The hologram faded in an Iridescent blip. Shamita's heart was racing. Could everyone hear it? She looked around the "Coffee And..." shop. No one was paying attention to her cubicle.
Coffee And... had been created to give students a place to study in quiet, with ample coffee provided. Now most people used it at least once a week to check alt accounts. Servers left patrons alone until you pressed a call button for the type of coffee you wanted. All they served was coffee, so you pressed the type of coffee and a cup was delivered to your station with no interruption. Payment was automated, as you had to check in to the cubicle electronically.
Shamita's hand reached to the button panel, but she hesitated. Calm down first. The caffeine would only make her heart louder at this moment. She chugged the dregs in her cup instead, and looked around again.
The cubbies were lined along the outer edges of the room. Each consisted of a desk with dividers blocking the sides and front. There was a shelf running around the top for books or devices. The drink shelf was set below the desk. One on each side so you could pull it out according to your dominant drinking hand. Everything was thought of.
Of course, there was no true privacy. The desks were bounded only on three sides. Chairs stuck out, and it was possible to look around and see someone's active screen or hologram. Everyone's audio was hooked into their own ear device, so no one heard her message, but she couldn't help be paranoid.
Was it a joke? Shamita forced a smile and thought of the few words she could make out, looking for the humor. Maybe? Looking around once more, she played it again.
The floating, glowing lights showed a dog, her dog, catching a frisbee. Then her ear phone picked out a light laugh. Shamita maintained her smile. Think humor. Okay, maybe. A shoulder passed in front of the holo-camera and someone squatted in front of Muppet and scritched him under the chin. "Good boy!"
She never saw the person's face, just a long black ponytail tied low on a strong neck. Broad shoulders covered by a leather jacket. She couldn't even tell if she was looking at a man or a woman. There was nothing distinct spoken to the holo-cam, just mutterings to the dog. Her dog. The shaggy golden retriever she'd named Muppet. The image faded into an Iridescent blip and was gone again.
Muppet had died three years ago. So what's this all about?
Thanks for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! All month I'll be writing flash fiction, with the theme "Audience Participation".
Now it's your turn, lovely audience member. Do you have a writing prompt to suggest? Don't worry about choosing a letter of the alphabet, just leave me a word, a thought, a place, a concept... anything! and I'll add it to the list.
My "The Hologram" story came from the prompt "Iridescent" provided by Anstice Brown of Curious Daydreams, in a comment left on my F post, here. I must admit, I let the story write itself, so if you're a little lost, so am I!