This Week’s Prompt: 12. Happenings in interval between preliminary sound and striking of clock—ending— “it was the tones of the clock striking three”.
The Research:Tick Tock Goes the Clock
The sun has started setting. Early summer sunlight slices through the glass. The clock ,a great red painted shape in the sun-room ticks on. A woman sits staring at it,in a dilapted couch. It hasn’t stopped, not in centuries since it was made. Its hour hands have moved silently compared to the statcco beats of the seconds. Tick tick tick tick, no booming looming bells beat beneath the surface of its face. Her family got the clock, back when the house was a castle. Back when the town was free of fog. Back, according to the clock, three hours past.
The man, strange and hunched over, had come to them. He had been brief, with a high clicking voice. He had promised to show them many secret things. She had sat there, listening as a young girl, as he spoke to her grandfather. Then, when she grew taller and older, he returned. Returned at three, after her grandfather rode into the woods. Returned at three, to ask something of her father. In that clicking, clatering, screeching voice.
The stars were out now. Distant Alderbaan shown overhead, reflected neatly in the pale face of the clock. A number of small cherubs beautifully molded into the pearly weight face. They were smiling, but the woman knew them. They weren’t smiling out of good will.
They attended the family, when that man left. The clock clicked to their hour for decades, and while the hour hand rested there, while the heart beat away. And then they came forth, fat spiteful things. They grinned and showed cracked teeth. They’re gears looked rusted, the wings were certainly shaped like dove wings. But they fluttered up in down in sets of four, like a flies.
The woman knew them well. And the strange noises, the mree mree, they made. They brought fine wine, wonderful clothes, and chased off the wild dogs and snapping jaws of the jabberwocks. Tick Tock, the clock rattled on. Yes, the cherubs were delightful in the house, both old and new. And in distant Hali they danced and hunted rats. And scurried in a great rob of yellow, before the man came.
The woman had barely eaten. She had only had bread, like her sisters and father before her. The ringing of the midnight hour startled her, slightly. It hadn’t made that loud, twelve striking in ages. When she was little, grandfather left. When she was younger, but not much, her father rode away. Now, though, she stayed. There was no reason to leave.
The clocking, hulking, ghastly thing could not ask much of her. All she had was this distant house, this red-white clock, some wheat in the cupboard, and a bottle of wine. In a black dress, she waited on the couch, the moon perfectly covering the face. As the moon drifted past, she saw the clock face pulled along with it.
It would strike three. And then, then it would come crawling out, looking to make its mark. For tribute yearly owed. But there was nothing left to give. The woman steeled herself, as the ticking went on. No doubt it would come.
No doubt the gears would turn. The hands would move, and tick tick tick would go the moments, as she waited. She could run, but it would come. She could read, but that might disturb her paitence. She might then become aware of her situation. And that would simply make it all the more painful.
The Clock Struck Three
Well, my fellows, that is what I managed to assemble. I couldn’t quite get the last bit to stick, and if I ever get to revising these, it will be of the highest priority. How about you? What happened when your clock struck three?
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