I am constantly narrating my life as I go about my day. I can’t go to the grocery store or airport without describing everything as a great epic. I used to write stories all the time. But since beginning college, I really haven’t had much time to write, if I did, it was usually between writing five papers, so writing was the last thing I wanted to do.
But thanks to recent feelings of restlessness. I’ve begun to write again. But I needed some inspiration. I’ve joined an online community of writers at Figment.com. I was a little wary about joining but the site offers many prompts for writing, and it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Here’s my first story for Figment; to see more, feel free to check out my Figment page. As I wrote this, this story took on a life of its own and it came out more interesting than I expected so I thought I would share it.
The prompt: An extra hour occurs at midnight, but only a handful of people can experience it.
Twenty-five on the twenty-fifth–my golden birthday. A once in a lifetime day and I spent the evening sitting at home with nothing but my ex-boyfriend’s dumb cat and a plastic container of cold Chinese food, since my microwave is broken. I don’t know why I am still awake. My birthday ended close to an hour ago. I guess I was just waiting for the last few moments of my horrible birthday to totally fade into the past.
The red numbers peered out from the broken microwave and the crappy oven in the dark kitchenette. I watched the clock as it dragged into the next minute, wanting to see if it actually made it there. For years, I’ve noticed that every once in awhile my clock skips a minute. I turned my gaze toward the small clock on the mantle, then on to the antique grandfather clock in the corner, waiting for it to sing my birthday a lullaby. There are too many clocks in my apartment.
There was a knock at the door. I looked at the cat, assuming she had just walked into the wall again. Not only was she partly blind, she was also kind of a dumbass. But she was sitting on the couch next to me, her ears perked up a bit.
The knock sounded again, more defined this time so I knew it wasn’t a mistake. The whole apartment paused. It was impossible for me to be expecting someone because I didn’t know anyone. I had moved to the city less than a month ago to be closer to my boyfriend. Unfortunately, he didn’t want us to be closer. Apparently our relationship was inconveniently getting in the way of his relationship with a slightly older waitress at the Irish Pub down on 3rd street. He got free corned beef and Guinness and I got the cat. Lucky me.
The mystery guest knocked for the final time. I crept toward the door, swatting the cat with my foot as she tried to rub herself against my legs. I squinted through the peephole and saw a giant eye staring back at me.
“HELLLOOOOOOO” the person the eye belonged to shouted as he moved back from the door revealing a short, bespectacled man. I couldn’t tell if he was old or young. He looked like a child that had lived and laughed for a thousand years.
His hair was a mane of dark chocolate and it looked like he slept on one side of his head and never bothered to brush it. His eyes were the same color but much wilder; but not in the crazed serial killer way, more like someone who had a sugar rush for the last fifteen years. The circular coke-bottle glasses magnified them to three times their normal size.
I watched him as he tapped his foot impatiently from the other side; his fingers also in perpetual motion. He glanced all around the door, and then looked straight at the peep hole, as if he could right through it. I froze and then breathlessly inched away from the door.
“Matilda!” He cried “I know you’re in there!”
I glanced down at the cat purring between my feet. My cat…named Matilda. She looked up at me and I swear if cats could smile, she did.
Matilda then darted for the door. She sat and stared at the knob. There was an awkward silence I watched the dumb cat. Until the silence was broken by the discordant symphony of clicking and turning of the locks on door locks. As if to finish the piece, Matilda jumped and knocked the brass chain from its nest, the final lock undone.
My eyes stared in amazement, and widened when I realized (too late to run away) that the door was slowly opening.
The man from the other side stepped into my tiny living room.
He was the human embodiment of the White Rabbit from Wonderland. He wore a waistcoat, covered slightly by a pink plaid jacket. He had watches all up his left arm and several clocks hanging from chains spilling out of his pockets.
“Thank you, Matilda,” He nodded politely at the cat who flicked her tail happily before looking at me.
“It’s about time,” he whispered less like a complaint, and more like an explanation for why he was now standing in my doorway.
“What?” I breathed, the only word I could manage to release.
The man grabbed my shoulders and turned me toward my grandfather clock and pointed. The clock, reading 12:59, suddenly start to whirr and spin. The other clocks in my apartment, including the 27 watches seen on the stranger followed suit before all ceasing instantaneously. I slowly spun around my apartment; all of the clocks had stopped right where they had been left 12:59. All, except the digital clocks on my kitchen appliances which now read 25:00.
The stranger looked me in the eyes. “It’s about time,” he repeated.