Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Twenty-Five
7th July 1973
Sophie had no idea where exactly she was, she had just been riding in random directions in an effort to outrun her frustrations. The trouble was that she was now in an unfamiliar neighborhood on a residential street, and it was starting to get dark. This was not how she had wanted to spend her Saturday. Yes, she had wanted to ride her bicycle if the weather was nice, but to ride aimlessly around because she was upset was not a part of the plan.
It had started with an argument with Kat over a matter so petty that Sophie could hardly remember the details of what had started it. Unfortunately, it had started an avalanche with everything coming out. The resentment over her feeling that she had never really belonged, how every time she thought that she was making progress she slammed into another barrier, all of it and everything. Eventually, she had realized that she was just yelling for the sake of making noise and Kat was simply staring at her waiting for to stop. It was horrifying, this woman who she owed everything too and Sophie had been just yelling incoherently at her. Was she trying to get herself kicked out?
When Sophie had realized what she was doing, she had fled.
Down the stairs, out the back door, through the garden to the shed and onto her bicycle. She had ridden several kilometers before she had been thinking clear enough to process what had happened and was understandably horrified.
Rounding a corner, Sophie heard the sound of an S-Bahn train and knew that she had found one of the lines that passed in and out of the city center. Even with everything else that had happened, she still had her student transit pass in her pocket. It would be simple enough to find out exactly where she was and getting on a train that would get her close to home.
Thinking about the train and in the gathering darkness, Sophie failed to notice a grate on the street. The narrow 700 x 25c tire which enabled the Bianchi bicycle’s fast speed had a serious weakness when the tire dropped into the slot and the handlebars were wrenched from Sophie’s hands. The clips on the pedals kept her from flying over the handlebars, so instead she landed hard on the pavement. She heard the clatter of the bike’s frame hitting the street just before…
Next thing Sophie knew she was on the pavement being talked at and was trying to make sense of what was being asked.
“Look here” Sophie could hear a woman’s voice asking as she had a pen light shown in her eyes. The voice was familiar, but Sophie’s mind wasn’t working right that moment.
“Stop it” Sophie said, and the light clicked off. She was aware of a flashing red light in the background. Her head felt like it was full of cotton batting, she was having trouble breathing and her right knee felt like it was burning.
“I need you to hold still for me, Sophie” The familiar voice said.
Who was this and how did she know her name?
“You told me your name, home address and phone number a few minutes ago when we arrived, remember?” The woman asked, “It was helpful even if I didn’t already know you.”
Sophie realized that she had asked that question out loud, that wasn’t good.
“I need to go home” Sophie said, and she tried to get up only to find that a hand was on her shoulder preventing that.
“You are disorientated and probably have a concussion. Your bicycle needs attention as well” The woman said. That was when Sophie saw the front wheel of her bicycle was visibly bent out of true. “When we get you to the Emergency Department, we can…”
“No” Sophie said as she tried to escape this woman’s grasp.
“You don’t get a choice in this” The woman said as Sophie realized just who the woman was and just how much trouble she was in.
Kat and Douglas had entered the Emergency Department to find Kiki wearing the red coat of a Notarzt as she apparently volunteered to do whenever the University needed someone with her skills out in the field. It had just been the luck of the draw that she had been working in that capacity when the call came in of a Cyclist having taken a bad spill that had left them unconscious. She had gotten Sophie back to the University Hospital and then called Kat.
“She has a concussion, a skinned knee, and some bruising on her ribs” Kiki said, “Mostly I would say that it was her dignity that has taken a real beating.”
“Shouldn’t she be awake then?” Kat asked, a touch worried about what she was seeing.
“I sedated her before someone got it in their head to order a Psychiatric Evaluation which she doesn’t need. That was a bit risky considering that she has a concussion, but I didn’t like the alternative and she is being closely monitored” Kiki replied, “She was working herself into a panic when she figured out that you were going to be called. She is desperate for your approval and is scared that you might kick her out.”
“We got into an argument this afternoon” Kat said as she was looking at the still form of Sophie. She couldn’t help but notice a livid bruise over the cheekbone on one side of Sophie’s face. “Over a trifling matter, but with Sophie anything less than perfect is the end of the world.”
“Isn’t that part of being a fourteen-year-old?” Kiki asked.
“If only it were that simple” Kat replied, “Unlike most girls her age, Sophie has already endured many of the worst things that could happen, so consequences are never far from her mind. She probably thinks that she will be punished for running off.”
“Will she be?” Kiki asked, “Punished that is?”
“Do I need to?” Kat asked in reply, “There is no way that I would be that cruel.”