The fierce whine of the siren cuts straight through the beginnings of Annabel’s sleep, and her eyes fly open. She feels nothing but annoyance as she pulls back the corner of the bamboo blind, blearily peering down at the fire engine parked a few feet below.
Then exhaustion reclaims her, and she flops back beneath the covers, snores filling the darkened room within a few moments.
The next morning, rested and refreshed she sets off on her normal route to work. Music blares within her ears, but her quick strides are halted when she sees the blackened shell on the corner.