Science Fiction: 8:55

It was one of these mornings…

A faint ringing grows louder and louder. Impatiently I ask, “Alexa, what’s the time?”

“The time is 8.55.”

It can’t be! I can’t be late- again! I am sure I set my alarm for 7:00.

“Alexa, why didn’t you wake me up?”  “Sorry, I can’t help with that,” the electronic voice repeats tonelessly.

Okay, I know can get ready in 10 minutes if needed so I go for it. Looks like there are lots of messages on my phone but they will have to wait. Although I rush through my morning routine, somehow it feels like everything is set in slow motion.

Quick time check, 9.05. I can still make it, just about.

I grab my rucksack and let the apartment door close behind me. The rucksack seems so light- I hope I didn’t forget anything. I sprint down the staircase and almost bump into Mrs Bentley from Flat 4. “Morning!” I shout; she is almost deaf. No reply from the grumpy old witch. It’s like I’m invisible.

I run along the road and turn right, narrowly avoiding a crash with a little boy who just stepped out of the corner shop. “Watch out for God’s sake!” The ignorant little brat doesn’t even look up from his phone.

I see my bus is approaching the bus stop and I increase my speed and -feeling strangely weightless-manage to jump on before the doors are closing again.

I quickly scan my messages, which are really weird. “Just checking you are okay.” “Was watching the news this morning, just wanted to make sure you didn’t get caught up in this mess. Please send me a quick reply”. “R U OK?” and a few more like this. No idea what’s they are talking about; something strange is going on but it seems quite elaborate for a prank. Lots of missed calls as well. Well, they will have to wait.

I get off the bus and get into jogging mode again. When I take the last corner, I suddenly find myself stopped by an obnoxious yellow plastic tape cordoning off the road. What the hell?  About a dozen police are busying around, gloved hands picking up bits of nothing and depositing them in little evidence bags. I try to get the attention of the officer closest to me, but he is completely ignoring my presence and keeps on talking on a phone. “Sure. Yes. The forensic team is still on site. We started taking statements from the neighbours. Nothing new so far. The motives for the attack still haven’t been confirmed.”

My phone spits out a little noise to inform me of a news update. Absentmindedly I take it out and look at it. There is a picture of me, Katie, Tom, and a few others I know by sight.

Then my eyes are drawn to the headline.

“First victims of shooting identified by police”

A flash of light. Darkness.

A faint ringing grows louder and louder. Impatiently I ask, “Alexa, what’s the time?”

“The time is 8:55”

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