A Student of Some Depth

Katie came to with an unsettling red apparition before her eyes. Blinking frantically and pulsing back her eye sockets, she noticed that this annoyance was but the mere alarm clock she kept by her bedside drawer. It must have fallen during Leyton's somewhat out of line behavior. Still lying on her side she focused her eyes on the blinking red display. It was flashing 3:03. She'd probably hit the dodgy socket as she fell and reset the clock. Had she really been out for three hours? And what about Leyton? He'd bugged her times before, but this had certainly been a novel turn of events. He hadn't knocked her out. No. She'd stayed put, resigned herself to the moment, and just dozed off.

She brought her free arm around to adjust her glasses which, remarkably, were undamaged. Straightening up slowly she felt a stinging pain shoot up her leg. There was blood. Blood from the nail torn off her little toe. There was also blood, by now clotted up, which had streamed from her nose and ran, in her horizontal predicament, all the way into her ear. She scratched at the crust of the somber pattern and, as one does, tasted her misplaced essence. Taking in the metallic taste for some odd minutes she began to shudder at the sharp breeze weaving itself intermittently around the corner of the bed. She peered up and saw that the window had also been broken, among other things. Her discovery of bruises she'd sustained were abounding.

Slowly but surely, she got to her feet and saw the room in shambles, herself none the better. She had no trouble walking, but a rib had most certainly cracked. As the breeze invited itself in once more, she noticed that she wasn't wearing any underwear. She reached down, terrified, and let out a sigh of relief as her prodding fingers revealed no trace of Leyton's charged demeanor. Hearing a noise behind her, she spun back toward the doorway and gasped as she saw a head peering in. It was Alex, the custodian's son. Alex was retarded, and didn't speak any English. Alex was currently looking straight at Katie's crotch. Katie immediately grabbed a towel to cover herself up. "Err, hello", she managed.

Alex, grinning from ear to ear retorted with "uallow!".

Ten minutes later, Katie was sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee, nodding absently at Alex's Serbian chatter, intermixed with English where possible. She more or less ascertained that Leyton had shot and killed four people on his way out. She counted herself ridiculously lucky when the nice lady from the police department informed her that they had all been point blank shots to the head.

Katie had transferred from the west coast to continue her flailing academic career. Five months in this new environment had yielded no social environment, no extra-curricular fun, and no close ties to anyone of the opposite sex. This was exactly the way she'd wanted it. Perhaps it was being the hermit she was that had spared her. Who knew.

She'd been an orphan till the age of twelve when an affluent couple from the big city had snatched her up. On that fine day, Mr. and Mrs. Kluv had barely taken the grand tour when they saw Katie. They then saw, correction, furtively checked for, the small idiosyncratic tattoo, just above her collar bone, of a sickle going through a loop of snakes. To her dismay in later years, she was told that she had been adopted that day by the head of a shady Russian cult whose roots stretched all the way back to the Czar in old Russia. Life had dealt her a card she still hadn't peeped at. She'd keep it that way, although she most definitely reaped the few benefits, albeit with modest acceptance. This flat she occupied was most certainly far slighter than the abode she had been offered downtown. She had declined the offer, citing her disdain for silver spoons as she had done from the day she'd become a member of the Kluv household.

Minutes later Katie was sitting hunched over in the back of an ambulance, still staring into the distance, letting herself be dragged onward by the night's bustling events. The paramedics on site had insisted that she come along to the hospital to have her wounds checked. The red and blue flashes figuratively banging against the small back door window let it be known that the boys in blue followed close behind through the blizzard. Parts of the city were blacked out due to the inclement weather. The snow didn't look like it was going away any time soon.