SICK DAY • by K.C. Shaw

Lily’s alarm clock shrilled, drowning out the sound of rain. Lily jerked fully awake and turned the alarm off.

She closed her eyes for a moment, evaluating her body. Was there, perhaps, just a bit of tickle in her throat? Did her stomach hurt even slightly? Was she congested–just a little?

The answers were all no. Reluctantly, Lily got up to face a rainy Tuesday at work.

Tuesdays were worse than Mondays. And the parking lot would be flooded as usual after a rain; she’d have to park next door and walk around to the office entrance.

In the bathroom, Lily felt her forehead hopefully. She didn’t seem to have a fever. One day in bed to listen to the rain, that’s all she wanted–one day to relax without feeling guilty. If she called in sick when she didn’t feel bad, she knew she’d spend the day cleaning her apartment and then playing solitaire on the computer, even though she hated the game. Play as penance.

She was half-dressed when the phone rang. “Lily? I’m glad I caught you.”

“Hi, Sue. What’s wrong?” Sue was her supervisor at work.

“Well, the parking lot’s flooded, but it overflowed into the building this time. The carpets are soaked. We’ve got a clean-up team coming in later this morning, but you wouldn’t believe what a soggy mess everything is right now. Frank said there’s no point in anyone coming in today.”

Lily put down the phone and grinned. She went back into the bedroom to pull on jeans instead of a skirt, but stood in the dark room and looked around for a moment.

Gray light filtered through the curtains; rain streaked the windows. She hadn’t yet made the bed and the bedclothes were screwed up into a sort of nest.

She put her pajamas back on and got into bed. The pillow was still warm.

K.C. Shaw lives in East Tennessee with her dog and two cats.   Her stories have appeared in Renard’s Menagerie, Staffs & Starships, and numerous anthologies.

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