Hali awoke with a start, launching herself out of bed. She let out a gasp as confusion washed over her. How did she end up in her room —in her own bed? And with an unfamiliar clean set of sheets on her bed? She looked over to where her bed sheets from that morning were placed on top of her dresser; laundered and folded.
Hali saw movement out of the corner of her eye and turned towards the doorway. Amy was poking her head in, her face full of concern, “How are you doing?” she asked.
Hali looked down at her lap and shrugged, “I’m not sure how I am...”
Amy frowned and came inside the bedroom. She looked at the clean bed sheets and back to Hali, “So… what happened?”
Hali’s eyes watered, she choked back a sob and looked up at Amy pitifully, “I’m going crazy!”
Amy sat on the bed and put a comforting hand on her shoulder, “Come on, you’re not going crazy. Why on earth do you think you’re crazy?”
It was a struggle to hold her feelings back anymore, Hali tried to find the words to explain what she herself couldn’t fully understand, to Amy, but it was obvious that no matter how she worded it, it was going to come across as insane... so she started with a summary:
“I had this… hallucination and just ran from Lyris! My lucky sense isn’t working properly. I’m randomly getting ill and I’m sleep walking!” Hali pointed to her ink covered desk at that last point.
“Oh, we were wondering what happened with the ink,” Amy explained. “After you fainted, I called Conan from the cafe, and he helped me carry you upstairs. We found your bed stripped and your bed sheets just covered in ink.”
Hali brought her legs to her chest and hugged them tightly. “I don’t know what’s going on anymore.”
Amy sighed. “You told me that your sense was never wrong, right?”
Hali nodded, “It hasn’t been wrong ever before.”
Amy tried to understand and with no hint of judgment, replied, “Well, maybe it’s just protecting you. They say we need to listen to that voice in our head, and it’s just telling you,” Amy said, “Do you think you’re in any danger?”
Hali took a moment to ponder it and remembered the times the pain got intense and it was holding her back. Specifically, around that alleyway. Until the last week, she’d hurry home through that back way without issue. Could it be stress getting to her? Or could there be danger? Glancing back at Amy, she could give no proper answer. “I don’t know… last night there was a gigantic dog at the door and it prevented me from taking the garbage out, but I sensed nothing. And that alley I use across the street, every time I’ve tried to walk through there this week, I’ve felt this terrible ache in my stomach and it only went away if I walked the long way.”
Amy took in her words and nodded, “Well, I don’t have any answers, but I have heard that there have been big dogs in the neighbourhood, so follow your instincts. I’m sure this will sort itself out.”
Hali agreed and pushed the blankets off of her, climbing out of bed. Amy gave her a questionable look, “Should you be getting out of bed?”
“I want to go downstairs and thank Conan,” Hali explained.
Amy smiled, “I’m sure he’d want to know you’re alright. He was very concerned. Do you want help downstairs?”
Hali knew when to ask for help, “It would be better if you did.”
Amy offered her hand, and Hali took it for support. The two women slowly made to the hall, and when they reached the stairs, Amy put her free arm around Hali’s shoulders, helping her down one step at a time. At the bottom, Hali was released to stand on her own. “I can wait here for you.”
Grateful, Hali gave her a smile and nod, “I won’t be long.”
She pushed open the cafe door and entered. The evening rush was thankfully over, and Hali walked past the evening staff with a smile and a wave. She went through the kitchen door, her eyes scanning the room, though she didn’t see Conan anywhere. Hali heard rustling sound of movement and the clinking of coins being dropped into one of the cash boxes coming from inside the office. She walked to the doorway and peeked inside, Conan didn’t look up at first, but continued counted the dimes. “What can I do for you, Evan?”
“Actually, its Hali,” she responded.
There was a pause in his counting and he glanced in her direction, dropping the rest of the coins into the cash box and rising to his feet. “You’re awake?! Are you alright?”
He maneuvered around the desk and stopped in front of her. Studying her, looking for any instance of any harm on her person. She noticed his eyes intensely focused on her and it made her cheeks burn red for a moment, before she nodded her head, “I’m fine. I just… I was sick, rushed home and just had a dizzy spell and fainted.” She couldn’t read his expression and waited for him to say something. When he didn’t, she tried to assure him further, “I’m really okay.”
“I believe you, I’m just concerned” he said, “Will you be alright for your shift tomorrow? I can get someone else if you need to rest.”
She shook her head. Hali couldn’t afford to miss any shifts and she felt better. Besides, she felt safe in this building. Safer than she did anywhere else in her life, even. She’d be alright. “I’m gonna work my shift.”
He acknowledged her response with a curt nod, “If you change your mind, I want you to tell me as soon as possible. I will get someone in for you.”
He walked past her and headed into the kitchen. Hali turned and watched him as he approached the staff fridge and took out a sandwich. He passed it over to her. “Here, I was going to bring this up to you later, anyway. Its past dinner, you must be starving.”
Hali stepped forward and took the sandwich. He was such a good person to his staff and roommates, and she didn’t know what she had done to deserve such kindness— even with her lucky streak. Turning to leave, she gave Conan a heartfelt thank you, and went through the cafe, back to the awaiting Amy.