Raven blinked and pursed her lips. She stopped for a second to check herself out. She was in love with herself, but so was everyone else, in love with her blue beauty.
It wasn't irrelevant. In that instant the file started in her own personally designed software. She'd been making her own C+/^ for over a decade. A legacy for herself, a monument to her staggering intellect that rivalle dher beauty. Her t-shirt proudly said 'narcissistic' in some kanji-mangi thingie letters. She didn't care.
Raven clicked on the results for the latest fractal. It spun wildly off in all directions, at first as a spiral but quickly became something else. She gasped as she realized this one might just be as big a discovery as Mandelbrot’s or Eidim’s designs. The image reflected in her pale eyes off the monitor for several minutes as she just stared at the monitor in the darkness. Then she kicked Marcus off her bed awakening him instantly.
“What the hell babe? What was that for? Its freaking four in the morning!” He sat up pulling up his pants and glaring around in the dark not sure where she was standing.
“Shut up, you will wake up my dad. I have to show you this.” She pointed at her monitor.
“Aw jeez. You woke me up for some stupid Warshaw again? What is it this time? Your MILF doing a line?” He sneered in irritation.
“It is a fractal, you know that. Look closer.” She ignored the bait, intent on showing off her prize. While he found his glasses and examined the fractal’s mysteries she pulled a zip drive off the keychain on her backpack and plugged it into the PC’s tower.
“Raven, I don’t see anything special about…” He hesitated as he noticed the way it shifted dramatically from its core. “Pull up the formula.” Marcus said, his voice turning serious at last.
“Gladly.” Raven sat sideways across his lap and her fingertips flew across the keyboard saving the fractal and backing it up to her zip drive. Then she brought up the eighty nine lines of code that had created the image. Marcus read them while Raven got up and got dressed by lamp light. She was even more excited to show this to professor Jones than to her lame excuse for a study partner. It couldn’t be morning fast enough.
“You wrote this tonight?” Marcus was finishing the computations and swiveled her chair to face her. He adjusted his glasses. Raven thought he looked way hotter with them than without. He didn’t know that though.
“While you were asleep.” She nodded. She wondered if he had fully realized what he had just read. She had started with a random line and calculated from that. But as far as she could tell the code itself was insignificant compared to what it had made. The imagery was impossible. Like discovering God’s middle name. Or Satan’s…
“I don’t get it. I have been doing random bits for two years with this program. I have never seen it take something so simple and coming up with…this.” Marcus brought up the generation again with a mouse click.
“It’s weird huh? I have been playing with fractals since I was a kid. I have never seen one like this.” She walked over and stood behind him. She realized they had been talking rather loudly but suddenly couldn’t care less. This would make her famous. Mandelbrot, Eidim and Daniels.
“Weird. Raven I am creeped out. Something is wrong with this. Must be a software problem.” Marcus shook his head.
“I don’t think so. I am gonna test it on Jones’s computer.” She argued. “See what some other programs generate.” Raven took her zip drive out and stuffed it into her pocket. “You coming?”
“Right now? MU isn’t even open for at least three more hours.” Marcus whined.
“Two hours. We will stop for coffee. By the time we get there we will only have to wait a little while.” Raven plotted. She hefted her backpack. Marcus hadn’t even put his shirt or shoes on yet.
They snuck past her dad’s bedroom with the door half open and outside to her car.
“Drop me off at home. I need to get some more sleep.” Marcus requested.
“No way. I let you stay the night last night. You owe me.” Raven glared.
“It was your idea. You said you wanted to have some ‘private study time’ with me.” Marcus cleaned a lense of his glasses on his t shirt.
“I thought you would last longer than five minutes. Had I known you were just a boy in bed I wouldn’t have bothered.” Raven objected harshly. Marcus fell silent and instead examined the printout with a LED penlight. “That’s what I thought.” She muttered.
They drove the silent freeway until they were nearer to the Miskatonic where they pulled into a drive in barista and got some mud and donuts. Marcus paid which surprised her because he was usually broke. Then they drove the rest of the way to the University.
The parking lot was silent and devoid of anyone else at such an unholy hour before daybreak. They sat in silence ignoring each other, both irritated for their own reasons while they waited for campus to wake up a little. Soon it was five till seven and Raven wanted to wait no longer.
