The Hanging Christian – Episode 2

In Episode 2 of the new Sunday Serial, our plucky heroine is very late for a very bizarre supervision…

Cambridge christian fiction freya lee hanging inciting incident Linguistics patrick brooks plot development professor serial supervision text toastie weird

Catch up on Episode 1 here.


She rolled over, a dream about rabid Teletubies in a giant mansion seeping into the sleep in the corners of her eyes.

Freya struggled up from her bed and looked at her phone.


She was already twelve minutes late to her supervision. Fuck fuck fuck.

Clothes were thrown on, water splashed on face, toothbrush looked at but deemed frivolous.

She locked her door, dashed down the corridor, down the stairs, sprinted across court, slowed down as people she knew passed, splurted a strangled “Hi!” sped up again, reached the right block, sprinted up the stairs, took a tiny breather outside the door, checked the plaque on the door, “Dr. Quentin Seydowsky”, took a breath, took another one, ran her hands through her hair, looked at her phone. 9:19. She wasn’t quite twenty minutes late.

Freya knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

The first thing she noticed was that there were absolutely no books in the room. Zero. The walls were stark, aseptic white. No bookshelves, no bookcases, no framed pictures. Just a large desk with a gleaming chrome iMac and three large high-backed black armchairs.

Professor Seydowsky was sitting in one of them. The other two were empty.

“Ah, Miss Lee. Please take a seat.”

Freya sank into one of the chairs. The professor was dressed in a tailored three-piece suit. His eyes were almost a lighter shade of grey than his receding hairline.

“I’m so sorry I’m late, I had… a…”

She trailed off, looking at the empty armchair beside her. Where the fuck was Marcia? Her smugger-than-a-pug-with-a-Nobel-prize-in-smugness supervision partner had never been late for a supervision last term, and should now be sitting smugly giving Freya a smug little look whilst she smugly shuffled her meticulously highlighted notes.

But she was quite clearly not here.

“Let me guess,” said the professor, “you went out last night, got fairly inebriated, then went home alone at… probably close to three… and were too tired and possessed with self-hate to bother to set an alarm?”

Freya’s mouth opened slightly.

“Don’t ask me how I know, it’s as obvious as the fact that you haven’t brushed your teeth. You’re also almost certainly wondering about the conspicuous absence of the normally punctual Miss Arrington. Do you know why your supervision partner isn’t here today?”

Freya shook her head.

“She is distributing toasties for the Christian Union ‘Text-a-Toastie’ scheme. She sent me a long email about how dreadfully sorry she was and that she would never normally jeopardise her work, but that for her God had to come first.”

The professor cricked his neck.

“As such, I will no longer be supervising Miss Arrington. From now on, it will be just us, Miss Lee.”

“Why…?” Freya let out, and immediately wished she hadn’t.

Professor Seydowsky leaned forward. His eyes fixed her like artillery pieces lined up to fire.

“Miss Lee, you did not chose to be late today, it was a regrettable mistake, but one you did your best to alleviate. Miss Arrington on the other hand make a cold decision to prioritise her… extracurricular beliefs over my teaching.”

Freya had never heard a professor talk with this kind of un-PC openness before. She decided she liked him, a lot.

“So. To today’s business. Firstly, I have a confession to make. I’ve had my eye on you for a while, Miss Lee.”


“I followed your progress with great interest last term, and selected yourself and the sadly disappointing Miss Arrington specifically out of all of the college’s undergraduates.”

“Wait, so you’re not a linguistics professor…” said Freya.

“Of course not. Linguistics? Pah. No, these supervisions are going to be something else. Something else entirely.”

Oh god, thought Freya. What is this, Fifty Shades of Blue?

“You’re not happy, Miss Lee. Cambridge has proved to be the biggest disappointment of your entire life. You feel oppressed by the mediocre people, disillusioned by the lack of exciting intellectual stimulation, you are convinced that you’re wasting your time and can’t wait to leave here and actually get on with your life.”

Freya was stunned. “How…”

“I know everything about you, Freya Lee. And I want to help you. I want to show you why you came to Cambridge.”

He paused, and closed his eyes. Freya’s mouth was now hanging more than slightly open.

“There is a war being fought, Miss Lee. A war between reason, and madness. And I want you on the frontlines.

Freya nodded mechanically. What the hell was this?

He clicked his fingers and stood quickly. “I think that will be all. Thank you for coming, albeit tardily.” He smiled at her as she got up.

She walked to the door, opened it.

“Oh, one last thing. If you are intrigued by what I’ve said… then join us beneath The Eagle this evening. At six sharp.”