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The light just before dawn turned the morning sky gray. From the window over the kitchen sink, Jonathon could see the silhouette of trees against the sky. He sighed, deeply, and set the glass of water in the chipped enamel sink.

A noise had woken him earlier than usual. The noise came early in the morning around this time of year for the last four years.

There was no sense in going back to bed. His alarm would be going off soon. Instead, he poured himself a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes and stared at the tiger on the box until they were soggy. He liked them best when they were slightly soggy. Jonathon still had milk in the bowl when he trapped the last flakes with is spoon so he decided it would be cost effective to have some more cereal.

It was a kind of “law of diminishing returns,” he thought. You start out with a full bowl of milk and cereal. When the first bowl is done, you’ll still have some milk left so you pour in more cereal. Only it won’t be as much as the first bowl because there’s not as much milk. The following bowl is the same way with even less cereal. This can be continued until you’re only taking one cereal flake out of the box to sop up the last drop of milk.

Sometimes Jonathon wondered if anyone else thought about these things. He could be a genius or insane, he thought. Or both. He was sure he’d read somewhere that insanity and genius were linked in some way.

He finished washing the bowl, spoon and cup and put them in the green plastic dish rack. Jonathon checked his watch again. He was still ahead of schedule. He left the kitchen intent on taking a shower, but stopped in front of the living room. Or was it a sitting room? Jonathon didn’t know what the difference was; that was Annie’s area of expertise.

The French doors to the room were shut. He stared at them in the darkness of the hallway. Finally, he swung both doors open and looked into the darkness.

The room was usually dark, even during the day. Old and heavy curtains covered the windows. Antique sofas and chairs stood on antique rugs. The walls even had an old style wallpaper covering them, and the wallpaper was covered in paintings with dark wooden frames. It was, overall, a very dark room.

Annie had loved her antiques, though, so Jonathon let her have the room to herself. The room seemed brighter back then.