It's coming for you...

It’s coming for you…

Happy Halloween month! If you’re anything like us, you’re already getting your spook on in preparation for the 31st. But why wait, especially when Columbia is so heavily furnished with horrors all-year-round? Tremble in fear as Senior Staff Writer Asya Sagnak uncovers the first of our Campus Horror Stories, inspired by the very real rodent problem reported in countless dorms.

You remember the exact time it all began. You were in a crowded elevator, exhausted after your 8:40am. Although you frequent Overheard at Barnard, you weren’t in the mood to listen to other people’s conversations – it was too early, and you were just looking to mind your own business. But when your ears caught something odd, you leaned in with interest: “We’re very happy with the suite, yes. All seven of us.”

All seven? This is Plimpton, you thought to yourself. Only six people can live in Plimpton suites. You listened on.

“I mean, we had no choice but to accept him as one of our own. The glue traps weren’t working. We feed it now – at least maybe if it likes us, it won’t pee in the rooms.”

The realization hit you like the discovery of an unexpected next-day midterm. The seventh member of their suite was a rat. Your fellow elevator users, having discovered a rat in their suite, had given up on extermination and resigned to adoption.

You checked the elevator buttons. You lived on floor eleven. The only other button that had been pressed was for floor twelve. But… that wasn’t possible. Rats only showed up on lower floors. Right?

“Excuse me,” you asked, voice shaking. “Not to be rude, but…. What floor do you guys live on?”

One of the girls snapped her head back in response. A hollowed laugh escaped her lips, filling the small space with cruel noise. “Fifteen,” she said, looking down. When she looked back up her gaze met yours.

“So you’re probably next.”

You ran out of the elevator and scrambled to your suite. The thought of even possibly sharing living space with a rodent terrified you. “Sarah?” you called out. “Ellie? Anna?” – no response. The hallway was empty, and the kitchen had remained untouched other than a toppled container of Whole Foods pre-grated parmesan. “That’s odd,” you thought to yourself, “wasn’t that in the fridge?” It was expensive. You were upset.

Realization dawned upon you once again. From the corner of your eye, you saw that one of your suitemates doors had been left slightly ajar. You took one small step, then another. When you reached the steel blue surface, you pushed it forward with your trembling foot.

Your suitemate, Anna, had turned into a rat. Literally… turned into huge rat. Remember reading The Metamorphosis for your English seminar last year? Yeah, like that.

The details are too gory to mention, but that was two months ago. Anna was the first to transform, but the other four followed soon afterwards. You never heard from the girls on floor twelve, so you assume they shifted too. You’re not sure why it’s happening, but you have a working theory – at some point, the stress of living with rodents got so heavy that their metabolisms shut down and succumbed to the majority power in the suite. It’s a little weird, but you’ve gotten used to it. The silver lining is that they’re much worse with keeping up on their studies – the grade averages are falling rapidly. Maybe you can get that prize internship after all.

All is well. You settle into your bed for a good night’s sleep. You have one last thought in your head as you slip away – as someone once told you in an elevator, for all you know, you might be next.

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