Hali! Let me take you to the hospital!” Lyris gasped “Why are you acting this way?”
Hali didn’t stop walking and kept heading forward. The further away she got from Lyris and the cursed alley, the better she felt, but the sensation didn’t go away. She supposed it was because Lyris was trailing behind her. Lyris jogged to catch up with Hali, and when Hali glanced back, Lyris had a look of strong concern for her friend. She seemed very freaked out, but at that moment, Hali felt a sense of urgency to get back to her apartment. Every instinct she had told her to keep moving and not to stop for anything.
“Hali!” Lyris cried, reaching out and grabbing her arm, forcing her to freeze for a moment. “Please, talk to me. This isn’t like you at all.”
Hali couldn’t hold back, her body convulsed and without a second to prepare, she jerked forward and vomited. Her knees gave way and she fell to the ground, breaking Lyris’ grip on her arm. Hali attempted not to notice the stares some people were giving them as they passed by. She looked back up at Lyris, some leftover stomach content dribbling down her chin. Lyris’ blue eyes connected with Hali’s, and a stern glare came over Hali’s face. “I’m not going down that way, and that’s final.”
“But, Hali, your apartment is literally right there,” Lyris stated, pointing toward her apartment, through the alley. “Why do we need to go around?”
Hali rose to her feet, and broke eye contact with Lyris, using the sleeve of her shirt to wipe her chin. “I’ll meet you there then, but I’m going the long way around. That alley isn’t safe.”
She balanced herself and took in a few deep, even breaths before she left, heading down the block to where she hoped her salvation would be.
“It’s a back street. Seriously! I’m concerned for your mental health. You’re losing it,” Lyris snapped.
Hali clenched her fists and tried to bite her tongue. She had never told Lyris about her lucky sense, but judging by the words coming out of her mouth, Lyris was not likely to believe her. Picking up the pace, she hurried to the corner and made a right turn; it was then that the worst of the sickness disappeared. Though Lyris still lagged behind, every bit of Hali knew she had to get as far away as possible. The sense that something wasn’t right was beginning to wash over her.
Hali ran ahead while Lyris struggled to keep up, jumping between the people on the sidewalk between them. Lyris reached out and grabbed Hali for the second time by the arm. She squeezed hard, intending to not let go this time. She held Hali with a force she didn’t expect from someone with such a small frame. Lyris pulled Hali closer to her, dragging her across the sidewalk. Her eyes narrowed and the glint in them was one Hali didn’t recognize in her friend.
“Hali, I don’t want to be forceful, but you are acting like an insane person,” Lyris snapped.
Hali’s arm was burning, she let out a scream and then went silent; paused, and then Hali snapped out of it. She was confused, standing back before the alleyway. It felt like she’d been watching a movie right in front of her. She had seen herself running and saw Lyris go after her, as if it had happened to someone else and not her. Hali’s mouth dropped open in confusion and Lyris stared at her with much concern. Hali let out a gasp, as if she had been holding her breath and just remembered how to breathe.
“H-Hali?” Lyris cried. “What the hell just happened? You just stopped and looked like you were in a trance. I tried to shake you and talk to you, but you didn’t react at all.”
Hali jumped a few feet back when she heard Lyris’ voice. What the hell had happened? Was that a messed up daydream? She had no words for Lyris, but she still kept her distance. The dream-like state left her shaken.
“I’m sorry,” Hali stammered “I zoned out, I guess.”
Lyris took a few steps forward and motioned to the alleyway. “Well let’s get you home. We can get you some water, maybe call someone to see if I should get you to the hospital?” Lyris stated. “My cousin is a nurse, I can call her.”
Hali gave her a look, but glanced at the alleyway. She had butterflies in her stomach and her blood turned cold. She shook her head, “I’m not going down that way.”
Lyris raised her eyebrows in confusion. “Um....why?”
Hali didn’t know if she was losing her mind or not, but that daydream had her freaked out and she did not understand why she thought of that. All she knew for certain was that she couldn’t go down that way and would not subject herself to whatever was waiting there. She thought about the tight grip Lyris had on her arm and it freaked her out. It was as if the sensation was burning her arm.
Without thinking, she pushed past Lyris who called after her, confused by her sudden action. Hali just knew that she had to get to the apartment. It was safe there; much safer than anywhere else at the moment.
Hali dashed around a bunch of people, ran around the corner once she reached it, and slipped while making the turn. Hali didn’t dare to look behind her to see if she was being followed. She righted her body as she slid, then kept running, only stopping at the next corner. No one else was there so she pounded the crosswalk button with her fist, praying it would change already. With her luck, it did, and she bolted across the street. Hali finally saw her building come into view just down the street, and kept going. Her body ached and her lungs burned, but she didn’t stop.
Hali grabbed the door handle and pulled her keys from her bag as fast as possible, fumbling and missing the lock a few times before she managed to insert and unlock the door. She threw it open and jumped inside as if it was her only salvation.
“Christ!” Amy cried. She was inside the doorway, taking off her shoes. She had just gotten home herself. Hali felt dizzy and was gasping for air. “Are you alright? Did something happen?”
Hali wanted to hold herself against the wall until the dizzy spell had disappeared, but didn’t have the strength to lift her arms anymore. She opened her mouth to speak, but only hoarse groans came out. Before Hali knew it, her knees gave way, her eyes rolled up into her head, and she fell to the floor, losing consciousness.