Tick. The sirens had been going for so long, they began to sound like the wind. Tock. Somewhere, behind the choppers and the swat teams and the megaphones, the tower beats a bass line. Tick. Around hour three or four, he started to feel his heart tune to the rhythm of the great clock's pulse.
Tock. “Even if you can't see what's coming...” His dad would say when they were alone together in the cold bunker in their backyard. His words came out in icy white puffs. “You can always be prepared.” Tick. That's why death had never frightened him. Tock. The air in the tower is thick and full of dust. Each breath feels like a creation of a plantation in his lungs, where it flourishes, bright and horrible.
Tick. When he exhales, he imagines the lungs of his ancestors, inhaling deeply as they looked upon the breadth of their domain and wept. He takes another deep breath and tries to refocus on the great wheel of time, grinding forever forwards.
Tock. It didn't matter if he'd spend tomorrow in prison or spattered on the walls, because what was done was done: set his sights in the leader of the free world, pulled the trigger and they found him, followed him, and now here they all were.
Tick. Though he was never much of a religious man (and wasn't that kind of the problem?), times like these made him think of how it might be nice to pray. Tock. He searched his heart for strength...and when that came up empty, he looked to his family (his father maybe?), and found them dead and cold too. Tick. So he turned to his heart and found it still tuned to the rhythm of the clock, echoing and vacant.
H. Tucker Rosebrock is a Boston-based writer, speaker, and part-time superhero. He is currently finishing his MFA in Writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and his work can be found in Wired, Interrupt Magazine and Catch & Release: The Literary Blog of Columbia University.