April 22, 2017

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The Beginning 

Casey Aitken stared up at the buildings in front of her, excitement as thick as the summer heat coursing through her veins. She gripped her bags, her knuckles white on the straps. A bounce in her every step, she glanced at her sister, Meg. For the past two or three years, Meg had attended central, spending her lime divided between the social scene and minimal effort in her studies. The sight of her enthusiastic baby sister bobbing through the campus amused her.

”I can’t believe I’m actually here!” Casey said, her voice more controlled than Meg had expected. The younger girl looked around. The buildings stood low on the ground, short and squat. They didn’t sing of elegance, money, and overabundant intelligence, like those of older colleges. They didn’t warn of evildoers or reak of poverty. The buildings of Central instead stood with arms wide open, offering a warm welcome to students of all varieties. They smiled on each new face that stepped onto their grounds. Central accepted everyone with the same warmth of a grandmother greeting her long-Iost grandchildren, for that was how central saw its students: long-lost children in need of schooling.

Or at least, Casey saw Central in that light. Many others saw a different, darker side to Central, her sister included. These students saw in their university a pal, a drinking buddy, a comrade in alcoholic arms. To them, their university helped to cultivate the culture they demanded, a culture rampant with behaviors once called immoral now called fun, because the university, helpless to stop it, turned a blind eye and allowed it to grow and flourish.

Casey hadn’t come for that version of Central. She wanted the grandmother. The university that would teach her and help her to grow and flourish as a person. Because of these ideals, Casey had convinced herself that the other side of the school, the part hiding (not so well) among the shadows, existed nowhere but in myth and legend. She refused to believe otherwise.

Until she met Jared Pfaff, prince of the dark underworld of Central. From the first moment she saw Jared, the young man charmed her. That came as no surprise to anyone on campus. Jared charmed anyone he met, male and female alike. Many a freshman fell prey to Pfaff and his apparent magnetism. Year after year, from his first semester at Central, Jared left a trail of tears and a path of broken hearts in his wake. Jared Pfaff destroyed more lives than any number of natural disasters, but his charm, no matter how many warnings against it they received, always drew in the kindest, most conservative and romantic young women on campus. His charms didn’t fail on Casey, perhaps the most idealistic young woman of them all, just as Meg had predicted.

“Don’t let Pfaff run away with anything, Case,” Meg warned. “He’s known for hurting girls like you.”

Casey’s friend Ian Martz, a young man she had met while on an orientation tour, joined Meg in her protests. Ian worried for Casey’s well-being. A kindred spirit, Casey Aitken had become his friend before he could say his own name backwards. She made him laugh, a side not everyone knew existed in academic young lady. Her smile never failed to bring one to his face. Every minute he spent with her felt more worthy of his time than even his studies, on most days. Lucky for him, most of the time he spent with her, they spent studying.

Ian would rather die than see the lovely girl he cared so much for get hurt. He told her so, though not in as many words. “Casey, please,” he begged. ”Everyone has heard of Jared Pfaff. He’s bad news.”

Casey simply couldn’t see it. How could she? Their first meeting was, after all, straight out of a story book.

Her nose stuck in a book, as an bookish freshmen tend to do, Casey almost walked right past Jared Pfaff. If only, if only! As she walked by him, she spotted him doing what his sort do best: preying on unsuspecting young freshmen. When one particularly shy young girl tripped as she passed, her nerves getting the best of her, Casey witnessed Jared lean down and help the poor thing to her feet. He even gathered her books, replacing them in her bag. A moment of redemption for the resident Prince of Darkness! If only our dear, sweet Miss Aitken could peer into the soul of this man, she would see his true colors and the blackness of his heart.

***

Prompt: Write about characters in a story pre-developed. Revisiting the Aitken sisters and Elegance & Idiocy!

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