Karkat Vantas took his detention after school
with Professor English. The black haired instructor seemed very casual toward
the boy, as he directed him to the music room, which also served as the
“I really don’t care what you do. Honestly I
don’t even think you deserve this detention, but you just have to stay here for
an hour,” laughed English, taking his place behind the desk. Karkat looked
around at all the instruments, and realized the only place to sit was with
them. He shrugged himself down onto a piano bench, the glossy keys begging for
Karkat looked over at English, who was
polishing a replica pistol, and set his pale fingers on the keys. He began
softly playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’
“I didn’t know you could play. John Egbert plays
piano too,” English’s voice rang out, and Karkat fumbled a key. Of course it
was John. He smashed his hands down on random keys angrily. He just wanted to
forget about that boy, and his blue, blue eyes.
“I know some. Violin mostly, harp too. Piano is
the one I don’t know well. My mom taught me, she always used to go on about music,
and how it’s important to our culture,” Karkat explained this with a loud sigh.
“What do you mean used to?” the teacher questioned Karkat curiously. The pale boy’s
body went stiff with nerves, unwilling to admit anything; he just placed his
fingers back on the keys, and mumbled a few words before beginning a
“She just isn’t that concerned about it now.” No
further questions were asked, and the hour flew by in a flash of piano-covered
Karkat slung his bag across his chest, and
winced slightly as he discovered yet a new bruise on his ribcage. He headed
past English, out of the school, and to his dorm building, Void House. Luckily,
all the dorm rooms here were basically apartments, all equipped with basic
Karkat sank down next to Gamzee on the couch,
and thanked his lucky stars he got him as a roommate. His friend’s hand was
occupied by a smoldering blunt. Karkat grunted at the sight of the drug. He
stood up, and headed towards the back rooms.
“Yo, best friend,” croaked an obviously high
Gamzee. “Where you all up in going to?”
“I need to take a shower. Nothing extreme, okay?
There are fruit pies in the freezer,” Karkat actually smiled as his friend’s
face lit up, Gamzee’s obvious weakness was fruit pies.
“Thanks, motherfucker,” Gamzee laughed his evil
sounding, honking laugh, and Karkat went into the small bathroom provided in
their room. He looked at his face in the mirror; small speckles of red blood
still remained by his ears, neck, and on his shirt. A fresh bruise had begun
forming where his jaw met his neck.
He shrugged off his blood-splattered clothes,
and took in the sight of his body. The long scar that extended down his neck
traversed his left pectoral, and down to his gaunt hipbone. Another scar wound
around his right thigh, almost like a coiled rope. A bruise, almost as large as
a towel, wrapped around his right ribcage, and onto his back. Fingerprint
bruises also covered his throat where Equius had lifted him at one point. His
knuckles were covered with large, raw cuts, and the bandages he had put on had
long since become useless.
He turned the pod-like shower on hot, and
waited for it to heat up, humming to himself. When the shower was hot, he
jumped in, hissing quietly as the water his raw flesh. His chewed his lower
lip, and closed the shower door, now encased in the tiny cocoon of watery
His hair flattened against his face, covering
his eyes, and he carefully rubbed shampoo through it, watching as the suds
became red with crusted blood. He scrubbed himself clean, and eventually just
stood under the rain-like stream, orange eyes closed, humming, and thinking
about his day.
After about an hour, he emerged, milky
fingertips pruned. He wrapped a towel around his waist, and one around his
head, a rather girly thing to do, but he didn’t care.
He walked back into the living room area,
Gamzee’s blunt now replaced with a half-eaten fruit pie. His stoned friend
nodded at him as he went across to his bedroom.
“Yo, man, your ribs…” Gamzee might have been a
stoner who spewed off nonsense about miracles and wore goofy face paint, but he
did care about Karkat deeply. Karkat was the only one who didn’t think he was a
“It’s nothing, Gamzee. Eat your pie,” sighed the
stubborn boy, who’s right half was purple and blue. Gamzee’s brow knitted in
concern as he watched his friend disappear into his bedroom, door closing.
Karkat sank down on his bed, and checked the
clock, which read about 5pm. He grimaced, getting dressed quickly. He tugged on
another pair of gray skinny jeans, and a black hoodie that was far too large
for him. His hair was always messy, so he didn’t even bother running a brush
through it, and instead just shook his head, letting his hair fall into place.
He pulled on his sneakers, and grabbed the small car keys from their peg.
Karkat left, heading toward the door. “Gamzee,
I’m gonna go now. It’s Wednesday.” His voice almost caught, and his friend
nodded solemnly. Karkat headed out of the dorms, the building casting oblong
shadows. It was only a short walk to the Chevy Equinox that Karkat called his
car, getting in and turning on the engine.
The CD player started up with a song very
suited to today’s events. Karkat felt the corner of his lips perk up as
Florence and the Machines blared loudly from one of his mixed CDs. He pulled
away from the campus, and onto the street.
“You hit me once, I hit you back.
You gave a kick I gave a smack,
You smashed a plate over my head,
So I set fire to our bed.”
Karkat sang along quietly, his head bobbing up
and down to the tune. Right as the song ended, he turned on his blinker,
driving up and parking in the hospital parking lot. He exited his vehicle, and
made his way into the familiar place, the smell of antiseptic and latex burnt
his nose. He went up to the nurse station, and a nurse smiled up at him.
“Hello, Karkat, good to see you!” Her smile was
genuine, and she stood up. “Right on time as always. Well, she’s all yours!”
Karkat nodded to the woman.
“Thanks, Jean,” he mumbled, heading off to the
elevator. He punched in the floor 8 button, and stood silently as the metal box
whizzed upward. He got off onto the quiet floor, his shoes squeaking softly as
he headed to a room at the end of the hall. He opened up the closed door, and
the beeping of the heart monitor met his ears.
He went inside the curtained bed, taking a seat
in the chair, and slipping the bed’s occupant’s hand into his. The bed held a
woman, maybe 35, with dark charcoal hair, and pale skin. She lay motionless,
only the rise and fall of her chest to show she was alive, besides the heart
monitor. The woman was in a coma, and had been for a while. Karkat felt the
lump in his throat return as always, as he rubbed his thumb along the scar on
the back of the woman’s hand.