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Vignette #9 - Tick Tock

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avatar Chiaroscuro
Contest Judge
Level 46 : Master Ladybug
109
A few sentences about what the clock looked like are great, but don't go into an entire paragraph that describes its gentle and rhythmic ticks.”

Deep Below Blog Contest, PMC

Anyone walking past would have paid the clock no attention. They had no reason to. It was just a clock, just a tool to help them tell the time whenever they needed it. And here they rarely needed it; it wasn’t the deceptive clock on the wall in a classroom, giving the students a beacon of hope that they would soon be free, while dragging out the minutes longer and longer at every glance all the same. Nor was it the regal clock at the center of the town square, now obsolete but still steadfastly marking every hour with bells long out of tune.

No, it was something else entirely. Some would say that it was just a clock, hanging on a basement wall, damaged but still usable, telling the time where no one looked for it. It had been through a lot, and it showed. Its faded hands had told the time faithfully for years, and now it was finally on its last legs. No one could’ve known that just by looking at it, though. Even though it was beginning to struggle, gears worn from age and use, it still crisply delineated every hour, every minute, every second with loyal accuracy.

It was a relic of a time long gone. Its white plastic body had faded and discolored, taking on slight hints of cream and tan as the years had gone by. Once, when it was new, it was bright and cheery, its brilliant colors accenting its otherwise drab setting. Since then, it’d been replaced by something newer, trendier, nicer, moved from center stage in between the living room and kitchen to the darkness of the basement, where old objects go to die.

And how was it to compete, anyway? Its flimsy plastic body was no match, in style and in durability, for the brushed aluminium finish of its usurper. Its acrylic face was marred with a long, ugly crack, in contrast to the untouched glass cover on the newer clock. But just as scars show history, the crack told a story too. A story of a tragic fight, the tale of tensions boiling over to a breaking point of flying fragments of a broken relationship. Yet through all that, despite the damage incurred, the clock still hung there, tall and proud, not reeling a single inch from the aggression taken out on it.

Its hands, almost arthritic from the years exposed to as much of the elements as any wall clock would be, still moved rhythmically with a satisfying exactness. Even though the jet-black hands had since dulled to a light charcoal, and even though those selfsame hands had lost their machinic ticks and tocks, each turn of the hands still produced a gentle chop chop chop.

It was true that they’d lost the cold, unfeeling harshness with which they used to scream out the time, like some sort of jilted drill sergeant. Now, they’d become mellow with age, wiser, more experienced. Now, their signals were more suggestions than commands, gently reminding any who would listen that time was passing rather than demanding the attention of those nearby. Whereas at the beginning those ticks would drive everyone crazy, worming their way into ears, minds, and souls, since then they have blended into the background, calming and stable.

But now, they were nearing their end. The clock had served for years as the unspeaking guardian of the house, watching over everything since the very day that people had first moved into the house. It had seen the family’s only child grow up all the way from a toddler to the intelligent but reserved young woman she was now. It had seen celebrations, heartache, good times, hard times, and everything in between. It had seen everything it could, and now it was time to pass off that responsibility to its shiny, fashionable replacement.

It was rather ironic, then, that such a loyal, trustworthy clock, almost a member of the family in some respects, would suffer such an ignominious fate as rotting the rest of its days away in a landfill. Perhaps it was because of its status as an object, rather than an individual. A tool, rather than an entity. It was true that through thick and thin, it had merely seen but not understood everything around it, standing guard wordlessly, only letting out a tick and a tock every second. But all the same, it had been through thick and thin, and that in and of itself was nothing to dismiss outright.

To have lived on, even without the people in this home, might have been a better fate for the clock. But the years had taken their toll on it, and by now it was in no shape to be of use to others. Its plastic was too old and degraded to be recycled; it was practically leaching chemicals onto the wall on which it hung, leaving behind a permanent reminder of its presence.

Perhaps it could have found purpose again, in carpet lining or in a water bottle. But there, it would no longer serve as the protective watchdog or the calming therapist, but rather as simply an accessory item to something more important.

Maybe it was better, then, that it would be simply left behind, buried underneath the ground along with all the other things that people no longer have use for. Because then at least it would keep a shred of independence, some semblance of being what it always had been. Even when every trace of those who had used it and cared for it were long gone, the clock would still be there, somewhere underneath the ground.

So now, as the teeth on its gears were finally grinding down to nothing and the rhythmic ticking was imperceptibly slowing, it was soon heading toward such a fate. This would be its last battery; thereafter, the unknown. Perhaps another clock would replace it on the basement wall, too. Or perhaps the wall would remain empty, marked only with the shadow of a once-great clock, having finally finished its work in this life.


Author's Notes
This one's for you, PMC, as much as it is for me. Just to show that I could. Anyway, inspiration is a funny thing sometimes and I was determined to write an entire story about this clock with an entire paragraph about just the ticking. As it turns out, it's harder than it seems. In terms of length, this does satisfy blog contest rules, though I am not actually entering this in any contests.
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  • DinowCookie
  • Level 24
  • Expert Pixel Painter
  • July 17, 2018, 4:00 am
I think I giggled throughout the entire read. ;P

You make me wish I knew more English words too. Awesome work! :D
  • Chiaroscuro
  • Contest Judge
  • Level 46
  • Master Ladybug
  • July 17, 2018, 4:05 am
Glad to hear! And thanks!
This is amazing. ♥︎♥︎♥︎
  • luzmila
  • Level 7
  • Apprentice Crafter
  • July 7, 2018, 9:00 pm
im--

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