Degrees of Horror

The English Patient

Episode 3

Cast: Eugene, Markus, Red

Markus has a problem. He is having trouble with his band, The Barbecue Boys. Grant Harroway, their bass guitarist, has been missing rehearsals. He didn’t show up to last night’s practice and is committing academic suicide by not attending Professor Cutter’s class.

It’s two days until the midterm. The whole school is stressing out.

It doesn’t help that Professor Cutter seems to take delight in making students stress. He’s a graduate student teaching freshmen English, which almost everyone known to the group is taking. Mathew Cutter is a jerk to his students, at least those that aren’t on the football team. Many of the students call him “Little Napolean”. Almost everyone is failing his class and he likes to joke about that. He’s loaded the students with extra assignments to “prepare them” for the midterm. He especially teases students with accents or who use improper grammar, to the point of embarrassing and infuriating them.

After class, one of Markus’ bandmates, Jason Reed, couldn’t wait to share his exciting news. He scored the band a gig! They’re going to play at Missy Jordon’s pre-midterm party! It’s a big party being thrown at Missy’s parent’s house. She’s paying them and everything. Markus explains that he can’t find Grant, and Jason explains that if they don’t show up with a full band, Missy will freak out and may cancel the gig. Markus wants Jason to talk to Grant, but Jason feel he’s done his part, and the rest is on Markus. Not knowing what to do, Markus starts asking around for Grant and even puts up some fliers around campus.

Red does not know about Markus’ attempts to find Grant nor does Markus know that Grant and Red are roommates. Back at Red’s dorm, Grant explains to Red what he’s been up to. Last night, he broke into Professor’s Cutter’s office and stole the test answers for the midterm. He offers to sell Red a copy, but Red convinces him to give him a copy for free. Grant is convinced that — until the midterms — he has no need to attend Professor Cutter’s class anymore and instead wants to focus on discretely selling the test answers around school.

Later that night, Markus eventually gets in touch with Grant and they meet-up at the Student Center where they shoot a game of pool. During the game, Grant explains what he’s been up to. Markus agrees to help him sell the answers around campus if he promises to be at the gig tomorrow night. Without hesitation, Grant agrees.

The next day. One day left until the midterm. A storm is coming.

Missy confronts Markus about the band, threatening him with bodily harm if anything goes wrong with her party tonight because of him and his band. Markus explains the flyers were a prank and that everything’s fine with the band. Once Missy is reassured, she gives him the time and address and makes sure he writes it down — although most people know where her parent’s estates are.

Keyva asks various students if they’ve seen Robbie. None of the group has, nor do they know who Robbie is, but Keyva seems disappointed that no one’s heard from him recently. A little asking around reveals that Robbie is Keyva’s boyfriend, but that’s about it. He is in Professor Cutter’s class, but in a different time-session.

Once class starts, Professor Cutter once again ridicules the class for their pathetic grade on their latest essay. a comparative analysis of Macbeth and Heart of Darkness. Only three students got passing grades, and they only barely passed. Toward the end of the class, he handed out cards that showed each student’s grade that showed their academic progress thus far and the grade they would need on the midterm to continue passing the class. Just as he was about to hand Markus a card, something weird and disturbing happened.

The professor doubled over in pain and started rubbing furiously at his eyes. He kept crying out in pain and yelling, “I can’t see! I can’t see!” Fearing that whatever happened was a result of the cards, Red and Eugene tried to gather them very carefully, without looking directly at their contents. Meanwhile, Markus instructed a nearby student, Benito Ramirez, to go get help.

A little while later, most of the other students had gone. Mathew Cutter was taken away by paramedics.

Afterwards, Markus had something to do (for Grant), so Red and Eugene decided to investigate the cause of their English teacher’s strange and sudden debility. They broke into Professor Cutter’s office (discretely), and hacked into his computer (not so discretely). They spent some time looking through his email for anything unusual. They found a surprising amount of hate mail from various students, but one recent email in particular stood out. Part of an email by Keyva Bordeaux read, “It hurts, but you’re to blind to notice. You don’t see anything past your own ego. It’s about time someone taught you a lesson.” While searching the office, Red also found a broken picture frame that had been recently shattered.

They decide their next step is to visit Keyva, but the two of them kind of hesitate at this point and have a lengthly discussion just outside her door.

Meanwhile, while selling answers to Professor Cutter’s midterm for Grant, Markus has learned from local gossip that there is a second similar victim — another graduate student, Katy Robins, had been taken to the hospital. Katy Robins is the girlfriend of Mathew Cutter and she became inflicted with the same problem at the same time, but she was on the other side of campus. Markus proceeds to the hospital to interview Katy but doesn’t get very much. Like Mathew, she is blind and in pain and has no idea why. The doctors don’t have any explanation other than to say it seems like an allergic reaction. They’ve given medication and tried to wash out the eyes, but nothing’s working. It’s got them stumped. Even the tranquilizers don’t seem to help much.

Back at school, Red decides to stay outside in the hallway while Eugene knocks on the door. Instead of Keyvia, however, they meet her roommate, Trustie Moon. Trystie explains that Keyva is out looking for her boyfriend but should be back soon. Trystie and Eugene talk for a little bit about the midterms and the party tonight and the events that happened in class. It’s clear Trystie is enjoying the conversation, but eventually Eugene brings up the subject of Keyva. Her attitude kind of changes then. She’s clearly afraid of Keyva, or more specifically, her stuff. Eugene takes this opportunity to see for himself what she is talking about, and she is so nervous about getting near that stuff that she does not stop him at all. Under Keyva’s bed Eugene finds a locked trunk. In the closet, he finds a small altar with some candles, a jar of needles, and some hand-sewn dolls — one of which looks a lot like Trystie. He decides to take the needles and the dolls with him when he leaves.

