The Nightmare Plague: Unlikely Bedfellows

Gamila walked through the press of bodies without being seen. Her presence was felt, though, just enough that no one made contact. There was a little awareness telling them that she was occupying space and she was avoided. The anonymity was a blessing while simultaneously increasing her loneliness. She could not recall the last time anyone had spoken to her, but welcomed the pain of being unknown over that of being alone. As the night wore on, however, it slowly became apparent that something was amiss.

The street was brightly lit, causing that little patch of darkness to stand out. A closer inspection showed that a light in the alley had been broken. Certainly more were also destroyed because it was a tunnel of darkness. Just at the edge of hearing were the sounds of someone struggling further in the darkness. Alarmed, Gamila crept towards the sound. As she walked, it was apparent that more lights had been broken to cast the entire alley in shadows. Nearing an intersection, Gamila could hear the sounds more clearly.

Peering around the corner, she saw two women struggling against a group of men. They were being dragged to a door that one of the men was busy unlocking. Filled with a seething rage, Gamila strode forward and struck one of the men with enough force to send him into a wall. Sliding to the ground, the man did not move again. In that moment of rage, she did not realize that another man had drawn a gun and, to her shock, was accurately aiming it at the invisible woman.

Before he could pull the trigger, his eyes widened in shock and he made a grunt of pain. Gamila grabbed the weapon and threw it away. She heard a heavy thump against her would-be-murderer, but did not wait to see what happened. Lunging at another man, Gamila was dimly aware that a small shape was doing the same, and the fight ended in a moment. The two women had fled at the first opportunity and were already exiting the alley, screaming for help. Gamila jumped when something small struck her ankle.

Looking down, there was a small figure with both arms out, then gesturing away from the direction the women had fled. Without a word, the figure took off at a shocking pace. Leaping forward, Gamila followed, but discovered that, in spite of her stature and long strides, was struggling to keep pace. Their route wound through the neighborhood, clinging to shadowed areas. The diminutive figure knew the city well to keep them away from people so easily.

Barrelling around another corner, Gamila felt her clothes grabbed in an iron grip. The figure was standing atop crates to bring them to eye height. Releasing the grip, they pulled back the hood hiding their face. The bear-like face seemed reminiscent of a child’s toy, until she looked into the caramel-brown eyes. 

“My name is Samira. Apart from Jinn, who and what are you?” 

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