"Arvid, could I speak with you for a moment?" The students were filing out after class, and Arvid was about to go with them, when their teacher stopped him. Arvid looked at him in surprise. The man looked, if anything, worried. What had happened?
"Arvid, it's about this last test we had." "Yes?" Arvid looked at him, puzzled. "What about it?" "Well, I could not help noticing that it was very unlike what I expected." "What do you mean?" "Arvid, you're our best student. The best in your class, the best of the whole school. The best in years, I would say. It is not like you to hand in a paper like that." "Well, I guess nobody can be perfect." "I'm not talking about perfect. Arvid, do you have problems?" "Not really." "Do you recognize this?"
Arvid looked at the paper that his teacher silently laid on the table before him. Yes, that was his test paper. Then, without further comment, Dahl turned the paper over to its last page. Below the text was a carefully drawn pentacle, and around it runes in the syllabic script of Gwalawala. "Enki Ea Enlil" he automatically read aloud, but of course the sounds made no sense to him here, without the translation magic of the bloodwood torch.
"You have not even attempted to answer all the questions, yet you have taken the time to draw this. And these." The teacher pointed to other runes in the margin on the next to last page. They were in the Old Script, seemingly part of a spell, but he could not say now which one. Dahl moved the paper away, out of sight. "Arvid, do you take drugs?"
For a moment Arvid just stared, unable to say anything, unable to even think. The whole room suddenly seemed unreal, almost transparent, as if he was in a dream but on the verge of waking up. Then gradually he got a grip on himself. "Never!" His voice still shook. "Do I look like a junkie to you?" "Not really. But this test paper does not look too good. It is very unlike you to not even attempt to answer all the questions." "I was tired." "So tired that you were drawing spiders on your test paper instead of answering?" "Yeah. That tired." Spiders? At least Dahl had not recognized them as runes. "In that case, you better go to bed earlier. A lot earlier." "You don't know. It won't help. In fact, it would make it worse."
Arvid tried to remember, as he marched out of the room. He knew that they had taken the test early in the morning, but he did not remember much more than that. He had obviously had his mind full of the dreams, that was the only explanation. He had jotted down something without thinking of where he wrote it. That must have been it. But his teacher was right, this was not good. But what to do? Going to bed early would not help. And talking to a doctor would definitely not be a good idea. People might think he was mad. It certainly would sound that way to anyone who had not experienced it.
But he wasn't mad; he was The Genius.
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