You open your eyes.
And then immediately screw them shut again because of the rain.
You sit up, feeling the your cold, wet clothes clinging to you like a second skin. You shiver – you are absolutely freezing. Everything around you is shrouded by pitch black darkness. As your eyes start to adjust to the night, you see that you are exactly where the strangler that attacked you left you, by the side of the road. You try to pull yourself to your feet, but your left leg buckles under you. It took the brunt of the hit of the stranger’s first attack, and obviously wasn’t fairing well because of it. You crawl over to a lamppost and use it to pull yourself into a standing position. Leaning heavily on your right leg, you tentatively put a little pressure on your left leg. Pain flares up your calf muscle – there’s no way you can walk home on that.
In another moment of doing-something-on-instinct, you check your bracelet. You are surprised to not only see that the first orb has returned, but that now a second has joined it. It sits to the right of the first orb – or the left? You cannot tell which is which – with one normal metal orb in between them. For some reason, you smile – and then realise how weird that is. Surely this means twice the amount of random, day ruining, weirder than ever, bracelet caused conundrums that will be occurring. Not good.
You stare at both of the orbs, trying to bring about exactly what happened in your room. You want to go home. You need to go home. You want to appear in your room. You keep repeating these things over and over in your head while you flick the beads, left then right, harder and harder until the bracelet is almost rolling off your wrist. Then you stop, take a deep breath, and take a step forward.
Pain flares again and you fall to the ground, landing in a puddle. ‘Why did you step with your sore leg?’, you ask yourself. You’ve never been able to control the bracelet before, so why would it work now. You consider that it is possible that adding another orb to the bracelet may have made it twice as hard to use. You swear in annoyance, and then again because there’s no one there to here you.
Not even bothering to get up out of the puddle, you prize open your jeans pocket and pull out your phone. You pray it isn’t suffering from water damage. You turn it on, and light shines from the screen. Relief floods through you. You search through your contacts and call Steph.
Ten minutes later a car pulls up beside you. Steph rolls down her window and calls your name questioningly. When you shout back her name, Tommy gets out of the other side of the car, quickly snaps a picture of you lying in the puddle while giggling, then puts it away and helps you up. Both of them are bombarding you with questions, which you are in no mood to deal with.
You explain without going into as much detail as you can. You say that you had stayed late at the library. Saying this makes you realise that your bag is missing. While this makes you really annoyed, it also makes convincing people of you cover story a lot easier too. You say that on the way home, you were attacked. You didn’t see their face – which you didn’t. They grabbed your bag, knocked you out and ran. You say that the next thing you know you were waking up in the rain. They say many sympathetic things, and Steph says you should report the incident to the police in the morning.
They stop at a petrol station to get you some food. You wolf down two flapjack bars and gulp a bottle of water down in seconds. Tommy sees your progress with the food, and comments that you look like the incident hasn’t dented your appetite. Steph laughs. You argue back, but also grin. You are grateful that they came to pick you up. You wouldn’t have known what you would have done otherwise. You lie down on the back seat, which is a lot more comfortable than sitting up.
You close your eyes.