What was unique about the University of Bucureşti was that it had no single campus. Its buildings were spread all over the city.
Her small mailbox was full, in fact stuffed. Journals, notices about events that had already occurred, and books that she had requested had been crammed into the pigeonhole with her name on it. An overflow basket bearing her name sat on the counter beneath it. That was full, too.
She sorted through most of it. The rest she carried or stuffed into her shoulder bag. She could read it more carefully at home, tomorrow.
Outside, the moonlight seemed to track her like a searchlight along the sidewalk. She watched her breath steam and glisten in the glow.
The ground had a rime of frost on it. She saw nobody about, but it was so cold, there would be no one out. No lovers. Thinking that as she climbed in and started the engine, she imagined herself and Costin naked in snow. Now, why was that so arousing?
The door of her car was flung back suddenly. Before she fully comprehended, fully turned, a fist slammed into her cheek. Hurtled across the front seat, she struck her bag and it flipped, spilling its contents onto the floor. The shift lever stabbed at her belly. Sparkles scattered everywhere. Her thoughts refused to coalesce—what had happened? Someone had a hold of her, was turning her onto her back, at least she wasn’t on the shift knob now. Fingers dug at her hips, under her slacks, her panties, yanking all of it down. Abstractly she understood what was happening and kicked out.
Heard her shoe hit the pavement, heard the breathing. Then came the pressure on top of her, his stinking mouth on hers. She heard his blood whooshing through his arteries.
Lightning crackled through the car. It lit his scruffy face: Dark eyes wide, slavering lips--but almost immediately the face twisted with terror. A claw hooked the corner of his mouth and sliced it open, all the way to the ear. His scream must have shattered windows for a mile. A flash and she stood outside the car, above him. He was trying to crawl away. Her blood raced, heart hammered. She rose up, saw the moon all red now, and then lunged into blackness.