Story Every Day – Day 9

Whew!

This is a little piece that may turn into a Simon Temple, aka, Tenebrous, adventure. Tenebrous seemed pretty popular with my writing group, and I do have a certain fondness for him. But until now I haven’t really put much thought into more Tenebrous stories. What sort of villains would he normally face? What are his nightly patrols like? What drove him to his crusade against crime? I’ll want to address all these questions. I really enjoy writing about him simply interacting with his civilian peers.

Saw the Hulk today. I may chat about that some tomorrow.

EDIT July 1: Evidently someone who goes by Tenebrous (an online name I assume?) stumbled across this and suddenly I’m getting a tons of hits on this particular entry. In case any of you are curious, this Tenebrous character is featured in my superhero story “Shades of Red,” available over at the journal “A Thousand Faces.”

Tenebrous

Simon Temple stared at the mounds of exams and term papers covering his desk. His gaze wandered to the bottom left-hand drawer. He itched to tear open the drawer and begin his nightly rounds. But they’d have to wait; this was finals week.

Simon sighed. As much as he loved the university, he hated grading. He stood and stretched, taking note of the various bones popping and complaining from sitting in chairs all day long. He went out into the lounge he shared with the rest of the History professors and set up a new pot of coffee. Judging by how many other lights shone from beneath the doors adjacent the lounge, it would be appreciated. Simon leaned against the counter and rubbed the weariness from his eyes. When he looked up, a young man stood in the lounge doorway. Simon recognized him instantly, one of his Museum Studies students. The boy hesitated in the entry, hugging a stack of books close to his chest. A backpack sagged from his shoulder.

“Ah, Dwayne,” Simon said. He waved the student in. “Nothing to be afraid of in here. Come on in.”

Dwayne relaxed a little and shuffled forward. Dwayne was an excellent student when it came to the assignments, turning in excellent papers and flawless tests, always on time. But his social skills were a bit lacking—the boy rarely spoke up in class. Simon had tried drawing him out of his shell all semester, without much success. He’d never appeared anywhere near the faculty offices. Better late than never, Simon mused.

“What brings you by?” asked Simon. He swapped out the filters on the coffee maker.

“How, um, how are—how is the grading coming?” Dwayne mumbled.

“Fine, just fine,” Simon told him. He winked. “Not looking to get your grade early, are we?”

For a moment Dwayne looked terrified, his eyes bulging and his shoulders tensing. “No! No, sir!”

“Relax, Dwayne. Everything’s cool.” Simon noticed the spines of the books Dwayne held to his chest. No college textbooks those, they were heavy, leather bond volumes. Simon could only really see one of them clearly, but he recognized it as the Necromonia Compendium. Simon thought he’d possessed the only copy in the country.

“Some interesting reading you’ve got there,” Simon said, immediately regretting the slight but distinct hard edge that slipped into his voice. Dwayne was a student, not some street thug. Dwayne was a bright kid, and had no doubt gone digging for some extra credit. He probably hoped to impress me, Simon thought.

Dwayne didn’t seem to notice, and in fact brightened. He eagerly stepped up and put the books on the counter. Several other books that Simon knew quite well, at least by their infamy.

“I thought you might be interested in these,” Dwayne said, so quickly he stumbled over his words. “I, I have found them fascinating.”

Simon could not help the threatening undertones in his voice now. “You were able to read them?” The Compendium alone could only be deciphered by the most learned scholars—most of its text was written thousands of years ago. Only the latter few chapters were written in anything approximating English. Of those who had read those pages, most were dead. Or worse.

Dwayne gulped. “Well, I, you…a little,” he conceded.

“That’s probably already too much,” whispered Simon.

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