By Connor McQueen
There is a clock resting on my bedroom wall.
It broke some months ago and I thought nothing of it.
Obviously, I had many other means of telling time so I went about my life,
as if nothing had changed because really,
It was such an insignificant event in my life that it was put out of my mind immediately. The hands rested upon each other, both pointing to twelve, midnight. Days have passed and I notice I’m beginning to lose track of myself. I sit in my bed staring endlessly at the patterns on my sheets and walls. Some sort of wire has snapped in my brain hurling me into a frenzy of hurriedness. My attention span is suffering and I lack drive. I feel I am losing it.
I read four pages of a book, put it down,
I write a half of a poem and quit.
My eyes slip to the clock.
Two hands unused.
Just like me.
“Move, damnit, move!” I think, trying to push my eyes out of my head.
I put two fresh batteries in it not two minutes ago, and nothing has happened.
I tell myself that it is just a clock. I laugh and carelessly toss it to the ground, rolling my eyes. “Forget about it,” I think as I lay down to sleep,
“Time still goes on either way.”
I am all alone in a large field and I am walking freely along the blades of grass. Out of nowhere I hear a faint clicking sound, like a far-away clap.
It begins to get louder and louder, filling my ear drums.
It is a crescendo of cacophony.
I can hear nothing else.
I am completely unable to drown the noise out.
Two distinct clicks over and over again, driving me insane.
It has now become apparent to me, after screaming and covering my ears,
That it is the sound of a clock.
Tick tock, tick tock.
I am paralyzed and screaming and writhing and kicking and dying.
That clock, that clock will be the death of me.
I try to give it one last chance,
I scream loudly and
I wake up.
In a cold sweat, I sit up, slouching in my bed, dead eyes staring into the pitch dark. Yet I notice that after seconds of confusion and fear that there is a deep silence in my bedroom. There is no ticking, no tocking. Everything is as quiet as the moment before you are born into the world.
I am soothed and relieved from this silence and I ease back into slumber,
trying to put that dream out of my memory for good.
After that night my life begins to be more monotonous than before.
I am becoming a recluse, a hermit, a castaway.
It feels like a very deep depression.
I eat, breathe, sort of sleep,
And I barely live.
I haven’t seen another soul in weeks and I am so alone.
I have developed very odd compulsions and habits in recent days.
I have painted my walls white and gotten rid of most of my possessions, and
I felt no need to have anything anymore, I had no attachments.
Well, except for that clock.
It just sat there on the ground, lying uselessly just waiting for a purpose. This is how I felt. I felt broken, hopeless, ineffectual.
This is what my life was reduced to.
Lying in bed for days, just
staring at the clock.
I could feel my eyes becoming bloodshot and I could sense my mind deteriorating.
Becoming so fixated on one thing leaves no room for caring or being self-aware in life. Deep down I knew this, but no thought could surpass my overbearing, undying obsession with the clock. Was it going to lay there, dormant and unmoving forever, until I waste away into nothing? Was it going to sprout legs and begin walking all over the walls? I have no clue.
All I know is that I cannot take my eyes off of the goddamn thing.
I haven’t showered, eaten or even gotten up in days.
I can almost feel my muscle’s atrophy.
But obviously, I do not care.
It matters not.
My mind has become just as useless as my body now. I have narrowed my obsession to, “This clock needs to start working. How can it not work? It has given up! Why? Just work, just work.” I feel the needlessness of it attempt to creep in but I actively squash any helpful or necessary thoughts. I have nothing but time to wait for the time to start again. It will, it must.
As my brain is getting too heavy…tick tock, tick tock.
Alas! The hand, it is moving! The piercing click of the clock is blowing my eardrums to bits. I have waited and waited and it has finally happened! I am waiting no more. The clock is ticking like the day that it was first hoisted onto the wall. The beautiful melody of the machinery lifts my spirits
and I attempt to lift myself up from my bed.
My right arm gives out under the pressure and my deadweight slowly begins to slip. I am falling and am expending all my remaining energy to attempt to grip the sheets or anything. My effort is to no avail and I am forced by gravity off of my bed and my temple is struck by my end table. There is a quick rush in my head that I must have never felt before. White specks of paint on my floor are covered by a steady flow of red that I am seeing through one eye of blurry, sideways vision.
I am in pain, I still feel broken and there is a large chance that that is now actually true. What was, seconds ago, a sweet symphony of bliss and happiness and relief, is now a discordance filtered through matted hair and flowing crimson. What a sight I must be, a red mess with a fatal gash and a smile.
Am I at peace or has my brain finally been detached?
I lay, next to lifeless on my bedroom floor, with nothing left but my waning focus. It is all put upon the ticking. I cannot see it but I hear it and it is all that exists in these moments. I have lost all feeling. I feel no disappointment, no fear and I am fairly certain my body is shutting down.
My vision is all red and the ticking seems to be slightly fading. I have tried to yell but I figured, “What is the purpose, seeing as this ticking is really all that exists or has ever existed?”
The fear, the confusion, and all the endless waiting,
Summed up to these two hands ceasing to move.
I am stiff and the hands lay upon one another.
It is harmony, it is death, it is the end.
And it is midnight.