Appealing to Instinct: Chapter 1a

The first time I saw her, I knew there was something different about her. And I don’t mean that in a stupid, cheesy “she could see into my soul” kind of way. No, not at all. Quite the opposite. The first time I saw her, I could tell she was fucked up in ways God himself couldn’t understand.

But, what can I say, fucked up people are what make my world go round. Why else would I have been sitting there in my office at the university, tapping my pencil relentlessly against my desk while contemplating how to find her? Depravity was my life. You could even say it was my college major. Sure, they give it a fancy name – ‘psychology’ – but at the end of the day, you are studying it because you want to know about the most sinister, sick, and backwards people on the planet. It’s an addiction. Well, actually, for most people it’s a cop-out major, but for those of us who actually pay attention, it’s an addiction. An infatuation. One I had drilled into me at a very young age.

So I knew I couldn’t help myself. When the EMT’s showed up at the car accident and she hopped out of the ambulance, I was already hooked. Victims were screaming, rescue personnel were barking orders, and the twisted up pieces of vehicle left from the head-on collision had a frankensteinian look about them that mirrored that of the bloody, broken bodies strewn about the pavement.  The emergency personnel was keeping together well enough – I mean, you don’t survive in that career without having a stomach of steel, but this chick…man, she looked calm as a summer’s day. Her movements were quick and fluid, her facial expressions calculating – I might even venture to guess she was experiencing what most people feel during a moment of inspiring clarity. Or maybe what a psychology patient feels when describing their “special place”.

Except for most people, this place would be a nightmare.

I spun my leather chair around, hoping a few glances into the busy hallway might shake loose some ideas. The hospital wouldn’t give me her name, she wasn’t on social media from what I could find, and I had absolutely no information to go off of other than “EMT with shoulder-length straight brown hair with bangs”.

That could be a whole hell of a lot of people.

“Professor Pindrup?”

I turned around to find one of my students at my door. I nodded in acknowledgement.

“I was just wondering if I could see my test score? I know I’m a day early but I’m going to miss class tomorrow and I’d like to know how close I am to passing.”

Ah yes. Another undergrad taking Psych 101 as an elective – because he thought it would be easy. These students were the bane of my existance. It seemed impossible to get them to learn anything outside of what they already believed to be true – as if they entered the class thinking they could pass every test based on their opinion alone.

I turned to my laptop and pulled up the grading app.

“Looks like a B.”

“B? Is that a B- or B+?”

I rolled my eyes before turning around to face him. “I don’t do minuses and pluses. You got an 88% – that’s a B.”

“If I do some extra credit can you bump it up to an A?”

Jesus, is this kid out of diapers yet?

I shook my head. “It’s a test grade. It measures how well you did on the test. If you want the grade to be higher, you have to perform better on the test.”

He stood awkwardly for a moment, unsure what to do with the rejection, then thanked me and ambled back down the hallway.

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