The noxious red of the clock read 5:45 as it screamed the arrival of the morning. The rays of the sun had yet to illuminate the darkened room, and the stillness of the early morning cradled him like a child.
His eyes were heavy. As they slowly adjusted to the darkness he could barely make out the cracks of the ceiling. Lying on his back, not wanting the day to begin, he found himself counting them. One, two, three, four, five, his count grew as the cracks began to cross and re-cross and move together again. With each incremental number the cracks became less distinct and more connected. The lines formed images.
First of roads and highways, a map of the outside city. Then of roots, the outline of many roots, enough roots to fill a forest. The lines then became a face, the wrinkled lines of an old, knowing face. The face of a father or a friend or a god. The face grew clearer and crisper as the lines took shape, and soon it was staring back at him. The weight of the stare, the omniscient stare, burrowed deep inside of him until it became much too much to bear. He sat up sharply.
His weary body ached and moaned its disapproval as he jumped out of bed. The cold hard floor quickened his steps as he scampered across the room.
In the bathroom he pulled the long frayed string of a single overhead bulb. The light was an explosion of whiteness in his early morning eyes. The bare bulb circled rhythmically overhead as his eyes adjusted and he found himself staring at a reflection of himself. His face hung heavy with the dawn and the dark pupils of his eyes were impenetrable.
He turned the squeaky faucet, cupped his hands and held the icy water. Slowly he splashed his face. The cold wet streaks washed away the morning's residue. Looking back at himself standing in the mirror, drops of water obstinately clung to his dark, steady brow. The swaying bulb continued to cast rolling shadows over his reflection.
By the bed the phone shrieked. He turned quickly, raced back across the cold floor, and sat rigidly on the bed. The phone shrieked a second time. He answered.
'Yes?' his voice came out dry and muffled.
'It's time,' was the only response.
He looked back at the clock and it read 6:00. It was time.
'I'll be there,' his voice was quicker now, more firm.
He placed the phone back on the receiver and inhaled deeply. The morning sun could just then be seen peering through the bedroom window, and with it the wrinkled old face of the ceiling was absorbed into a white nothingness.
Dropping to his knees he turned and reached under the bed. From its depths he pulled out a heavy black briefcase. Still on his knees he turned the case carefully and gently opened it. Inside lay the contents of the bomb, exactly as he had left them the night before.
The clock read 6:03.