Tick Tick Tick

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 21, 2020

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 21, 2020

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A A A


Tick Tick Tick

 

Chapter 1


 

The ticking of the clock never bothered Amberly, in fact, she found it relaxing. The constant tick keeping its pace like a beating heart. Tick... Tick... Tick… the clock chimes 8. Amberly shakes the daydreams from her head, grabs her bag, and runs down the stairs of the hundred-year-old house her parents just inherited. Sprinting out the front door - not even stopping by the kitchen to say goodbye to her parents, who were screaming at each other again over something Amberly couldn’t be bothered with. She rolled her eyes and slammed the front door shut. Scrambling through her bag she pulls out her phone and headphones drowning away the gloomy world and fills it with the words of Billie Eilish.

Walking down the narrow damp cobblestone streets of St. Annes. Wondering what this new city will bring, looking through the shop windows she felt totally out of place. The fashion in London felt a decade behind the glamour of the LA boutiques. The gray jumpers the women wore made Amberly's heart feel hollow. Finally, Amberly stumbled into a small outdated cafe. Shaking off the rain she walked up to the counter. A tall, skinny, dark-haired boy with a blue apron greeted her at the counter and told her the daily specials. Dazing off she asked the barista for a large Pumpkin spice soy latte. He looked slightly confused by her request. “ You're not from here are you?” Totally thrown off by his question she quickly replied in a sharp voice “No, Why do you care?” The dark-haired boy looked about her age and she noticed a name tag that read Nathan. Looking down at the counter“ It's a small town, there is only one high school. I recognize most people from school, and I have never seen you before.” putting whipped cream on top of her steaming hot latte. 

“Thanks.” She said taking the warm cup from his hand. “I just moved here with my parents from LA.”Amberly paid Nathan for her Coffee. Taking a sip of her latte “We just moved into Fray Manor on Third St.” Nathans’s eyes went wide. He looked as if he was going to faint. He stuttered” yyyou live in the Fray house?”Not letting her speak “Do you know what happened in that house.” Amberly freaked out by his reaction grabbed her change from his hand, she turned to walk out. “Are you related to the Abigail Fray?” Nathan said so softly, maybe because he didn't want to know the answer. Amberly with tears building up quickly in her eyes slowly turned around. “ She was my grandmother, she passed away two years ago.” Nathan's face expressionless. “What” She yelled. “Your grandmother had a daughter, she was killed in the house.” Nathan said with hesitation. “Killed what do you mean.” Amberly couldn't believe what she was hearing, she decided she had heard enough. Amberly looked back at Nathan's face he looked very pale and he was shaking. “I don't know the whole story, I just know that no one has lived in that house in the last 40 years, and no one has been in since. 

Dazed by the strange encounter at the cafe Amberly tried to clear the thoughts from her head and walked through the town park before actually going to the one and only boring town high school. The park was small and relatively bland with the exception of the beautiful town clock that stood in the center of the park. Cobblestone paths coming and going through the park, old oil lamps and benches lined the path. Amberly amazed by the beauty of the clock went up to the bench closest to the clock and sat down. 

She was so captivated by the clock she didn't even care that the morning fog had rolled in and made the bench wet and was getting her favorite suede jumpsuit damp. Looking up at the french style clock, the giant swirling hands were both on the eight. St Anne’s high was just on the other side of the park. With some time before school started, Amberly found herself listening to the clock. Tick Tick Tick she took a breath in and out as each second passed. She began to think of her old house in the sunny hills of LA, and all of her friends she had left behind. A time before her parents began to argue every day. She thought about how difficult this move had been for her and her parents. Leaving the United States., Leaving all their friends and family behind going to a country where they knew no one, she had to learn how to drive on the left side of the road, and live in an old house owned by a relative they had never met. Tick Tick Tick. She thought of what Nathan had said earlier. Her dad was an only child, her father was the sole heir of Fray Amberly thought of here kind her grandmother, There was never any mention of an older sister. to her, the familiar scent of her perfume engulfed her memory. All the memories of them taking walks and going on adventures. She could never imagine her grandmother hurting anyone, she knew that her grandfather was a soldier but he could never hurt his family. 

Amberly opened her eyes, the hands of the clock were now on the eight and eleven. Amberly sighed grabbed her bag and coffee and walked away from the clock and across the street to the school. She had so many questions but nothing but a story. She needed to find more.

