You are finally on your way to the campus swimming pool. The sun is already on its way below the horizon, but the air is still heavy with the day’s heat. ‘Global warming is real’, screams the sweat budding on your forehead. You pass the Cubicus. The parking lot is deserted, but that is hardly unusual. Suddenly you spot a movement ahead. A girl is running towards the forest. She looks back and your eyes lock for a split second, but she continues to sprint, quickly disappearing behind the trees.
A split second, but her features got imprinted in your mind. Long, curvy hair with tanned skin. Her hair appeared dark, but it could’ve been the shadow. Her eyes were glowing, but you couldn’t tell their colour. They looked at you intensely. Besides that, you noticed the large black gym bag she was carrying. You wonder if she is headed to the swimming pool, but why would anyone be rushing there? Especially in this heat.
‘Whatever’, you think, and pay no more attention. You move along through the middle of the campus. Despite the summer, the place is still alive, with students walking in every direction. You get lost in your thoughts again: the heat, the pool, the black gym bag, the girl… Without realizing, you are finally there. Something is wrong though, the gate is closed and it is noisy. Human voices talking in unison. You deduce that everybody has just been kicked out of the pool. Everybody is in their flip flops, towels, and swimwear.
As you get closer the noise gets louder. Many are whispering, while others are plain shouting. ‘Moord!’ you distinguish among all the incessant chatter. Among the crowd you recognize your friend and approach him impatiently. ‘What happened?’, you ask. ‘Somebody got attacked in the showers’, he replies with excited eyes. ‘Not attacked! Murdered!’ someone else remarks. ‘Oh come on, you don’t know that’, adds a girl in the group, ‘Just let the guards do their job’. ‘I am just repeating what the others are saying: moord, vermoord. Do you hear?’
The sun is shining at its peak, the heat is unforgiving and everybody is just mad, demanding that the guards open the gate and let everybody back in. Among the chaos, you spot something laying down next to the stairs leading towards the pool. Almost cloaked inside a bush, it is the black gym bag. You look around quickly, ‘Is she here?’ ‘Who is here?’ asks your friend, surprised. ‘Never mind’, you let out, ‘be right back’. You walk around the crowd trying to get a better view. You are certain she is not here. ‘Did she have anything to do with this?‘ you meditate.
‘Hey, wake up!’ It is the girl from your friend’s group. ‘We are all going for a few drinks at Witbreuksweg. Are you joining?’ You are still a bit stunned by curiosity, but finally respond. ‘Yeah, sure, let’s go’. As you walk away with your friends, you glance back. Everybody is leaving, but you manage to see it, the bag is still there, cloaked inside the bush.
It is past midnight, one drink turned into two, two turned into six. The ‘few drinks’ turned into a fully-fledged summer party at Witbreuksweg. You have to get some air, so you walk out to the entrance. It is not just one flat, all of them are celebrating summer. ‘I guess we all got stuck here’, you voice out your thoughts, even though there is nobody around you.
Suddenly, it all comes back. The bag. What is in that bag? And more importantly: who is that girl? ‘Fuck it’, you say out loud, as you begin to walk down the road towards the swimming pool. ‘I must be very drunk’, you say again to no one.
Stumbling, but you made it. It would be all darkness if not for the few lamp posts around. You hear nothing at all, but you stop just a few meters away from the stairs. You focus your attention to remember why you are here. ‘Oh yeah, the bag’. You approach the bushes, and struggle a bit with the branches in the way. Eventually you find it, the black gym bag.
‘Hey!’ A voice behind makes you jump and fall on your back. ‘That’s mine, what are you doing here?’ You are still recovering from the scare as you manage to look up from the floor. It is her, the girl with the long curvy hair, holding the gym bag. Now you can better see her hair and the colour of her eyes. ‘Wow’, you say out loud. ‘What?’, she responds. ‘Oh!... nothing’, you mumble out, as you get up. ‘What’s in the bag?’, you dare to ask. ‘What do you care?’, she swiftly replies, staring intensely at you. ‘Do you know what happened here earlier?’
She comes closer and lets out almost in a whisper: ‘No, do you?’
‘I heard somebody got attacked, maybe even murdered.’
‘Hahaha! Attacked sure. Murdered, I don’t think so.’
’So, you do know what happened!’
‘Ok, if you promise not to tell anyone. I will tell you what happened.’
‘Ok, I promise!’ you say with a drunken smile on your face.
‘I won’t tell you now though, meet me here tomorrow, around 12.00.’ And just like that, she walks away.
You wake up late the next morning on one of the couches at Witbreuksweg. ‘Hey! Finally, you’re up’, says your friend, while eating his breakfast with others. ‘You have to hear this. Remember yesterday at the swimming pool? The police is there now. Something big must have really happened.’ The hangover clouds your mind, but then you remember. ‘What time is it?!’, you ask in desperation. ‘Uhh 11.50. What’s wrong?’. ‘I have to go! I am late for a meeting!’, you say, as you sprint out.
‘Can you believe that?’ says your friend. ‘Looks like someone found something interesting last night. It must be summer love.’
Roberto Cruz Martínez