Day of Atonement
By J. Bayer
Jacobs was vaguely conscious that he was dreaming, but he could neither will himself into a deeper sleep nor force himself to wake up. His dreams were like the kind of fever-induced delirium he’d suffered once as a kid – a crazy stream of disjointed images, half grounded in reality, half outrageous manifestations. The only thing about which he could be certain was imminent doom was galloping down on him with all the ferocity of an apocalyptic stampede.
Toward dawn, Jacob’s dreams coalesced into a more palpable reality. He imagined himself mounting a platform – or was it a scaffold? An austere, black-robed man was waiting – the hangman? A palpable feeling of dread consumed him and he tried desperately to withdraw from the light – an isopodic sow bug, curled into a tight ball, rolling, rolling toward a dark place far from the harsh light of day.
In the distance, Jacobs heard someone knock on his door – the warden, here with my last meal?
The knocking persisted, Jacobs gave in, and he rolled back toward the light. “Is it time?”
“Yes, it is,” came a solemn voice. “Mr. President-elect, it’s Inauguration Day.”