It was late autumn of my first year of college, and in my effort to keep clinging on to the ultra-studious persona I had cultivated in high school, I had been making myself go to the library after my early class and study until lunch. But that early class was early, and the library was always so cold. Most mornings, my time there was spent with my head resting on my folded arms, Franz Ferdinand’s only two melancholy songs playing on loop through my headphones while I drifted in and out of a doze. Those cubicle-style desks just made it so easy.
One particular morning, I had dozed off so deeply that, when I woke, my heart leapt, nervous that I had slept through lunch and missed my afternoon class. I checked my phone for the time–I had only been asleep for 10 minutes. I sighed and sat up, figuring my unexpected adrenaline shot would prevent me from falling back asleep any time soon. I turned to the stack of books I had dutifully gotten out when I first arrived, despite having known I probably wouldn’t open them. There was something set on top of my books, something square and black. An envelope? I stared at the thing while my fuzzy brain tried to remember what it was, but there was nothing. It wasn’t mine, and it hadn’t been there before I had fallen asleep.
I picked up the envelope and turned it over. No markings. I looked around to see if anyone was nearby, leaning back to look in the cubicles beside me. All empty.
A note from a friend? I wondered as I opened the envelope. Probably. Still, the thought of the whole thing made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Those cubicle walls gave a false sense of privacy.
Inside the envelope was a single piece of white paper with the following written in flowery script:
This is a test.
There is a prize at the end.
Should you choose to participate,
here is your first clue:
RB155 .N27 2005
I turned over the note and found nothing on the back. A test? It could still be a joke from a friend, I thought, but it seemed a little too elaborate. My heart began beating a little faster as I considered the mysterious origins of my note.
“Should you choose to participate…”
Yeah, right, I thought. It was apparent that it would be impossible for me to ignore such a curious item. There was only one thing to do: figure out what “RB155 .N27 2005” meant.
To be continued…