Walking up to the school Amberly couldn't believe this was a school. It looked like a castle with arches and towers, a huge iron double door, granite halls lined with robust marble sculptures. The bell rang and the horde was released. Amberly was swept by the tsunami of students and was forced towards the north hall. Drowning under a sea of student a strong arm pulled Amberly from the crowd, she shrieked “Hey” but cut herself off when she noticed it was a very handsome young man holding her arm. He was tall, tan given then it rained most of the year and had long blonde hair. “Sorry to startle you. Looks like you needed some help.” he said Amberly brushed herself off “uh yeah thanks.” she shrugged, “It's my first day here do you know where the dean's office is?” He smiled “Yeah, come on I'll walk you.” she fixed her bag on her shoulder and followed him.

 “My name is Sam.” the tall boy said with a smile. His deep blue eyes looking right at her. She reached out her hand and smiled back “ Amberly Fray” They walked the halls and made small talk until they reached the giant wooden door with the golden plaque “Dean Parish” engraved bold and strong. She turned towards Sam, “Thanks for showing me the school.” He fluffed the back of his hair “No problem, see you around.” Sam walked off and Amberly was left standing outside the very intimidating Dean's office door.

Amberly knocked on the wooden door. The heavy door opened swiftly and a small woman stood in the threshold. She was wearing a black pantsuit. She was a beautiful woman but her face said she meant business. “Come in.” her voice was stern and cold. Amberly walked through the door and into Dean Parish’s office. Her office was dark, with a large oak desk placed in the center in front of a fireplace giving off the only source of light. 

Dean Parish sat down in her chair behind her desk and motioned for Amberly to sit. “Welcome to St.Annes Miss Fray. We are very excited to have you.” Dean Parish continued to talk but Amberly wasn't listening she was focused on the large wall clock over the fireplace. Tick Tick Tick. Amberly’s imagination swept her in. She thought about what this new school would bring her. If she would make new friends or be an outcast. She wondered if they even learned the same thing in England as the did in the States. “Amberly” Mrs. Parish was now standing behind her chair close to the fireplace. Amberly shook the dreams from her mind and looked at Dean Parish. Dean Parish raised an eyebrow as if knowing that she wasn't paying attention. “Here is your schedule I will have our senior class president show you each of your classes.” her voice was low giving Amberly no room to argue. She reached out and took her schedule and looked it over.

Amberly walked out of Dean's office, looking at her schedule her first class was Biology in the East hall. She looked around not knowing anyone or which way to go. Looking through the crowd she saw Sam walking towards her with his baseball jacket on. Sam gave Amberly a bright smile “ So I hear you have Biology with Mr.Belfast.” he handed her a pair of black gloves.  Confused by Sam’s gift “What are these for?” Sam laughed “I'll tell you on the way to your next class. Amberly smiled and followed him down the hall. “Belfast makes all students were gloves at all times in the classroom. Something about the pores in the wooden desk soaking up formaldehyde VERY dangerous to touch.” he chuckled. “UHH… thanks.” Amberly thought of how paranoid Mr.Belfast must be. “I didn't know you were class president.” she said to Sam “Haha yeah my dads the town mayor.” he looked through the doors of the classrooms as they passed. Before she could question him further he stopped and grabbed the doorknob of room 914 and said “I'll see you after class.” he winked as she walked past him and into weirdo Belfast’s Physics class.

The rest of the day went by in a blur. Sam was thereafter each class he even introduced her to a few people at lunch. Amberly walked back through the park and looked up at the town clock. She walked through the front door of the house and instantly heard the familiar sound of her parents arguing. Not stopping to tell her parents about her first day she walked right past the kitchen and went straight to her bedroom and shut the door behind her. She laid her head down on her pillow and fell into a deep sleep.

 

Amberly was woken up by the chiming of the clock. Eleven eerie beautiful chimes echoed through the house. She wiped the sleep from her eyes put her slippers and robe on and went downstairs. It was the only time of the day when her parents didn't argue. She walked past the living room she saw her dad asleep on the couch. She pulled the covers over his shoulder. Tiptoeing Amberly walked up to the fridge and pulled the door open, Pulling out a tub of ice cream, she went into a box labeled kitchen and dug through until she found a spoon. 

