The Clock

Shacheyanna (SJ) Johnson, Writer

An active child could sense the eerie tone when the weather awkwardly came to a standstill. Looking over, having found something interesting, the child shouts with glee, “Time stopped! Look, look! Time stopped, Mommy!”


A woman looks up from a kitchen counter littered with papers, to glance at the child sitting down on the living room floor. Cars, teddy bears, building blocks, and a few dolls are scattered around the area, making the beige carpeting barely visible with all the toys.


“Oh, is that right sweetie?” She goes back to looking at the papers before questioning, “How do you know time stopped?”


The child laughed and shouted with glee, “Because the clock stopped moving! It’s not ticking-talking anymore! Time stopped!”


Sighing, the woman rubs her temples, “Sweetie let’s use our inside voices, please. Mommy has a headache from when we hit that car earlier.”


“But look, Mommy! Time really stopped! Look!” The child points to the clock next to the big oak windows. Looking at the old rickety clock on the wall, it appears that time has indeed stopped as the minute hand rests a little past the number twelve, and the hour hand rests a few seconds past the number three.




“When will time start again Mommy? I’m bored playing with the same old toys! Can’t we go to the store an-”


“NO! No, we can’t go to the store! Okay!?” Screaming, the mother tramps towards the child, grabbing the child by the shoulders before insisting, “I’ve told you repeatedly that we can’t. Haven’t I? Why can’t you listen?”


Salty tears start welling up in the child’s eyes before, like a cup that has overflowed, the tears spill from the dull, colorless eyes. The mother hovers over the child, scrutinizing as the tear tracks a path down the child’s face, falling into the air before seemingly dissipating into thin air.


A key turns in a lock hole, and through a doorway enters a man. Haggard from the downpouring rain that can clearly be seen from the big oak windows. It’s grown darker as well. The mother can’t tell how long she’s been staring at the child now, glimpsing at the clock it still reads a bit past three. It’s funny how time gets away from you, and you can’t even tell.


The man yawns, trudging a path to the open armchair under the broken clock. If the man noticed the absurdity he doesn’t show it, and instead focuses all his attention on the newspaper at hand.


A squeal can be heard before a shadow racing by. “Daddy, daddy! You’re back! You’ll never know what happened today!” The man grunts, whether from the paper or the child no one can tell before the child launches into a vivid retelling of the day’s events.


Sighing, the mother goes back to the kitchen island, once again staring at the papers on the counter. As if she can’t help herself, the mother takes one more peep back at the clock—still unmoving, yet existing endlessly. She smiles as if heard something funny as if she and the clock share a joke— a secret that only they knew.


There’s a tick.