Saturday, October 25, 2014
It was late day. The sun was looming down upon the horizon as two men exited the tall building on Broadway St. Each carried a bag on their backs, one with loose flying pamphlets escaping from his satchel bag while the other held a mostly empty backpack with a tightly twisted close bottle on its side. Laughter erupted in the air as each one pushed the other, jesting about some sort of activity that happened prior in the brick building that was now being painted in hues of reds and orange. A gust of wind blew by the men, signalling the ending of something, and the beginning of another. It could have been the day, or it could have been the start of fall. A lone figure slumped on one of the decorative street trees, hidden in the shadows of the sun, alone. The man with the satchel stopped his jesting and slowed his pace.
“Do you see that?”
“Do I see what haha.”
“Over there under the smoking tree.”
“Probably just some bloke smoking ‘er pipe or something.”
“She’s got a jacket.”
“She needs help...”
“She looks fine.”
“Have a heart!”
“I ‘ave lines to learn. No time for the poor.”
“No, you shut up.”
“She needs help!”
“Leave the girl alone!”
The figure slumped down to the floor. Her hair falling up against gravity. Her face hidden in the darkness of the sun. Her jacket old, worn out, too big, covered with numerous holes. Her shoes cleaned and pristine, not a scratch on them, to go along with her perfectly clean white tights. There was no can near her feet. Nor was there a dirty smell about her, but here she was. Alone, sitting under the smoking tree and no one to be found. The man with the satchel walked over to her and sat down next to her, crossing his legs.
“‘Scuse me miss?”
“Are you okay?”
“Leave the girl alone.” Ordered the other man.
“Do you need help? I have food and water underneath my papers,... would you like some?”
“God dammit you never listen...”
“If you listened for once maybe you would have more people that liked you.”
“God, It’s getting dark, this street gets bad at night.”
“That’s why we need to help her...”
The man with the satchel scootched closer to the girl and extended his hand gently to brush away the locks of hair hiding her face. They were wet. Her face was streaming with tears and her large blue eyes were wide open and taking over most of her face. She was shaking uncontrollably and quiet whimpers escaped her mouth. The girl immediately pushed herself closer to the tree, hiding her face back into darkness. She slapped the man with the satchel’s hand to the ground before she extended her scraped hands with perfect nails to further cover her face.
“See, she doesn’t want help.”
“How old are you?”
“I’m 22.” the other man replied sarcastically.
“Not you the girl… Where are your parents? What school do you go to?... Do you even go to school? We can bring you home.”
“She isn’t going to listen to you for godsakes!”
“Please, just hear me out, good ole Broadway Street turns dark at night. It isn’t a place to stay, especially for you,”
“Let ‘er stay, maybe she’ll become a strumpet.”
“We can bring you into the Broadway theater if you need a place to sleep, I’m sure no one would mind if you slept in our bed- it’s just a prop.”
“Dammit, Broadway isn't a charity, it only takes the best, not street rats!”
“Please, I’m here to help.”
The girl looked out from behind her hand, her jacket falling down her arm to reveal cuts and bruises. Her jacket having little droplets of blood coating the rims of the sleeves and near the buttons. She extended her hand and pointed down the street towards a sign that had fallen off of its stand, it was rusty and bent as it gleamed in the bask of red filling Broadway street. Stop. It read.
“She wants you to leave.” The other man said as he began to walk towards the sunset.
The girl moved her hand, and gestured a vulgar hand signal down the street before she shoved her hand down the collar of her jacket to retrieve a crumpled up piece of paper. She carefully unfolded it, making sure none of the edges were to rip, and handed it to the man with the satchel, her hands shaking. On it was a flier with a dulled picture showing the theater located on 106 Broadway Street where they were right now. Below it was a picture of the man with the satchel as a young boy performing in the Sound of Music with a few other cast members from long ago. There was a gentleman next to the man with the satchel in the picture who was circled cleanly in black ink. He was young, smiling, happy,... there was a twinkle in his eye. The man with the satchel looked at the girl again, her wide blue eyes matching the gentleman’s. There was a twinkle in her eye hidden under the tears and smeared makeup. She pulled out another paper from underneath her, this one with fresh black and white ink with mostly writing on it. The girl hastily handed it to the man with the satchel, a small rip ruining the perfection of the paper. He looked down at the paper and the picture of a dull eyed man, aged in more years than he could count. After a brief pause he looked up at the girl and hugged her under the smoking tree on Broadway Street.
