Beth turned off the alarm clock and sat up groggily. She felt a more desperate than usual need to simply lie back down, close her eyes, go back to sleep, and cancel the whole day. Something big was going to happen today. She could feel it in her bones, in her gut, in her heart, and in the rapidly diminishing impressions of her last dream. It had involved something very important, of the life-or-death variety, and… apples. Yes, there were definitely apples.
Giving up on the fantasy of returning to the land of dreams, Beth swung her legs over the side of the bed and stretched out her back a little before standing up. As she dragged herself towards the bathroom to brush her teeth, she tried to recall more of the vision. She was a big believer in the predictive nature of dreams. If she could just remember enough of it, figure out what it all meant, then she could prevent whatever bad thing had been about to happen from happening. She was sure that it was all up to her. She just had to watch out for apples today. Or was it pears? Plums? Shit.
Mark was already sitting at the table finishing off his breakfast when she entered the kitchen. He was looking bright and cheerful, freshly showered after his morning run. “Morning, hon,” he said around his last mouthful of food. “I made some eggs for you.” He lifted up his dishes as he stood, then detoured around the table to give her a peck on the cheek, interrupting her attempt to get a piece of gunk out of the corner of her eye. This is what I get for marrying a morning person, she thought bitterly, still trying to work out a suitable excuse to go back to bed. Failing to find one, she grabbed a plate and loaded it up with scrambled eggs and toast.
The sense of foreboding returned to her as she sat down at the table. Something terrible was sure to happen very soon. Any minute now, she would have to make a decision that would change the lives of everyone around her forever.
She buttered her toast, then looked around for the jelly. At last, her eye fell on it. The world seemed to slow to a halt. The sound of her husband washing the dishes behind her ran together with his upbeat humming and dissolved into white noise.
It was apple jelly.