Your alarm clock has failed to wake you. Before you see the time, you're already confirmed in your suspicion as sunlight floods into your room; you're beyond late. It's hours past the time your parents have left for work, and you expected to return to campus early that morning.

Hurriedly, you toss the blankets and stumble towards the dresser to sloppily don your change of clothes. Once you've tied up your shoes, you grope at the top of the desk by the door for your keys, and you stuff them into your coat pocket with a quick breakfast on your mind. You're already late enough as it is.

You sail down the hallway, batting the attic pull string out of the way, and to the stairs, which creak as you descend en route to the pantry for some cereal. Soon thereafter, the fridge falls victim to a nigh desecrating rummage for the last of the milk, which you take without even thinking. You sink into the well used end of the sofa and without lifting it, pop the power button on the remote.

The news comes on, and you half-heartedly take in the mediocre update on the same tired happenings while slurping in hasty spoonfuls of cereal; so content to eat and zone out that you accept the inevitable maxiliar lacerations, but you're jarred from your masochistic trance by the sound of wet, labored, flegmy hacking from up the stairs, a few light wooded creaks, and another quick cough.

The glass top coffee table barks as you quickly put the bowl down on its wooden frame, nearly spilling your cereal. You stand upright, ready to fight, fly, or both at the same time if need be. Slowly creeping along the wall to the stairs, you tense up exponentially as you near the first step. A snort followed by one loud creak nearly fools your heart into going limp, causing you to instinctively bolt for the stairs, ready to fight.

You don't make it past the second step before you look up barely to see the hatch to your attic gently close.