tick.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
short story from year 7.

Submitted: July 19, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 19, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

The clock ticked slowly, breaking the still silence like a knife, each sharp tick taking ages to complete.  I tapped my green pen on the ivory paper, crisp and blank, thinking, wondering how I was going to finish the test.  I was in a white room with mocking walls, so blank and blatant, glaring at me with the neutrality of their being, and I groaned internally.  I put my hands to my face and rested them on the desk.  I was the only one in the white room, the white desk and white chair my only companions.  I hated white.  I still do.  I sat there, my hair with two ‘rabbit-ears’ on each side, as I usually do, the rest in a bun, and felt something on my right shoulder.  It seemed to go right through my black shirt, matching the black jeans and blue converse, and straight into my skin, burning it.  It was a finger, I could feel, and the second it touched me, I whipped my head around, my hair flying in my face, and opened my wide eyes wider in search of the source of the pressure.

Nothing.  I blinked my eyes for a few moments, staring straight into the white oblivion, the room seemingly lasting forever.  “No, no, but…”  I stuttered, reaching out into the air.  I grasped no more than the dust, floating around in the atmosphere.  I turned back to my test.  I was going crazy, that’s why I was in there in the first place.  It was all his fault.  I thought.  But who was he?  Why was it his fault? 

I sighed and put my head on my desk.  It was oddly cool, though I could see no source of the temperature in the blank containment room for miles.  I looked back at the paper. 


“There is no need to hide, my friend, for I am just like you.”

“There is no one like me.”  I said aloud, my clear voice echoing in the distance.  It bounced across the walls for minutes, fading, slowly, away.  I could barely hear it then, and the second that I thought it had disappeared, it came back.

“Yes, I am.”

As soon as the waves of sound touched my ears, I felt the burning sensation again, but this time, as if there were a whole hand on my back.  I turned again, and this time, when I turned around, I heard a whisper in my ear, but saw nothing. 

“Trust me.”

“I DON’T KNOW YOU!”  I screamed, my vocal cords ripping my throat.  It was a shriek, one that tore in all directions, and it bounced across the walls, ripping my brain and mind into oblivion.  The noise hit me like a different atmosphere, and I fell to the ground into a fetal position as I pressed my palms to my ears.  The shrieking noise sounded like a banshee, and I closed my eyes for minutes until I hoped it had disappeared. 

“Yes you do.”  It whispered, but this time it whispered into my brain, my head, and no matter how hard I tried to block out the noise, it stuck, like dice in a cup, rattling until the truth would appear.

I opened my eyes to a bright yellow mechanical sphere, looking at me in all perspectives. “What are you doing on the floor?”  It said synthetically.  “Go sit up and finish your test.”  I followed instructions, sitting back in the chair.  “He will find you, stop looking.”

“Who?”  I turned back to GLaDOS, but she had disappeared.  “WHO!?”  I yelled once more, but this time there was no echo. 

“He.”  I heard her say, and behind me, she appeared.  “Wait.” 

I turned around, knowing that I needed to finish my test, but there was no one like me.  There couldn’t have been, I was crazy.  I pushed GLaDOS to the back of my mind, and picked up my shiny green pen and tapped once more on the white desk.  I tapped and tapped and tapped, only accompanied by the sounds of the ticking clock.  Then I froze, wide-eyed.

The room was empty.  There was no clock. 

I dropped my pen and it clattered to the floor, focusing on the noise, closing my eyes until the ticking of the clock pounded louder and louder, next to my ear, in my head, surrounding my very presence, destroying each cell of sanity I had left, continuing, never stopping-

“You dropped your pen.”  The ticking stopped into an eerie silence.

I turned around and saw him, hand on my back, burning my very flesh away, and stared at his wrist.

There was a watch drawn on his wrist with a crude pen, shaking and twisting in a mangled sort of way.  The second hand moved red and pointed, in the same beat as the ticking, but now I couldn’t hear it at all.

I looked up at him, who promptly leaned over and picked up my pen, handing it to me.

“You should finish.”

“You’re not making an echo.”  I stated.  Only then I realized that the test still existed, I was too focused on his being, studying who he was and why he was here.  “Time is running out.”  I hurriedly reached for my pen, but he grabbed my wrist, making it burn with invisible flames.

“Time isn’t running out.”  He said.

“Yes, it is.”

“No.  Look.”  He pointed to his wrist.  The second hand stopped moving.  “Time isn’t running out.”

“It is!  I have to figure this out before time runs out!  Who is he and why is he the same as me?”  I yelled.  He sat down, cross legged, his big eyes staring up at me.