Amberly walked back to her room tub of ice cream in hand. As she got to the top of the stairs she could see the grand clock in the back of the hallway. Amberly noticed that it seemed to be shining, but there was no light source. Intrigued, she walked closer to the clock, not knowing it would change her forever. The closer she got the more anxious she felt, the hallway felt narrow and cold. Amberly put her hand on the clock, she felt the mechanisms tick echo through the wood like a heartbeat in a chest. She rested her head against the wood and listened. Tick Tick Tick Tick… the second’s pass and the calmer she felt. Then the ticking faded away and a faint voice of a girl came through the wood “Hello.” Amberly looked behind her thinking maybe someone was behind her, but the hallway was empty. She put her ear back on the wood and listened again. This time there was no ticking at all, the silence was eerie... Then just as before a girl whispered: “ Hello Amberly.”  Amberly jumped back from the clock, she noticed the outline of a small girl in the glass of the grand clock. Amberly shrieked with fear and fell to the ground covering her eyes. Her parents rushed from their rooms to see what the commotion was. They found Amberly crouched in the corner of the hallway crying. 

Her mother pulled her into her arms brushing the stray hairs from her face, “ What are you doing up so late?” Tears streaming down Amberly’s face she was so shaken she couldn't speak. “ What's gotten you so upset?” her father asked. Amberly pointed at the clock and shakily said: “ There was a girl in the clock.” Her parents looked troubled by their daughter’s words. They looked at each other. “ it was just a bad dream,” her mother said. “Yes, this is an old house it makes lots of noises.” her father said. He took her hand and helped her off the floor, he led her back to her bed and covered her with a blanket. He kissed her forehead.”The boy at the coffee shop said a girl died here.” Her parents looked worried, her father sat down on the edge of her bed. “Yes we knew.” Amberly gulped. “She was my mother ward, she took her in a few years before I was born and gave her a bed and food.” her father sighed “ right before I was born the girl became ill, she was isolated to the attic. My father also contracted the illness. They both died within days.

Amberly didn't enjoy hearing those words. It made her feel empty to think her father never got to know his father. She still had so many questions about this ward her grandmother had brought in. her parents looked very tired they both had dark circles around their eyes, her mother had wrinkles on her forehead and around her mouth. Amberly hadn't seen her smile in a long time, they stood up and walked out of her room, shutting the door behind them. 

Amberly now alone in her room thought about what she just experienced. She knew the girl she saw was real, not a dream. Where did she come from? Did she live in the house before she and her parents? Or was she trapped in the clock in need of a way out? She had so many questions, Terrified Amberly hid under the cover until she fell asleep.

 

Chapter 2

The next morning Amberly woke up to the chimes of the grand clock. She was cold and realized she was no longer in her room. Looking around she was downstairs in her father's study. Confused she wondered if she had slept walked from her room to the downstairs office. She also noticed that there was a little pool of blood on the sleeve of her nightshirt. Was it her blood. She examined her arm and there was a small but deep cut on her forearm. Amberly not knowing where or when she cut her arm, she went back upstairs to her bathroom where she had a medical kit, she took out some clean gauze and covered the cut. Amberly noticed shards of glass at the top of the stairs. She looked for the source of the broken glass. Maybe some kids outside had busted a window, but as she came around the corner heading towards her room she noticed the grand clock was the source of the glass. 

Amberly stood frozen looking at the clock. A giant hole where the pendulum was the glass had been smashed. Horrified she ran back into her bathroom. She heard her parents waking up and she knew that they would be walking out into the hallway any minute and they would see the glass from the clock.

She sprinted back downstairs to get a broom to clean the glass when she heard her father call her name “ Amberly, would you please come here for a moment.” she sighed, broom and dustpan in hand and went to find her father standing in front of the clock looking at the broken glass. He did not look happy. “ What happened!” he shouted angrily. “I don't know dad, I woke up in your office with a cut on my arm, when I got up here I saw the glass all over the floor,” she said sweeping the broken glass into the pail. Her father sighed, “you must have been sleepwalking and bumped into the clock and broke the glass.” “ let me see your arm.” Amberly unwrapped her arm and showed her father her arm. His face went ghostly pale. “Amberly what did you do to yourself!” he exclaimed. Panicked by his reaction she looked at her arm, she felt light-headed where the small wound had been was now the name Leanne.

Was she going crazy? just a few minutes ago there was a small scratch on her arm now there was a whole name scribed into her arm. She had no memory of how it got there or how the glass in the clock broke, was she actually sleepwalking or was something else entirely happening to her. Who is Leanne? Was she the girl in the clock. Did she need help or was she trying to hurt Amberly? Was she the girl Nathan was talking about. 

She looked at her father trying to hold back the tears, “ I didn't do this.” her voice trembled. Her father stared at her looking into her eyes trying to tell if she was lying. She knew he didn't believe her. She finished clearing the floor of the glass shards and walked away leaving her father puzzled behind her. She didn't care if he believed her or not. She knew she didn't break the glass or carve anything into her own arm. 

