The dregs of night wash down the street. Squares of light indicate those pulled from sleep unnaturally early. Occasional cars rush by, accelerating under the discreet blanket of darkness.
The city is rousing itself, spewing out the first of the commuters from their doors, reflections of those who will follow later, out of sync with the rest of the world.
A wail jolts though the lightening air. Slumber-damaged bodies jostle in beds, anxious to savour the restful hours, closing their ears to this unnatural early alarm. The wail is met with another, a sharp bark that reveals its vulpine origin.
Rippled forms move behind textured glass. The daily rituals of cleaning begin, sloughing the scent of sleep from the body. Light leaks into the sky, picking out the texture in stretched clouds. Cars bunch together to become traffic, approaching the background hum that will accompany the rest of the day. Birds flit out into the light, oblivious to the human mechanisms below, detectable only in their waste, which streaks the pavements and fences.
She’s been awake for hours. Panic-studded sleep was brief, interspersed with flurries of movement under the blankets and concentrated stillness, willing the churning of her mind to rest.
She sits by the window, a quiet observer of the beginnings of things. She will be here all day, stilled by the impossibility of action, impotent against the advance of the evening.
Paralysed in place, she will observe the fluctuations of the street until the vanished workers return. If they looked up they would see her, hunched in place, eyes fixed on the horror of the mundane.