A Timepiece Story

A Timepiece Story – by Rosa Meronek

The room is silent. She frowns as she steps into the foyer, turning to lock the deadbolt on the front door. The soft tick of the large clock on the wall echoes in the quiet.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Her gaze falls on the dirty socks in the corner.

The muddy shoes.

She sighs then walks through to the dark bedroom and flicks the light switch.

Light floods the room.

The bed is unmade.

Blankets and covers tangle in disorder.

Her teeth clench.

A breath rushes out her nostrils.

In the corner of the room, dirty clothes spill over the edge of the hamper.

She shakes her head then stalks to the corner, grabs the basket, and drags it to the laundry room.

She shoves the clothes into the machine and slams the door, yanking the dial and jabbing at the buttons.

Her shoes beat on the tile floor as she walks into the kitchen. A pile of dirty dishes wait in the sink. A breath rushes from her mouth, and a loud curse escapes her lips.

She scrubs.

She rinses.

She throws the dishes into the washer and bangs the door shut, punching at the buttons.

Her eyes sting.

She blinks.

She takes a slow, deep breath then walks back into the living room and falls onto the couch. Her eyes are drawn to the large portrait on the wall.

A couple she no longer recognizes.

Young.

Happy.

In love.

Her eyes close.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Her eyes open.

The sun that streamed through the open curtains is gone.

Black night fills the room. Goosebumps chill her arms.

The tan blanket is still folded on the other couch.

Her brows furrow.

She calls out.

No answer.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

She pushes to her feet, stumbling in the dark. Her knee catches the corner of the coffee table. A string of curse words, swallowed by the silence.

She fumbles for the light. It fills the room with a warm yellow glow. Making her way to the windows, she stares out into the night. Clouds shroud the moon. The outline of a mountain is barely visible in the distance. Beyond the porch, a single car sits in the driveway.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

A frown pulls at her mouth.

She yanks the curtains closed.

In the entryway, she grabs her purse and digs inside, pulling out her phone.

No missed calls.

No text messages.

She taps the screen and presses the phone to her ear.

It doesn’t ring.

It goes straight to voicemail.

She taps the screen again, sending him a text.

A loud knock on the door stops her fingers.

She looks through the peephole.

Her heart stops.

The clock stops.

A police officer.

Her fingers tremble.

She turns the lock.

She hesitates.

She turns the knob.

She pulls the door.

The officer looks at her.

Her breath catches in her throat.

Blood pounds in her ears.

His lips move.

There’s no voice.

She nods.

Words escape her lips.

The roar of sound comes rushing back. “…accident.”

She shakes her head.

Her knees buckle.

A cry rips from her throat.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

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