The shadow disappeared behind a corner and Elaine drew a sharp breath of bitterly cold air. She hadn’t realised she had stopped breathing. She turned around and quickly made her way home, few doors down on the Green Way 10. The handle scanned the print of her palm and unlocked the door, automatically turning on the light in the entry. She pushed the door closed and stood for there for a minute staring at it, at the dark outside, at the silence of the now deserted pedestrian alley. Few minutes later, when the rhythm of her heartbeat was back to normal, she walked towards the kitchen. “That’s what you get for walking home at night”, she thought.
“This is a sign” Elaine thought, opening her eyes.
It was not something that followed her from a dream, it was a first, lucid thought the second she woke up. The room was immersed in darkness, until she shifted and sat on the edge of the bed, when her movements activated a screen on the wall. A pale warm light was now glowing and she could read it was 2.13 in the morning, raining, she had 12 unread notifications, and an accident on the NR14# had made the headlines.
What was a sign? Where did that come from?
Elaine made her way to the bathroom, where a different, smaller screen turned on, as well as a couple dim lights on the top of the mirror. After she was done, she returned to the bed, while the bathroom door closed itself so that the automatic disposal of waste could be completed without disturbing.
The bed had retained the ideal temperature set for that time of the night, and once she assumed her favourite sleeping position, the mattress adjusted its shape to her body. From the shelf above the bed, a small amount of mixed chemicals were vaporised in the direction of her head. A few seconds later, she was asleep.