– There are three girls in your 8:30 class who are always early. No matter how soon you arrive, they are already seated in the front row, alert, notebooks ready. You have never heard them speak and you have never seen them outside the class.
– The FMT students travel in packs. What are they afraid of?
– You are waiting in line for the shuttle. The line in front of you continues to grow, yet the line behind you stays the same size.
– Every professor somehow knows your name immediately. They know your parents’ names. They know your pets’ names. You cannot meet their gaze no matter how hard you try.
– You walk past the bulletin board and a notice catches your eye. “Affordable furnished room female roommate only,” it says. The paper is yellowed and crumbles to the touch.
– “Are you going to the Ceilidh?” someone asks. You look into their eyes and they stare back, unblinking. Their eyes look completely dead.
– You wait in line for the shuttle. The hands of your watch stop moving, the students around you become frozen, motionless, staring at their phones. Time is standing still.
– Your professor disappears for weeks at a time without notice. “He is doing fieldwork,” the guest lecturer says. When your professor returns, he seems disoriented and changes the subject every time someone mentions his absence.
– You are standing by the bar at the Ceilidh. “Wagon Wheel” begins to play. You realize that you have lived this evening before.
– You enter the computer lab in the evening and see a man hunched in the corner, wearing a parka. Over the next few days, you start seeing him everywhere: in the library, in the cafeteria, walking across campus. “Help me,” he always says imploringly.
– You see a group of bioresource students huddled together, whispering. They keep mentioning “the project.”
– Your lab is held at the McGill Bird Observatory. You are not allowed to touch the birds. You are not allowed to look at the birds. You are not allowed to think about the birds.
– You are driving through campus at night and you see a figure running alongside your car. It is your professor.
– You see a student run up to the shuttle, out of breath, and wave to get the driver’s attention as the door closes. The student knocks on the door and the shuttle begins to drive away. The student is on their knees, sobbing. The shuttle is gone.
– Your lecturer begins to speak about ecosystem services. You have heard this lecture before. You have seen this PowerPoint presentation before. The lecturer’s voice takes on a robotic quality. The entire class joins in as they slowly recite, “ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits that humans derive from ecosystems.”
– You are walking to the Centennial Centre when you suddenly realize that you are surrounded by complete silence. There is no one else in sight. It is noon on a Tuesday.
– Students line up with old yogurt containers and pasta jars to purchase TVP. Why do they need so much TVP? What are they preparing for? Whatever it is, you hope you will be ready.
– Your classmate goes to your professor’s office to “talk about a project.” They never come back.
– You bite into your Twigs sandwich and suddenly can’t remember what other sandwiches taste like. The cranberry and brie runs down your throat as your struggle to remember.
– “The shuttle is full,” says the driver. You peer into the bus and see an entire aisle of free seats. You stare at the driver, confused. They smile, revealing a row of long, sharp teeth.
– Your professor tells you to record and photograph every creature you see on campus for the rest of the semester. “This is a very important assignment,” he says. Why does he sound so afraid?
– You hear someone in cowboy boots walking down the hallway. You hear 1000 pairs of cowboy boots marching down the hallway. The sound grows deafening. They are coming.