Horloge de la mort
I sit in my room on my bay window, my eyes focused on the outside scenery. Large walls of pine trees surround the outside liner of my home. The indifferent trees stand at a dull green, seemingly lifeless but they are still beautiful in their own way; dew drops hang off of each pine, glistening in the midday sun and giving a tree a slight glow. Small squirrels and chipmunks scurry along the brown dirty ground and vibrant blue, green and yellow Humming Birds glide through the air. Adding a sense of life to the almost dead forest. The smell of fresh rain fills my senses, clouding my mind with thoughts of how much the droplets were missed over the long summer dry spell. Everything around me seems so peaceful in this moment, but all peacefulness must come to an end.
A large mountain lies behind the array of trees. Numbers sit plastered to the mountain, slowly counting themselves down. They read two days, three hours, twelve minutes and thirty-three... thirty-two... thirty-one seconds. These numbers reveal just how much time the world and everything in it including me has until it is demolished into non-existence. This famous clock is known by most as “Horloge de la mort” or in English it is called “The Death Clock”.
The clock has been there for as long as I can remember. It was there long before my parents and their parents even existed, always taunting us as it’s numbers slowly ran out. The worst part is that there is no way of stopping it; many have tried but all have failed. Every attempt made to bring the clock to a halt had been futile and only made everything worse. All attempts at stopping it only made Time our greatest enemy take even more of his precious gift from us. Giving us only two more days until life and everything we know is taken away from us... and nobody can do a thing about it.
I’ve heard that the people in charge -or “the mad scientists” as I like to call them- who are trying to figure out the clock have one more solution in mind. Nobody knows what it is, and to be honest all I want them to do is stop. The only thing they’re doing is bringing us faster and closer to our inevitable deaths. I mean I can’t even legally drink yet and with how much Time the clock is giving us, I’ll never even get close.
I sigh and face away from my window, pushing the depressing thoughts to the back of my mind. I focus on my bedroom; the faded purple walls stand dull just like everything else around me. Large full boxes of my things lay piled in the corner of the room. The only thing remaining is my queen bed mattress -which now sits alone in the center of my room- the headboard already has been taken apart and packed. My room -like everything else- looks lifeless.
I don’t understand my mother’s logic for wanting to pack up the house and make every little thing perfect for the end of the world. I guess I don’t need to understand because everyone has a way of coping with bad things and this must be hers. Though I wouldn’t know much because if I’m honest, I know little to nothing about my mother and she knows nothing about me. She wouldn’t know that packing the house up had only brought an onslaught of sadness to take over me. She wouldn’t know that my best way of coping is to try and forget so I don’t have to think about the end but as you can tell it’s not working very well.
I can’t even play on my phone or listen to music on it because the stupid thing will no longer charge. I’ve had it for almost six years and it only works if it is plugged into a wall or the portable charger I bought. Now though, it’s not working no matter what I do. The stupid thing won’t even turn on. I would get a new one but it doesn’t really matter with the world ending and all.
I slowly stand from the comfort of the cushioned window and walk over to my full-length mirror that sits in front of the full cardboard boxes. I’m wearing my pink long sleeved shirt paired with dark wash jeans and my favorite white fuzzy socks. My light brown hair hangs in loose curls over my shoulders, ending just below my chest. Dark green eyes stare back at me; they seem tired from the belated activity I’ve been doing lately but the limited mascara I’m wearing makes them seem a bit larger. I tear my eyes away from my reflection, deciding that I can no longer sit cooped up in this room nor this house.
I make my way out of my room and down the stairs to the living room. My parents sit on the largest of the three brown leather couches in the living space. Their detached expressions fastened to the TV screen. The only sound heard comes from the blonde news reporter stating that our last days will in fact be chilly ones. I make my way to the back-sliding glass door and slip on my bean boots and green flap jacket.
“I’m going for a walk.” I yell out to my parents.
“Oh Avianna,” my mom speaks from the couch, wincing when she says my name “I didn’t know you were home.” She says, disinterest in her voice. She barely glances at me other than to give a disapproving glare my way.
I can never tell what she’s disappointed in when she looks at me. Is it my hair? My clothes? The fact that I actually have emotions? To be honest I don’t think I’ll ever know. My Dad is the same way although he shows it differently… mostly by ignoring my existence.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never wanted for anything but they only ever did that out of obligation. I guess if I ever did need anything it was affection.
