The music was thumping loudly in the club, and Kara could feel the vibrations beneath her feet, and the effects of the alcohol she’d consumed made her feel like she was listening to the music underwater. The club was tightly packed with bodies, and Kara could feel claustrophobia creeping up on her as she slipped through the heaving crowd. A feeling of unease swept over Kara as the back of her neck prickled.
Someone was watching her.
She should leave.
Seeking out Winn at the bar, Kara stumbled over to his side. Her face was ghostly in the flashing fluorescent lights as Winn turned to look at her, his smile disappearing as her took in the crinkle between Kara’s eyebrows. “Are you okay?”
“I feel … I don’t know, weird?” Kara shrugged self-consciously, looking over her shoulder as she scanned the club. She didn’t see anyone looking straight at her, but the feeling was still there. “I think I’m going to go.”
“Come on, Kara,” Winn whined, holding up the two shots he’d just bought them. “It’s barely even midnight.”
“You stay,” Kara told him, waving away the drink. “I’m going to head home.”
“Let me just drink these and I’ll come with you,” Winn told her, throwing his head back as he downed the shot.
“It’s fine. I’m just going to get a cab,” Kara told him. “You stay.”
Winn hesitated for a second, before nodding, “message me when you get home.”
“Will do. Enjoy the rest of your night.”
She stumbled over the threshold over the club, lurching out into the cold air of the night. It washed over her, freezing her instantly as she left the warmth of the club behind. Her breath billowed out before her as Kara crossed her arms over her chest, walking up the street to where a line of early home-goers were waiting for cabs.
The back of Kara’s neck prickled, and she looked over her shoulder. She could swear that there was a shadow moving in the alleyway between the club and the old boarded up abandoned building next door. Taking a step back away from the curb, Kara’s heels clicked on the sidewalk as she crept towards the alleyway. Kara wasn’t a suspicious person, but she could almost swear someone had been following her all night; she had to make sure.
She didn’t get close to the mouth of the alleyway – she wasn’t stupid – Kara moved close enough to just peer into the dark, wiping away a few flecks of rain that speckled the lenses of her glasses. In the dim light she could see the shadowy outline of trash bags scattered around the bottom of an overflowing dumpster.
Letting out a shaky breath, Kara rubbed her arms to keep the blood flowing as she wandered back over to the end of the taxi line. Maybe she was being a little paranoid.
Or maybe not.
She let out a startled yell as cold hands circled her arms and covered her mouth. Feeling like she’d barely blinked, Kara found herself at the end of the alleyway, and the silhouette of a person, barely visible, stood before her in the shadows.
“Whoever you are, you’d better let me go because I have a friend waiting for a phone call to tell him I’m home, and I’ll scream if you move even an inch closer,” Kara threatened, backing up until her back hit the exposed brick of the club.
“Oh, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m going to save you.”
The words sent chills down Kara’s spine, and a feeling of dread settled in her stomach. She sucked in a deep breath, and as she was about to scream, a hand was clamped over her mouth. No, not over it - in her mouth. Kara choked on the coppery taste of blood as it filled her mouth, spluttering as the hand was removed.
Coughing, she wiped at her chin, her hand coming away wet with something that glistened black in the darkness. She looked up as the person approached, gripping both sides of her head, and before she could make another sound, a sharp pain lanced through the side of her neck as teeth clamped down on the exposed skin.
Fear swept over Kara, and everything went black as she struggled limply.
Kara’s eyes fluttered open, and she winced as she took in the sunlight streaming through the blinds. Grumbling, Kara fumbled for the blinds and shut them, before sitting up in bed. Running her fingers through her hair, Kara sighed, listening to the loud sound of music coming from somewhere in the building.
She felt strange.
Not hungover, which was a good thing, but not like she usually did. Something was different, and Kara couldn’t remember what had happened last night. She didn’t remember coming home, yet here she was, in her own bed, in her own apartment. Wondering how she got here, Kara stretched, frowning as her muscles stretched – her arms felt leaden, almost like she was weak from the flu.
Kara frowned – she didn’t feel right. She felt hollow. Craving something, but she wasn’t sure what it was she was craving. Wrapping a blanket around herself, Kara slid out of bed and walked to the fridge, opening it and staring at the food with disinterest. There was left over pizza, but Kara wrinkled her nose at the thought of it. Slamming the fridge door shut, Kara sighed, deciding on a shower instead of breakfast.
She let out a loud yelp of shock as she took in her expression in the bathroom mirror. Her face looked two shades paler and there was a sharp, alien look to Kara’s usually soft face. As Kara looked at her reflection, she blinked in surprise, realising that she hadn’t put her glasses on when she’d woken up – that was something she’d usually notice straight away, because she was as blind as a bat without them, yet she could see as clearly as if she was wearing her glasses, and in a moment of confusion, Kara thought that she might’ve slept with contacts in, before remembering that she didn’t own contacts.
That was odd.
Turning on the hot water, Kara stepped under it, letting it wash over her. The water didn’t feel comforting like it usually did, and Kara rolled her shoulders to loosen her muscles, hoping to work some of the tension out of them. After a few more minutes, Kara gave up and shut the water off, accidentally pulling the tap off in the process.
“Oh shit,” Kara muttered, trying to fit it back on, but failing despite her best efforts. As Kara wrapped a towel around herself, she abandoned the tap on the shower floor and stepped out. The bathroom was usually frigid in the morning, especially when Kara got out of the shower, but it was unusually mild this morning, despite the white sky visible through the little window. She should've been shivering.
