This is the forth and final piece of my short story Tick Tock Tick Tock. It incorpoates this weeks prompt from Carry On Tuesday.
To read the complete story CLICK HERE!
By the time the body was pulled from beneath the rubble, the paramedics had arrived. Mitch stood staring, open mouthed. He started prodding himself and pulling at his hair. He shook his head violently from side to side as the realisation set in. He was looking at his double. The tick tock tick tock resounded in his head getting louder and louder every second. He squeezed the palms of his hands over his ears. Why was nobody else disturbed by the deafening noise? He began to shout ‘That’s me, it’s me. Someone please tell me what’s happening’. But nobody heard him.
‘Does anyone recognise this body?’ said a police officer. ‘Yes, it’s Mitch the poor soul’ said one of the firemen. ‘I know him from the golf club’.
The green uniformed paramedics worked slowly. Clearly the life was gone from the body; there was no need to rush. But suddenly one of them called to his colleagues. ’Quickly, he just stirred’. They began frantically pumping his chest. The crash cart was rushed over from the ambulance, and there was a sudden sense of urgency.
Mitch looked on in disbelief; the pain from the ticking in his head was unbearable. Then the chiming started. Why could no one hear it? One, tick tock, two, tick tock, three ...
To the amazement of the people gathered around, the body suddenly began to move.
Five, tick tock, six......
Then it sat bolt upright, its bulging eyes slowly turned towards Mitch.
Seven tick tock, eight, tick tock....
He felt himself grow weak. Everything around him became hazy and the ticking and clanging and clanging and ticking began to fade away.
Then he was gone.
How Mitch survived after being buried alive and assumed dead was little short of a miracle. He made a slow recovery but always seemed very distant as if his mind was elsewhere. His wife and daughter made regular visits to his convalescence home. They were never quite sure if he remembered who they were, but the nurses assured them that their visits were important to him.
It was his birthday and the nurse came into his room with a bundle of cards and a letter. He went through the cards one by one then slowly and carefully lined them up along the window ledge. ‘Aren’t you going to open that letter?’ she asked. But he just stared at it and shook his head. And days later the letter still sat there, unopened, propped against a coffee mug. Something about that letter seemed to worry him – scare him even. Whatever it was he wouldn’t open it.
His wife and daughter had moved to a new house in another part of the country, and they hoped that one day they would all be back together again as a family. Mitch’s consultant suggested that a visit to the new house might be beneficial, and so the next weekend his wife collected him and his overnight bag and they set off in her car. He hardly spoke during the journey. When he did it was about the weather, or comments about the way she was driving! As they entered the driveway to the new house the expression on his face hardly changed. Did he even understand where he was or who he was with?
His daughter rushed excitedly down the steps and ran to greet him. For one second she thought she saw him smile, but perhaps it was her imagination showing her what she so desperately wanted to see. They led him inside and he slowly looked around saying nothing.
‘Do you remember the lady who lived next door to us at the old house?’ his wife asked. ‘She found something of yours in the ruins of the house’. Mitch pulled a disinterested expression. ‘She said she wrote to you about it. Do you remember getting her letter?’ Mitch’s expression changed, as if something was frightening him. ‘Come with me’ she said. ‘No ‘said Mitch shaking his head. ‘Don’t be silly!’ she laughed as she led him by his hand into the lounge ‘Look’ she said.
And there, crouching on a shelf on the wall was the clock. Its hands were stopped where he saw them last, ten minutes to two as if it was grinning at him.
Tick tock, tick tock went the clock. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock
Today Mitch is living in a home for the mentally disturbed. It’s unlikely that he will ever make a full recovery. He has a few of his possessions around him, his wife insisted he have them in the hope that they might bring back some memories.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock