Moments before Be Somebody
Eli's hooded face looked up from the tacky maneki neko figurine on the counter; she'd been transfixed on the bobbing paw of the cat for the past five minutes. Even as she handed over a twenty dollar bill, she was still aware of the figure's movements. When the takeout bag was finally handed over Eli was quick to take it and make her way out of the richly colored shop.
She turned to the right, placing an earbud into her ear as she made her way towards her apartment. With such heavy rain Eli usually would have had her food delivered, but tonight she needed some air. She'd been going non-stop for the past few days, much like the lucky cat from the store. Ever since she missed a day of work, she was taking on extra assignments as a way to make up for the vanishing act. Dr. Matt was a busy man; after his morning therapy sessions, he headed to Santa Celia University to give lessons. As a matter of fact, Eli was once one of his students. So as an act of gratitude that the doctor hadn't taken the assistant position away from her, Eli agreed to grade the papers from all fifty of his psych students by next week.
Unfortunately for Eli, this meant that most nights she didn't have time to take to the streets. In a way she was grateful for the break. Her world had changed so quickly in the span of one day that she felt it was necessary. She needed to ground herself, and what better way to do that than to read fifty papers on Erikson's stages of psycho-social development. She'd been so busy grading the papers that she hadn't even thought once of putting on the lace mas-
The loud noise startled Eli, and she instinctively raised her free hand to cover her head as her feet halted to a stop. A few moments passed before Eli turned back to face the direction she had come from. Five blocks down from where she stood, a giant ball of fire was engulfing the street. Its light illuminated the dark clouds above. Eli's mouth hung agape in shock and she stood still as the distant plume dissipated in the rain until all that was left was the wreckage: a tanker truck lodged into the side of a building now engulfed in flame. Eli took a step towards the scene, but as three patrol cars raced by in the same direction she realized that soon every news channel would be broadcasting the accident. There was no way she could get involved without being seen, and her mask was at home on her nightstand.
Eli stood there for a few minutes, watching the distant chaos unfold. Her attention was drawn to the sky as the clouds became the color of merlot; the rain soon changed its hue. She held her hand into the rain, her brows creasing as the strange droplets fell into her palm. The ominous rain only peaked her curiosity. She quickly turned around, briskly making her way back to her apartment.
Soon she was standing in front of the TV, the layers of wet clothing and her soaked sneakers sitting in a pile in the hallway. Just as she had expected every inch of the scene was displayed across the screen. She sat down on the couch, slowly pulling her takeout into her lap. She took absentminded bites of her meal, setting her fork down every now and then to listen to key bits of information. Not only had a tanker crashed into the side of the number one restaurant in downtown SC, but it had been the one restaurant that the mayor had chosen to visit on the same night. There was still no word of any survivors within the restaurant yet.
The footage of the wreckage seemed devastating, but no evidence of foul play was being reported. She paused the TV as the camera panned over the wreckage of the truck, squinting as she saw an image of a three headed beast emblazoned on its side. She grabbed her phone from the coffee table and with one click she'd taken a photo of the logo. It was rare for a truck that size to make its way through that area of downtown, and- now that she thought of it- the logo on the truck had never surfaced anywhere in SC before.
She slowly chewed on a dumpling as she examined the logo closer. Was it the connection between the chaos, or just an unfortunate accident? With a frown, she set her phone down and engrossed herself in the news once more. All suspicions set aside, Eli was just hoping that everyone in that restaurant would make it out safely.