Officer Harriet walked into her house, covered in sweat and something not dust—but easier to call it that. More of such “dust” covered her chairs, her couch, and especially the little worn out bed she had off in her room.
She parted back her hair and let out a sigh. Her eyes did not stay upward, and her feet had the same issue. With a stumbling motion, she went over to the recliner and propped it up with a little shudder of gears and motion.
The television popped on with a crackle, signaling the slow and inevitable death of the machine. A few channels passed on the screen, her eyes going dry from the bright light in a house she had not bothered to turn on the lights within.
As she expected: only the news. Every station, except the child channel for the babysitting of unsupervised kids. She watched a bit of that. The bubbling and energetic animation paradoxically steadying her nerves.
But, that did not help for too long, calmed her too much, and she let out a sigh, then covered her mouth slightly, wincing.
Her eyes were drastically heavy.
So obnoxiously tired was she that even with her having a good sense of the layout of the room, she banged her foot into the side of a drawer after the first five steps. The resulting sharp sudden pain kept her moderately more awake, and for that, she was thankful.
Wandering to the kitchen, she tried to ignore the burning flares and bright bangs outside—the sound obvious with the thin walls of the outer kitchen. She sighed.
They were not breaking any laws.
It was not her shift anymore.
And, yet, still, the sound of shouting and firecrackers annoyed her to no end.
“God…this is not going to go well,” she muttered, and swept away dust from her cabinet, before producing coffee from within its depths. The brewing made the air stink of the stuff. That awakened her senses a tad too—but was also ineffective.
As the coffee went along, she nearly jumped. Her phone, glowing purple, vibrated hard and sent her heart stuttering. She almost forgot to pick up the line—but she managed and held it to her head.
“Yeah, yeah, what’s up?”
“No, no. I had some coffee. Err…making it I mean.”
The voice on the other end let out a little sigh, weary and bleak, then clicked their tongue. “This is crazy.”
“Yeah, it is. We are going to have to—”
“I don’t want to think about that. They were almost out of them, but I managed to get some caffeine pills.”
Harriet frowned and clutched her head with her free hand. “Just be careful on that, you can overdose.”
“I know. I can send some to you if you need.”
Harriet shook her head, the creeping daze of exhaustion settling deeper. A quick glance back to her shelf showed she only had a half a bag of coffee grounds left after this.
“I’m fine,” Harriet said, “I have a lot already.”
“Okay. I need to go. I just wanted to check in. I’ll call you in like an hour?”
“Yeah,” Harriet said. She stared at the cup of dirty brown liquid. “That’s fine.”
Harriet then hung up and muted her phone. With a quick motion, she dumped the drink down the drain. It caught on the dust and swirled into the sink’s depths as brownish, thick clumps.
“I’ve got to sleep sometime. Whoever wakes up can deal with this mess.”