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Watched

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I would say it had all started with the clock, and the axe, and the chilling night, but to be honest it started far before that, in a little car with little people traveling up a hill. It all started with the sound of an engine burning to life as Emily and her parents set off for their winter camping trip.

They took it every December, every year. Emily, eleven years old and springing with every step, would file into the little old red car with her little old (but not so red) parents Greg and Mandy. And then they would drive off into the night, following the path towards Canada. Towards the cabin. Towards the clock, the axe, and the chilling night.








***
Emily didn’t like her cabin room much.
At night, she would creep up the stairs and crawl into the soft sheets. Her room was long, and large, full of empty space that left shadows crawl about. The only light was the distant blinking of the moon, shrouded in cloud, and the only noise was the tapping of crooked tree claws at her window.
But every night, she would hear the ticking of the clock, and it would lull her to sleep.







***
The next morning Emily woke up and sprinted down those thirteen steps to the kitchen for breakfast. Afterwards, she went fishing with her father while her mother went birdwatching in the woods.
After dinner, Emily got into her nightgown and headed up the stairs back to her creakity old room, dreading another night of sleeping there. But then the clock lulled her to sleep once more, and soon enough she was dreaming.






***
The next morning she awoke to find her father cleaning out the old closet in the back of the kitchen. There were axes sharp as stones and thick gloves hanging on the wall, but the thing that stood out the most was the old grandfather clock. Standing taller then Emily herself, it was very old and very broken. Emily’s father promised he would have it all fixed up in two days.

Emily believed him, and that night she walked up the thirteen steps to her bedroom. She clicked off the light and slid into bed.

But this time something was different.


The ticking did not lull her to sleep like usual, instead it felt... almost annoying. But Emily still managed to fall into dream, despite the ever-so-irritating ticking.







***
Three days and three nights passed by, and Emily was sick of the noise. But nothing would prepare her for what was about to happen next.

In the middle of the night she heard a noise and clicked on the light-switch, casting her room in blinding light. Then she turned her attention to the wall, searching for monsters, and found none.

But monsters weren’t the only thing that wasn’t there.

Something was missing. Something was wrong...

The annoying tick filled the room once again, and then Emily realized it-
she had no clock in her room.

Then there was the sound, her lullaby, her pest, coming from? Emily knew. She opened up the door to her room, looked down the hallway, and began to creep down each of the thirteen steps till she was standing in the kitchen.

The place that had once been beautiful, warm, and full of life now seemed sharp and filled with shadows. The only light was pouring like warm milk from the window, dipping everything in a frosty glow- including the old grandfather clock, standing tall and proud like a king, in the corner.

Emily reached inside the closet and fumbled around till her hand grasped the sturdy handle of the axe. She pulled it out and examined the sharp blade in the moonlight before dragging it across the creaky floor to stand in front of the grandfather clock.

And then they stared face to face, the hands of time and the hands of axe, before Emily raised her weapon and smashed the clock straight in half.

She didn’t stop until all that left was a pile of springs and wood burned with moonlit milk. And then, dropping the axe on the floor, she sighed and walked up the stairs. No more ticking tonight.

She carelessly flipped off the switch and slid beneath the covers, hugging her teddy bear close. It wasn’t for a while that she realized, though, that the sound of tapping trees was accompanied by another sound- that of a clock’s tick, followed by the scraping of skin against wood.

She opened her eyes just in time to see a man slide out from under her bed. In one hand he held a gleaming knife, and in the other, he held a pocketwatch that ticked ever so softly.





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