The morning brought a clear, cloudless sky, bright and joyous in the world, but dark as Nathan came to wakefulness from a bad a dream.
He remembered the details vividly, at first. He sat in his apartment. Someone knocked on the door. Through the peephole he saw a mannequin, all hard plastic and immobile.
Then the mannequin started to sing.
This was no aria lamenting unrequited love. Instead, the mannequin sang in a cold, electronic voice. It sang of nonsensical things: a discarded plastic Christmas tree, a flock of geese flying north for summer, the existential crises of solitary two year old.
And though Nathan had not opened the door, he could hear the music in his apartment clear as day. He pulled away from the peephole, turned, and there stood a second mannequin, its mouth moving by means of some small motor, singing the song of the first. It made no other movements. It only stared, and sang.
This was when Nathan woke up. He could see the pre-dawn grey through his window. He spent half an hour trying to sleep again, to no avail. So he rose, and in the bright cheery morning he felt cold and disturbed.