burnaby Mountain received below-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall which completely encased the reflecting pond in ice. Some students vowed to send an exploration team into the pond once it has thawed, but weather reports look grim; The Weather Network predicts that the next warm day will be in late March.