Attaway, A Day in the Life: Part 2
Adi watched through the dusty window of the water shed until Earnest’s back was turned. Then with scrunched up features, she focused hard on the valve on the pipe behind him. It began to trickle, and then to stream. As the water hissed from out all sides, Earnest turned to look and raised his wrench in a fury.
“Well if this isn’t the tenth time- Get brined you stupid sonofa-”
Adi laughed and ducked out of the window, listening with glee to Earnest’s shouting and banging. This was in fact only the ninth valve that she had disrupted since Earnest moved in, but it would by no means be the last.
“This is not what I signed up for,” he declared every time it happened. And he was right. “Go home,” Adi willed him. “Go back before it’s too late.”
Her grin faded to a sad smile. She knew he wouldn’t leave. She also knew she couldn’t keep messing with valves forever. Earnest had lived in Attaway three months now, and he was here to stay. The IMPs were too good, and the work, the real work was too dangerous for him to ever go back to Low Town. She only wanted to help him, to help everyone. It was just too hard to explain the gnawing feeling of dread in the back of her mind. The something ugly that said it was coming for him…
A twig snapped on the path, and Adi ducked behind a tree. Billie passed, hat cocked low, and stopped in the doorway of the shed to watch Earnest struggle with the valve. Adi watched from the window as he and Billie talked about something serious.
Billie had bad news written on her face. Not like she was a bad person, but just that bad things were bound to happen to her. Adi imagined a clock floating over her head, ticking down, but to what she didn’t know. She stirred up all kinds of trouble in the Factory District, but always seemed to come out of things scot free. It had to be only a matter of time before something went wrong.
Adi ducked back behind the tree as Billie left, now damp from Earnest’s practical joke. She was going to let her pass uninterrupted, but the feeling of dread was weighing too strong. She stepped out onto the path. “Billie.”
Billie turned and frowned when she saw who was talking to her. “What’s up, Adi?”
“You’re going to the Factory District tonight?”
“Nope, the Warf.”
“I have to ask you not to go.”
Billie heaved a heavy sigh. “Why’s that, Adi?”
“I have a bad feeling.”
“You always have a bad feeling. That’s not your gift speaking, it’s just anxiety.”
“I just need to tell you that I think something bad will happen if you go there tonight.”
“Look, Adi,” Billie put a firm hand on the other woman’s shoulder. “I’m good at sneaking around in the dark. You’re good at moving things with your brain. Let’s both stick to what we do best, and leave the prophesizing to Mary’s Fisherfolk. How’s about you come with me? We can get that box out of there fast if you put your mind to it. Get it? Get it?”
Adi pushed Billie’s hand away. “I can’t move anything that heavy. Anyway, I need to stay here. In case-”
“Something bad happens, I know. Maybe you aughtta talk to Whitey about how you’re feeling. He can fix something to calm you down.”
“I think I’ll just go talk to Dawn again. She always knows what to say.”
“Yeah do that. I’m gonna go talk to Whitey now. See ya.”
“Ok. And Billie...”
“I’ll be careful.”
Adi watched Billie retreat into the trees, then turned back to the window. Earnest was sitting in a metal chair, unscrewing the bolts form an old pipe. In the far distance, she heard was sounded like a small explosion, followed by laughter. Everyone was doing what they did best at Attaway, and everyone was having a good time. Life was good, life was fun, so why was she the only one not enjoying herself?
A breeze blew in off the lake, tousling Adi’s hair, and just as it did, she thought she heard a voice whispering. She looked around, but she was alone. “Hello?” she called softly.
The whisper came again, so thin and frail. Tourniquet. It said. Tourniquet.
“Who’s there?” her voice came out in a squeak. The whisper stopped. The wood was eerily still and silent, even the birds stopped chirping. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and Adi knew it was time to go. The silence followed her all the way home.