Outside, Red notices Keyva coming down the hallway. She gives him a friendly greeting and ask why he’s waiting outside. When he explains that he’s waiting for his friend who is in the room with Trystie, Keyva makes some assumptions and decides not to go in. Instead, she suggests she and Red go get some coffee instead of waiting outside. Unsure of what to do, but nervous about being around Keyva, Red agrees.

Their coffee date is rather straightforward, if a little awkward, but Keyva seems to like his company. It’s better than drinking coffee alone anyway. What she doesn’t realize is that Red continues trying to look into her purse, and notices one of those strange dolls. It’s hard to tell, but it could look a lot like Professor Cutter. Meanwhile, they chat a little and Red finds out that Keyva is looking for Robbie, but she’s expecting to see him at the party later tonight. Everyone’s going to be at Missy’s party.

A little while later, the three manage to get together and share what they’ve learned. Red wants to go find Professor Maclanahan and get his advice about the things Eugene found in Keyva’s dorm-room. Eugene wants to return to the dorm-room and see what was in that trunk. Markus has to get to the party early so he can setup for the band and the group encourages him to keep an eye out for Keyva and to send a message when she arrives.

Professor Maclanahan looks at the dolls that Red brought him and hears his story about voodoo. While he doesn’t tell the professor about Keyva, Red does mention that he thinks a student may be involved and he wants to put a stop to it. Maclanahan says that to find out more information, he would need a few days and he would need to talk to some of his colleagues, but he has heard something about similar rituals. Usually they need a photograph or person object of the person — the spell can be broken if that’s destroyed. Otherwise, you have to destroy the original doll. Beyond that, nothing can stop the spell while the practitioner still lives, short of finding some kind of counter-magic.

Meanwhile, Eugene tries to break into the dorm-room after he’s sure the two girls have both left. The bottom floor of the girl’s dorm is the campus security office so it’s a risk, but they don’t have much time. When he fails to pick the lock, he tries kicking open the door. Several girls see him doing this as they leave for the party, but he acts casually about it. He then proceeds to take the chest. Knowing he can’t go down through security with the stolen chest, he takes the elevator up and goes to the roof. Under the rain of a furious lightning storm, he proceeds to sift through and catalog the contents. He finds some old journals, some animal skulls, a lot of weird knock-knacks, some sort of woven cloth, a lot of needles in various sizes, and other personal items. Some of the documents are hand-written and very old. He finds a hiding place on the roof near one of the air ducts, where the case can be kept dry and won’t be found anytime soon. During this time, he receives a message from Markus that Keyva has arrived and so he proceeds to leave for the parking lot so he can go to the party. Receiving the same message, Red has already left.

At the party, Grant isn’t there and Missy is furious but not surprised at this lack of competency. She blames herself for listening to Jason and hiring amateurs. She then brings them a replacement bass player, her 12-year old little brother, Billie Jordon. While young, Billis is actually pretty talented, and the band plays an excellent performance for the party throughout the night.

Meanwhile, Red meets with Keyva only to find she’s still waiting for Robbie and seems more agitating about it now. Red is starting to worry about Robbie’s safety, because he knows what Keyva can do when she gets agitated. While Red keeps her distracted, Eugene attempts to steal her purse — or at least its contents. While he is able to get close to her without her seeing, he can’t seem to do so without drawing attention from the other party-goers and so that plan gets quickly aborted.

There’s a huge disturbance in the crowd a little later in the evening when Robbie eventually shows up. The veins on his skin are showing and his eyes are glowing black. Keyva confronts him, but he hits her, knocking her down. Eugene and Red push through the crowd to help. Markus stops playing to leap into the fray. They pummel Robbie a little, who is very strong, and they drag him outside, away from the crowds. Despite the heavy rain, many people go outside to watch and a huge ring of people surrounds the group. Ignoring the crowds, Eugene continues to pummel Robbie until he falls unconscious.

Meanwhile, Red tends to Keyva and asks what’s going on. She’s reluctant to talk, but when he reveals he knows about the voodoo and the dolls, she shows him the doll from her purse. She explains that she was upset with Professor Cutter and was going to hurt him, but couldn’t go through with it. She did tell her boyfriend Robbie all about what she was planning and how she was going to do it, but she didn’t think he would try it on his own — and now the dark magic has consumed him.

They search Robbie but he doesn’t have the doll or anything that seems like a personal artifact. They do find his keys, and its not hard to find his car since he had parked terribly and crashed into another car on his arrival. They search the car, and find a voodoo doll resembling cutter in the glove compartment, along with a picture of Professor Cutter and his girlfriend Katy, and a container of chili powder, The voodoo coll had two red X’s painted over the eyes and ground chili powder pressed into them.

Before the police arrived and broke up the party, the group destroyed the voodoo artifacts as was instructed by Professor Maclanahan earlier. The spell seemingly broken, Robbie woke up disoriented but upset.

The next day, Professor Cutter arrives at class. He seems to have made a full recovery, and just in time for the exams. Although many aspects of his demeanor have not changed, he drops hints that he seems to be at least marginally aware of what happened and which students helped him. The Professor may not have believed in the supernatural before, but he does now.

Everyone passed their midterm exams, except for Markus who is now on academic probation. The police have been called regarding the break-in of Keyva’s dowm and the damage to her door, and it’s not long before they turn their attention to arresting Eugene. President Nelson talked with Eugene trying to get a straight answer about why he broke in, and in the end concludes with a heart-felt apology and an explanation that despite his academic success so far, Eugene must be expelled for this behavior.

Not even an hour after these events happen, President Nelson gets a visit from Eugene’s father and the police got a call from their family lawyer…

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