She had to stay awake.

Carol felt her eyes drooping and bolted to her feet, swaying and immediately dizzy. Her fast and heavy heartbeat told her that she could not have any more caffeine. Her hair was still wet from her most recent frigid shower. She began to jog on the spot, hoping to keep herself awake, just a little while longer.

Outside her bedroom it was a bright and sunny day. Families walked past, laughing and smiling in the spring breeze. A car drove by, playing music she remembered from her teenage years. The colour of the car was familiar.

The same family walked past again, the opposite way. They little girl was giggling, riding her father’s shoulders. Her hair was the same colour as Carol’s.

She was panting and had to stop, the room shifting side to side as she tried to remain upright. Carol gripped the window frame and stared into the bright light, focussing on details.

The car was back. The same colour as her brother’s. It was hard to see, apart from the colour – she could not quite remember the make or model. But the album they had listened to as teenager’s was playing.

The family walked past again. The girl was too old to be carried any more, but held her parents’ hands as they walked. Giggling, she put their hands in each other’s and let go. She looked at Carol. She was crying.

She felt the room shift again, much more violently. This was not dizziness, this was like someone shaking a jar of insects. Precious items fell from the walls. A snow globe broke on the floor, as it had over a decade ago.

She tried to jog in place, but felt her shoulders gripped tightly by invisible hands. The hands held her still as the world crumbled around her.

It was dark outside, now. No streetlights. No lights in warm homes. No noises at all.

The world shook around her, falling into pieces. Weeping, Carol closed her eyes and let go of what grip she had on this world.

She awoke in the bunker, the previous watch shaking her shoulder. She sat up, nodding once.

They did not comment on their difficulty in waking her, just as they did not ask about the tears, or what she had been dreaming about.

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