Late

You've overslept. You're running late. What's your excuse this time?

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1. Late

You wake suddenly to an incessant, alternating tone that resonates in the recesses of your mind. Pushing yourself up you feel clean, bright sunlight hit your skin; you stretch your arms, waking your muscles, quickly swiping the phone to quiet the alarm. As you get up and head for the wardrobe your friend’s voice sounds from the bedside.

‘You’re late!’ they shout. ‘Where the hell are you?’

Hastily grabbing the phone you reply through a poorly stifled yawn, ‘sorry. I’m on my way, promise.’

‘You slept through your alarm again, didn’t you?’ they remark.

‘No,’ you reply, rifling through your wardrobe, clothes hangers clattering against each other as you piece together an outfit.

‘What’s that sound?’

‘What sound?’ You carefully place the phone on the bed as you pull on your clothes, heart beating fast, breath catching.

‘That tapping…the shuffling.’ Your friend sounds frustrated, growing more impatient. ‘Are you still at home?’

Pulling on shoes one-handed you pick up the phone again. ‘It’s probably just interference,’ you lie. ‘The route’s really busy today; there are queues all over the place.’

‘I was getting worried,’ says your friend. ‘I thought there might have been an accident. I checked online and there was nothing about any crashes, but you’re so late.’

‘I’m fine,’ you reply reassuringly, grabbing a breakfast drink from the kitchen and rushing towards the door. You triple-check that you’ve got everything you need as you finally leave the apartment. ‘It’s just…really busy today. I should have picked a different route.’

‘Well how long are you going to be?’

Rushing along the street, surrounded by the chatter of passers-by, only now starting to feel awake as the air hits your face, you look ahead to the nearest stop. ‘A few minutes, maybe,’ you blag. There’s only one other person at the stop; you come up behind them and wait, watching them go. Stepping up, you key in the destination and pay your fare with a quick flash of your card.

There’s a quick zap, and the blue envelopes you, the only sound the buzzing of electricity. You’re surrounded by the silhouettes of other travellers, particles flying through the system, bouncing from relay to relay. You’re there for a matter of seconds before the white light opens, depositing you in front of your smirking friend.

‘You’re such an idiot,’ they laugh, pocketing their phone.

‘Why’s that?’ you ask, breathless from the rush.

‘Everyone knows that phones don’t work in a teleporter.’ They chuckle at your embarrassment. ‘Looks like you need a coffee.’

You smile at your friend and sigh. ‘No kidding,’ you say as the two of you start walking, the teleporter flickering behind you. ‘It better be a strong one.’

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