A Story by Peter Rogerson

Colin's clock stops, and a stranger knocks his door...


Colin had a single passion in his life: his ancient grandfather clock. He’d owned it since he’d been a baby, and it stood proudly at the foot of his stairs in a space much too small for it but none-the-less it worked and chimed and ticked away the hours like all good clocks do.


Until it broke. Until something in its clockwork heart failed...

Until with a twang and a bang and a random clang it paused at half past six. And waited.

And Colin wept because, it seemed the passion of his life was no more. A clock that doesn’t work is as good as scrap. Oh, he thought, it might have a noble history, might have survived (he might have thought lived but not even he thought there was actual life in the heart of his grandfather clock) through two world wars and more, going back in time, but now it was scrap.

Then, out of the blue there was a knock at his door. A loud and imperious knock. The sort of knock that suggested that the knocker meant business.

So he opened the door.

“New clocks for old clocks,” said the stranger, a dreary looking bloke in a hood and carrying over one shoulder a sharp and gleaming scythe.

“Pardon?” asked Colin.

“New clocks for old clocks,” repeated the stranger, “and what do I chance to see over your shoulder but an old clock! Doesn’t work, does it? Defunct? Ready for the clockmaker’s knacker’s yard?”

“It’s a good clock,” Colin told him, “I’ve had it all my life and I’ve always thought, I was told by a mischievous uncle when I was a little tacker, that it was always meant for me… that it’s heart and mine worked together in the sort of unison beloved by nature and the saints alike...”

“Which is why you need a new clock,” the clock-man told him, twitching his scythe. “That old clock of yours is dead, and you don’t want to die with it do you?”

Colin might have answered that question, but suddenly, out of the blue, his beautiful grandfather clock started chiming. The fingers pointed at half past three but its melodious gong beat out hour after hour.

Until it reached nineteen, when it stopped.


Quite right,” said the stranger, “what a good clock. Nineteen! It’s nineteen o’clock and all is well! So I’ll be taking it now, shall I?”

But it’s mine!” protested Colin but somehow couldn’t move a muscle as the old cowled stranger put down his vicious looking scythe and picked up the grandfather clock as easily as if it was a dandelion clock or something even lighter made of fresh air.

But it’s mine!” repeated Colin, not for the first time.

New clocks for old clocks!” intoned the clock-man, “here, this is yours.”

And he handed Colin the sweetest little clock he’d ever seen. It was so sweet and cute and lovely that he hated it at once.

You’ll see what it’s called,” observed the stranger, picking up his deadly looking scythe, “see by its little hand, all bright and shiny, it’s a coronavirus clock!”

And?” asked Colin, confused.

I’ll be back when it stops at nineteen hundred hours,” grinned the stranger, “that’s seven in the evening to you and me, and look, there’s only a minute or so left...”

© Peter Rogerson 01.06.20

© 2020 Peter Rogerson

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Wow! This is a fantastic story. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted 2 Months Ago

Peter Rogerson

2 Months Ago

Kind words. Thank you very much.

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1 Review
Added on June 1, 2020
Last Updated on June 1, 2020
Tags: grandfather clock, chiming


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..