A Writing Prompt
By Jeff Salter
When I was whining to my daughter that I couldn’t think of a topic for our 4F1H “free space” week, she replied, “why not use your story about the mysterious ticking?”
Great idea, I thought. So here it is. Presented (basically) as it actually happened … and then I’ve added a bit to the end to get your brain cells working.
Possum Trot Scares (#13-463) — In the house alone (because my wife was out of town), I was in the bathroom getting ready to go to the ‘Y’. Suddenly heard a loud ticking noise. [ tick tick tick ] Hmm. Not something you want to hear when you can’t immediately rush out the door. [ tick tick tick ]
I strained to determine the source of the loud ticking. We don’t own anything that ticks loudly. [ tick tick tick ] That’s partly because loud ticking drives me batty. [ tick tick tick ] So I finished what I was doing and carefully tip-toed around the bathroom until I narrowed it down — something in the small space between the lavatory and the tub. [ tick tick tick ] Hmm. Lots of clutter over there. I ponder whether to call the bomb technicians. [ tick tick tick ]
Throwing caution to the wind, I decide to defuse it on my own. I grab my old keyboard (which stopped working because of the cran-apple juice that spilled on it) and I figure to bludgeon whatever is ticking. It works in the movies. [ tick tick tick ]
I pull back some of the clutter and grandkids’ bath toys. [ tick tick tick ]
It’s an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock! It belonged to my Mom and I brought here in February when it stopped working so I could order her another one just like it. [ tick tick tick ] That clock has not ticked in the 5 months it’s been here. What made it start ticking now?
[ tick tick tick ]
– – – – –
Okay, folks. One of my FB respondents called this the “Case of the Tell-Tale Tick” while another intoned, “Ask not for whom the clock ticks.”
Someone suggested it was a tiny robotic zombie and another friend asked “why did it start ticking when you were the only one around to hear it?” Good question.
As a writing prompt, tell me what YOU would write next?
Would you take it on a comedic turn? Or make it spooky?