Written by: Ana Staskevich, Staff Writer
Illustration by: Alice Zhang
They watched as the figure walked closer, slowly lit up by the desktop’s light. Now they could see that it was just another person, but she was straight out of the uncanny valley. Her long, lanky limbs seemed to stretch for miles, and her straw-like hair dangled lifelessly just below her shoulders. There was a weird stench that permeated the air, like decay.
“Well well, children. What do we have here? Are you tampering with my computer? I’ll have you know I’m one of the SFU administration clerks, and that’s a really big violation.” The stranger said, glaring at the two students with her anguine-like eyes.
Pauline and Barbara stared at each other, both looking like they just encountered something supernatural.
“We’re sorry! Please don’t report us. . . we just needed a place to stay, we just want our home back,” Barbara said frantically, her gaze darting between the SFU admin and the closed door.
“A place to stay? Well, then I guess you will have to stay here and do all my paperwork. Otherwise, I will report you,” the SFU admin said, pointing to the papers scattered around the room.
It felt like a jail sentence; doing all this labour and not getting much of value in return? Sounded like a minimum wage job in Vancouver!
The duo nodded solemnly and began to create a filing system. Hours had passed when they realized they barely made a dent in the paperwork.
“We have to get out of here,” Pauline whispered to Barbara, watching as the SFU admin leisurely browsed minion memes on Facebook. Pauline could make out some weird-looking minion in a skirt with the text that said “if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”
That seemed about right.
Pauline saw the snow flurries accumulating outside and then looked at the two chairs right by the door. She had an idea! She quietly turned to Barbara.
“Barb, we need to trick the SFU admin to get away from the front of the room so we can run out and lock her in by jamming a chair underneath the doorknob,” Pauline whispered.
When Barbara nodded, Pauline rapped on the big window, letting out a surprised gasp.
“Look! It’s starting to snow, I think they’re going to close campus and leave us all stranded on the mountain!”
The SFU admin quickly turned around and slithered slowly to the window, cursing under her breath.
As she moved to the back, Barbara silently unlocked the door and folded up one of the chairs, preparing to take it with her.
“What? No, this can’t be another snow day! They always tell us at the last minute and then the buses stop running,” the SFU admin huffed, easing up the blinds on the window.
This was their only chance at freedom; they had to make it.
Once the SFU admin’s back was to them, Pauline made a beeline to the computer, force quitting minion memes to get to the administrative page and entering their names into the Residence portal. She shoved past the Admin and as Pauline dove into the hallway, Barbara slammed the door door closed and wedged the chair underneath the handle.
They heard enraged screaming from the inside, and then the sound of papers flying everywhere. The stench of decay was getting stronger, and they wondered if the SFU admin could unlatch the door through sheer fury.
The duo didn’t want to stick around to find out. They ran out into the blistering cold — it felt like a storm was brewing — and zigzagged their way back to the Construction Maze. As they looked down, they saw the scattered balls of paper and made haste to follow them, frantically looking over their shoulders every now and then.
As they made it to WMC and then out, they ran to the resident housing, their hearts beating hard and fast.
There stood the RA, looking overjoyed to see his two favourites return. They ran into his arms, crying about how they “never wanted to be left again” and that “there was a witch locked up in the dungeon on campus” — whatever that last part meant.
And so they lived happily ever after.