Tick, tock, goes the clock

Tick, tock, goes the clock

A Story by Frankie

A scary story.


A veil of darkness is draped over the house, selfishly storing away the derelict building from the rest of the outside world. The only thing I can hear is my own blood, like lead from the anxiety that courses through my veins, pounding against my eardrums. My poor heart is leaping in my chest and I don't know why; maybe it's the house before me, simply reeking of malice as it looms mysteriously over the landscape. I am on edge - when I hear the whistling wind rustle the leaves of the overgrown trees, like a thousand voices in my ear, I jump, startled at the slightest of sounds.


Just looking at it now, I forget the reason I agreed to come here.


I can hear the gravel beneath my feet crunching with my every step. They are slow, cautious. In a way, I feel that if I move any faster I will be punished for ruining the slurred, trapped-in-time atmosphere of the place. It hangs so thick you could slice it with a knife. Gravestones seem to rise up from the ground either side of me, slick with moss and crumbling from age. Thick, wild forestry cakes everything. If you got lost in that labyrinth of woods, there'd be now way you'd find your way back in the dark. Everything feels as though it's about to cave in on itself - collapse, break down into dust until there's no evidence it was ever here at all. The thought sends icy chills fluttering down my bolt-right spine.


It is huge, at least three storeys high. In the windows, you can see nothing but blackness. So dark, that in the darkness you would never know if someone was watching your every move from them. The walls are built from a dark, ageing stone, covered in ivy creeping up the sides. The house must have been grand at some point. Grand, and dauntingly overwhelming.


I reach the door. An old oak door, that may have had intricate carvings and inscriptions on it once upon a time, but was so aged and covered in algae and rotting away that anything of the kind was unreadable. The world around me seems to freeze. I can't hear anything anymore, and I feel like someone is stood right behind me, breathing a cold, icy breath onto my neck. It felt like years could have passed, but it must have been mere moments. I swallow, and hesitantly reach my hand forward to open the door. I may have been mistaken, but it seems as though the door creaks open of it's own accord, milliseconds before my hand comes into contact with the damp, rotting wood.


My eyelids begin to blink furiously, blinking away any doubt. I can practically feel my blood curdling as I close them; it's as though it goes dark too soon, before I've actually shut my eyes. Heavy, laboured pants escape my throat, trying to breathe away the fear that bubbles up in my gut. I feel like I'm moving underwater as I lumber, zombie-like into the house. Time seems to stand still.


I hear a sound. A faint, distant sound, so quiet that if there were any other noise I wouldn't be able to hear it. But there is none. There is no other noise, and the sound is the only thing I can hear.


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


Like a Grandfather clock, in another room, far off.


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


Yet Grandfather clocks need someone to work them, don't they?


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


I was told that no-one had set foot in this house for years. Without anyone to tend to it and keep it going, the Grandfather clock should stop working and lie still and quiet.


Should do.


So why can I hear it now?


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


Suddenly, as loud and as clear as my own heartbeat, I hear something else. It's so close, so real and loud that it could have been coming from my own head. Somehow, it is the unmistakable chiming of a Grandfather clock. And it's a lot louder than the ticking.


My breath catches in my throat as I count the chimes. One, two, three, four.


I can practically feel terror growing like a parasite in my body. Five, six, seven, eight.


It suddenly dawns on me that the sound is growing louder with each chime. It couldn't be, could it?


Nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Twelve chimes. Midnight.


Without thinking, my numb fingers begin to fumble around my waistcoat for my pocketwatch. I can hardly believe my eyes as the hands tell me the time. Quarter past eight. It has to be right. It was half past seven when we set off, and I only arrived fifteen minutes ago. Why was the clock chiming midnight then?


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


The ticking is somewhat louder now. Only slightly, but it is louder nonetheless, and it freezes me down to my bone. I turn around, to the door, and to my horror, it is shut. Not once did I hear it, it's creak or the thud of it closing or it's dragging along the dusty floor. Yet it is closed, and it was open before, and I am certain that the only sound was the ticking of the clock.


Summoning up the last shred of courage I have, I leave my bags by the door and carefully start making my way into the house. Dust particles hang in the air, and I can see my breath in front of my face. My footsteps make no sound, and I can't hear my own breath. The only sound that is truly real anymore is the ticking of the clock, and it is haunting me.


One, two, three, four...


No. It can't be.

... Five, six, seven, eight...


The clock is chiming. It's chiming again, and according to my pocketwatch it last chimed three minutes ago.


Nine, ten...


It's chiming again, and the last time was twelve. It should have only chimed once. Even so, it's counting upwards and I don't know why.


Eleven, twelve.

I'm not even breathing.








I hear a thud. Frantically, I spin round, panic building up in my chest, so much that I can barely contain it. I don't know what I'm looking for, but I make sure that I can see every corner of the room at once, just to reassure myself that I'm the only one there. I hear it again, and my ears detect it coming from the window. My eyes catch sight of it, rattling in it's frame, rain drops running down it's milky surface as if for their lives. I allow myself to release the breath I was holding, and breathe a tiny sigh of relief. It is merely rain. It drums heavily against the window pane, causing the occasional thud and rattle. There is thunder outside, cracking through the silence, and every so often the room is illuminated by a momentary flash of bright white light, and then it is gone, leaving only a trail of rumbles in it's wake.


I glance round restlessly, my hands folded over my lap, drumming against my thigh just to keep them moving. The sound of the rain mingles with the ticking, which is louder now than it was before. I am barely managing to surpress my anxiety at this unnatural behaviour, with no answers or explanation. There has to be a reason for. Yet somehow, I know that I'm not going to like it.


