Laura Schunter and the Mystery of Hillboe Chapel

It isn’t easy treading the paths of St. Olaf, knowing what I know. That there are things many of us don’t understand—can’t understand—don’t want to understand. That there are (probably) ghosts centuries old haunting this very campus. Demons unseen slinking along the very edge of our comprehension. I, Larla Schnutter, vow to uncover the spooky secrets this college (probably) has to offer, using my detective skills, my girlish gumption, and the 500 words allotted to me on this page. I am the paranormal investigator this grimy town has been waiting for. I am the private eye Northfield didn’t even know it needed. I am the detective Northfield deserves.

. . .

Hilleboe Chapel resides on the third floor of the Hilleboe residence hall, nestled beside the stairwell. A small, mysterious space, used mostly for informal activities. Why such a cranny exists, I wasn’t sure. If such a nook held secrets unknown, I was about to find out!

A long-legged dame passed me as I stood in front of the Chapel, perhaps on her way to class. I stopped her, asked, “Do you know anything about this place?”

“No…” she said.

“Don’t you find it rather spooky to live next to it?”

“My friend just lives here, and I don’t think you can smoke in here.”

I looked down at the gray spire of smoke rising from the end of my lit cigarette. Obviously, this dame didn’t know I was a detective. When I looked back up, she was gone and I knew: I had to be on the case!

. . .

I went to my trusty informant, Google™ search engine, and looked up Hilleboe Chapel and came up short. No articles, no pictures, nada. Having been in the business of shadows for a while now, however, I knew this was no dead end. It was time to give the nook a solid once-over, maybe twice-over.

As the late afternoon sun boiled through the windows, I stepped into Hilleboe Chapel. As usual, it was empty—a shell of what it could be, the stained glass window of the Virgin Mary at the end of the room looking down in disdain. This was supposed to be a place of prayer, the church of God. Not “Make-out Point.” I walked up to the altar where an oversize version of the Bible lay open. A chill ran up my spine, three dissonant notes played on a piano in my mind: A clue was near. I flipped through the Bible until a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up with two fingers, opened it carefully, and discovered what could only be a poorly written haiku:

She is dead

Dead dead dead

You don’t want to know the truth

A head-scratcher. This person doesn’t utilize proper haiku structure at all. Also this person is wrong: I do want to know the truth, and I will find the truth because…Larla Schnutter is on the case!