Campus Comforts

Aydan maneuvered through the crowd, smiling at passersby, petting dogs and cats and even a ferret in a ridiculously cute halter. The campus had done away with its “no pets” policy.

Red brick facades of dormitories were freshly washed, another new aspect of how the college beautified itself. Of course, it was a ridiculous waste of natural resources, but the buildings did look better than during their six years of matriculation.

Fall was in the air as well. Low humidity and a breeze brought with it the appealing smell of decaying leaves. The trees were still populated, but the leaves were now shades of oranges and reds and yellows.

Aydan spotted three giant piles fifty yards away, each with lines of students waiting. A whistle blew, and three students sprinted toward their respective piles. Aydan gasped. Sweet Osiris.




Leaves flew into the air around the jumpers, floating in arcs back to the dewy grass. Three men to the left of each pile flipped through a stack of cards, picked one, and thrust it into the air. One team whooped with raised hands, while the other two merely clapped the returning student on the shoulder as they passed to the back of the line.

“It’s something, isn’t it?” Pinar asked, nudging Aydan with her shoulder.

“Isn’t that dangerous?” Aydan asked, even as their feet dragged them closer.

Pinar looped her arm through Aydan’s, matching their pace despite the two-meter difference in height.

“There are three heavy-duty mattresses under the piles. If they hit the center of the pile, they’re mostly good,” Pinar answered.

“And the administration is okay with this?” Aydan asked.

The crowd ringing the sidewalks around the “competition” was getting thicker. Pinar guided them to the front of the closest group of jumpers.

“The student body voted overwhelmingly in favor of it. Administration had to accept it,” Pinar said. A smirk teased her lips.

“You’re awful,” Aydan said. They tried to pull their arm away. “Neper is going to have words with you.”

“Nobody’s died yet. He has no reason to ‘have words’ with me,” Pinar countered.

“Whatever. The students are entertained, at least,” Aydan said.

“That’s the goal. Winter will be here soon. You know how miserable Sekhmet makes things,” Pinar said before sighing.

“I miss it here.”

“So come back. There’s room for you.”

Aydan shook their head. It was nice to visit, but they had responsibilities elsewhere.

“Maybe in a century or two,” they said.

Pinar cackled, drawing the attention of a few women ahead of them. Aydan hushed her, but Pinar just laughed louder.

“Fine. Twenty-five years,” Aydan grumbled.

Pinar wrapped an arm around their shoulders, tugging them close and planting a sloppy kiss on their temple. “Deal.”

Scroll to Top