Nandi woke with a start and a growl, a deep, guttural noise that was as terrifying as the dream had been. She had been the monster, again and again, the men from her childhood, their hands tearing at the little girl's flesh and clothes, the beast gnawing on the still screaming face of the parents who chose to love her. She could feel herself on the verge of transformation, and it took every ounce of her will to keep from losing it. "I... am... not... a... monster..." She mumbled the words aloud though she could not hear them. It was her mind voice, that spoke them with the true conviction for at that moment her fingers lacked the dexterity to enunciate.
Hours later she was calm enough to leave the tiny studio where she lived, her belongings still in box's and her bed just a mattress thrown on the floor. The fancy apartment she was supposed to have moved into was gone along with the job she had been promised. She had not come back in time, she had not called, or notified them of the enormous loss. What would she say? Sorry, I couldn't start, my family was slaughtered, and I'm now a slobbering monster when the moon is full, or I have any emotions, or stress or fear.
Her somber visage walked through the streets of the city; she had no destination for she also had no purpose. She merely wandered, her working senses searching for others or understanding. Mostly what she found was the pungent stink of unwashed bodies, the definition of animal and human, smog, smoke, and a miracle of cooking food from every culture one could think of. Before her eyes passed an endless blur of stone buildings, glass, colors, and people. Few of them really seemed to see her; they were all so absorbed by their phones, or thoughts of the next thing they had to do. A few looked up, their dead eyes staring from filthy faces, watching her with wisdom that most saw as insanity. She avoided their eyes; they could not help her any more than they could help themselves.
Her wandering came to an end, or perhaps a pause, at a coffee shop. The smell of pungent dark roast and the spices of chai filled her sense. She almost smiled at the memory as she pushed open the door. She could feel the vibration of the voices and electronics through the sound was little more than a dull buzz of white noise. At the counter she signed, some people knew ASL, not many. When they looked at her confused, she pointed to the menu and used gestures and her toneless voice on occasion to indicate what size and how many of the items. She could read their lips well enough as long as they looked at her. Crude, as it was she managed to get an order in if it was right or not, was left to be seen. "Thank u" she said and signed at the same time before stepping aside to wait for her order along with the other dozen people.