One, two, three, four...




Five, six, seven, eight...


God help me.


Nine, ten, eleven, twelve...




Wait for it...




It can't be. It is denying everything I know - there are twelve hours on a clock. After it hits twelve, it starts again and goes to one. Everyone knows that. Every clock does that. What is wrong with this one?


A blood curdling scream rattles my bones. It sends my nervous system haywire, sends my blood pounding in my head. It rings in my ears, long after it has happened. Outside, it came from outside, I know it did. In the rain, and the storm. Who would be out on a night like this? I would have raced home by now had it not been for the storm flooding the roads. I must be on my own out here. Still, in order to have heard the scream that loud, they must have been close.

I am sat rigid in my chair. I am not moving. I can feel the house shaking as the pressure of the storm bears down on it. I can hear the ticking of the Grandfather clock, louder, closer, than it was before.


Tick, tock, tick, tock.


I am expecting it now. My eyes keep flicking to my pocketwatch, waiting for the three minutes to pass. Then I count down the seconds until it starts.


One, two, three, four...


Five, six, seven, eight...


Nine, ten, eleven, twelve...


Thirteen, fourteen...


Hours could have passed until the next chime.




I hear the scream again. It is the same one, the exact same one, I know it is. This time though,

there is something more. I can hear the hoofsteps of horses, galloping, drumming against the ground. It is so, so loud, yet unmistakably hooves pounding the dust off of the ground. It couldn't be anything else. The sound fills my ears, until is the only thing I can hear. It feels ten times slower. Thud-thud-thud, thud-thud-thud, thud-thud-thud. The scream, and now the horses. I can barely think straight. The ticking is so much louder, clearer, compared to how distant it was to start with. I feel my remaining grasp on hope begins to leak out of me. I am petrified, and confused, and the ticking is so, so so loud.


The clock chimes start up again. Counting upwards, slowly, eerily, as if in a dream, until my blood runs cold on the final strike. As soon as it chimes sixteen, the very same piercing scream slices through the air, bringing with it the thud of galloping hoofsteps against dirt - and the shot of rifle. It might as well have shot through me, the effect it had. My eyesight grows foggy, until the details are all gone and all I can see are the murky shadows of the dilapidated room I was in. I am so cold, so shocked I can barely move my fingers. After my eyesight returns, in the corner of my eye, I see the shadow.


As fast as the bright flashes of lightning, it swiflty moves past the window, a dark silhoutte against the bright glare of lightning. My heart drums against my ribcage, as I expect to hear a knock at the door, but nothing comes. There is nothing to prove that there ever was someone at the window, but I am absolutely sure that there was. All that I can hear is the tick tock of the clock, the tick tock of the clock, louder and clearer and closer.


My whole body jumps when the clock chimes. I don't need to look at my pocketwatch to know that it has not been three minutes since the last chime, and it dawns on me with horror that the intervals between them are getting shorter and shorter.


The clock strikes seventeen, and the scream stabs my ears. The hoofsteps drum against my head. The rifle shot turns my blood to ice and the cries and shouts of men are muffled and distant from the rain.


Tick-tock, tick-tock.


The ticking is so loud it could be in the room next door. It sounds more like tapping now, as if someone were tapping rythmically against the wall. The floorboards creak and the windows rattle and I am overhwelmed by my senses.


And then I see it.


The figure, I am certain of it this time, races past the window. It is undoubtledy humanoid, but before I have a chance to do anything the clock startes chiming. Frighteningly, it is somewhat faster now, more rushed as it begins the count up to nineteen. How much longer will this go on for? I am trapped in this hell, helpless to everything, with no way of knowing whether I'll ever be able to get out or whether I'll grow old listening to the ascending clock chimes and the screams and the storm and every other noise. Or I could just die, tonight, right now. I have no way of knowing.


The clock strikes eighteen, the scream is heard, the galloping of horses, the gunshot, the men, and then the barking of dogs. The figure runs past the window, still entirely black, but it's pace is slightly slower this time.


Before I have the time to register any of the previous events, the clock starts chiming again and the ticking could as well have been in the room with me. The spine-chilling sound of the nineteenth chime can be heard and all at once, each noise goes off with such a sharp ferocity I can no longer diffrentiate between them. I am gasping for air as the chaos erupts around me, with the lightning strike and the thunder and the creaking of the floorboards and the ticking, when I see the silhoutte, past the window again, but it's more of a jog now. Slower and slower.


Chimes start up, and everything is a blur now. The fear is slowly starting to drive me insane; there is only so much a man can take and my mind is filled with the most unholy thoughts.

The twentieth chime, and it all happens again.


A second has passed before the chimes start up again.


The twenty first chime, and my world is spinning.


The twenty second chime, and the figure is in a mere brisk walk now.


The twenty third chime, and my body feels like it's on fire. Everything is happening around me and I can't even think.


The clock starts to chime. The ticking is loud and strong in my ears, as if someone were tapping my skull, and everything else slows to a halt. All I can hear is my own laboured breathing.


The twenty fourth chime. The scream, the horses, the men, the gunshot, and the dogs. Then silence. The ticking stops, when I see the figure walk past the window, slowly and leisurely. The tension in the air bears down on my shoulders until I nearly collapse from the weight of it.


There's a knock at the door.


I scream.






Tick, tock, tick, tock...

© 2012 Frankie

Author's Note

This was done for homework. Please review :)


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Added on October 14, 2012
Last Updated on October 14, 2012



Derbyshire, United Kingdom

I love writing. So much in fact that my friends all think I'm weird because I actually enjoy writing in my FREE time, and don't see it as work. Most of the time. Being different? I relish in the th.. more..