The metropolis of downtown New York pulsed rhythmically with Joseph's own heartbeat. The city that never slept continued to buzz as Joe let himself rest after another draining day of mediocrity.
Lying in his bed, facing the ceiling which appeared as though it could crumble and drop on him any moment, Joe's mind tried to stop whirring as the hour passed eleven at night. He would be awake again in six or seven hours, then back at his desk by eight the next morning. People asked him what he did, and all he ever revealed was that he had a 'desk-job'. The definition had become lost in translation, though. Even to Joe.
Realising he was now half-asleep, Joseph could make out shapes in his mind. The first signs of dreaming. Hopefully within another ten minutes, he would be asleep for good, and would not stir until the shrill sound of his alarm clock woke him, as it always did.
A long rectangle formed in his mind's eye, but Joe paid no attention to it. He always fell asleep this way. Somewhat conscious, but dreaming lightly. This rectangle made sounds in his head, tiny patters, few and far between.
A shadow was suddenly cast over this rectangle. It seemed to belong to a person, but Joe couldn't work out who or where this person was. His dream seemed to be more real every second, but he didn't become bothered by the casual unusualness of it. Granted not many of his dreams were like this, but that didn't make the odd weird dream totally implausible.
The long shadow seemed to grow, until it was apparently only feet away, stood, hovering right in front of him. A sudden shift in the light alarmed him, and Joe's face suddenly felt hot. The shadow seemed to shrink, and Joseph abruptly heard a very distinct word. Like a woman, saying 'damn'. Only once, but it stirred him, and his eyes tore open in shock.
The room was empty. Who had said that? What had just happened?
Had that been a dream?