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Milton-Parc Gothic

You’re awoken, whether by the sudden chill in the air or the sound of first years chanting outside, you can only guess. They’ve been there since Frosh. It’s March. Should you help them? You close the window. The wind is gone, but the chill has sunk into your very bones. You can still hear, faintly, the ghostly cries of intoxicated children. You shiver. No one makes it out of Frosh unscathed. 

You’re at Presse Café. You haven’t been there in months but they smile fondly at you and remember your usual order. They are kind, too kind. The posters on the wall are the same as you remember them, but something is off. You realize the models’ eyes are following you. No, that’s not it. They’re following whatever the man at the register is looking at. He looks at you, the posters look at you. He looks at the door, they look at the door. You tip well and resolve never to set foot in there again. 

There’s an intersection shaped like a parallelogram. You know the one. You look both ways, or rather, all ways. There are no cars as far as the eye can see. You step off the curb. Suddenly, cars are coming at you from all directions. You jump back from the reverse Bermuda triangle onto the safety of the curb. This has been a near-death experience. You are unfazed. 

You’ve been at Milton B. since midnight. Your Google Doc remains empty, though you have been working nonstop. The place crawls with cops. You glare at them. They order coffee. They are parasites. You go outside to get some fresh air and realize the sun is rising. It is beautiful. You are suddenly very tired. Your essay, which was due last week, can wait another day. 

“On a de tout, même un ami!” warns Jean Coutu. You wonder what it could mean. In your haste to catch the bus, you stumble. A man helps you up, you make eye contact. You realize it’s Jean Coutu himself. “Veux-tu être mon ami?” he asks. You try to run. His grip on your wrist is surprisingly strong. “Non merci,” you whisper. He disappears in a cloud of dust. 

You’re in the 25h dep. You ask the cashier when the 25th hour takes place. You’re joking, but their eyes go dark. You regret having asked. You wake up in a cold sweat. You check your phone. Your friends are worried about you. You’ve been asleep for days. Do not ask about the 25th hour.