Colin Dwyer

Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought — and now, desperately wish — to be empty.

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter.

At least, that's what Amazon Echo owners say they've been hearing lately. In recent weeks, many of them have hit social media saying their smart speakers have been laughing spontaneously, unprompted by commands.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

After more than a week of shuttered classrooms, the teacher strike in West Virginia is set to come to an end.

The state's governor and teachers union announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to implement a 5 percent raise for state employees across the board. And a little later in the day, lawmakers passed the measure with a unanimous vote.

Gov. Jim Justice is expected to quickly sign the deal.

From a list of 20 nominees, the contenders have been whittled to just five.

The inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize unveiled its finalists Monday: Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward; What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemmons; Mad Country, by Samrat Upadhyay; Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid; and What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, by Lesley Nneka Arimah.

The first day back in the classroom went quickly. The half-day for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was their first at school in two weeks — but what the day lacked in length, it balanced with heartbreak and hope.

For the first time since a gunman claimed the lives of 17 of their classmates and teachers, wounded 14 others and took aim at many more, the survivors gathered again Wednesday to resume studies the killings put on pause.