Genesis nodded and backed out of the room. Angela listened to the front door open and close. As she sat there, staring at the wall, her anxieties about herself soon gave way to worries about Genesis.
And now she really couldn’t sleep.
In the morning, Angela checked her phone to make sure she hadn’t missed any messages. Still nothing. She wasn’t sure if that worried her more or less.
She headed to work. The walk did little to clear her head, but at least she could cross the street without freezing up now. The mall was pretty quiet when Angela arrived, and Fuad had already opened up the shop.
“You look tired,” he said as she entered.
“Yeah,” she replied. “Weird night.”
She slipped her lanyard over her head and joined Fuad behind the counter. They passed the time chatting about Akkraemyth while waiting for the first customers of the day.
Three months on the job, Angela still hadn’t gotten used to the constant barrage of other people’s thoughts and feelings. She was popping half a dozen aspirin per shift most days, and it only just barely helped.
The customers wore her down more than usual today; her head was pounding in less than an hour. When a shipment of games came in, she took them to the back room to unpack them.
She grabbed a knife and started slicing open boxes. She sorted the games by console and checked them against the packing slip. It was mindless work, but it kept her mind off other things.
After a while, though, her thoughts drifted back to Genesis, and she lost her grip on the last box. Pain shot up her left arm as the blade sliced across her palm. Blood poured out into her hand.
She ran to the bathroom and pressed a wad of paper towel against her wound. The pain quickly faded, and when she pulled away the bloodstained paper, her palm was completely intact.
She washed her hands and returned to the counter. Leigh stood on the other side with a new Xbox game in her hands.
“You look like you could use a break,” she said.