The Tale of Ebenezer Student

The strange wispy specter invades the lonely student’s room.

“Who are you,” asks Ebenezer Student.

“Ask me who I was,” replies the pale figure.

“Particular for a shade. Who were you then?”

“At school I was your lab partner, Jacob Tardy.”

“Can you sit down?”

“That is in my budget.”

“Do it then.”

With a sort of mournful dredging the specter came over and sat in the seat opposite Ebenezer Student. Ebenezer could still see the chair’s woodwork through the ghost’s torso. He stared in disbelief.

“You don’t believe in me?” Tardy asked.

“I don’t.”

“What evidence, would you have of my reality beyond that of your own senses? Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because a little thing affects them. A bad score on an assignment, a missed problem on a test. There is more anxiety than veracity with you. Humbug I say.”

At this point Tardy jumped up and let out a dreadful cry, sending Ebenezer falling to his knees.

“Mercy, dreadful apparition. But, why do finals walk the earth? Why have they come to persecute me? And what is that great chain you wear?”

“I wear the chain I forged in debt. I made it, class by class, and term by term. Is its pattern strange to you, or would you know the weight of the strong coil you bear yourself?”

“I see no chain,” Mr. Student says, looking about himself.

“Mine were invisible, until the day of my graduation, as yours shall be.”

Crawling back into his chair Ebenezer faces the faded form. “Tell me more, Tardy, but speak comfort to me.”

“I have not to give,” the ghost said, making for the window. “Comfort comes from other sources and to other men then you.”

“I’m sorry for you, Jacob, is there anything I can do?”

“For me? nay, it is too late. But I have come, for your sake, Ebenezer.”

“Have you? Well, you always were a good friend.”

“As part of my penance, I have been sent to warn you. You will be haunted by three Finals.”

“Three finals. Is that the hope you mentioned?”

“It is,” the ghost says.

“Well, in that case, I think I’d rather not.”

“Expect the first tomorrow, Monday morning.”

“Couldn’t I take them all at once, and get it over with.”

“Expect the second on the dawn of Tuesday. The third, more terrible, shall appear in its own good time.”

The specter opened the window, and, as if he were as light as a feather, flew out into the streets. Ebenezer Student’s room was filled with a lamenting chorus of indebted souls. Coming to the window he looked out at the thousands of highly educated unemployed thronging the streets in chains. Some of them he knew.

Closing the shutter, he mutters to himself, “It’s all in your head. It’s all in your head.”

 

A similar post I made:
The Way

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