Welcome to Spirit Hunger, a weekly supernatural romance story.
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After falling back into bed, Honi slept soundly until his alarm went off with an almighty racket. He jerked up and barely caught himself before tumbling over the edge of his narrow mattress. His head spun and as he rubbed his eyes, he felt an ache developing in his forehead. The tightness across his brows told him more than his sluggishness that he hadn’t slept deeply.
When he felt like this, he knew from past experience that dreams had visited him, both pleasant and scary. This time, they hadn’t been bad enough to wake him during the night. Still, vague recollections left him a little on edge, a little anxious. While he waited for the shower to heat up, he made himself a cup of instant coffee.
The first sip of the bitter rancid liquid reminded him why he didn’t like coffee, particularly instant. Black tea didn’t wake him up enough after a dream-filled night so he drank the cup down as quickly as he could. He couldn’t really justify spending lots of money on the good stuff they sold at the coffee shop on his way to the lecture hall. He made an effort to treat himself once or twice a week but towards the end of the month, there was precious little money left if he wanted to eat. He smiled ruefully to himself.
His friends at home thought he was ridiculous with his obsession about what he put into his stomach. He’d rather eat less than low-quality food. Organic vegetables, grass-fed beef, that kind of stuff. He stretched, trying to work some of the kinks out of his back. When his stomach muscles protested, he grimaced a little. Maybe he’d overdone it at the gym yesterday.
He was proud of his lean and muscular physique and had no intention of giving in to the ‘freshman 15’ like so many of the other students. There was really nothing like the burn of muscles well used and the ache the day after.
His mood lifted although a few seconds later, he swiped his cup of crappy coffee off his desk by accident. There was still enough noxious liquid to splatter his college bag, sitting on the chair. Damn it, now he was going to be late for class. With a sinking feeling he realized two things. The tutor was Diepger, and he was likely to see Adi again.
Honi’s gaze swept through the lecture hall as he slowed down from a dead run. He was late but only by a minute or so. Diepger was still busy unpacking his bag so Honi slipped into the last row. When he sat down, he quickly glanced to his left. A boy he hadn’t seen before moved over a tiny bit to give him more space. He smiled at Honi shyly and Honi’s mouth lifted slightly in response.
As he settled down, he quickly scanned the room again to see if Adi was here. She sat further down the tiered seating rows, nearly in direct eye-line. Honi took in her appearance and his stomach started to feel a little heavy.
Clearly Adi was not okay. She wore another gray hoody, wrapped tightly around her slim body. Her head was down and she looked like she was trying to hide away from the world. It was kinda understandable. After yesterday’s confrontation with Diepger, she wouldn’t be keen to draw attention to herself. Honi had the impression though that there was more to her crouched posture.
Diepger began droning and Honi tried to pay attention. No matter how interesting the subject, that guy managed to sound like one of those hypnosis tapes that put you to sleep. Pretty soon, Honi’s eyes were drawn back to the girl in front of him and while he continued listening to the lecture with one ear, he began to notice things about Adi. She took notes with her head down. Then she would look up, probably to hear better, flinch and return her eyes to the paper in front of her.
What was wrong with her? Honi was perplexed at her behaviour. Adi lifted her head again, looked to the left and recoiled. What the hell was going on here? Honi closed his eyes and tried to calm his mind. A couple of slow inhales and exhales later, he felt receptive enough to use his gift. This time, he waited until Adi lifted her head again and followed her eyesight. There, two students down, a small furry creature clung to a female student like a bushbaby. The creature locked eyes with Adi. Adi jumped slightly and turned away.
So was that the problem? Honi had been trained from childhood to ignore the spirit animals. Through meditation and different mind exercises, he could control when he saw the creatures. Slowly a suspicion began to grow. Could it be that Adi’s ability had only manifested recently? Honi had never heard of such a thing. Usually, children began to talk about their visions from a very early age.
In his tribe, the elders would teach those special children how to control their abilities. If they didn’t, kids would find it very difficult to tell the difference between reality and their visions. It was dangerous to ignore them. Imagine a toddler not being afraid of cougars or bears and trying to run towards them to play with them? It happened once, many years ago before Honi was born, and the story was used as an example of the dangers of neglecting his training.
He looked at Adi again. Her skittishness was hard to watch. He thought her face looked drawn and her hair greasy. He glanced at his notes and tried to concentrate. She was none of his business. John had made it very clear that he didn’t want Honi to get involved.
Even as he remembered the phone conversation, his gaze was drawn to her again. Adi’s hand shook as she tried to write something. While he still stared, she turned and her eyes found his. A look of surprise made her eyes even larger and she jerked her head back. It only took a second but Honi had seen the pallor in her face and worst of all, the growing fear in her eyes. She looked like she was in shock.
As he kept observing her and how she clearly struggled, anger rose in him. It was easy enough for John Parker to tell him to stay away from the girl but he wasn’t here to see what this did to her. She seemed to have aged 10 years since yesterday. If lack of training could be dangerous for toddlers, how would this affect an adult?
Honi tried to imagine being in her skin and realized that if this happened to him without training, he would probably think he’d gone mad. That he had lost contact with reality. That he couldn’t trust his eyes anymore to tell him what was wrong and what wasn’t.
Honi sighed. He couldn’t walk away from this. Adi was clearly not okay. Leaving her to deal with this alone was not an option. A wet tongue licking his hand was Ho’neo’s way of showing his approval. Honi rolled his eyes at the wolf’s antiques. The creature didn’t talk but clearly expressed whatever he wanted Honi to do. He was the best shot she had. Now all he had to do was convince her of it.