17 Hours at Dartmouth College

By Lilly Bain | 10/21/14 4:00am

Portsmouth, England. Oct. 17, 1714,8:00 p.m.
My time machine is finally complete! Now I must travel 300 years into the future to discover a cure for the smallpox that has been plaguing the village. I need to do so quickly — this thunderstorm is growing bigger as we speak. I have the date and location programmed into the machine. I will write again from the future.

A grassy field, Portsmouth, England. Oct. 17, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
It worked! I barely made it away though; a tree branch came flying through the window and hit the controllers right before I left, but it didn’t seem to have affected anything. Portsmouth has changed quite a bit in 300 years, however. I am now standing on the edge of a grassy field, and a large wooden structure with the number 18 on its top is in the center of the field. People walk around me, some alone, some in small groups. Many are wearing green shirts with the number 18 on the front. While they all speak English, they do so with a strange accent I have never heard before. But no matter, I’ll just turn off the time machine and then go find the cure.

A grassy field, Dartmouth College. Oct. 17, 2014, 8:12 p.m.
Oh. I am not in Portsmouth after all. It seems that the tree branch changed the location to “Hanover,” a village I do not recognize. I only have enough power to return once to 1714, however. I cannot waste it getting back to Portsmouth. They must have had the smallpox in Hanover as well. I can surely find the cure here. A massive crowd has begun to form around the wooden structure; I will go there to investigate. An even larger group, all wearing the green 18 shirts, is approaching as well.

Behind a building, Dartmouth College. Oct. 17,2014, 9:06 p.m.
I barely escaped with my life! As the green shirts approached (many with green markings on their faces and glowing circles on their heads and necks), they formed a circle around the structure, which was then lit on fire. Everyone watched it, hypnotized, then began to run around it in what was clearly a satanic ritual. The crowd around it began to yell things like “Run faster,” “Touch the fire” and “Worst class ever.” I watched in horror as the green shirts slowly began to leave the circle, likely searching for someone to sacrifice to the massive fire. I noticed one looking at me strangely, who then said to the girl next to her something along the lines of “creepy alumni.” Sure that this was the start to my slow, painful death I ran away until I found myself in safety behind a large building with many windows. Wait — I hear voices approaching, I must run again!

In a small room, Dartmouth College, Oct. 17,2014, 10:32 p.m.
The group, this time dressed in strangely bright colors, approached me before I could run again. As they were entering the building I decided my best bet was to blend in with them — standing alone will simply make me more conspicuous. I joined their ranks and followed them to a small, cluttered room with loud music playing. One of them smiled and hugged me, introducing herself. I decided she seemed safe enough, so I asked her about a cure for smallpox. She smiled again and handed me a red cup with a liquid inside — the cure! I drank it quickly, feeling a warm sensation in my chest as it went down. I tried to ask for more of it, but she had turned away and didn’t seem to hear me over the music. The cure is making me a bit lightheaded, so I’ll wait until later to get enough for my family and friends back home.

A crowded underground room, Dartmouth College. Oct. 18,2014, 12:19 a.m.
I sat and nodded my head to the music until the group began to file out the door, talking about a “party” and “Heorot.” As we left I grabbed the bottle that the cure had came from, hiding it inside my jacket. Nobody seemed to notice. We walked until we approached a building with a crowd around the door trying to enter. After a short wait, we went inside and walked down a flight of stairs. A horrible smell emanated from the room, and it seemed to get strangely warmer as we descended. Slightly worried that this was an entrance to hell, I swallowed my fear and followed the group anyway. A large mass of people, all dressed in the same strange bright clothing, are moving around, some grabbing at each other, perhaps a bizarre form of dancing. The music is so loud I can barely think, and the cure I drank earlier is making it hard to stand.

A bush. Oct. 18,2014, 1:05 p.m.
I woke up hidden in a bush, with a vague memory of stumbling out of the building and falling asleep here. I can see a huge crowd all dressed in green headed in the same direction, but I don’t want to risk anything after last night’s near sacrifice. Plus, I have a pounding headache, and the loud screaming from the arena-like place they’re all headed is making it even worse. I will head back to Portsmouth with the cure now; I’ve had enough of this bizarre place called “Dartmouth.”​

Lilly Bain