Unhelpful Signs (Solune Academy)

Finch was walking down the halls after his day’s classes. His girlfriend was working late that night, so he intended to go to the collage’s library and study. He exited the Biology and Neurostudies building and breathed in the dusk air. The grass was never cut, but the path that cut through it was kept clear. He strode down wide cobbled lane.

Finch had always wondered why the university buildings were so close together and mismatched. They didn’t line up at all, and in some places they were so close together that they cut into the path. Usually, though, the space was just large enough for Finch to lie across, the path bordered by a few inches of grown lawn on either side.

Finch walked to the only four storey building on campus. The library was attached to the Mathematics and Physics building, as it tended to be the quietest one. Finch entered. The library was carpeted for sound absorption, and carpet was hard to clean, so the janitors had requested that there be a rule. No outdoor footwear in the library!

He took of his shoes, glancing at the “take off your footwear” sign. He made a double take. There was never a no footwear sign before. He remembered bringing Alice in one day, and she had to borrow indoor shoes because her bare feet were considered outdoor footwear. They had already considered this loophole, and so the sign said, “no outdoor footwear in the library.” Finch re-read the sign.

It said, “take off your foot.” There was an iconograph of a foot made up of the words, “Remove your feet! Remove your feet!” repeated over and over, and margined into a foot. Finch blinked, like, five times in a row.

“What?”

Finch shook his head. Whatever. He put his bag back on, placed his shoes on the doormat, and went up the stairs. He studied for a couple of sixths, reading a Natural Studies textbook. Even after specializing, Finch enjoyed reading about the broader subjects. When the sun began to set, Finch stood and packed his things, looking towards the stairs. He saw another sign.

He rubbed his eyes.

He took his bag and then walked to the sign.

He read aloud, “in case of fire, do not go upstairs.”

What?

At this point, he became more curious. Who was making these? Were they everywhere? Finch went downstairs and pulled his shoes on, exiting the library. He decided to check out the nearest building, Economics and Politics.

He found another sign, “capitalism is just a dictatorship pretending to be democracy.” He wasn’t sure if that one was a joke or not.

Mr. Rhye exited the building as he re-read the sign. He said, “Finch, did not classes end hours ago?”

Finch turned, “yes Mr. Rhye.”

“Class is over, I’m just Drake right now.”

Sorry, Drake. I was studying, but look.”

Finch pointed to the sign. nodded.

“That’s an interesting perspective. Did you make that sign?”

“No! There are weird signs all over the place, do you know why?”

Drake was perplexed, “no, but Janna might. She’s just gathering the confederation draft.”

Finch knew about Janna. She was the King, but she had started spending a lot of time at the university shortly after her most recent public announcement.

Janna Rhye strode out of the building and immediately noticed Finch.

She announced, “Finch, classes are over. Why are you here?”

“The… the signs.”

He feebly pointed.

Janna said, “I made that. Isn’t it clever? I wanted to put it above the door, but the school didn’t like that, so threatened them. Now it’s here, beside the door. A compromise.” She sighed.

“Right… What about the ones in the library?”

“Hmm?”

“I can show you…”

“Sure. Drake, take my scrolls. And for heaven’s sake don’t drop them, this is future law in the making!”

Drake obliged, and Finch led them to the library. He noticed that Drake followed him, taking the path, but that Janna tromped right through the tall grass. Apparently she didn’t take orders from anyone, not even the ground.

Finch showed them the foot sign. Drake raised an eyebrow, but Janna looked blank. They went upstairs and Finch pointed at the support wall between the staircases.

Drake read, “in case of fire, do not go upstairs.” He said, “well, that’s not technically wrong…”

Finch felt the sign, “look, it’s metal and everything. Who made these?”

“Finch, I have no idea.”

Janna said nothing.

They exited, and walked towards the north, exiting the campus. Then, Finch saw another sign.

“Do not enter.” He said.

“What, is there a problem with a ‘do not enter’ sign?” Janna asked.

“Yeah, look! There’s no door, this is just a wall. How can you enter a wall!”

Janna whimpered.

“What!” Finch turned to face her.

Janna burst out laughing, “It was me! I made those signs!”

Drake put his palm into his face, “I should have known. You didn’t say anything this whole time!”

Janna wiped her eyes, “yeah. They have the royal seal, so if the school tries to take them down I can remove their hands.” She began to laugh again, mirthful.

Finch stared until she was done.

“What?”

Finch put his hands on his hips, “I can’t believe you’re using you powers for evil.”

Drake looked at him. Janna looked at him. Then, he began to laugh. Then they all shared a laugh.

“Is there any more?” Finch asked.

Janna put her hands on his shoulders. Even though he was done growing, she was a full two heads taller than him.

“Son, there are many, many more. You probably won’t find them all even after you graduate.”

Daniel Triumph.

See? I told you this would be a fun series!

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