The faint noise of the Grandfather Clock interrupted my thoughts. I faced away from the glare of my laptop to finally observe the room that I ran into. All I had cared about when I stormed in was that I had a quiet place to write this damned story. It was due in a few days and I had absolutely no fresh ideas. For the most part the walls were covered in an old but taken care of wallpaper that had a repetitive design but in some places the wallpaper was left out and there were dark columns of wood decorating the wall. Deep red velvety curtains lines the large windows, making sure that a minimal amount of light shone through the windows. My eyes lazily found the source of the ticking. It was an aged Grandfather Clock that towered over everything in the room. It seemed to be radiating power; although the room was grand everything seemed drab compared to the Clock. The room was quiet in every aspect except for the constant ticking. I couldn’t help myself and I felt my feet dragging across the thick oriental rug. My eyes glazed over the clock. The dark mahogany reflected what little light there was in the room. My hand was rising to the Grandfather Clock. I wanted- no needed to feel the smoothness underneath my fingertips. I could only imagine.
“She’s a beauty eh?”
“Huh?” My hand hovered above the Clock, until it slowly retracted, but strangely enough I didn’t want to pull away. I looked over to my right to see a haggard old man
“The Clock. Been in this inn since 1924.” He said looking up at the face of the Clock.
“Oh. Oh the Clock. Yeah.” The man eyed me warily. He didn’t look like he belonged in this place. It was too elegant for an old wrinkled man in a flannel shirt. He shifted his weight and the floorboards creaked with displeasure.
“So do you own the inn?” I hated small talk. The only thing I needed to do was forget everything and finish my story. I had two more days to finish it and at this rate I would never finish in time. The frustration was already getting to me.
“I inherited it. You know I used to be the lobbyman, but uh since Mr. Chessman passed away, bless his soul, he gave it to me.”
“Oh, that’s nice of him. I really wish I could stay and chat but I’ve got to keep writing.” I pointed my thumb back towards the glow of my laptop. I just needed to finish this story then I could leave this inn that I had only come to for peace and quiet.
The once bright room, was now completely dark aside from the glare of my computer screen. I looked at what I had written. I couldn’t even remember what I had wrote. I scrolled through my word document. Twelve pages of absolute shit. It made absolutely no sense. It looked like it was mostly latin. The whole freaking story. I didn’t even know any latin. My eyes were entranced on one paragraph in particular. It was different than the rest.
Tick Tock. Tock Tick. Tick Tock. Tock Tick. Tick Tock. Tock TIck. TICJHTR TIFSJZ TOCK TICK TICK TOCRYI TOCK TICK. TICHKEKOPREOPTSJOPAFDIOSDFATICK TOFOCJPSDJOP
My mind was drawing a blank and all I could hear was that fucking clock. It was calling my name. First it came as whispers. Little nothings, but now it was screaming at me. It felt like a slap in the face. I had to write but I couldn’t. If only that Clock would stop yelling. It must have been past midnight, which meant I had been sitting here for hours. I slammed my fragile laptop shut and threw it on the floor. It was still in one piece so I picked it up and pulled. The top detached with a snap and the screen that was once bright and luminescent was now blank. Rage was coursing through my veins.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock. The Clock was mocking me now. The golden pendulum was swinging back and forth in a current motion. Back and forth. There was nothing else I could do. It was the Clock’s fault. If it weren’t here I would have written a perfect story, went back home and carried on. What would my boss do if I had no story. That was just it, this was the last straw. I wouldn’t let my career wither because of this fucking Clock. The Clock was laughing at me. Tick Tock, Tick Tock. Mocking my failure. I was not a failure.
I didn’t even remember how I got there, but I needed to finish the story. My fist smashed through the face of the Clock. The intricate golden details stopped my fist from going any further. The hands were still moving so I went for them next. They snapped off easily like twigs. I held them in my hands and hurled across the room. The raging monster inside of me was still hungry. I remembered the pleasure I felt when the laptop broke. I had powerl. I needed to feel that again. It felt like all the force that the Clock once had was coursing through my body. The only thing left to do was to push the Clock. My rough hands gripped the curves of the wooden Clock. They fit perfectly in my hands. With all my might I shoved the Clock. All at once the body of the old Grandfather Clock reached the floor. The glass encasing the gears and pendulum smashed from impact. Glass was scattered all over the floor. I walked over towards the Clock and the glass underneath my shoes crunched. My breaths were ragged but I listened. The ticking was gone. I let out a sigh of relief and collapsed to the floor. I didn’t care about the glass. Once I fell the ticking began, this time louder and more aggressive than the others. I closed my eyes and hoped for it to be over but it was taking over my thoughts. It was all I could hear, it was dictating my thoughts. The Clock had won. The Clock would always won against us.