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10,258 Steps

10,258 steps.

Caroline had almost placed her phone back on the white nightstand before she realized what she had just read. Furrowing her eyebrows, she turned the device back around and opened the Fitbit app once more. It was the first thing she did every morning. There it was again. Today, on the 30th of April, which was only six hours old, Caroline had apparently already taken more than ten thousand steps. Shaking her head, Caroline got out of bed. The stupid thing must be broken already. On her way to the bathroom, however, Caroline came by her living room. After a fleeting gaze into the long room, she came to an abrupt halt. It was spotless. Even the kitchen on the other side was clean. Caroline could feel her heart picking up speed. She had had company the night before. Just a small gathering with a couple of friends. Of course, her place had been a mess afterwards. She had gone to bed before cleaning up, mildly dreading having to do it the next day. But it was done. Her table was tidy and she could see that the wine glasses were not only in the washer but sparkling merrily from their allotted place in the heavy armoire. Caroline stared at her squeaky-clean place stunned for several seconds, chills creeping over her neck. Had she cleaned up while sleeping? She felt perfectly well rested. Shaking her head in bewilderment, Caroline withdrew her eyes from the marvelous sight and proceeded to get ready for work.

8,879 steps.

It had worked. Caroline jumped out of bed and ran to her kitchen. Once more, it was spotless. Caroline had spent her day at the office yesterday thinking about her weird morning experience instead of sales figures and board presentations. She had devised a plan to test her sleepwalking theory. After work, Caroline had gone straight to the electronics shop near her office building and bought a state-of-the-art home security system. With the help of her tech-savvy neighbor, she had installed the devices this same evening.

  “Worried about burglars?”

  “Kind of. And I want to see what my cat is getting up to at night.”

They had laughed together.

Excited, Caroline started up her computer and opened the security cam application. And there it was. At fourteen minutes past two, Caroline came out of her bedroom, walked slowly through the living room and into the kitchen where she proceeded to clean up the dirty dishes Caroline had intentionally left. Afterwards, sleeping Caroline opened up the cupboard, took out cleaning utensils and proceeded to clean the living room. At twenty-three minutes past five, Caroline stowed everything away and shuffled back over to her bedroom.

Caroline was unable to suppress a grin. Although she did not entirely understand what was happening, it looked very much like she would not have to do chores ever again. Whistling, Caroline dressed herself in one of her favorite skirts for casual Friday and left her apartment thinking of the hours each week she could now invest into more productive things than cleaning.

4 steps.

The sound of the alarm clock confused Caroline. As did the number on the screen. It took her several seconds to realize what was off. Why had she not gotten up to sleepwalk and clean up in the night? And why was the alarm clock going off? She had programmed her phone alarm to only go off on weekdays. Then Caroline’s gaze swept over the date display in the top right corner of her phone. It was Monday. Caroline inhaled so sharply that she had to cough. She had slept from Friday night all through the entire weekend until Monday morning. Throwing her cover aside violently, Caroline jumped out of her bed and ran over towards the computer in her office. With growing dread, Caroline observed herself getting up at twenty-three minutes past two on Saturday morning. Like before, she cleaned and tidied up. But then, instead of going back to bed, Caroline had dressed herself in her best black suit and left her apartment at eight o'clock in the morning. Then, there was nothing. Panicking, Caroline pressed the fast-forward button and watched with horror how the hours of Saturday ran out and Sunday began without her being back in her apartment. Then, at twenty past ten on Sunday night, the front door was suddenly wrenched open. Caroline saw herself entering the apartment. Immediately, she noticed that her dress had changed. She now wore a dirty t-shirt and ripped jeans that she was sure were not her own. And she was carrying a large brown bag over her shoulder. The Caroline on camera deposited the bag behind the door of her office. Caroline looked over. There it was. She had been so captivated that she had not noticed the bag until now. Her eyes were drawn back towards the screen. Stunned, Caroline looked at herself standing inside the office. She had just stood there, staring straight into the camera. Then, her lips moved. Caroline zoomed closer on her own face and rewound the recording. There was no sound. The camera only recorded visuals. But Caroline knew her own face. She could feel her skin crawl with fear when she realized that the other Caroline was repeating the same sentence over and over again.

“Go to sleep, Caroline.”

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