01 Feb Ticking
You sit in your room, on your bed. You read your books (as you usually do before bed), flipping through page after page of grammatical dreck. You glance at the clock hanging upon your wall. It was a gift from days gone by; you cannot remember just how long you’ve had it, but you’ve had it as long as you can remember. It makes a loud ticking noise that, in conjunction with the white noise your air purifier emits, helps lull you to sleep. It reads 12:37 exactly. You close your book, intending to get a good night’s sleep. You turn off your light, remove your glasses, and lie down.
However, the once therapeutic ticking is now driving you mad. You cannot get to sleep; no matter how many times you change position, no matter how many times you fluff your pillow or turn it over to the cooler side, you cannot bring yourself into the blissful silence of sleep. You sit up, glancing at the clock. It reads 12:52.
“Fifteen minutes?! It feels like it’s been an hour…” you think to yourself.
You remove the clock from the wall, take the batteries out, and set it on the floor. You climb back into bed, trying to get to sleep once more. This time, as well, you fail. No matter what you do, you cannot get to sleep.
You get out of bed, putting your slippers on and wandering down the stairs. You’re not quite sure why you’re doing this, but you do so anyways in hopes of finding a bit of food or some water that may assist you in finding rest. You move into the kitchen, flipping the light switch.
You grunt and grumble to yourself, cursing the darkness. The kitchen is only illuminated by a small wall light, on the counter, plugged into an outlet.
“It’s too damned late to change the bulb now, I think I’ll ju-“
Your thought is cut short by movement out of the corner of your eye. You turn your head rapidly to see what it is, but you cannot see anything. You reach into a drawer, withdrawing a Maglite and pressing the button. A sphere of illumination assaults your night vision, making you rub your eyes a bit. You then look around the corner of the doorway, trying to spot whatever it may have been that caused the motion. You can see nothing.
Shrugging it off, you shine the Maglite into the cupboards, trying to find something edible. You settle on a cookie, deciding that the sugar rush and the following sugar crash will help you fall back asleep. You mount the stairs, but stop after the third step. You hear… Music?
“Is that… My MP3 player? No, wait…” you say quietly. You quietly tiptoe up the stairs, turning your head in an attempt to pinpoint the location of the sound. It seems to be coming from your room…
You press yourself against the wall next to the doorway, the music is quite loud and clear now, but you can’t understand the words. It sounds like a different language. You turn into your bedroom, and… The music suddenly stops. By this point you are downright livid. You stuff the cookie into your mouth, grab a book, and turn on the light once more.
And then you see it.
Or rather, what’s on the wall.
There, in the illumination of your lamp, you see the wall adjacent to your bed and what is on it, shakes you to your very core.
The clock is now on the wall, ticking. You had removed the batteries. Nobody else could have done this.
Unless someone else is in the house with you.
You turn around quickly, but not quickly enough. Nobody hears your screaming. Nobody hears the blade drawing across your throat, cutting off your words and sending ribbons upon ribbons of your blood gushing from your neck. All anyone hears is that loud…