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The Clock Tower

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Alice Waterlow grabbed her grey coat and wool mittens, rushing out the door of her small cottage. Chewing her bagel, her boots crunched on the half frozen snow as the crisp air stung her cheeks and tickled her nose. She walked to the end of her driveway, and turned onto the street that led into a town filled with ages of dust, dirt, and memories.

Staying in this town, if you could even call it that, wasn’t part of her plan, she had come here for inspiration, to let the old rickety buildings open the doors of her writer’s block. Her car, an old yellow Volkswagen, had stalled, and she was stuck here until Tuesday after the storm had passed.

The snow continued to fall, lying lightly on Alice’s eyelashes and making white speckles on her grey coat. Shivering, she quickened her pace, hoping to find at least a gas station or someone to ask for help. As the figures of buildings continued to grow before her eyes, she made her way onto the cobblestone street.

Once there had been people here, travelers rested in the Grand Hotel, and ate brunch at the saloon across the street. Everything was quiet, still in the constant movement of time.

Alice, still walking, slowed her pace, scanning every window, hoping to find some sort of life in the dead town. The rotting wood snapped and popped from the cold, and signs that read “closed” hanged precariously in the dusty windows. Looking around, Alice saw the old clock tower, a giant compared to the small shops beside it.

Unlike the rest of the town, the clock tower was made out of stone. The hands of the clock were frozen on 3:00, and the roman numerals were faded on the clock’s face. Walking around it, Alice found a door, frozen shut and stuck in the drift of snow. Desperate to get out of the bitter wind, she kicked the door open, and stepped inside the dark tower.

Pulling the flashlight she had out of her pocket, she switched it on and slowly turned around, letting the light dance across the shelves and steps that led to the top. Alice could smell mold and mildew, and wrinkled her nose as she walked around the perimeter of the circular room. On the shelves were unfamiliar tools and rusty gears. Ripping off her glove, Alice grabbed one of the gears and stuck it in her pocket. Looking up, she judged that the steps could hold her, and made her way up the rickety wood steps.

Gripping the railing, she continued to climb upward, into the clock. When she reached the top, she shined her flashlight around the room. The backside of the clock, gears that fit each other perfectly were frozen into position. The brown rust on the gears seemed to illuminate the years it had stood for, and seemed to enhance its antiqueness. Tracing the outside of the gears, Alice stared at the crumbling metal, turning a dark maroon around the edges and a dark tan in the middle. As old and as rusted as the old clock tower was, the aged machinery seemed to behold mysteries beyond her wildest dreams. This clock tower was the perfect inspiration that she needed to write her story.

Alice flipped open her satchel and pulled out her leather bound journal. She walked around the small platform, and chose a comfortable looking corner. She sat down and angled the flashlight so she could see her journal and pulled out a pen.

As she began to write, a disturbing thought clouded her mind: Why was the door open? All the other shops she had tried opening were locked, so why was the clock tower open? Gripping her flashlight, she stood, looking around, trying to ignore the sick feeling in her stomach. Slowly, she stood, and put her journal into her satchel, trying not to shake as she looked around the room once more.

TO BE CONTINUED…..





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