I woke up in the late evening. There was a stillness in the air. The remains of the sun filled my apartment. I was groggy and slow. Eventually, making my way to the kitchen, I noticed how clean the place was. Things neat and tidy in a way that disturbed me. I drank a glass of water as the sun set outside.
The silence finally struck me. I wasn’t deaf but there were no ambient sounds from outside or even next door.
I put on my boots, jacket and went out for a walk. I needed air and to dispel this growing feeling of unease. Outside it was cool. Much cooler than I thought it would be. No cars moved along the street.
I look up at a tree and noticed it was almost bare. I could have sworn that the leaves were only turning. Obviously, I had been mistaken.
Lights started appearing in windows as I walked. At least I wasn’t the only person in the world as I had begun to think.
Others seem to have had the same idea. Nobody wanted to make eye contact, everyone locked inside their own thoughts.
When I got back to my building, I found my neighbour crying in the stairway. I asked her was wrong. She wouldn’t answer me for a moment but then looked up.
“Seven weeks” She said, her face red and blotchy.
I didn’t understand.
“We have been gone for seven weeks, or asleep or something”
She was verging on hysterical. I dismissed most of what she was saying and managed to help her get back inside her home.
By the time I sat back on my sofa it was full night. Looking at my phone and flicking through my e-mails I saw there was nothing but automated spam from the last few weeks.
News was already starting to come in from across the globe.
The world stopped. Everyone woke up in their own home at the same time, everything working correctly.
What had happened?
I pulled out a bottle of whisky from a shelf and started drinking. Hands shaking, I poured.
What had happened?
Was I gone? Where though?
This was a global phenomenon, and nobody had an answer. Would we ever?
I took my bottle across the hall to my neighbour. Her eyes were red and swollen.
I brandished the bottle and she invited me in.
Sitting on her sofa we watched the news in silence and started drinking. The hangover was going to be immense. I just wish I had some ice.