Amberly shut the door behind her, her room was the only place she could think. She walked over to her stone gray and gold vanity, pulling her gray fur pillow stool out from under with her good arm. She tried to suck the teardrops back into her eyes but the tears stung her eyes. She thought to herself, she knew nothing about this house or her Grandmother that had owned it before her parents. Amberly remembered seeing her dad clearing old boxes from the attic, they looked dusty and old. Amberly thought maybe it would have some answers in it.

Amberly climbed the creaky old ladder up to the attic. The air was hot and thick, she could see dust flying around, and streams of light that came through the cracks in the siding. There were dusty old boxes and crates stacked everywhere. Some labeled books, and clothes others had no indications of its contents. The lace windows covered the window letting in the afternoon sun. Amberly walked over to the far wall and looked at the stack of crates. They looked to be older than the rest. Curiosity took over her. She picked up the top crate from the stack and placed it on the ground. Amberly ran her hand over the old wooden crate whipping the dust from it.

Amberly had to use all her force to pry the old wooden lid from the crate. A plume of dust hit her in the face, coughing she took a step back. The dust settled and Amberly was able to look inside the crate. There were old fashion dresses, and shoes. Amberly pulled the delicate dress from the crate, unfolding itself revealing beautiful lace and beadwork. The dress was full length and pale pink. With yellow bows on the shoulders. The dress seemed to be from the late 1800s.

Why would this stuff still be up here, she thought, and who did they belong to? Amberly went back over to the stack of crates and picked one up labeled books. She tore open the lid, the crate was stuffed full of leather-backed books of all sizes. Amberly ran her fingers down their spine. They each had a date etched in them. Amberly picked up one dated 1862. The leather was old and cracked. The years had not been good to the paper either. She flipped through the pages carefully, a picture fell from between the pages and landed at her feet. The air felt very still. Amberly looked down at the picture between her feet. She knelt down and picked up the old photograph.

 

The photograph was water damaged, but Amberly could still make out a small family in period clothing. None of them had a smile on there face. They looked very serious. In the picture, there was a man and a woman standing in front of Fray manor. Amberly though they must be the original owners. Looking closely behind the watermarks, Amberly could see the outline of a small girl wearing the dress she had found in the other crate. She couldn’t see her face due to the damage, but she thought the girl to be about the same age as her. Amberly tucked the photo back between the pages of the book and put it back into the crate.

 

Amberly wanted to know more about this family so she decided to take the crate of books back to her room. The crate was very heavy, but she managed to get it down the ladder and back to her room where she laid all the books out on the floor in dated order. Amberly started with the first book which seemed to be a diary from 1855. She flipped through the pages, scanning them for information. She gathered the names from the couples in the pictures. The tall man was Richard, he was the home builder and wealthy architect. His wife Abigail was from a poor family, she was much younger than Richard. They were a happy couple that had just moved to St.Annes for the land’s resources. They had plenty of lands to harvest from. Abigail spent most of her day out in the field gathering fruits and vegetables, she would take her harvest into the house where she would clean and separate out what she and Richard needed for the month, then she would make her basket to bring to the market. Richard made enough money for the two of them, but he let Abigail have her freedom.

 

Amberly began to understand Richard and Abigail more and she envied their lifestyle. They lived a simple life, everything they did would reward them in the end. Amberly looked at all their books laid out on her floor, she waved her hand over them trying to get a better connection with her ancestors, she felt drawn to the small blue book with no date on it. She ran fingers over the blue leather. It was still soft, better preserved than the others.

 

The small book was not like the other at all. It wasn’t written by Abigail or Richard like the others, this one was anonymous. Even more, intrigued by the mystery writer, Amberly drowned herself in the pages. Amberly couldn’t tell if the book was a fictional story or if it was another diary, the pages were filled with sorrow and mistreatment of a young girl, she was born out of wedlock and hidden away in the attic of a house. She wasn’t allowed to go outside or be apart of her family. She was completely hidden from the world for years. The book had a sad ending Amberly though. The last few pages were very somber, the young girl hated her life as a castaway, she longed for her family love and acceptance. She wanted to know what the grass under her feet would feel like. Influenza overcame the young girl, which is what the official death note said. Her family knows a more sinister story.

 

The last page of the small blue book would answer all of Amberly’s questions. Glued to the last page there was a picture and a signature, Amberly read the script letters L-E-E-A-N-N-E, she gasped, dropping the book on the floor. It was the girl she had seen in the clock, the same name that was carved into her arm. This had to be a sign.

 


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