“He is me.”

“Tay?”  I asked in wonder, looking down at him.

“No.  You know very well who I am.  You’ve known for twenty three nights.  But you keep thinking that time is running out.”

“It is.”

“No.”  He pointed again to his wrist.  “It isn’t.” 

I sighed in confusion. 

“Your hair looks different.”

“It is.”

“I could barely recognize you.  It took too long to find you in this dream.”  He said, still looking up at me.  I crossed my legs in the chair.

“So you know who I am?”  I raised my eyebrows.  He couldn’t remember me, I was just a lesser person.  Someone who wasn’t popular, rich, talented, pretty, or all of the above.  I wasn’t someone who was worth remembering.

“Yeah.  It looks nice.”

“Thanks.”  I smiled at him and he smiled back.  This was weird.  Weird but nice.

“Finish the question, or GLaDOS will make you do a harder one.”

“But I can’t.  It’s a lie.”  I stated.  “No one is like me.”

“I’m exactly like you.”

“No you aren’t.”

“Yes I am.”

“The question is a lie.”  My voice echoed in my head.  Lie.  Lie. “Lie!”  I exclaimed.  “You said dream. I’m dreaming.”

“No, just think of what’s real and what’s not.”  He hesitated, but still stayed on the floor.

“No, this is a lie.  This is a lie!  Everything is a lie!  The cake-”

“Stop internetting.  Focus.”

“It’s all a lie, it doesn’t matter if I focus or not.  This is a lie.”  I used my finger to swipe at the table and it slid into oblivion.  “This is a lie.”  I kicked a chair and it turned fuzzy, like a hologram, as my foot passed right through it.  “GLaDOS is a lie.”  I heard her shut down, and the pressure in the air released.  He stood.  “You’re a lie.” I whispered as I rose to meet his eyes, and he looked intently into mine.

“Stop searching, it will find you.”

“No.  You’re a lie.”

“No.  I’m real.  I’m just like you.  I’m as real as I’ve ever been, four months ago, or one night ago, I am real.”

“No you’re not.”  It couldn’t be true, he was just a figment of my mind that would never leave.

“I am.”

“You’re fake!”  I yelled at him.  “You. Are. FAKE.”  I put my hand on his shoulder, but nothing happened.  “You have to be!”

“Alex,” he said calmly, “the more you deny it, the more it comes true.”

“You sound like my friends!”

“Am I not one of them?”

“NO!  You’re not real.”

“The more you say that, the more you realize inside the truth.  Admit it to yourself!”

“No!  I’m dreaming!”  I pulled on my hair in frustration.  This couldn’t be happening.

“ALEX!”  He grabbed a hold of my face and made sure I understood.  “I’m as real as when I wave in school, or when go to the library for holocaust survivors.  I’m as real as when I made you laugh so much in English, or helped you give Ms. Basso her gift, or when I even kissed you in a plane!”

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I needed you to fall!”

“Why?”

“Because you need to learn to TRUST ME!”

“BUT YOU’RE NOT REAL!  You’re TAY!”

“NO, I’m NOT.  You know just as well who I am as I do, and you know inside your heart the truth, and as long as you don’t admit it, you won’t TRUST ME.”

“Why do you need me to trust you?!”  I shouted back at him.

“I can’t tell you!”  He shook my head and tried to get me to understand.  “You already know!”

“WHAT? I don’t!  Now just tell me why!”

“I can’t!”  He let go and began to run away from me into the white nothingness. 

I sprinted after him, and kept up behind him.  “Why!?”

“I can’t tell you!”  He shouted, running even faster than before.  My feet began to burn, and my legs were on fire.

“Why can’t you get out of my head?!”  I shouted at him as my feet hit the ground one by one, the air passing my face, the pain in my spine seeming out like daggers.  No matter how much it hurt, I had to keep running.  Time was running out, and I needed to catch it.

“I can’t tell you!”  He shouted back to me.

“This is a dream!  You’re not real!  I should be able to stop you, or make you die, or make the whole dream at the end of a cliff! Just tell me!”  I said, but as I said it, the white faded into an orange, green, and blue landscape.  I saw the ivory melt into rocks, falling off ledges, as he stopped running and walked to the ledge of the cliff that had just jutted out of the end of the surface.  The whole earth was silent, and yet the landscape was louder that I could have ever imagined.  He walked to the edge of the cliff.

“Tell me!”  I approached him.

“Jump after me.”

And that’s when he fell off of the edge.


© Copyright 2017 Kathryn Thorne. All rights reserved.