Tick Tock Goes the Clock

The Clock

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 Resulting Story: Six Nine Twelve

Alright, so we have an ending line, which implies either some sort of fateful count down or at the least an imminent event occurring at three. What we are being invited to play with here is time, a thing which we have dabbled in the past (or future?) back in the eternal days of Yann. With that in mind, what can we do here?

Well, structurally, we can easily set the story into blocks, separated by time stamps. We’d have to end on around 2:50 or so, to allow for the three to come in at the end as prescribed. But what occurs could range from mundane to maddening. We could take a note from Edgar Allen Poe, and drive our characters made with an unseen but unwavering sound. An inevitable sound, the movement of inexorable time closing in.

We could, however, instead do something with the folkloric associations with clocks. Clocks owned by men and women were often thought to stop when the owner died (as paintings are supposed to fall, pets howl, and ghastly apparitions appear). A clock, however, that despite all evidence continues to tick suggests something…unwholesome about its owner. The clock that moves erratically, or that continues on past breaking is something of a terror. Time itself is undone, and with it goes good order.

I’m going to point to a particular story, not by Mr.Lovecraft but rather Mr. Harlan Ellison. Repent Harlequin, said the Ticktockman is a superb story that deals with the notions of time, of regularity, of chaos and order and hypocrisy. And happens to fit into today’s theme. For Father Time, the Master of Clock, is a terrible enemy. And that hostility might here be used. The clock strikes three, and that may mark the end of the struggle. After all, the story occurs between a sound and the clock striking. Perhaps it is over one hour, a desperate hour to escape the moment. To escape time, and in the end loss is inevitable.

There are stories abound, of course, in the Mythos of time. The Silver Key deals greatly with time travel, and anything to do with Yog-Sothoth is riddled with so much ticking and rippling of time that their reality is sometimes hard to know. And of course there are the Hounds of Tindalos, who come from a different sort of time. Time is one of those dreadful abysses, and the creatures that walk and swim in it are dangerous and alien.

So of our story? I don’t yet know, fellow necromancers. I suspect the structure will be as I proposed, with chunks separated by time markers. As for the content, some sort of struggle against time seems necessary for the subtext at least. This corpse may be …less human then most. Perhaps barely recognizable. But we shall see.

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