Oran woke up Monday morning blurred, his eyes parched and struggling in the odd kinetic light to read the time. 5:00am. 33 years’ experience told him that a morning shouldn’t be so bright just yet, that it should be blue and dimmer, seasoned by the moonlight yarning still through the trees and holding fast to night. Instead, a lemon-blonde, like afternoon, cut slanted through his blinds, making shelves in which the otherwise clandestine dust could circulate. 5:02am.
Oran worked at 8:00am but woke up early every day to feign his sleeping in. He never used alarms, just strident wont, and it was green-grey morning wherein Oran felt his peace. Predictable and cool, he’d lie in bed and count the minutes, passing buoyantly between the lilac dawn and inky sleep until the light would rouse a din enough outside to get him up. 33 years; Oran knew the morning.
5:03am, and outside it was bright but silent. All accounts suggested that an afternoon had come upon its own despite the hour, peering through an atmosphere not fresh as Oran thought it ought to be. He peeled the blinds to watch it, hoping for a clue. All was still and golden. The sun hung high and vented heat that almost singed the beard which Oran wore. Beneath its force he lost his footing, falling to the bed and lying in the warmth, awry. The midday light—like pollen pouring through the window—stung his gluey pupils unexpectedly. 5:06am.
5:19am, and Oran watched the clock, read the ante meridiem in rhythm with the seconds. Sweat like beads in boiling water pearled across his face.
5:30am, and Oran loosed a pathetic, feral cry, clenched his eyelids tight and listened to the obtuse rhythm of a pulse that guaranteed he was awake. 5:31am, and he went black. Black as absence, pure as cold.
5:45am, and all the best laid plans are made contingent on the premise that tomorrow holds as truth the truth today.
At 8:15am Oran woke up fast, the red-quartz clock spelling out obliquely through relaxing moonlight he was late. 8:18am, and all seemed right as rain, orange-hued and freshly morning. Not a mention of that oddest sunrise, save for just the slightest sunburn on his face.