Nora was exhausted, and it was only Tuesday. Work was draining enough on its own, but she was in the first month of her fellowship, which meant that a new academic year had just started, and that meant that there was a lot of fresh meat at the hospital. The new interns had arrived on July 1, as per tradition, and were spending their first month learning the ropes and testing the patience of the hospital staff, also as per tradition. On top of that, Nora was on an unfamiliar rotation, dealing with orthopedic injuries when the bulk of her training had been focused on the stomach and abdomen. She had a lot to learn, new procedures to study and master. She was constantly reminding herself that learning was still a big part of her job and that really, it always would be, and though the work was very gratifying, that didn't make any of it less exhausting.
Charlie had managed to do a number on her this week. If it wasn't enough that the teenager was partaking in her usual routine of eating all of the junk food in sight, Nora had had stomachaches from that and was sore from all of the training that Charlie insisted on doing in addition to her own half-marathon training. And of course, she was still processing the news about her parents' divorce — last September — and the fact that they had spent nearly a year, if not more, lying to her and the rest of their family.. So she played the avoidance game with everyone, both at work as Nora and at home as Charlie, with one zig zagging all over the hospital campus in order to avoid having to see or interact with friends who might suspect that something was off and the other feeling like she had to tackle the world, even after a long shift at the hospital.
The residents' locker room was busy as one shift ended and another started, the whole area a flurry of activity with doctors rushing to get home and others just starting their day. Nora changed out of her scrubs and into her street clothes as quickly as she could, but without debating whether she should disappear into the bathroom and bounce home to avoid seeing, well, anyone, but she thought twice of it power walked through the hallways, eager to get home so that she could sit on her couch and turn off her brain with some mindless television — assuming that Charlie would let her, of course. She quickly disappeared into a hoard of people, a mix of hospital employees, commuters, and tourists who were all waiting for traffic to disperse long enough for them to cross the street. She was grateful for the short walk home most days, though there were some evenings when the weather was nice when she wished she had a longer route to walk so she could enjoy the fresh air.
It had all happened so fast. One minute she had been rounding the corner, splitting up from the group of strangers as they went their separate ways, and the next minute she had been pulled into an alley, grabbed from behind with a hand clamped over her mouth to muffle her screams and render her unable to call attention to herself. Fight or flight kicked and Nora was doing her damnedest to do both, kicking her attacker in the legs and pushing her heel down his shins as she had been taught in that one self-defense class so many years ago. But this guy he was too strong, whoever he was, and her scrappiness and refusal to quit fighting him off didn't seem to be doing any good. The hand covering her mouth was also impeding her breathing, and soon she was desperately trying to gasp for air. She felt her feet leave the ground and her attacker's grip grew tighter as she watched as a van door open and another lackey appeared. She could was running out of oxygen, she couldn't move her arms to fight back, and she was starting to see stars. Neither fight nor flight would be an option soon, and Nora only had one more tool left at her disposal. She shut her eyes and stopped struggling, using the last of her energy to teleport out of the alley, hoping to land somewhere, anywhere, far, far away from there. A few moments later, she was falling to her knees and coughing so hard that she thought she would never be able to breathe again. It took a few moments for her to be able to breathe in air once again. She was relieved to realize that though she had teleported to another alley near the hospital, at least she was safe, and now all she had to do was deal with any security cameras that might have been serving as invisible witnesses to her assault.
Nora took a few deep breaths and tried to get her bearings, only to realize that she was covered in blobs of guts and blood and other body tissue. And while that may have been the norm at work where she was often elbow deep various body cavities and several times daily at that, this, this wasn't a welcome discovery by any means. Had...had she just killed someone? And how? After all, the only thing she had done was teleport herself to safety. Did all of this belong to her attacker? How on earth had she managed to implode someone else? Was that really a thing that happened regularly in this strange new reality?
You can't bounce with other living things, a voice told her. Charlie. Still in her head in this strange, new reality, giving her advice about her newfound superpowers. It was still so strange to think about, and so Nora didn't, finding comfort in the fact that other people were experiencing this, too.
She picked herself up from the ground and looked down at herself. The light, drapy cardigan that she had on seemed to have taken the biggest hit, and she tossed it into a nearby dumpster, leaving her in her jeans and a tank top. It occurred to her that someone might find it and start asking questions, but she didn't really care at the moment. She was very clearly in shock, and all she wanted to do was take a long, hot shower, and crawl into bed until and stay there until she had to get up the next morning. She just wanted to go home.