Hali was up much earlier than usual, her body waking up and refusing to go back to sleep. She got ready for the day, though with obvious annoyance. Relief filled her when there was no surprise ink explosion around her. So it balanced out, and she got ready as usual, having time to brew her own coffee and breakfast. Hali could take an earlier train and arrived almost a full hour earlier.
When she entered the school’s property, there was an instant pain in her stomach. Hali grasp her stomach and shot around, looking for whatever could have set this off. On a bench nearby was a woman, sitting all by herself, sipping on a caffeinated drink. She had such dark features. Her hair was black, darker than even Hali’s, and looked to be even wilder than Hali’s own thick hair. Her skin was much darker than Hali’s olive complexion, tanned with the sun. Shadowy blue eyes stared at Hali, and the woman had a smile that Hali had never seen before. It reminded her of a starving animal. Hali was sure if the women were closer she would try to gobble her up. And the pain was the worst as Hali looked her way. If she were any closer, Hali was sure that she would faint front the pain.
‘Why?’ Hali thought.
Hali stepped back and wandered in another direction. It was where the sensation in her gut was the least painful. It was the best option, and Hali would listen to her gut. As she hurried away, the pain disappeared. She didn’t dare to look behind her though and find out if the woman was still drinking her coffee or was following her. Hali didn’t give a damn, she just knew she had to get as far away from this spot as possible.
Hali burst through the door to the closest building, thankful that it was at least the one she needed to get to class, because she hadn’t been thinking as she jogged away from the scene and kept focused, she entered her class, thankful to find at least another student there, working away. The uneasy sensation disappeared, and when Hali glanced out of the classroom, she found that the woman gone. Hali sensed nothing else, so she supposed she wasn’t in the building or heading her way. She hoped anyway. Her sense seemed messed up.
Nothing happened though, and Hali set up for class. Patrick came in, setting up in his usual spot beside her. Lyris never showed up though, and that left Hali concerned. She sent Lyris a quick text, but there was no reply. Hali worried all day, and had a hard time focusing, and headed straight home, to get ready for her shift. After her usual transit line, and her usual route, she stopped as she passed the alley she had been avoiding, but something unexpected happened. She froze as the pain returned once again. It wasn’t the alley that triggered it, though. The long way around, the usual safe way. Her eyes widened, and her brain tried to process what the hell had happened. She took a step back, and she turned to look down the alleyway. There was no dread there, and this direction was safe today.
“I don’t understand,” she said under her breath. She grabbed her canvas bag tighter and moved down the alley. The pain disappeared instantly, but she was still nervous. Hali was speed walking, and looked around, alert about whatever maybe waiting for her just around the corner.
When Hali came out to the sidewalk on the other side, the sun hit her body, and she relaxed. She saw her apartment and the cafe. And out front was Conan, sweeping the sidewalk, just like he did every day before opening and before the dinner rush. Her body eased, and she pressed the sidewalk button. Crossing, she glanced his way, realizing that he had noticed her and seized his sweeping. She stopped beside him and smiled. “Hey, how has it been today?”
“Good,” he responded. “I have to head out tonight for an appointment, so its just you and Anthony tonight. Leave the garbage for me, and I’ll take it out myself when I get back.”
Hali nodded. “Okay. I can do that.”
He smiled his professional smile at her and motioned for her to head upstairs. “Get some dinner upstairs and head down at five.”
She gave him a playful salute. “Yes, sir.”
With a wave, Hali went up to the apartment entrance and headed upstairs. As she walked up the stairs, she heard her phone buzz away and reached for it, pausing only long enough to notice a cramp forming in her stomach. She brushed it side and picked it up to glance at her screen, noticing that it was a text from Lyris.
Lyris: Hali, when will you be home?
Hali: I already got home. I’m about to get ready for my shift.
Lyris: I’ve been really ill all day. I need to go to an evening clinic. Can you please come get me and help me there?
The pain in her stomach got sharp, and when Hali reached her bedroom, she had to sit down as it felt a wincing pain. She tossed her bags aside and tried to answer Lyris.
Hali: I really can’t. I’m sorry. Why don’t you call Patrick? He has a car.
She dropped the phone, which was the only thing that eased the pain in her stomach. Her phone kept buzzing, and the pain was still presenting itself, so when Hali reached for it again, she turned her phone off. That stopped the pain, but Hali fell to her knee’s. She did her best to breathe in and out in even breaths. “Okay....okay, I get it. Just stop, please.”
Hali rested her head on her mattress and did the best she could to hold it together. Unsure how much more of this she could take.