The rain came down heavily, pooling and swirling towards invisible drains. Haven walked the street, looking at any face that would glance back at her. She adjusted the hood of her blue neon raincoat and stopped in front of a shirtless boy with drenched long hair snaking around his shoulders.
"Are you locked?" asked Haven.
The boy shivered and nodded.
"I have to be sure," said Haven.
"I'll transfer the credits."
She held her hand up to his forehead and counted. She let her hand fall.
"Thanks," said the boy. "You wanna go there?" He nodded in the direction of an alleyway that lead to the back of a Chinese restaurant.
"Sure," said Haven.
They walked down to the middle of the empty alley. Haven looked back at the main road and briefly watched people in colorful coats and glowing umbrellas stride past.
"You're safe," said the boy.
"I know," said Haven.
She held out her hand. The boy took it. The information transferred and his face changed, maturing in an instant, assuming the visage of her recent ex-boyfriend. He grew six inches taller.
"Stand against the wall," she said dispassionately and the boy did so, bracing his hands against the brick.
Haven reeled back and landed a punch squarely on the boy's jaw. The back of his head hit the brick and he yelped out. He fell to his knees, shaking.
"I hate you," said Haven in a low voice. "I hate everything about you."
She kicked him in the stomach, turning him over. He curled up into a ball, his arms raised up over his face.
"Coward," she said, kicking at his knees. "I hope you rot."
"Forgive me," said the boy weakly.
"I can't. I'm not that good of a person."
The boy's face shimmered, and his own likeness abruptly returned. He shrank in size. Haven stood over him, feeling numb.
"Do you need more time? I could go again."
"I don't have the credits to spare."
"Okay," said the boy sitting up, and rubbing his soaked legs. "Maybe another time if you remember me."
Haven started walking towards the main road. She stopped and turned around.
"Thank you," she said.
The boy nodded his acknowledgement.
She walked forward again and when she reached the main road she looked up and unzipped her raincoat, shucking it off. She returned to her living room and pulled off the halo. She looked at the gray, nearly colorless surroundings and let her optical vision readjust to the diminished stimulation. She watched the cat licking its paw methodically, oblivious to Haven's world inside the halo. She looked at the punch hole in the wall and the smear of her blood next to it, and thought about her own time ticking away until she became a ghost locked inside the halo.