Ticking, Ticking

The clock is ticking,

Echoing, both fast and slow.

Each tick adding palpable nerves to the room.

Suffocated by the smell of soap and bleach,

I twiddle my fingers, scratch my neck, bite my lip, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.


They announce my name.

Their voice echos and beats in my skull ー

Just like the clock.

I stand up, my blood metal, and follow them to a confined room.

There is a clock here too.

I wait for a few decades.

Bent up energy escapes from each pore

Disguised as sweat.


A stranger enters.

I sit in a chair with gleaming metal attached from every which way, 

Bringing back nightmares from last time.

I read arbitrary letters on a screen,

Though I'm certain they know that there is no difference between A and B.


They leave me alone,

Alone with the clock.

Again decades pass, 

But eternity would not be a long enough wait.


More strangers return in their ghoulish masks.

They poise a poison-filled dropper above my eye,

And I squirm, I flinch.

Somehow, for some reason, 

My chest is pushed forward,

My knees unbend,

And my legs carry me to the other side of the room.

They did this without my command.

Without my permission.


They call after me. 

I am underwater.

I can't hear them.


And so I wait, 

Arms wrapped around knees, 

Crown reaching for my stomach,

I wait for them to go.

The clock is louder than ever.

Everything is louder ー

Louder than before I started to drown.

There are more colors.

The smell of bleach is reeking.

The walls are pressing down on me.

The people in the frames are watching me, stalking me, waiting to attack.


Somehow, at some point, 

They struggle the poison into my eye,

And I am left with the clock,

And the waiting,

And the wondering if I am insane.


After some time without the clock

(It could have been days or weeks or months or years),

I find myself in the same room

With the same clock

And the same ticking.


But when they call for me,

My blood feels like blood.

And the room feels spacious.

And the chair feels comfortable.


And when they return for a second time,

The masks just feel sanitary.

And the dropper

Doesn't have poison in it.

I flinch and it hurts,

But it's not poison.


And that was that.

There was no revelation.

There was no great big "Aha!"

Only the passage of time

And the wisdom of age

Could privilege me the knowledge that

Most of the time,

A clock

Is really just a clock.

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