• Kelsey Garber

Tock II

If you missed Tock I, read it here.

The end was now.

Noticing my falter, he barked, “What’s the problem?”

Numb from the terror, I helplessly mumbled, “You’ll shoot anyway.”


“If I hand over this watch, you’re just going to shoot me anyway.”

He beckoned a demanding hand at me. “Might as well give yourself your best chance and give it here.”

Despondent, I shook my head. “There is no chance.”

Accepting of my fate, though horrified, my eyelids slid shut and awaited the agony of his firearm. The seconds ticked on my watch, marking my last. The gunman ceased any sound, though I surmised that he took aim in his silence. All was still.

Only one more noise overtook the rest. The whir of another vehicle clambered down the road toward us. I paid it little mind. The passing of one car would not hinder my demise. The gloom already swallowed me into its depths. I held no hope of emerging now.

Beneath the drone of the engine, a whispered curse spewed from my assailant and then the patter of retreat echoed through the alley. My eyes sprang open in astonishment. The man had fled.

Spinning around as the car blurred by, I hinted the unlit blue and red lights poised on top and the official label along the side. The officer failed to notice us back in the shade of the alleyway, only following the protocol of a routine patrol, but his appearance had been enough.

I patted all over my chest in a frenzied search for the mortal wound that should have ended me. I discovered no pain and no injury. A guffaw burst into fractals in the cold atmosphere as I rejoiced, incredulous. My watch shined up at me.


I collapsed onto the grunge of the street without a care in the world, letting the dirt soil my clothes and the smell assault my senses. I would live to tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. No extravagance of daily life would ever be taken for granted again.

At the thought of the wonders of the mundane, the realization that I no longer needed to utilize the time with such rigor brought me to my feet and into a sprint. My home awaited me, and would keep expecting me for decades. I flew with the blissful euphoria of a child until my front door greeted me.


My watch gleamed up at me, mirroring the smile that blessed my animated features. Time failed to take it from me. The rest of my life ticked onward with no more obstacles.

Back in the comfort of my home with no more fear, I chucked the powerless keeper of time back in its drawer to rot away. With a slam shut, the watch was gone.

I recalled the turnover stowed away in my pocket and fetched it, able to enjoy it fully now. The nutty goodness settled on my tongue with a wondrous resplendence.

Despite my joy, an unsettling sensation suddenly tingled through my spine. Trusting my instincts, I scanned around the room, straining my eyes and ears to pick up any abnormalities. Nothing seemed amiss. No rustle of a draft, no squeaks of a footfall.

Not even the tick of a clock.

My heart contracted in horror. The mantel clock perched on its pedestal and glared down in judgement. Not a movement or sound emanated from the inner workings of the apparatus. Time itself stopped on the face of that clock.


My throat swelled in terror, clamping an unrelenting fist around my oxygen. The lack dizzied me, and I sought an ulterior cause for the sudden fit. Finally examining the turnover in my grip, I noted that a mistake had been made.

The pecan turnover was actually almond, my one allergy in the world.

My body rejected this with a fierce backlash. I gasped, but my lungs showed me no mercy. Tears washed down my cheeks as destiny seized its prize. Though fear ruled my last moments, harmony made its way through me as well. With my trepidation staying me for so long, this inevitably actually freed me from this burden.

As my vision darkened, I focused on the token of my faith one last time. The clock bid me farewell from the mantel.


© 2020 by Kelsey Garber

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