It is daylight. Through the window, open throughout the night, the light now enters, recoils and whirls.
Normally when she awakes there are customers sitting below. Voices whispering on the terrace. Cutlery striking a plate. A cup tinkling. A waiter’s steps crunching across the gravel.
This morning all is perfectly still. The thick white napkins await, carefully folded on the tables. The knifes shine. The park stretches as far as the eye can see, regimental pathways, sculpted yews, transparent conservatories.
She rises. Her feet flit silently down the staircase and across the empty hall. Is anyone there? She looks at the carefully prepared tiny dishes of jam, the squash and flax seeds on the bread crusts. The condensation on the jugs of juice. She calls out once again, louder. Is anyone there?
Outside the asphalt is dark as if it has rained. The sky lies low, not a hint of blue. The light is white, coming from nowhere and everywhere, lighting everything up, from every angle at once.
The streets are empty. On the station’s pediment, the hands of the clock stand frozen.
Excerpt from the original fiction by Sylvain Prudhomme.