Sera stood alone on the sidewalk, her handshell held against an ear. Drumming her claws against the wiry thigh of her reverse-jointed leg as she waited. A few seconds later, she perked up.
“Hey. Miki?” Sera paused for a few moments.
“Yeah, I’m ok,” she told the shell. “I just broke up with Gray.”
She resumed her walk, falling into shadow as she left the range of a streetlamp. “No, he didn’t push at all actually. That’s part of it, I just … I couldn’t get a feel for him. I never knew what he wanted. He didn’t seem to want anything.”
“Sure,” she said, tapping her quills slowly with her free hand. “And he seemed to be very happy to be dating me, but, I dunno, aren’t you supposed to feel something special? Not just, like, ‘this guy is cool?’ I could never tell that he felt anything particularly special and he didn’t open up. Maybe I’m missing something.”
Still walking, she moved her hand from her head to the building next to her. Her claws made a quiet rasp against the industrial plastic of the wall. “I think we will stay friends. He was disappointed, but he wasn’t mad. It was a nice few months.”
Sera dropped her hand as she reached the mouth of an alley, then chuckled. “Thank you, but I’m doing okay. I’ll settle with just —”
Suddenly, a gloved hand was over her mouth, someone’s weight pulling backward, throwing her off-balance. A sharp pain exploded against her temple and spots glittered across her vision. Her shell tumbled from her hand, but she couldn’t hear it strike the pavement over the sound of hot blood rushing through her ears.