Tick tock.

Emma stared at the watch her father left her ten years ago. Despite its age, it was still ticking away, ten years now since the owner departed from this world. Well, the second owner anyway. It has been twenty years since the first owner passed away. That owner was Emma’s grandfather.

Tick tock.

Both men had owned this very watch. Both died young and sudden. Ten years apart to the minute exactly. Emma knew the stories well, but they didn’t spook her. She didn’t believe in superstitious nonsense. It was just a watch after all. A watch could not *kill* someone. It’s not a completely inanimate object, but it is not alive.

Tick tock.

Even so, today Emma is slightly worried. Today is exactly ten years since her father died in a most random way. He had fallen down three flights of stairs while checking the time on this very watch. Her grandfather had died ten years before that by stepping straight in front of a bus. Witness accounts testified that he had been staring at his wrist, and despite the honk of the bus horn and the screeching of tires he didn’t even look up to see what hit him.

Tick tock.

Both had died at exactly 6:53 PM. Despite the violence inherent in their deaths, the watch remained unharmed. It was a curiosity that fed the family rumors that the watch was cursed. No one wanted it when her father died, but Emma remembered admiring it all of her childhood, so she gladly took it. It wasn’t ornate or anything, just a simple numbered face and a bland black band. But to Emma it represented her father, and since he wasn’t a very rich man, he didn’t leave much else in his will.

Tick tock.

In Emma’s room, the time on both her phone and the watch said 6:45 PM. Despite her agnostic attitude about curses and killer objects, Emma is not going to take a chance near any staircases or busy city streets. She sits on her floor, snacking away on chips and scrolling her phone. Only occasionally does she glance at the watch, which is laying on the floor next to her.

Tick tock.

6:46. She doesn’t feel different. Surely a curse would create *some* feelings of lingering doom in the accursed. Even so, she insists on sitting still until the wretched anniversary passes. She’s not convinced, but she will be cautious. If anything it will prove to her relatives that they are paranoid and need to give up on such fables. When they call her later this evening it will feel so great to gloat. Despite her urging them to stick around for what would be, in her mind, an uneventful evening, none of them wanted to be around for, in their minds, an impending disaster. They weren’t taking any chances. Instead, they agreed to call her and check in right after the fateful minute.

Tick tock.

6:47. Emma plays a round of Candy Crush. Her mind is focused on getting just a few more lines matched. Success! Before the next round can start, she takes a long look at the watch and remembers her father. She sets down the phone and picks up the watch. Even though it was ten years ago, the trauma still turns her insides. She was the one who found his lifeless body. At ten years old she had never seen a body. Her father’s body had the dubious honor of being the first. To be honest, it was the last also. Death is a concept that resides far from our modern minds. She hasn’t known anyone else who died in the intervening years.

Tick tock.

6:48. Emma watches the second hand tick tick tick around the face of the watch. She ponders the seconds her father spent wearing this watch everywhere he went. She never saw him take it off. To him it was a memory of his father, a man Emma had never met. He didn’t think it was cursed. It wasn’t until his death that her relatives noticed the coincidental circumstances of both of their deaths. Both stared into this very watch face as they died. Both died ten years apart to the minute.

Tick tock.

6:49. What did they see? Emma wondered. It was just a watch. Nothing special. Three hands: a second, a minute, and an hour hand, each gliding across a black and white numbered face. Emma thought about time. None of us know when we will die. How many times will those hands drift around that perfect circle during our short lifetimes?

Tick tock.

6:50. Emma was beginning to drift. She couldn’t stop staring at the timepiece. The rest of the world fell away. She could see her father wearing it, swinging her in the yard as a child. He loved his only daughter. The memories made her feel warm. She wished he could have seen her grow into the young woman she is today.

Tick tock.

6:51. The hands move on and on. Around and around. There is nothing else in the world to Emma now. She can hear her father’s laugh, his voice, she can see his smile. He was a good man. How many hours did he play with her? Why did she not appreciate the seconds and minutes of his life? Time is short she thinks.

Tick tock.

6:52. Emma’s mind melts into a melancholic haze. Her eyes bore a hole into the watch. She can’t take her eyes away. Visions of her father fill her head. The second hand ticks away. One, two, three, four, five… She counts the movements. There is no watch now. Only a circle. Only hands spinning on a dial. Only numbers representing the abstract concept of moments… How many of those moments constitute a lifetime? How do we not see them fly by except when we look at our wrists? How can we be so blind and not appreciate every second of this thing we call life? So many questions. The power of time overwhelms her…. She feels as though she is falling….

Tick tock.

6:53. Emma’s body slams into the roof of a car. Pedestrians on the sidewalk scream. One of them had called out to the girl in the sixth story window only a minute before. He watched helplessly as she stared at something in her hand, completely unaware of his voice or of the danger she had put herself in. She seemed in a daze. He called out several times before that girl leapt. Or fell, depending on which witness you asked. They all agree on one thing: She never took her eyes off that watch. On the car’s rooftop, her body lay mangled, the watch clenched firmly in her lifeless hand, in the gaze of her glassy open eyes.

Tick tock.

6:54. Emma’s phone rings in her now empty apartment. Her family wanted to believe her, the watch wasn’t cursed, they were crazy for imagining it. It was a coincidence, right? Sadly, she never answers, and they know the watch has claimed another victim.

Tick tock.


This was originally written on my Hive blog. I hope you liked it!


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