She got out and marched to the library with Marcus following her reluctantly with the two sheets of paper tucked under one arm and a cooling chai in the other hand. The damp pre dawn chill made him sniffle. He watched Raven’s butt swaying as she took the stairs without skipping a beat. He wasn’t in such good shape and by the time he reached the top he was out of breath and she had disappeared.
Marcus found Raven outside Professor Jones’s office pacing.
“He isn’t here yet.” She inerated.
“Well duh, it’s seven in the morning Angel. He is probably still in bed.” Marcus frowned.
“No I texted him earlier.”
“You have his number?” Marcus frowned. He was thinking ‘his private cell phone number?’.
“Yes when I’m not sleeping with you I am generally stalking him. Got a problem?” Raven teased him distractedly. It didn’t sound very funny to Marcus though.
“Sure why not.” Marcus sat on the floor against the wall while Raven paced.
“Hey it’s not as bad as your jokes about my mother.” Raven snarled as she realized Marcus was being an ass about her crush on Professor Jones.
“Yeah but I have never seen your mom. It isn’t the same thing.” Marcus objected.
“What the hell ever Marcus.” Raven left him sitting there and went back out to the front desk.
After he had been sitting there for awhile Marcus got up and wandered around. He soon found himself in the rare books section of the dimly lit library. Outside the sun was weakly winking through a bray veil. In the center of the room stood a glass case holding several ancient tomes including the fabled Necronomicon. Marcus had never read from it but Professor Jones had. Professor Jones had done everything. Except Marcus’s girlfriend. He hoped anyway. He stared at the vile leather bound volume under the glass and for a moment it seemed to be smiling evilly at him. He shuddered and turned around only to be startled by Pickman, the janitor watching him.
“Dark things out not be looked at. They look back.” Pickman told Marcus.
“Right.” Marcus gave the creepy old guy a salute and wandered away to go find Raven. She wasn’t at the front desk so he went to Jones’s office where she and him were sitting side by side while she showed him her disturbing discovery on Jones’s computer.
“Ahem.” He announced himself but they were engrossed and ignored him. He sat on Jones’s desk while they discussed how remarkable the find was.
“This is amazing. In thirty years I have never seen such a brilliant and original design. It is utterly remarkable.” Jones complimented. “This justifies the importance of fractals. Why, you might be as famous as Eidim when you publish this.”
“Publish it?” Raven giggled. “Professor!”
“Why yes. This is fascinating. See these radius here completely contradict the core? The pattern changes impossibly.” Professor Jones grinned at her reaction. “What do you soppose will happen if we zoom it out even further? Multiply it by say…just ten?”
“That’s why I brought it.” She smiled appreciatively. “That is as far as my machine can take it. I felt I was waking the dead when I got it out this far.”
“Huh?” Marcus wondered at her reference. He had never understood how fractals applied to natural sciences let alone the metaphysical junk Jones was into. He couldn’t believe the old fart had Raven talking that way now.
“Alright. That’s ten more.” The Professor said almost absently. Niether of them said anything. From where Marcus sat it looked like a nebula. Black and pink clouds against a wall of negative light gray. In silent awe the two stared at the screen. Marcus rolled his eyes.
“Do it again.” Raven said at last. There was a little more than just awe in her voice now. Some primal thing in the image was becoming more clear. The professor typed a quick command and the image zoomed out exponentially. Now it was even more malevolent looking. Like some kind of chaotic maelstrom devouring swirling clouds of stars. Something eating galaxies. Now Marcus was staring at it also.
“What is that?” He asked in a whisper.
A few more keys were hit by trembling fingers.
Raven screamed and the professor stood suddenly.
“Dear god what the hell is that!?” Marcus leapt to his feet. His eyes refused to acknowledge the image on the screen. It was horrible, writhing and pulsing as it seemed to draw him into it somehow. It seemed to engulf them all as they couldn’t look away.
And somehow in the insane flashes within its depths it had eyes that stared back. It watched them, seeing them and knowing them. It tore at the very fabric of the room itself, trying to claw its way out of the depths of space into our world.
Raven had sunk to her knees wide eyed. Marcus just stood stupidly pointing until he realized the professor had shut off the monitor. He stood trembling and his gray hair seemed to have turned white. He was very pale.
“We must keep this to ourselves…whatever that was it was not meant to be discovered.” He pulled the zip drive from his computer and dropped it on the linoleum. He stepped on it with a crunch.
Marcus went and knelt beside Raven who still stared blankly, seeing nothing.
Professor Jones went and sat down behind his desk and folded his head in his hands trying to forget the discovery of a lifetime.