The alarm on my phone jolts to life, sending out an annoying tune that cuts through the silence reserved only for this early in the morning. The time just before the birds have woke, just before people begin to drag themselves out of bed for their morning cereal. I blindly fumble my phone hoping to press snooze and the noise ceases, just ten more minutes of lying here before I have to face moving. My head spins and temples pulsate, a result from last night’s DTD. I risk opening my eyes to see the colours, sounds and illusions from last night spinning across the ceiling. Shit! I left them in. I need to take them out, even if only for an hour before work. I roll off the bed and fall to the floor and detangle myself from the duvet whilst stumbling towards the bathroom and awkwardly banging into the walls of the narrow corridor. I stick my un-cleaned fingers into my left eye and after 3 tragic attempts to pull out my Instacons they finally surrender and float at the top of a tube of sterile solution. Everything looks so bland, I can’t imagine my world without them.
I push my cereal around in its bowl, forming tiny milky ripples that make the cereal calmly bounce around in their tiny microcosm. Of course it’s not milk, not ‘real’ milk that comes from animals, which was banned years ago along with meat, cheese, leather and anything else you can possibly think of. I remember catching glimpses of the brief uproar that followed the ban on the news that my dad insisted on forcing the family to watch, first at 6pm then again at 10pm, as though things would change in those few hours. The riots quickly died down as the fields returned to luscious forest, the temperature of the Earth stopped rising as fast and people stopped dying of cancer as much. Though there is a healthy black market for the stuff and I have no doubts that the ones in power – the ones who created this very rule – have no trouble in acquiring those sought after delicacies.
Daydreaming I lost track of time. I need to get to work, fast. I throw on yesterday’s clothes which no doubt will catch the patronising eyes of the conceited people I work with but I have no time and my brain feels like it’s sloshing around in my skull and about to exit through my ear and all over the floor. A glance in the mirror reveals my dry red eyes and pallid, colourless skin. I dab my eyes with a calming oily mixture and consider putting my Instacons back in, today would be so much more bearable with them casting their magic in front of my eyes but I’m afraid that I over did it last night. You hear horror stories in magazines of people that have worn them too often and become unhooked from reality. So I decide against them, just for today, and spray a coat of makeup on to hide the damage from last nights DTD. Flawless skin is easy, a quick spray and every blemish has disappeared. I remember my grandma saying that it looked unnatural, like I was walking around permanently photo-shopped, which was a way in the olden days that people could pretend to look fantastic on a photo without actually looking fantastic – I took her disdain at this new technology as a compliment of course. I walk towards the door, heels clicking against the floor, the door opens automatically and I am greeted with a warm breeze that caresses my exposed skin. I stride along the gravel to the streamlined black vehicle that will guide me unaided with the press of a button to my destination. The door locks itself behind me then car clicks to signal that the tiny mechanisms inside the door are working to smoothly allow it to open. It’s the chip implanted in my thigh that helps me avoid these tedious tasks, every door that needs opening will swing open as long as I’m in range.
I get into the car, tap in ‘work’ and press start. As my car glides along the street I catch the eyes of my neighbour, Cobalt, he’s a small man and wears bright blue Instacons. He always looks like he’s in a daze, swaying backwards and forwards, not really understanding where he is or what you’re saying. I imagine that through his eyes he sees the sea, calming beautiful and blue.
Abruptly, I am thrown out of my reverie as I see the unnatural blue dissipate from his eyes and replaced with black. His bewildered expression turns into fear, the swaying stops and he falls to the ground, hands scrambling across his face to his eyes.