Clockwork Tales

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Clockwork Tales

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-TONG! ..............

"Yeah, I finally got that damn clock to stop," the man mumbled happily. "Now I can sit here and read in peace." He picked up his copy of Canterbury Tales, aching to find the insight that his professor swore was kept hidden within. He started once again. The Miller's Tale. "Hmm, I wonder how long it is." He started to flip through the pages one by one, counting them off. "One, two, three, four, five, . . . seventeen. Well, that's not so bad. If I could just get started on it." He looked down and started to read. "Whan that the Knight hadde thus his tale ytold." Tick-tock, tick-tock. "Dammit!" He jumped up out of the easy chair, and in doing so sent his literature book cascading across the room. "Damned clock. I'll show you what's up."

The poor clock really didn't know what to make of this. After all, it was just sitting there, doing its job of counting the seconds, minute after minute, hour after hour. It was a good little clock. It was about the size of a baseball, and it's brass plating was polished to a gleaming shine. It fancied itself as attractive. People loved it. No one had ever told it to shut up before. This was all brand new to it. It wanted the man to be happy. It really did. But the man was far from that at the moment. His fair skinned face was mottled and flushed with rage. His blond hair was tousled and unkept, and looked as though he had just woken up. His shirt was untucked from his jeans in various spots, almost making him look like a bum. The clock ticked to itself again as the man stepped closer. It was still vaguely upset at the shoe that had been thrown at it a few minutes before. Violence just wasn't the answer, the clock believed. If you just waited, time would solve everything. It was inevitable. The man was just a few steps away now, and the clock was frightened. What would this man do to him? Would he tear out his gears, pull out his plugs, or would he merely smash him into the fireplace he was resting on, ending it all with single forceful blow. The clock's ticking sped up ever so slightly, half a second instead of a whole.

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"Clockwork Tales." 17 Mar 2018
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It was nervous about what it was going to do. As far as it knew, no clock had ever done it before, and the rest would probably not know what was going on. It was a timepiece, in sync with all such like it the world over. If one of them was suddenly unplugged, or went dead, all would know of it. That is just the way it is.

The man put his hand on the clock, ready to hurl it against the wall like a pitcher delivering a fastball. He brought his arm back, cocked his wrist, and started to swing his arm forward. As he did so, however, he felt something strange.

First his hand began to tingle, a warm, prickly sensation not at all unlike that of a limb that had fallen asleep. He tried to finish the motion of throwing the clock, but he found to his astonishment that he had not control at all over his body. The tingling spread down to his wrist, his forearm, up to his shoulder, and then spread completely through him until his whole body was alight with the uncomfortable sensation. He lost control of his bladder, his bowels. "What is this?" he screamed, his panic turning to shock. He tried to speak, to force out a scream of denial against what was happening to him, and he found that his voice had fled, that even the muscles that controlled his mouth, his tongue, had left his control. His eyes started to droop shut, and he had the terrible feeling that they would be forever closed, and he would be left to sit eternally in the dark alone, bereft of all companionship. For a moment, just a moment, he thought he would succeed in curbing the force, that he would have his sight to himself once again. But that thought fled only seconds later when the pressure was brought to bear tenfold, and his eyes dropped shut with the slam of a garage door. Now only one part of his body was left under his control, and, though this part was far from weak, he was too frightened to bring its full power to bear. He now started to fight it fully though. If his mind, his spirit, wasn't his, then he wasn't himself anymore, and he didn't want to contemplate what he would become, not now. He started to push at the force with his minding, blindly hoping that in some way, he could make it exit, that it would at least leave him as himself, as he. Sweat started trickling down his forehead, collecting under his arms. He could still feel the sticky tingling sensation as it did so, which was a good sign, showed that he hadn't lost his ability to feel. He pushed even harder, felt his head begin to pound as if a blacksmith was attempting to smelter his brain. He felt the force give just a fraction. His eyelid fluttered, and he nervously moistened his lips. "Yes!" he shrieked to himself. Even his voice in his mind sounded high pitched.

However, this one moment of celebration, this one brief relaxation of his will, let the presence clamp down harder that ever before. He bit into his tongue as it clamped down, and he roared in pain and anger as he felt the blood well up inside his mouth. It pushed even harder at his brain, now using the rigid, quick blows of a jackhammer instead of a smithy. Clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang. Twenty blows a second it seemed, each one sapping more of his strength than the last. Each one pushing him one step closer to the edge of losing control completely. "No," he moaned to himself, hearing his voice fade in his own mind. "Nnnoooooo!"

Clank! Woogety, woogety, woogety. The clock hit the floor and rolled about for a moment, before running into the thickly padded leg of a white sofa. For a moment, it vaguely wondered where the man was, wondered what would become of him. But even an item such as it was couldn't really guess where it had sent the man, couldn't ever really know, for it could never be outside time, but could only stop it for a moment. Tick-tock.

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