The buzzing of Kara’s phone caught her ears, and she frowned slightly as she quickly walked out of the bathroom and picked it up – it sounded louder than normal. It didn’t even have a chance to ring a second time before she’d answered it.
“Ah, so you are alive then,” Winn’s disapproving voice came through, slightly too loud to Kara’s sensitive ears. Perhaps she was a little hungover, because every sound seemed too loud and too sharp this morning.
“Hey, um, yeah, I guess so,” Kara said, frowning slightly. “Why? What time did I leave?”
“You left about midnight, and you promised to text me when you got in,” Winn grumbled.
Kara had the grace to feel slightly guilty that she hadn’t called. “Sorry! I can’t remember even getting home – or getting into the cab for that matter. The last thing I remember is that last round of shots we had.”
Winn laughed slightly. “I guess that one really finished you off. I’m surprised you were still standing when you left. How’re you feeling this morning?”
Kara hesitated slightly. “Strange.”
“Yeah, I, uh, I don’t know. I feel … different. I don’t feel hungover, but I feel weird. Like I should be coming down with something, but the symptoms haven’t caught up to me yet.”
“Okay weirdo,” Winn snorted. “That makes zero sense.”
“I know,” Kara sighed. “I just … I don’t know what it is. Something’s not right.”
“You’re probably still drunk,” Winn laughed, brushing aside Kara’s concerns. “Stop being so paranoid. Go and take a nap and some aspirin. You’ll feel fine in a few hours.”
“Can’t,” Kara said, pulling out a pair of jeans. “I’m meeting Alex for lunch.”
“Of course. Get a bagel for me,” Winn told her, and Kara laughed.
“Are you not coming?”
“Nope. I’m going to sleep for the rest of the day, and then I’ve got a long night of campaigning on WoW.”
“Okay nerd, have fun,” Kara laughed. “Drink some water.”
“Yes, boss,” Winn snorted. “Bye.”
Kara threw her phone onto her bed, or at least she tried, but overestimated the distance and threw it straight into the wall. There was a resounding crack as the screen shattered and the phone fell onto the bed. “Shit!”
Grumbling, Kara picked up her phone, wincing as she took in the smashed screen. With a sigh, she gently placed it on her nightstand and pulled on the shirt she’d taken out of her drawer. Despite the time of year, Kara didn’t feel cold, but she threw a sweater on for good measure, hoping that she could forgo a coat. Checking her watch, Kara saw that it was almost time for her to meet Alex. Fumbling under the bed for her shoes, she slipped on a pair of sneakers and quickly tied the laces, before fetching her bag and slipping out of her apartment, slamming the door shut. Making her way towards the stairs, Kara stopped as someone reached the top of the staircase.
Kara felt a faint blush colour her cheeks as she came face to face with her neighbour. Dark hair was covered by a bobble hat, and half of Lena’s face was hidden by the scarf wound around her neck. “Good morning,” Kara said, giving her a nervous smile as she moved to the side to let her past.
“Kara, hi. Oh, no glasses,” Lena noted, tilting her head to the side as she looked at Kara, whose hands instinctively went up to push the non-existent frames up her nose.
“Oh, yeah, uh, not today,” Kara smiled, feeling nervous under Lena’s intense stare. Those eyes were as familiar to Kara as her own – she’d studied them intently every time she’d had the chance to talk to Lena, and a part of her hated to admit how much she adored them. Especially the fact the one was a little greener than the other. As Kara looked into her eyes today, she was surprised to see that they looked even more beautiful than usual – almost like she was looking at them again for the first time.
“It’s cold outside; you might want a coat today,” Lena told her, brushing past Kara. “Careful on the sidewalk too, it’s a bit icy.”
“Will do. Thanks,” Kara said, watching as Lena walked over to her apartment door and slid her key into the lock. “Have a good day.”
“You too,” Lena said, giving Kara a small wave before she disappeared into her apartment.
Smiling to herself, Kara walked downstairs and came out onto the sidewalk. Immediately, she could tell that something was wrong. Her face felt hot and itchy, and Kara felt weak, covering her eyes with a hand as she winced in pain. Scrambling back towards the door, she let herself back into her building, taking deep, shaky breaths as she calmed down in the shadowy alcove beneath the stairs.
Perhaps she was coming down with something.
Hurrying upstairs, Kara tripped up the last step, feeling warm hands right her and a quiet laugh reach her ears. “Whoa, slow down there. Coming back for that coat, huh?”
Kara gave Lena a weak smile as she straightened up and took in the faint look of amusement on Lena’s face. “I, uh, yeah, I changed my mind,” Kara stammered.
“Are you feeling okay? You look a little pale. I know I’m not one to talk, but you’re usually a little less ghostly,” Lena said, frowning as she kept her hands wrapped around Kara’s arms. Under any other circumstances, Kara would assume that the faint feeling she was experiencing was because of how close she was to Lena, or the fact that Lena was touching her. Lena’s fingers seemed to burn through the wool of Kara’s sweater, and she could feel the spot where every finger gripped her tightly. She could feel Lena’s heartbeat through her touch, and Kara’s eyes instinctively went to the pale, exposed skin of her neck, and the bluish hint of a vein snaking its way upwards, pumping blood through Lena’s body. Kara felt a pull, coaxing her closer to Lena, but she snapped herself out of it, shaking her head slightly.
“I, uh, I don’t know. I-I think I’m coming down with something,” Kara said. “Best not get too close.” Pulling her arms out of Lena’s, Kara almost tripped over her own feet as she quickly walked away from Lena, unlocking her door and slipping into her dark apartment.
What was happening to her?