I'd assumed that graduation would be this huge change in my life, you know? I mean, just listen to the sound of the words 'graduation', 'higher education'. It sounds like you're ascending to some semidivine state of existence. Then you get to wear robes and hold a scroll and proceed solemnly down a corridor and there's supposed to be an aura of ceremony, a heavy aura, like stepping through the veil of another world, a more advanced world where enlightened beings reside. But then that brief moment was over and, I dunno, I didn't feel as though it all reached any climax, any spiritual apotheosis or revelation. I was just handed a scroll and the Vice Chancellor, who didn't really radiate a majestic aura, smiled and shook my hand, then I was ushered back out into the daylight while people clapped politely. After that, most people wanted to go and get drunk. Getting sloshed out of your head is one way to reach a place where you at least think you've achieved some heightened state of awareness, I suppose, or the next best thing, which is to fall asleep.
I wanted more than that, though, and I hadn't lost hope for it yet. This was clearly supposed to have been some special moment that I wouldn't get again and I wasn't about to let it slip because of some... malfunction of destiny. It was probably the University's fault. I had done my part, I had studied hard and passed all my exams, I had mentally hyped myself up for this moment and made sure I was in a healthy, coherent state of mind. I'd even practiced walking serenely in the gown and not tripping over the hem. Maybe our University, constantly under construction and usually having some sort of problem with the lighting or the heating or the plumbing, just wasn't a suitable vessel for a spiritual transformation into a higher being any more.
I thought of going somewhere a lot more suitable, maybe the Vatican or a monastery in the Tibetan mountains. Graduation hadn't caused money to exist either, though, and upon reflection, with the way my mind worked, I probably wouldn't get anything more out of it than I would just wandering around the countryside or playing my favourite music or skipping a night's sleep. My senses could be pretty intense sometimes just because of how I was, so I didn't even spend money on drugs if I could just spend longer working up to the experience.
There was something that had caught my eye, though. I'd gone to a public lecture about folkore and legends surrounding the city and I'd gotten talking to some of the organisers over a beer in the University cafe bar. Once things were more relaxed, they let on that there was a lot more going on than they were allowed to tell the public, in case it turned out to be a front for something less legal. There was some sort of mystery cult, they said, who claimed they'd made contact with something from outside of time and space, something that wasn't hostile to humanity, exactly, but was more destructively incompatible with it, even if it was just in the sense that it was so large it might fail to spot our planet and stomp it flat like an ant, with as much concern as we would have if we'd killed an ant. After another drink, he admitted that he didn't just know about it, he'd given them some texts that he wasn't technically allowed to distribute, they'd been banned from the University because they endorsed certain very immoral practices and anyway nobody could tell where the hell they'd originally come from so they couldn't sort out the copyright. And maybe more than one person had retired due to stress after reading it.
They met at midnight under the old Cathedral, in the crypts that weren't accessible due to health and safety, and because they were part of the atmosphere of the old building that hadn't been made Modern and Progressive. Come to think of it, that was the perfect atmosphere for a ceremony, and I'd never cared whether the ceremony was a life-affirming thing or that the thing I became was benign, as long as it was significant and powerful. If it's a complete hoax, at least I have the nice venue to myself - if it's a setup for a mugging, well, I'd have time to run, I guess? It's not like just walking down the road at night isn't also a risk these days.
They meet again tomorrow night. I'm ready.