"C'mon! Get moving, man!"
The screaming voice startled me. I looked up and turned red. I hurried to the other side of the crosswalk. I felt blush from my distraction.
I had stopped in the middle of the road. I just stood there, in my imagination, going over the last night's session. Over and over. Every single moment of awesome.
"You need to pay attention," I admonished myself. "Someone will run you over if you just get stuck in your head all the time. Besides it wasn't that good."
That was a lie. My head still strode in the table RPG session, my domain as Game Master. Storyteller.
I had woven a complex game. A harrowing urban adventure. The players took on the role of occult investigators in a fictional version of Portland. I'd sprung the big twist on the players. It took us until midnight to unravel it.
"But every moment mattered," I told myself as I reached my bus stop.
I looked up. Music rumbled in my earbuds as I said down to wait. No bus. Heavy metal rumbled in my ears. Then it slid sharply to Johnny Cash, then some random pop songs I'd gotten hooked onto at work.
A figure approached the bench I sat on. My automatic, introvert sense kicked in. I moved away, giving the stranger space to sit down. He didn't.
He moved in front of me again. I looked up, a bit of anxiety sinking in. A one-armed figure towered over me. His white beard looked stained by tobacco. He wore a dark grey baseball cap. It looked like it seen better days. His army jacket hung on him, it didn't fit. It fit with his greasy t-shirt, which had something in German on it I couldn't recognize.
I could smell him too. I winced. He kept talking and gesturing at me. With apprehension, I took out my earbuds.
"Can't you hear me?" He sputtered at me. "I ask you to forgive me. I know who you are! I know what you are! Please forgive me and listen!"
"Uh..." Eloquence and quick language skills. What everyone can expect from every introvert. Especially when confronted with a crazy person on the street.
He grabbed me by the shoulder.
"You are of the blood! You need to find it. Let me help you!"
As if by a miracle, the bus appeared. I hurried to it. The old man stared at me, his eyes desperate. Like they were trying to make me realize something. That same look trolls online must get from people who try to out argue them.
"Look, I... I got to go." I pulled out a five dollar bill. "Here, just take this. I'm sorry I don't have anything more for you. Get to a hospital or whoever can get you this blood you're looking for."
As the bus drove off, I could see the old man's head fall. He murmured something to himself. He looked back up. Surety in his face made my skin crawl.
Then he was gone.
Rain started to splatter the windows as the last bus of the day took me closer to home. Or home here in the city. The home I made.
"Tired," I told myself as I put my earbuds back on. Music drowned out the rain.
I felt tired.