when the clock strikes thirteen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

oh boy...





“I am not sure where to begin Inspector. To say I killed Mr. Jonothan Cultor would be true but to suggest I murdered him would be absolutely inaccurate. The man was insane and had I not defended myself it would be he sitting here instead of me and I would be the one lying in a cold vault in the morgue. And, I might add, I had no intention of killing the man. I only wanted to render him unconscious so I could call the police. The fact is I did not realize I had hit him so hard until the police said he was dead. I suppose in my fright I had a moment of extra-ordinary strength and hit him with more power than I am actually capable of. I mean, it was only a piece of wood. How could anyone kill someone with a short piece of two by four? Really.”


“I tried to explain to Jono that 1 pm was 1300 hrs, not thirteen o’clock, but he started yelling and screaming that some Duke, well he actually said in a very maddened tone, “The Duke had the clock made to strike thirteen times at one o'clockso that the men could no longer use the excuse that they did not hear it.”

Believe me Inspector. The man was adamant. No matter how I tried to convince him that there are no Dukes in Canada and even if there were there are no clocks that strike thirteen times unless it is a novelty and an amusement.

To that he said to me, “Are you deaf. Every day when the town clock comes round to one the chime strikes thirteen times.”

Then he made me go with him to the town hall at 12:55 and wait. At one the clock struck one of course but Jono said in a very agitated voice and holding his hands to cover his ears, “There. Hear it. One…two…” He counted out thirteen strikes and was trembling uncontrollably. Only when it was one minute after one did he settle down.”


“One minute after that Jono had no recollection of going to the town hall, or counting 13 strikes. He was completely flabbergasted, not to mention utterly disoriented. When I told him why we were there he called me a liar, not once but three times, like a child, Liar, Liar, Liar and included Liar, liar pants on fire. Then he ran away straight into the construction site where you found us.

He had a shovel in his hand by the time I caught up to him and was digging a hole. “It’s down here. I know. I buried it here years and years ago before they built over it. I am so surprised no one found it, not even since they have dug so deep this time.”

“What did you bury here?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret. Me and Amy had a secret and she died keeping it. They called it a cerebral hemorrhage but I know her mind just exploded because she wouldn’t give up our secret. We promised never to tell anyone until the town clock strikes 13, but we knew it never would, but now it does and I could tell someone but we were only suppose to tell when we were both there. But Amy can’t be here because they killed her with all those questions trying to get her to give up the secret.”

I asked him, “Who is Amy?”


“Well. Who is Amy?” asked the Inspector.

“Ah. Who is Amy? In the end that is what caused Jono to come after me with the shovel.

“Amy was my friend. She was my beautiful friend. She liked to play doctor and nurse. The doctor was her other friend who she only let come play with us if one of us fell and got hurt and we need more help than a nurse could give.

One day we were playing doctor and nurse and her friend showed up when he wasn’t supposed to. She became very angry and said we had to kill him. So we did.

It was a horrible death too. And all the while Amy said the town clock was striking 13.


“Get to the part you claim that Jonothan Cultor attacked you with the shovel and you had to defend yourself.” Demanded the Inspector.

“Well Inspector. Jonothan kept digging and low and behold he found what he and Amy had buried. It was a body. “Amy’s doctor and Amy’s brother who had caught Jonothan and Amy playing more than doctor and nurse.

“I was twelve and Amy was thirteen. She said it was how we learned to grow up.” Jonothan told me.

But they had to stop when her brother showed up and threatened to tell their parents what they were doing.

“You two murdered her brother.” I said in surprise and a little disbelief. Before I could run off Jonothan came at me with the shovel screaming. You made me tell you but the clock isn’t striking thirteen so now we are all going to hell and I am taking you with me.”


I stepped aside and tried to run but I tripped and there was Jonothan bearing down on me with the shovel. I found the piece of two by four at my finger tips, grabbed it, rolled and jumped to my feet. When I was steady and Jono came at me again I dodged his blow and smacked him in the back of the head. The two by four broke and I saw blood spurt out but when Jono fell to the ground he was still moving and cursing me. He even got back up and nailed me with the shovel in the side of the head and knocked me out cold.

I laid there and believe it or not I heard the clock strike thirteen times. The next thing I remember the police showed up and I was brought to the hospital then you came into my room.”


“I have bad news for you. We found Jonothan Cultor’s body with his head bashed in but there was no shovel and no old bones. Just you him and a broken two by four.” Said the Inspector.

“Oh well. I don’t know how to explain that. He had a shovel and I saw the bones and like I said the town clock was striking thirteen and…can’t you hear it? It is so loud. It’s striking thirteen rights now. Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong, Gong.

Ah…wait…what happened?”


Submitted: November 08, 2018

© Copyright 2020 Donald Harry Roberts. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Joe Stuart

Great work, Donald. I love stories like this. ~ Joe

Thu, November 8th, 2018 7:13pm



Thu, November 8th, 2018 11:18am


This was fantastic write, DH. It has to be one of my favorites -- tick, tock, who is the maddest of them all. Brilliantly done with that perfect twist.

Thu, November 8th, 2018 8:01pm


Thanks Hully...this one just trickled out of my head all at once....lol

Thu, November 8th, 2018 12:09pm

Megan Fox

It's got a good chain letter theme. Hear the chime, do the crime, pass the madness on. Very cool.

Fri, November 9th, 2018 4:28am


Thank you for reading

Fri, November 9th, 2018 5:24am

Jason Crager

Intriguing little story with a twist of madness to it. The closing line is perfect, captured exactly what I was thinking after reading.

Fri, November 9th, 2018 4:21pm


thanks Jason

Fri, November 9th, 2018 8:59am

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