Liz lay awake, listening to the echoing ticks of the clock in the living room as 2am arrived. She wasn’t use to the new house so sleeping was difficult. The bed felt too hard and the pillows were not her own. Strange shadows crossed the window and walls. The air smelt like fresh paint, wood and clean sheets.
Liz turned onto her side and came face to face with Bex, her girlfriend, who was fast asleep. In the dark, Liz couldn’t make out the soft lines of Bex’s face or her dyed rainbow coloured hair. Liz moved slowly, hoping that maybe she could snuggle against Bex and hold her. That position might help settle her down. However, Bex was curled up too much on her side.
Sighing, Liz wondered, how can you sleep with that damn clock ticking away?
Turning back over, Liz looked up at the ceiling and breathed deeply. Shutting her eyes, Liz pictured the clock. It hung high above the grey stone fireplace, screwed to the wall. It’s face was yellow stained and rust was coming through in small patches. The metal frame the clock sat in was a rusted dark red almost black colour whatever the frame had originally been was long gone. Then there were the stumpy pointed hands; black and stumbling as they made their way around.
I wish we could remove it, Liz thought, but it’s screwed too tight. Maybe I can stop it from working then cover it with something?
With her mind now focused on something Liz, felt more awake then ever. Tossing onto her other side, she shut her eyes and tried to let everything go. However, the ticking clock thundered in her ears, breaking the stillness like a screaming baby.
Throwing the sheets back, Liz got out of the bed, put her slippers on and fumbled through the darkness to the door. A small slit of light was coming through so she opened the door enough to fit then closed it quickly behind her. The hallway came into focus before her, the light casting down to touch the next door, the stairs and the front door.
Liz crept downstairs, turned away from the front door and went into the first room. She turned on the light and looked up at the clock straight away.
‘You’re ticked your last tick,’ she said under her breath.
Glancing around, Liz spotted a smaller hammer in a box. They had been using it to put nails in the wall to hang up some pictures. Grabbing it, she then had to go out into and into the dinning room to get the step ladder. Dodging the piles of boxes and the handful of furniture which had been temperately stored there, Liz got the ladder.
Setting the ladder up at the foot of the fireplace, she climbed up and came face to face with the clock. Smiling, Liz raised the hammer and swung it into the centre of the clock. There was a tinkling and a rain of glass. The hands stopped in shock and a large dint appeared middle way, in-between twelve and six.
The ticking paused but then continued as if nothing had happened.
Liz struck the clock face again. Harder this time, letting out a gasp as she did so. This time the hammer went right through the clock, the dint stretching to a hole exposing the cog mechanism inside.
‘Stay stopped this time!’ Liz threatened.
Silence filled the air as the clock froze. Liz smiled, waves of stress leaving her. Then a police siren blasted and Liz wobbled on the ladder. Crying out, she clutched the top and curled her slipped feet around the rung she was on. Dragging in deep breathes, she hurried down the ladder.
Dropping the hammer, she walked back upstairs. Feeling chilling, she was grateful to slip into the warm bed. Curling up, Liz shut her eyes and prepared to drift off. Though as sleep claimed her, Liz heard a very faint tick tock.
No, that’s not the clock, Liz thought.
Liz’s eyes flew up and she shot up from the bed.
‘That damn clock!’ she shouted.
‘Huh? what?’ Bex mumbled.
‘I broke the clock, but it’s still going!’
Bex rolled over, stretched and yawed before saying, ‘what clock?’
‘The living room one. It’s been driving me mad!’
Bex paused then reached out and turned the light on. Turning to look seriously at her girlfriend, she answered, ‘I don’t hear anything.’