The hairs on my neck stood like soldiers at attention. Anxiety and wrath rocked my form and raked my hands through my matted hair. I heard it. Again. And again. And again. It was repetitive like a hellish call. The gears twisted and churned within the device. I didn't know the specifics of its operation, but I could hear the gears, though everyone said that wasn't possible. They said the tiny clicks aren't audible to the ear. They hadn't tasted the silence and endured what I had to be able listen for them. The hand spun about the face, powered by the gears. Such a complicated system and all that could be seen was a simple set of rotating movements. It was sort of surreal in a way, watching it across the bars. A set of movements that determined time, though time wasn't of much matter anymore.

The ticking taunts,

The reminder that I can never leave.

Whoever thought a cell without windows or daylight would make the mentally ill strong had played a cruel joke on all of us. Silence brought agony, but silence with one, single, continuous thing breaking it, killed me.

A bible that I had no idea how to read laid useless in the corner. I remembered scriptures from youth and I memorized them when I could. They were nice on some days, but I had forgotten them years ago. Now all the words in that book of hope meant nothing to me. The cross was on a high ceiling, waiting for prayers I would not pray. I couldn't be thankful for the life God delt out for me. If he was just and right, they would have long decided I don't belong here. After so many years, I am ill enough to be at the same caliber as the truly insane residents.

I felt reason lesson and the subtle gears clicking began to echo in my soul. I lost many memories of what life used to be, under the sun. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise as it would pain me to remember what I was missing out on. I had a life with parents and kindness I never learned to appreciate or I was gilding the past. I don't recall their names or their appearances or anything really, but I do remember that they existed and they are the reason I'm here. Their ending lives brought blame to me and that blame could have cost me mine. The people around me told me that if I could just pretend to not be quite right, I could live. When they sent me to this place, I stopped living. Death would have been the better option.

The taunting ticks

Tell me when the serpents will slither through.

From the bars that kept me in, there was a little candle light from guards reminding me of an outside world. I saw food that I didn't know the sensation of in my mouth. This brown puree was familiar and consistently disgusting, no matter what. The guards that watch me like an animal on display gorge themselves at things I would give anything to have the scraps of what's left. I didn't have anything to my name except the stone around me until the day I died.

The brief bits of rest are all too heartbreaking when they end. I try to get those moments as often as I can, but the ticks force me to think that there are times when I must be conscious. There is nothing to shield my aching body from the cold stone beneath me.

I feel the sorry excuse for a human that I call myself, would live so much better without the ticks and the clicks from the gears and from the hands. If only it would leave me alone, but only selfishly continue to measure time at its own pace. If I could make the seconds shorter would that mean I could live not for nearly as long? If I didn't know the lethargic passing of time, would seconds feel shorter, even if they weren't?

The ticking taunts speak.

I can't block of the sound from my ears! Even the brief bits of darkness I once found a peaceful reprieve were interrupted by the dreadful sounds. They mock me, those damned things. Day in and day out, they insult me and break me down to nothing. They remind me I am nothing. They tell me the world hasn't stopped, although mine has. It's are just out of reach, just a few feet, where I can stop their gears. If I stop their gears, the clicking would cease as well.

The ticks have words in their small sounds. They tell me I can't stop them. I will stop them. They cannot stop me from stopping them. Hell may drag me down, but in the end, I will end the ticking of the life of that dreaded device. Ha ha, how can they.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. It became louder! Tick-tock, tick-tock, TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK. You are never getting out you worthless decay. You think you can stop me? How are you ever going to break me from behind metal? I will tick and I will tock and you will listen to my only me for the rest of your life. Laughs from the clock erupted from within the gears and it knew everything I was thinking. It was inside my head and messing with my thoughts. The end was coming for it and the clock couldn't read how I was bringing its end, due to my invention. I blocked out its waves with a rock upon my head! I cackled joyfully at my ingenuity.

Insanity has taken my mind,

the ticks have taken my spirit.

I couldn't take a single tick and taunt anymore! I take the rock from my head and I flung it through the bars. I was so careful to calculate how much it would take to destroy the thing. But a serpent slithered through at the wrong time and unintentionally blocked it with his body. Or maybe he was in league with the clock and that slimy being did it on purpose. The thoughts was infuriating. How dare he defy my plot!

Ticking taunts,

Chuckling at my failure.

I put my hands on the bars and shouted, "TAKE ME AWAY. PLEASE MAKE IT END! YOU ALL DESIRE TO MAKE ME SUFFER FOR CRIMES I DIDN'T COMMIT AND MENTAL ILLNESS I DIN'T HAVE! PLEASE, PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY FROM THE CLOCK!" I thrust my head against the bars in an attempt to get the sound from my head. The demonic taunts were more tortured than usual. I kicked and punched at the bonds of my stiff confinement.

The serpents came on their bellies and penetrated my arm with thin, metal tubes. One pressed the brainwashing chemicals into my body and the others prevented my movement. I was overcome by weakness and I couldn't flail or fight. Damn them all.

The darkness was long and comforting.

A rare contentedness overcame me.

The clicks and ticks ceased.

Though, it wasn't going to last.

Tick-tock, tick-tock...