Welcome to Spirit Hunger, a weekly supernatural romance story.
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Adi was trying her best to take notes. This was an important class even though it really didn’t have anything to do with her German major. The class was mandatory though and interesting enough. Pity that the professor was Diepger again.
Adi kept her head down and sat as far back as she could while still being able to hear him. She really tried to listen but her hallucinations, as she had reluctantly started to call them, were getting worse. Everywhere she looked, she saw people and animals.
Yesterday, it had been weird but funny. Today it was far more scary. Many of the creatures had begun to notice her. As a kid, Adi had always been drawn to critters, and had nursed any injured cat or dog she found. Even if her parents weren’t very supportive of it – after all, keeping pets in a small inner-city apartment wasn’t the best idea – she’d never even been scratched by one of her patients.
Today though, from the minute she’d left her dorm, she’d been attacked by a cacophony of screeches that no-one else seemed to hear. A small panther, wrapped around the shoulders of Owen, her RSA, had even tried to swipe her with his saucer-sized paw. Owen had looked at her weirdly when she jumped back.
And ever since she had sat down in the lecture hall, the noise level of barks, growls and hisses had risen to an extent where she could barely make out what Diepger was saying. A particularly loud snarl made her look left, only to come face to face with a mouth full of giant teeth, belonging to a German Shepherd, not five inches away from her nose.
Her eyes swept up to the owner’s face who made no effort to control his dog. Of course the boy had no idea there was a dog, no leash, no blanket and he wouldn’t have been allowed to bring in a dog anyway. Nor was any of them allowed to bring in a boa constrictor, a rat, a giant gecko and good grief, was that a pony?
Adi shuddered. It was all in her mind, she was going crazy. All she could do was try to ignore them and focus on Diepger’s voice. Those animals weren’t there. Mind over matter. Adi rubbed her thumb on the wolf medallion, squeezed her eyes shut, hoping, praying that things would be back to normal after a few minutes. Of course they weren’t.
She needed to talk to, confide in somebody. Only there wasn’t anybody. If her family found out, she’d lose her funding. If she couldn’t pull herself together, she’d flunk her course. Her hands came up to cover her face. Adi swallowed a sob and forcefully pulled herself together. Nobody was going to find out.
Hallucinations couldn’t hurt her, and all she had to do was hold out another couple of weeks until the finals. Who cared if that stupid dog was still snarling at her. It. Wasn’t. There. Adi opened her eyes and defiantly stared back until the student next to her noticed. Then she had to quickly pull her attention back to the paper in front of her. Everybody already thought she was weird, no need to give them new ammunition!
After a long 90 minutes – seriously, Einstein was definitely right, how long could an hour and a half stretch? – Adi got up, rolling her neck to loosen up a bit while avoiding eye contact with anybody. She put her materials back into her leather school bag and made her way out of the room before Diepger might call her back. She’d already humiliated herself enough with him, thank you very much. Eyes down, hoodie up, she moved purposefully towards the exit.
A deep voice made her stop in her tracks. “Adi, right? We met yesterday, can we talk for a moment?” Adi looked up and her eyes widened as she took in the gorgeous boy who had tried to help her with Diepger the day before. Yesterday she had been too upset to notice how good-looking he was.
He stood sideways to the window in the hallway and the light streaming in highlighted his bronze skin and warm brown eyes. His long black hair was tied back with a cream-colored band. A simple white t-shirt emphasized the breadth of his shoulders and chest. He was much taller than her and for a moment, she imagined walking closer to him and feeling his long sleekly-muscled arms hold her safely.
Her body swayed closer to him of her own volition, drawn by a scent of pine and ozone. She felt his hand steady her and abruptly pull her out of the trance she’d slipped into. Her face heating up, she could barely meet his eyes.
“You look like you didn’t get enough sleep. Are you okay?” There was concern in his voice and when she finally looked into his face fully, there was no mockery. Her face broke into a smile and it felt like she hadn’t smiled in a long time. It only lasted for a moment until she remembered why she was so tired and scared, and her face fell.
“I’m fine,” she mumbled and tried to step around him.
“Woah, not so fast.” He had dropped his hand but not moved out of the way. “Adi, I know what you’re going through. I…”
Adi interrupted him, slightly confused, “What do you mean, what I’m going through? I’m just tired.”
Honi, she now remembered his name, didn’t allow himself to be sidetracked. “You’re not just tired though, are you? I know that you can see them too.”
Adi felt a moment of dizziness as his words hit her. No way. He couldn’t mean what she thought he’d said. She needed to get out of here. If anybody else overheard, she’d be in a ton of trouble.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re scaring me a little. I need to go!” With that, she tried to push past him again. He might as well have been a mountain with how little impact she made on his position.
“Adi, please, let me help you,” he tried again.
Adi searched his face for any indication that he was joking or trying to make fun of her. She didn’t find any. He seemed genuinely worried about her. Her face grew even hotter. She actually considered taking him up on his offer for a second. That second passed very quickly though when she remembered why she couldn’t trust anybody.
If her family found out that she told perfect strangers about her hallucinations, she’d find herself committed to the loony bin so quickly, she’d have her funding pulled in twenty-four hours. Either way, she was screwed.
So with a deep feeling of regret, she stood up straight, looked the most beautiful boy she’d ever met in the eyes, and said loudly, “I don’t need your help. Please stop bothering me or I will complain to campus security.”
And with his expressive face that changed seamlessly from confused to upset to angry firmly in her mind, she managed to push past him at the third attempt and walk away. She didn’t need to turn around to know that he was staring at her back with a scowl on his face.
New chapter is available next Monday