Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … 

I glanced up, my right hand shaking nervously, tapping a pencil on the wooden table. I looked away, my throat drying up as I tried to avoid its blaring screams, each movement of its hand punctuated by a hard, resounding reverberation.

It seemed to get louder, as if its every turn was a personal attack. Tick, tock … Tick, tock … 

I tried not to look, I really did, but my traitorous eyes were pulled to its black numbers on a white background, its dull appearance contrasting against the dark beauty of its existence. I willed it to stop, slow down, but it laughed, scornful at my foolishness.

I began to write again, worried that the sound would get louder and the hands would start running.

As if it heard me, Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, ticktock, ticktock, ticktock, ticktockticktockticktockticktockticktockticktockticktockticktock. 

I put the pencil down, took the paper, and gave it away, turning around to glare menacingly at its relentless turns, its monotonous yet ironically so colourful existence, and its infuriating lack of beauty.

– – –

Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … 

I sat there, my left leg visibly bobbing up and down, a surge of energy coursing through me as I waited on that cold, uncomfortable seat. I was too excited, however, to care much about the lack of proper heating or cooling, or the reclining seat in front that was constricting my leg space, or the little, annoying kid who screamed about nonsensical things in the corner.

I looked across the rows to where the numbers blared, and smirked slightly as I heard not a single sound, not that I expected to.

I closed my eyes, blocking out all life around me so that I could peacefully escape to the land of the nonexistent. Reality wouldn’t release me, however, so I opened my eyes and simply took to staring at the screen in front of me, plugging in headphones as another form of the land of the nonexistent played out.

My eyes, feeling droopy and tired now, rose up to that same spot on the wall near the front, and I imagined as it went tick, tock … tick, tock … tick, tock. 

I tried to watch the screen, I really did, but my eyes wouldn’t cooperate, the betrayers. I looked away for a long time, a very long time, but when I glanced up it was still on the same spot, hardly budging from where I had left it.

I frowned, the excitement that had coursed through me now replaced with annoyance and irritation. I closed my eyes, calling to the land of the nonexistent, but looked back much later to find it had not changed much.

Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick … tock … Tick … tock … Tick … tock … T i c k … t o c k … t i c k … t o c k … 

I muffled the fury that threatened to emanate off of me and attack it, barely restraining my anger as it mocked me once again. If I hadn’t been so angry, I may have admired its rare ability, its ability to dictate nature, to dictate all of mankind and turn it into a stream of puppets ‐ but I wouldn’t forgive it for its torturous control on my existence.

I glanced up one last time, and I swear it winked, the numbers blinking as not a single one changed. It smirked back at me.

– – –

Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … 

Foolish girl she is, staring at me with panic pooling in her eyes. She’s asking me to slow down, I know, or speed up, but why should I? I smirk and wink at her, trying not to laugh as her eyes widen in desperate anger before she glances away. 

Tick, tock … Tick, tock … Tick, tock … 

One last time.