She was shopping with her mother in one of those big department stores. While her mother browsed through homewares – so boring – Amy drifted about looking for something interesting. They’d agreed that if they got separated they’d meet in the café at eleven, and she had wandered through the toy section, occasionally pushing a button to make some hideously cute plushy thing sing, just for the sake of it, and past the sewing and electronics departments, heading for the clothes department.
She found herself in the lingerie section, surrounded by silky nightgowns and pajamas. She sighed. She couldn’t help it, she had to have a closer look. She ran her fingers along the delicate fabric of a black silk nightgown. It would be so nice to go to bed in something like this. Something glamourous and decadent.
“Can I help you?”
The sales assistant was standing nearby with a fake smile and suspicious eyes. They could tell, somehow, if you had no plans to buy, and in their eyes that made you an instant shoplifter.
“I was just looking, thanks,” Amy muttered, turning and walking away. She saw a sign for the café and followed it. She didn’t have much cash on her – she had been planning to get her mum to pay for everything – but she had just enough for a hot chocolate. She sat there, drinking it slowly, waiting for her mother.
That night, she put on the jogging bottoms, t-shirt and slipper socks that she always wore in bed. She stopped and looked at herself in the mirror. It was a long way away from a glamourous silky nightgown.
She got into bed with a yawn and fell asleep quickly. She was always tired, and always hoped for a peaceful, quiet night, but she never got one. She slept fitfully, dreaming of silky nightgowns.
Amy woke up with bells ringing around her.
“Oh bollocks,” she muttered, sitting up, rubbing her eyes and looking around. She was surrounded by silky nightgowns and pajamas- she was in the department store, and the alarms were ringing. “Bollocks. Of all the places…”
She slapped her own face and stood up, shaking her head and trying to concentrate.
“There’s no place like home,” she chanted to herself. It was stupid, a cheesy line from a movie that her mother liked, but it would work if she could just concentrate. She clapped her hands over her ears, trying to block out the sound of the alarms. “There’s no place like home,” she repeated, picturing her bedroom in her mind. She could hear doors rattling open in the distance. The police were here, or maybe it was private security. It didn’t really matter which. She had to go, now.
“THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!” she yelled desperately.
Abruptly, silence fell. She opened her eyes cautiously. She was standing in her bedroom. She collapsed onto the bed in relief.
It could have been worse. At least it wasn’t like the time she’d dreamt about swimming and woken up underwater in the school swimming pool. She’d nearly drowned that night, and the bedroom was soaked when she ‘ported back. Or there was the time she’d sleep-teleported into the bedroom of her IT teacher, the cute one that all the girls had crushes on. Although she didn’t think he’d woken up and seen her at the time, he had given her a funny look the day after. Still, it could have been worse.
She sighed. Much as she’d love to have a silky glamourous nightgown, if you didn’t know where you might wake up it was far more practical to sleep in jogging bottoms, a t-shirt and slipper socks.