The Broken Clock

Ever since I had been no more than five, I devoted my existence to clocks. The concept of these everyday tools fascinated my feeble brain and this fascination did not dwindle as the years morphed my anatomy and soul. As the sun faded each day, my mind was filled by those perceivers of time. Repairing clocks and watches encompassed the majority of my adolescent years, it had become my reason for existing, my purpose. A resolve so fierce, none could sway my ambition. I was infatuated by the way they ticked and ticked away, never ceasing purpose. The glass embedded in the frame of a mere pocket watch shone into my soul and I through its. Beautifully situated, gleaming like no eye of a man could contest. Whereas a grandfather clock was reminiscent of lineage. Years of wonder embedded in its broad, wooden frame.

Mankind proved themselves to be trivial beings compared to the majestic works of wonder that possessed my fancy. Living each day with no true purpose, coldly shrugging off notions that are beyond their comprehension. I was more or less viewed in a similar fashion; hypocrisy was common even amongst the enlightened. Classmates scoffed at my obsession, but I was not one to hold things against another of the same structure, regardless of how perplexingly inane their society was. They just didn't understand the pure beauty of a time measuring device, its simplicity improving our everyday lives, yet its complexity reaching only those who dare penetrate its surface.

One rainy evening in the midst of November, whilst browsing for my evening feast. A new project appeared before me. Something so astoundingly complex, I had no other choice but to pursue it.

My foot awkwardly grazed against an uneven stone tile, gravity did not hesitate to hurl me towards the ground; scattering my purchases all over the market place. The whir of the crowd disoriented my perception of the situation, a minute gash formed on my knee from skittering across the cobblestone. In the corner of my eye, a slender lady reached her hand out to me. Her voice asking if I was okay with a hint of panic, but still offering a kind gesture. When I gained my bearings once more; I reached out to embrace her hand, pulling myself from the dusty ground. She assisted me in gathering my possessions without hesitation, her mahogany hair swaying as she stooped. I surveyed her features; the weariness of her skin suggested her to be in the former half of her thirties, her eyes a faint hazel and hair down to her shoulders.

While retrieving a bottle of water that also slipped from my bag, my head briefly grazed her shoulder. In that very second, I heard a familiar sound pulsing in her. The sound was consistent, but unusual. Pieces were put together in my brain, I knew the sound. I devoted my life to hunting down that sound and putting it back on its proper course. One word slowly escaped my lips "Broken..". I knew what I had heard was unusual, so a request to listen once more would be abruptly denied. She glanced my way and gestured for me to say what I had said once more. If I had spoken my mind to her, authorities would no doubt be involved. Harassment and perversity were not things I desired to be labelled with.

An excuse entered my peripheral vision, a watch ticking along at an abnormal rate. "Your watch seems to be broken." I carefully replied, swallowing any hint of uncertainness. She accepted the excuse readily, claiming she just had been forgetting to get the watch fixed. The notion disturbed me, my gut twisted. Wearing a broken watch; taking such a useful item with you every day, but refusing to let it serve its purpose. But alas, I wasn't interested in a mere watch. The thoughts spinning through my mind were twisted and villainous, but I couldn't leave such a lovely, delicate clock broken inside of her torso. If I had, I'd be on the same level as her with her broken wristwatch. Both of those majestic contraptions must be fixed by my hand and my hand alone. I inquired about fixing her wristwatch at some point soon and gave her the address to my store. My eyes followed her as she vanished into the crowd.

It was around eight in the evening of the next day when she entered my store. The sun had set, leaving a chilly night behind. Each and every clock had been particularly noisy on this dreadful night. Normally I found relief in the constant ticking, but tonight the rowdy sounds buzzed through my mind. I was incapable of removing the broken sound of the previous afternoon from my memory. The sound tore into my dreams and rang from inside of each clock I had fixed leading up until this point in time. I wanted to fix it, that sound that haunted me so. Not just for me, but for the lady whom helped me ever so kindly. She could not understand, but nevertheless; I had to help her. I greeted her as sweat dripped down my forehead. Tension pulsated through my frame, backing me into a corner and holding me there mercilessly. Waves of doubt coursed through my mind, I shrugged them off as furiously as I could. There was no room for self-doubt when doing something so inexplicably perverse.

I reached for the wristwatch she had laid on the counter. A small crack on the glass became visible once held in the brilliant light. It etched its way from one side to the other. I was fairly certain that the crack had not been there, but memory has failed me before. I pressured her into waiting on a couch situated near the entrance, she hesitantly agreed. Upon half an hour's passing, the wristwatch had been fixed. Formerly it ran slow; two minutes slow to be precise. Now it was properly working with a new frame. I had used this time to do more than fix her broken watch; I had also planned out my next steps. I came around the counter slowly, holding out the watch in one hand and holding a small wooden clock in the other. The clock was donated to my store by an elderly couple, it was broken and they no longer used it. Its body had been easy to carry with one hand; the thick wood would be deadly, but not fatal upon impact. As I handed the wristwatch to her, I stumbled forward purposely, twisted my hand out from my back and whipped the clock over the top right of her skull; knocking her unconscious.

Her body lay sprawled across the floor. It was only now in the caliginous lighting could I truly appreciate her radiant beauty. A steady stream of thick red liquid coursed down her right cheek. Such a beautiful thing I had prepped for tampering. In hindsight anaesthesia would have been the preferred method, but nevertheless; there she was. I carried her body to the back room, making sure not to batter her on the way over. Occasionally while prepping my utensils I had checked to see if she was still breathing. The flow of air was faint, suggesting that she should not arise any time soon. I pressed my head against her left breast, the steady broken sound echoed once more, this time in a slower fashion. Pulsating through her body and my mind alike. I had invested the previous night in reading up on the human anatomy; a simple scalpel should suffice for the operation I needed to perform. Steadily, my scalpel incised the centre of the sternum. The wound would have bled profusely if her heart rate had not slowed. A small circular saw was used to pierce the sternum. Her body struggled, but couldn't move due to wrist and ankle restraints. I had commonly used this saw to slice uneven points of clocks; it had not been used for a while and was cleaned thoroughly before the operation had started. Any bleeding edges of bone were burnt by a simple hot knife since sufficient supplies were not available.

Her life faded consistently, causing her heart rate to dwindle at a rapidly increasing rate. I was over my head with this operation, the blood continued to seep from the wound. Her body thrashing, she was becoming conscious once more. I screamed as loudly as I could in pure frustration. I desired to help this woman, failing her was not something I was capable of accepting.

I had lost all reasoning in the matter. This internal clock which lay there now visible to me mocked my every advancement. Ticking irregularly was an understatement of what it now did. I wasn't able to keep my eyes off of it even for a minute moment.

Mocking me… Mocking me… Mocking me… That was all this infernal thing was capable of. Waves of hate and fear cemented in my mind. Slowly and steadily, the clock stopped ticking. Something that once rang so vibrantly throughout her body now lay still. Steady drops pattered away, blood dripping to the floor. I ran my blood-soaked fingers through my coarse, messy hair. Failure filled my mind, the failure to save another and the failure to fulfil my purpose. I sat back in my plush, leather recliner. Surveying the now deceased woman. There was nowhere I could go now, I had failed and now only woe and despair would follow this heinous event. I put my legs up and coiled into them, when like a faint whisper gently caressing my ear. A sound could be heard; I curled up further into this spherical formation. A very faint, familiar sound could be heard; getting louder by the second. The same broken ticking appeared once more before me.

If I could not save another; I would just have to save myself