Who’s that new student on campus?

We all know that the University of Tulsa’s budget leaves much to be desired. The major well of wealth for the university, wealthy foreign students who do not benefit from scholarships and financial aid, has dried up, and now the administration and board must search for alternative sources of funding or new groups of students to potentially exploi— educate. These actions started shortly before the administration revealed TU’s money problems, but with stronger competition seducing scholarly prospects away from Oklahoma, the current budget crisis requires a different, more novel approach.

With desperation creeping in, the board has made an executive decision to question local taboos and look into less traditional avenues for student recruitment, including demonic pacts, pagan rituals and eldritch summoning circles. Unfortunately, these efforts remain largely fruitless. Some say negotiations with the demons ended before they truly began because the board and top-level administration lacked even a single soul to offer to the infernal individuals. The parallel investigation into hosting non-traditional religious beings also failed. Though amenable to the board’s entreaties, the pagan entities could not attend the university due to the Presbyrterian and Catholic ministers consecrating the campus grounds before the school opened in the early 1900s. Those pagan deities were rather hard to communicate with, but a local witch was able to translate their various groans, screeches and whines into, oddly enough, Russian and then into English.

As the amount of successful attempts to find more students rivaled the TU football team’s win/loss ratio, the bargaining position of the suits in charge of this glorified country club continued to slump like a senior student in their final semester, which led to the current issue at hand.

Some of you may have noticed a new, somewhat strange looking figure on campus. Or not. Sometimes he partially fades out of this dimension or wipes the minds of those around him — accidentally, according to him. Aside from his strange inherent powers, the new kid in town is the metaphorical offspring of the agreement between administrative head Janet Levit and the shadow school president George Kaiser, as well as the literal offspring of two entities whose names cannot translate into english. Thankfully, their child’s name, while difficult to pronounce, read, write and contemplate, can be represented with the standard english alphabet. Such a magical title roughly translates to Flghyr By’thl of the New Phthelrygh By’thls, and he retains the air of prestige common to that family.

As a mechanical engineering and art history double major, Flghyr represents the best and brightest of the university, combining liberal arts and hard science with his own culture and beliefs. At least, that’s what his proponents in the bureaucracy say in their official statement.

We — those with boots on the ground — recognize him as a masterful prankster and reckless drunk. One story, whether inflated over time or through the impact of reputation, centers on a mech e project in which each group had to test the effects of friction in various instances. Of course, the eldritch persuaded his cadre to slack off on the project, pushing back group work days and study sessions and promising his cohort that he had a way to ace the class for himself and his friends. Flghyr, utilizing some of his hometown magic, removed the memories of the project from his professor. However, Flghyr’s touch on the man’s mind wasn’t light, and accidentally deleted the concept of friction from the professor’s mind, as well as the concept of the letters f, r, i, c, t and n. O, for some unknown reason, outlasted Flghyr’s mental assault.

While the institutionalization of a professor and related psychological counseling leave a definite paper trail, many of Flghyr’s other pranks do not. A group of stoners reported seeing colors unlike any other on earth after spending an hour with Flghyr. One student has, reportedly, seen him abducting squirrels, placing them in a sack, then reaching into another sack to reveal a different squirrel and moving on like nothing happened. The reasons behind this mass-squirrel kidnapping remain unclear, but the new ones share a distinctive smell of ozone and pain. Others state that personal items, such as clothing, personal mementos and family photos, have disappeared after hosting the supernatural entity. Some go so far to say that Flghyr himself took them, while most ascribe their disappearance to the singular excuse of “I forgot where I put it.”

These actions, while certainly odd and unconventional, do not incite the disdain and rage necessary to break off the pact with the eldritch, especially when one considers Flghyr’s unspoken role of a test case. If the school disciplines Flghyr for any of these incidents, it would indicate to the eldritch that this representative of their species was hated for his bodily features over his sense of impropriety. Speaking of such a description of the youth, there really isn’t one. Some claim his bottom half is that of a goat, others say the left side of his torso seems more jellyfish than anything else, the right arm ends with a vicious claw that is sometimes incorporeal, and any individual that looks at him for long enough ceases to understand what they’re seeing.

Among the people in the know, aka not me but my sources, Flghyr routinely wipes his existence out of the minds of those he meets, claiming it’s both a conscious action on his part and a trick used by the brain to compartmentalize information dangerous to the human psyche. This pattern of pranks, jokes and squirrel theft and regular theft were overlooked by the administration, but, again according to my sources, the board had to step in after a series of high profile vandalism cases emerged in relation to several religious institutions and the defacement of their premises.

The witness statements are spotty, with a multitude of contradictions, but the main thrust of the case focused on Flghyr “corrupting and consuming” the inner halls located in the places of worship. A graphic report compared the process of “consuming” to a fly vomiting on its food, then drinking the slurry produced by acidic content of the vomit. While disgusting by itself, the witness spoke with a special insistence on how much Flghyr could throw up or, more precisely, how much of himself he could launch from his body.
In any case, the university reached out to outside professionals and a veritable goon-squad of religious leaders, experts on eldritch monsters and lunar cultists worked with local witches to tame the beast.
You thought it was COVID-19 keeping people off campus? No, it’s the conflict between the exorcism hit team and the giant eldritch thing that continues to guzzle the essence of life from our plane of existence and precious squirrels.

Sidenote: if you see a squirrel with eyes that look somehow different. Do. Not. Feed. Them. You’ll only make that mistake once.

Post Author: Adam Walsh