Insanity's Consistence

By , Bethesda, MD
Tick-tock.
Tock.
Tick-to--
Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-
It never fails to amuse me that the only thing truly consistent in my life is the clock's inconsistency. The clock has always been like that, from the moment I first saw it half-hidden among empty beer-bottles and cardboard boxes downtown. Perhaps it manifested from the aftermath of my last relationship--which like all the others, wasn't pretty. Perhaps it had realized that I needed something consistent, but decided to pull an Aunt Josie, cruelly making it's regularity something to scoff at. Ah, Josie. Your criminal tendencies will never be forgotten.

Just like you always wanted.

Tock-to-to-to-to-to-tock.
Tick.

I hug my knees closer to my chest, watching the clock. The only sliver of light that my curtains will allow falls upon it, so that I can clearly see the second hand halting in place, then jarring forward unexpectedly. The hour hand has edged backwards from last I checked upon it, and the minute hand hasn't budged.

Toccckkk-Tick.

There comes a thud from behind me. One glance and I find the remains of what used to be my mattress on the floor. Goodbye. I shall not miss your uncomfortable lumps in the night, nor the squeaks and rustling that indicate a mice colony in your stomach.

I return to watching the clock.

Tick-tock-tick-tock-ti-
tock-tock-ti-ti-ti-ck---

The ticking stops as the table collapses. I lunge forward and catch the clock, clutching it protectively to my chest. Start ticking, little clock. I need the ticking, don't you understand? Tick!

...tick...tick...tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-to-to-to-ck

I breath a sigh of relief. A bird caws outside my window, but I only look up once it hops in. The glass itself had broken a long time ago--the exact length escapes me. The bird looked around, and promptly flew out again. It took my curtains with it. Light shone into the room. I scrambled back into a cobwebbed corner, unaccustomed to the bright sunlight--although I was not opposed to it. The idea had not occurred to me of opening the curtains.
Spiders crawled up my legs. I didn't brush them off, though I winced when my hand came into contact with a rusty nail. Examining the cut, I deemed it unimportant and returned to cradling the clock.

Tock. Tock....tockkkk....to....

I frowned as the second hand slowed down. I shook the clock slightly.

Tick...tick...tick...

No.

Tiiiii--

No!

There was silence. I stared at the clock in panic, serenity giving way to fear. No. The clock had been my only companion, my only certainty, the only constant.
No. I shook it fiercely, throwing it against the wall in an attempt to restart it.
It was quiet. The mice's rustling had stopped, I could hear no life outside the window. Too quiet. This was an anomaly, an uncertainty. I was alone.
I looked down at my wrist. For a moment I contemplated cutting the emaciated thing, taking a shard of glass and raising it above a vein.
The glass shattered upon contact with the ground.

The square patches of light seemed dimmer now, and I struggled to focus my gaze. No such luck, and I tried to distinguish what was what among the decayed furniture that surrounded me, all now looming shapes.

I could hear my heart beat. It was slowing down, and I smiled involuntarily. It reminded me of the clock.

Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bummmmp. Baaaaaa....

As my vision faded to black, I could faintly hear from the other side of the room a tiiiiick-toocckk-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock....





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