I am at the gym.
The smartwatch is telling me what exercise to do and how to do it, and I am following its directions to the letter.
I feel good. I feel strong. And training has never given me so much satisfaction in my life. I should be anxious after what happened in the kitchen, I should be distressed after finding out I lost my phone, I should be worried about the situation I am in … I should be scared of this huge, lighted and empty house.
Instead I am calm. Serene. I feel like everything is going well.
But why? I feel confused by my own body.
I knew I should never have accepted that man’s offer, but I didn’t have many other choices. Either this job or … well, better not think about it. The fact is that it is a very uncomfortable job because from here it is impossible for me to go home … if I had it.
And now that I’ve also lost my phone, I really have no way to leave. I can’t even talk to Hanna again! I am completely at the mercy of the house and its… inhabitants.
Yet I’m not worried.
“Well done!” I find written on the smartwatch at the end of my training “You have earned a 25 minute break! Use it as you want. “
Another break … good.
I wipe my sweat but I don’t waste time showering in the gym bathroom. I have 25 minutes to do my research, and I absolutely need to do it.
My body is lazily satisfied though, and it’s tired from the exercises I’ve just done, so every single step is heavy.
Wait … Heavy? That’s strange because just a second before my footsteps were so light that I felt like I was flying. Is it possible that I got so tired all of a sudden? If the house hadn’t told me to stop I would have continued to train without problems.
What’s going on?
I leave the gym and go up the stairs to return to the kitchen.
The dishes are washed and clean, as are the pots, but I didn’t clean them; the living room is as tidy and silent as ever, just like the garden; the silence here is absolute, and …
I hear a voice coming from the living room, and this pushes me to run there to see who is speaking … but I find myself alone in front of the television, which is now on.
False alarm. I don’t even need to wonder who turned it on, as the house did it. Everything is automatic here, after all.
I look at the TV more carefully: the program being broadcast is… wait, I can’t believe it! This is one of the anime I was following when I still had a home! But… what channel are they broadcasting it on? I did not think that certain anime were broadcast on TV! Also because it has not yet been translated into my language, there are still the subtitles.
I don’t see symbols of any kind on the sides of the screen, and I don’t even see the remote control now that I think about it. How can I change the channel?
The volume on the TV turns up slightly. The anime has just started its theme song, and since an episode lasts about 20 minutes I could theoretically sit on the sofa and spend my break watching it.
But who knows what episode it will be. Maybe it’s an episode I’ve seen before, or maybe it’s one I haven’t gotten to yet.
I remain standing in front of the TV waiting for the theme song to end, then … I DON’T BELIEVE IT! This is the exact episode I should have seen that night! I’m so lucky that …
Wait … luck? Could it really be a coincidence?
No… it’s not a coincidence. The house clearly knows my tastes, so maybe it’s even aware of what was the last episode I saw … But how?
Okay… let’s play its game for now.
I sit on the sofa and… WOW. It’s so soft, so comfortable … I feel so good up here.
I put my feet on the table in front of me, and looking to my left I see… a bottle of sparkling water? It’s fresh, it looks like it just came out of the fridge. Who …?
I take it, open it, drink it and focus on the anime.
When the episode ends, the TV screen turns completely white and a grey text appears above it.
“Break’s over! Go to the garden! You have to water the plants! “
I get up.
I am full of energy. Generally the idea of watering plants would have dried every single drop of energy in my body, but this is not happening. I feel so energetic that if I want I could start watering an entire forest.
I go out into the garden, and right in front of the french window I find all the tools I need for my work.
I take them and, without asking questions, I follow the instructions that the house sends me on the smartwatch.