Tick Tock Goes the Clock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Driven mad by the death of his son, a mad king plots something sinister. On and on goes the sound, winding ever deeper into the castle's depths.

Submitted: April 10, 2016

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Submitted: April 10, 2016



Tick Tock Goes the Clock

Maxie Flynn

Tick, tick, tick, tick. The sharp, metallic sound of a hundred clocks reverberated throughout the hall as it always did. It bounced off of the stone and ran echoing down the stairs. The noise was deafening and it poured from the castle’s every orifice. It was heard from the tallest tower to the lowest depth of the dungeons. This is the way it had been for ten years, ever since the death of the land’s beloved prince.

The good King Cecil had never been the same. The previously noble and benevolent ruler had retreated inside himself until he was a husk of his former self. Every week since the tragic accident he had commissioned a new clock, each larger than the last. He now spent his days winding them, over and over, until each and every clock ticked in unison.

In the throne room, a dark, cobwebby cavern, the king paced back and forth. His face was a gaunt and waxy mask and he was swathed in heavy black robes. He was prematurely grey and his face was covered in a long, knotted beard. Once a tall, commanding figure, he now was hunched almost double. Clocks were hung from every possible inch of the wall and his eyes swiveled back and forth as if to take them all in at once. Tick, tick, tick. The man allowed the perfect synchronicity to envelop him and his face was distorted by a sarcastic smile.

Today was the day. Ten years exactly since the time of his death. The smile was swept from the king’s face and he frowned. A moan of complete and all encompassing agony escaped his lips and he bent over, breathing heavily. Across his eyelids flashed the image, that same image, again and again and again.

His son, that dear sweet boy. He had liked reading, reading and singing and horseback riding. His smile had been the light of the king’s life after his mother’s death...and now he was dead.

King Cecil let out a whimper of raw pain. There it was again, the image. He remembered it like it was yesterday. Running to the foot of the stairs to the body sprawled at the bottom. His neck, broken at an unnatural angle...his hair, the light brown giving way to a crusty crimson...his eyes, wide and unseeing. The eyes, oh the eyes. They stared into his very soul. The blank eyes that could see nothing, and yet saw everything in death.

It was his fault. He was sure of it. If only he’d somehow seen...

Tick, tock went the clocks. The king lay on the cold stone floor. He was panting from the exertion of remembering. The clocks helped; the endless droning sound drowned out the memories, pushing and shoving them back into the corners of his brain.

Time was suspended for a moment, the brief silence like a breath before speaking. Then, with a clamor like a hundred swords on steel, the clocks struck midnight in one perfect, glorious sound. The king laughed out loud, still sprawled on the floor in front of his once great throne.

He heaved himself off up with the agility and speed that he’d possessed long ago. Giddy with excitement, he grabbed his supplies and ran from the room. Behind him, the door closed. He didn’t even glance backwards to see the wall of clocks, his pride and joy, one last time.

Down the halls and corridors he ran, leaping and jumping. His smile was wider than it had been in years. He came to a skidding halt at the foot of those stairs, the dreaded stairs, the stairs that still haunted his nightmares. He laughed again, only to have his giggle drowned out by the clocks.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

The old king, a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, straightened up; he was finally free. Slowly, almost savoring the moment, he pulled out the coil of rope.


It was a maid who found him. She gave a shriek of despair as she took in the horrific sight. His neck, broken at an unnatural angle...his hair, the dark grey of his beard tangled around the coarse rope...his eyes, wide and unseeing. The eyes, those staring eyes, seeing nothing except absolutely everything.

Tick, tick, tick, tick. All around the castle the clocks ticked jubilantly. Tick, tock went the clocks until...slowly...one by one...they stopped.

© Copyright 2019 Maxie Flynn. All rights reserved.

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