The Proposal (part 25)

Zoe padded to the door, her long tail wagging.

“You need to go outside?” Ayn said, her back cracking as she sat up and stretched and yawned. She looked down at the corner of the screen where she’d been working on homework. It was 11:30 pm. “He wasn’t going to come home in time to help,” she muttered, sliding off the stool to head for the door. She’d finished her homework, mostly understanding the concepts, but she would never be a math person like her dad was—all those numbers and formulas made her head swim after awhile. “Fresh air will be good,” she said.

The door whooshed open and closed behind them, and soft, ambient lights lit in the ceiling as they walked down the hallway of their Counsel compound apartment. The lights behind her faded as she walked towards the front door. It had taken her awhile to get used to the light system in the compound—at their house in the country, they’d used oil lamps, like most of the population. In the compound, lights came on only when someone was present, switching off after sixty seconds whenever a room was vacant. The only exception being the sleeping rooms, where sensors in the sleeping pads turned the lights off once they registered your weight.

“Let me get my sweater,” Ayn said, going to her room and grabbing a sweater from the doorknob where she always kept it.

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