Click, click. Click, click click click.

It was a hot, quiet room. There was a floor, walls, a ceiling, rows of white desks and black chairs, a computer on each desk. The windows were shut, and the blinds closed, covering the inky darkness. The only light was the painful white industrial strip-lighting.

Click, click.

But then, this close to Christmas, it's not that pleasant outside anyway, reflected Donna, the room's sole inhabitant. It's so cold and always dark. Sodium street lighting was a daft idea anyway - I wonder who came up with it. We need to see in the dark, so we'll invent lights... I know, let's make them orange! Everyone likes orange!


She was technically supposed to be working. And she was sitting in front of a computer, it was switched on, and the click was the sound of her typing. But she wasn't thinking. She felt a little guilty that her final year project seemed to be just taking excerpts from a book and typing them into a computer. She wasn't complaining, exactly. But she had a million better things to do, and at the moment, chewing her own foot off was looking like joining the list.

God, she was bored! She stood up, stretched, walked round the room. They never made the chairs comfy, either. She stretched again, trying to get the cricks out of her back. She chose a row, sat at a desk and covered her eyes. Bloody lights - always gave her a headache. This one was particularly painful, too, sharp stabbing pains above her eyes.

Perhaps it's dehydration, she thought. There was a vending machine outside, with cold drinks.
Perhaps that would help her head. It would certainly cool her down. Maybe that's why the room is so hot, she mused irrelevantly. Marketing. She wandered back to her terminal and saved her work, locking the screen behind her. Then she got her keys from the pocket of her coat, pressed the button that unlocked the door, and walked into the deserted lobby.

Deserted? No! Dumbfounded, she stood in the corridor and watched as hundreds of students piled down the stairs in clusters of two or three, sometimes more. They chattered away at each other, their hands moving, expressions changing, lips moving. But they didn't make a single sound. Books fell silently to the floor. Boots walked the hard floor without so much as a single footstep. Donna closed her eyes and they weren't there. No smell, no sound, no breeze gave a clue that she wasn't alone. Opened them, and even the image had gone. But had they ever been there?

You can find the complete version of Click in issue 46 of TBD.

Joanna Hamilton