The Clock

April 13, 2011
The house was silent. Not a sound could be heard but the whisper of the wind through the boards. A mouse darted from a hole in the base board, on its nightly hunt for food. The scamper and patter of its feet was the only sound to break the silence.

The mouse ran across the silent, hulking shape of a clock. A click followed the mouse’s departure, and the clock began ticking. The steady sound sent the mouse back to its hole in a scared dash. With the end of the first beat, the tail end of the mouse disappeared. The staccato beat steadily grew louder as a whirring noise joined in, getting faster as the ticking grew louder.

On closer inspection of the strange and dusty clock, a person brave enough to look would’ve noticed a small door in the center of the clock’s workings. This door, in its traditional part of the clock, had two small windows on either side of its carved face. The clock sounded again. Tracks for moving mechanisms, old, yet smooth, wound their way around to meet each other in the center. The clock’s strange hands were made of a burnished bronze, looking almost like they had been dipped in blood. One hand, the larger one, was shaped like a pitchfork, while the other, the smaller one, was shaped like a spear. The clock kept chiming on.

The ticking slowed for a heartbeat, then jumped back up to speed again. A chime sounded from somewhere in the mechanics. The chains in the tracks slipped into motion. As the gears pulled the chains towards each other, a soft sad song was begun to be sung from inside, a tuneless, love lost song. The sawing of the chain added an eerie effect to the music in the already chilled air. Down both tracks, figurines appeared, climbing steadily and tirelessly up the insides of the clock.

The first figure in view was a woman. The second figure, a male, came out of the right window, opposite the lady. In the center the dark door stayed shut, and the chime sounded a fourth time. The two figures wound around the body of the clock towards each other in a mechanical march. The clock’s chimes fell into the night’s blanket of silence. As they grew closer, it was almost as if their arms were reaching out, stretching farther, just to meet each other again like they had before in other times. Through the midnight breeze a fifth chime sounds. The arms of the figurines met in a gentle wooden embrace. A calm sense of peace pervaded the chill of the air in the house. It lasted for a beat, then two, but on the eighth chime, the peace was shattered.

In that instant, on the eighth pealing ring, a strange keening sound broke from within the clock’s unopened door. It cut off the song, and washed over the house in a wave of horror. The center door swung open ominously with the ninth peal of the inner bell. It slammed against the side of the clock’s wooden front. The jolt of the blow made the couple in the front shiver, looking almost alive.

A demon, moving its mechanical body along its track, emerges from the hole of the open door. It crashed into the couple, breaking between them on the tenth sound of the raising chime. The chime sounds almost mournful as, on its eleventh pealing ring, the two figures that destiny keeps drawing apart, and the demon retreat into their respective holes.

The demon’s shrill cackling laugh can be heard over the grinding of the chains pulling them back and the echoing of the final ring. The door slams in the center with a final certainty as the whirring and clicking slows down.
Finally, the clock stops, and the haunted chill leaves the air. The mouse, slow, silent, careful, creeps out of his hole. As the mouse slips out into the cool breeze of night’s embrace, the clock seems to shudder. As the clock dies, so does the echo of the ringing in the air. The midnight and the Devil had come, and even more terrors were sure to show. But the house slept on, unworried now, silent and still, a guardian of its own dark and deadly secret.





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