She felt like she had been stranded in a desert for weeks. Her throat was dry and cracked as if she had been eating sand. The craving for water was similar, she imaged, to the cravings of a drug addicted. She thought if she could get a little water everything would go away. She tried to get up, but her head swarmed with the sounds of a sandstorm that had collided with a nest of angry wisps.

She lay back down and licked her dried out lips. She could actually feel the bones of her teeth and lumps of her inside cheeks. The touch left her squirming. Breathing raggedly, she listened to the rain falling outside and the afternoon birds calling. Glad of this, she rested for a few moments then tried to get up again.

The same pains returned. She struggled on, crawling through the desert in search of water. The bathroom was her oasis. Turning the tap, she drank and drank. The water filled her empty stomach and cooled her burning face. The water was sweet and too nice to give up. At last though she turned off the tap and listened to the plug gargling.

She returned back to bed and lay there. Fuzzy grey lines filled her vision and she watched then dance across her eyelids. Her energy was spent and all she could do was tumble back into a restless sleep.



It began as a slight pain on the side of Ren’s forehead. She rubbed the spot and swept dark brown hairs, which had come loose from her ponytail, behind her ear.  Pushing her thin frame glasses up her perky nose, she carried on typing. With quick glances at the computer screen and paper sheets on the desk, she finished up the first of the many databases she was upgrading.

Around her, the office bustled with noise and people. A telephone was constantly ringing and often joined by other ones, forming a never ending ringing sound. Keyboards and computer mice clicked away in random rhythms as computer towers whirled and hummed alongside them. Voices rose and fell in snatches of conversations, pearled with laughter and giggling. Footsteps tapped or shuffled on thin carpet and wooden flooring.

Ren stopped as the pain began growing and blossoming into a headache. She leant on the desk with her elbows and taking both her hands, she rubbed her fingers in slow circles over her temples. Also, she closed her eyes and drew in some deep breaths. Clearly, she heard her colleague in the next cubical talking on the phone and tapping a pen on his desk edge.

Dropping her hands and opening her eyes, Ren went to the handbag at her feet and searched through for some pain killers. Finding some, she took two followed by a mouthful of water from the bottle beside her computer screen. She tried to get back to work, but the office seemed a lot louder than before. She gave up after a minute and decided to take her afternoon break early.

Picking up her empty mug, she walked to the back of the room into the kitchen/lounge area. Two women, whom she half recognised were talking about their plans for the weekend by the coffee machine in the corner. Ignoring them, Ren checked the kettle and flicked it on. She made herself a tea then sat down on a large worn out sofa against the back wall. Praying that the pain killers kicked in soon, she drink her tea and blocked out the distant office noises.

The pain wouldn’t quit and when her fifteen minutes was up, Ren went back to her desk with a throbbing head. Sit back down, she felt a pulsing on the right side of her forehead, rubbing it only seemed to make it worse. She pulled herself together and threw everything into her work. The pain wouldn’t be ignored and started to affect her sight with bright flashing lights.

Shutting her eyes, she willed it all away and wondered if she should take more medicine. However, she knew she couldn’t, even if it didn’t seem very dangerous at that moment. Home it is then, she thought with a big sigh and opening her eyes, she prepared to leave and tell her boss.