Click, clack- 2 mins
After an exhausting hour in a crowded subway train, Mary was relieved to step in to her flat, one of the myriad of flats in the renowned Turing Hall. It was devoid of the usual, noisy inhabitants and, consequently, quiet - just the way Mary had expected it to be. Although it was often short-lived, sure to be gone by noon the next day, Mary was determined to savour every moment. She always looked forward to Friday nights; on any other day of the week, the silence would have been unusual.
Mary’s affinity for peace and quiet made her an oddity in Turing Hall. Most of the other inhabitants were often seen in groups of five or more, rarely less than two, ‘sharing information’ (a popular euphemism for ‘mindless banter’). They weren’t accommodating to one-member groups and would have looped Mary into one of their cliques had she been the only one. There were many others like her, a minority but too large to convert. One of such people was Andrew, who was two flats away from Mary.
Like Mary, Andrew was an oddity. But he was way weirder than she was. Unlike the other members of the ‘anti-social’ (as named by the more social residents) club in Turing Hall, Andrew did not bear the (socially) obvious characteristics of a nerd (as defined by implicit social rules). Andrew was quite muscular (difficult not to notice) and was known to hangout with his friends often. However, he was a master conjurer of excuses, tools he used to vanish from gatherings to seek solitude. He was also a Computer Science major, a programme that often required working in quiet places. Mary knew this much about Andrew for obvious reasons (that didn’t include stalking).
Mary walked quickly down the hallway in a bid to get to her flat as quickly as she could. Half of her thought to stop by Andrew’s and check on him (like he needed her attention but whatever); the other half, the conservative half, thought otherwise. And it was right: Mary had gathered a bit of intel that revealed that Andrew had been whisked away by a group of friends, who’d meticulously stripped him of his most potent excuses. So Mary did not expect to hear the sound of someone typing on a computer keyboard.
She could have hurried on to her flat but a mixture of curiousity and elation drew her to the front door. She was eager to hear about his new project, which was obviously what had kept him from the party (or so she told herself). A few unanswered bell rings later and Mary let her curiousity lead the way: she opened the door and stepped into a dark apartment. The key taps were much louder now so Mary supposed Andrew was definitely in the living room. He must have been so engrossed in the project that he’d forgotten to turn on the lights (although they were usually on). Instinct compelled her to turn the lights on; she was prepared to suffer his ire.
The room was empty save for a lone laptop on the sofa. The sound of typing had not ceased.