“Yes, mom. I’ve been home for the last three days… I made you breakfast this morning? Any of this ringing a bell?” I say, my voice not showing much emotion either. I just don’t care anymore.
“Hmm, I had thought that was my husband.”
I sure do love it when she doesn’t even acknowledge that he’s my dad.
“Yeah, sure.” I say then stand there awkwardly, not sure what to do anymore. I hate this. “Well, I’m going to go for a walk. Love you.” I say out of habit.
“Mmhm.” Is her only response before I once again no longer exist.
She could have at least said I love you back.
I close the door behind me, and walk off the back-cement porch and straight towards the woods. There is a small gravel trail leading up the mountain that I usually enjoy taking. It leads up to the clock... but I usually stop and turn around when the gravel turns to dirt. That way I don’t get anywhere near it.
I continue walking, letting my feet carry me along the clear path. My thoughts travel back on my life. I’m only eighteen years old. I graduated from high school right when I turned seventeen, not wanting to stay in that hell hole any longer than needed. I didn’t have many friends, and I only had one teacher who actually gave a crap about me. I’ve lived in this tired old town in Delaware all my life, everybody knows everybody. Hell, the world knows everybody who lives here. Everyone knows me... Avianna Garrett, the girl who dares to live not even one mile from the renowned death clock. It’s not as if it was my choice.
My parents are a part of the scientific team that’s been working on the clock for more than twenty years. The Mad Scientists. It’s all they ever focused on while I was growing up. Lots of good that did. It completely consumed them, and there was no rope long enough to pull them out of the hole they dug for themselves.
I don’t know who or what managed it, but they were somehow yanked out of the clocks pit a few weeks ago.
They came home one night and they never went back, nor did they speak a word of why. I believe they finally just gave up, realized there was no point in trying anymore. I don’t blame them for giving up, pretty much everyone has. I’m still trying though; holding onto that last bit of hope I have left, but unfortunately, it’s hanging by a very thin thread.
I hate how fast hope can slip from your grasp. I loathe how once you lose it, it is so very difficult to retrieve again. All this spite I have only comes from one person, that person being Time. I know it’s crazy to think Time is a person but how could I not. Hate comes from those around us and I guess it’s easier to despise and blame Time if I see him as a person.
I look at the ground and notice that the gravel path I was climbing up has now turned into a sharp rigid walk way. I almost slip as the pebbles kick up under my boots. That’s weird, how far had I walked past the gravel?
My answer is instantly answered as an echo of nearby ticking rushes into my ears. I must have gotten so lost in my own mind that I walked too far up the mountain path. A sinking feeling appears in the pit of my stomach. I have never been this close to the mysterious ticking time bomb.
I stop in my tracks. Completely frozen from the amount of terror that’s entered my body, but as soon as the fear comes it is gone. It almost feels... peaceful. My legs begin to move on their own accord. I can’t stop them no matter what I do, but in all sincerity, I don’t know if I want to stop. I have the dangerous emotion called curiosity, and I can’t help but think I’m the cat in this situation.
I round the corner of the mountain and am met with the most frightening thing I have ever laid my eyes on. There on the mountain side stands the death clock. From far away you can only see the numbers, now up close I can see the rusted edges of the numbers. Cracks cascade all around it, clearly showing its old age, and not to mention the deafening sounds of ticks that echo off each wall. Giving me a small headache with its thundering beats.
I keep on walking until I stand directly in front of the enormous numbers. It feels as if my whole body is being pulled to touch it. So, I do. I cautiously reach my hand up to graze my fingers against the numeral’s. They feel fuzzy, warm and sort of comforting. I fully press my hand against the numbers. Wanting to feel as much of it as can. The feeling is addicting and I can’t get enough of the warmth that is now radiating through my body.
I’m so infatuated with the touch I almost don’t notice that the ground is beginning to shake underneath me. I don’t want to release my hand from the clock but my legs buckle from the stress of the grumbling ground. My hand immediately leaves the mountain and goes to my side so I can try to regain my balance, but soon I stumble to my knees. I stay there on all fours until the ground finally comes to a halt.
My knees and hands have small gashes carved into them from the sharp, small rocks that litter the mountain’s base. The pain is bearable but still manages to make me let out a small whimper, extracting the sound from my lips without my permission. My head is facing towards the keen gravel, my gaze a bit fuzzy.
I slowly bring my head up and put my attention back to the clock. The pain in my body instantly fades and dread replaces it. There is nothing in this world that could have prepared me for this spine-chilling sight.
The numbers had stopped....