Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
Susanna awoke to the sound of her clock ticking louder than usual. The girl thought it was strange that her clock was ticking so loudly, especially since she didn’t own a clock. Brushing it off as a hallucination, he rolled over and tried to fall back to sleep.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
The sound grew louder. Now feeling dread from the uncanny tempo, she put her pillow around her ears and closed her eyes in attempt to drown out the sound and fall back to sleep. Susanna swore her room had an odd smell to it.
This time it was too loud to be ignored. The tempo quickened, as if it had gotten angry at her for dismissing it. With hesitance, Susanna slowly sat up and looked over to the direction she heard the ticking. The sound appeared to be coming from the inside of her closet, beckoning for her to take a look.
She slowly got out of bed and walked over to the closet, finding it uncanny that it appeared the ticks of the clock were now syncing themselves with her footsteps. At last, she opened the door of her closet to reveal a fresh corpse. It appeared to have been murdered. There was a slash at the neck and multiple holes in her stomach and chest area that seemed to be stab wounds.
Susanna gasped, suppressing her urge to vomit. The body grinned at her in a devious, almost mocking way. There was something else awful about the appearance of the corpse in her closet. Her tangled auburn hair and pale skin looked all too familiar as she grinned at her with those hungry brown eyes, almost looking amused at Susanna’s horror.
It wasn’t just any corpse. It was the corpse of Susanna.
She timidly walked backwards, staring at her corpse look alike in bewilderment as she tripped on the edge of her bed, causing her to fall on her knee. Suddenly, she noticed something was horrifically off. The corpse’s chest was rising and falling at a slow rate. It was breathing. Susanna tried as hard as she could not to scream as the breaths became audible rasps. Eventually, the breathing turned into aggressive laughter as the body got up from the floor and made its way over to Susanna.
Susanna staggered back, trying desperately to find an escape but it was too late. She was already cornered. Tears ran down her eyes as the now sentient corpse pushed her against the wall and put her hand over Susanna’s mouth, forcing her to taste the blood of her own body.
The corpse pulled her close and whispered into her ear, “Oh Susanna, you look so alive. I absolutely love the way you feel when your flesh is warm.”
Susanna attempted to scream and escape her corpse’s grasp but she was too strong.
“Oh Susanna, don’t be so rude,” the corpse said in a calm voice, taking Susanna’s wrist. “After all, you will soon be just like me. Your time is running out, Susanna.” She put Susanna’s hand over her chest. “Can you feel it, Susanna?”
“Y-your heart feels like a cl-clock ticking,” Susanna said timidly, trying to push the corpse away.
The corpse laughed, guiding her hand along her cold neck, forcing her fingers into the gash in her throat, pushing them in. Feeling the cold blood in her throat was a horrific sensation as the clots spilled out and onto her arm. Susanna couldn’t hold it in anymore. Unable to contain it, she vomited the contents of her last dinner onto the corpse’s legs. Suddenly, the corpse tightened her grip on Susanna’s wrist and forced her entire hand into her throat.
Susanna opened her eyes to find herself and her corpse in what she could only describe as an abyss of some sort. They were standing in front of a giant clock, probably about fifteen feet tall. They were surrounded by rusty gears all grinding against each other, working to make the clock tick.
The corpse grabbed Susanna’s wrist and turned to her with a grin. “Tick tock, Susanna.”
Susanna wriggled out of her grasp and took off running, only to find herself standing before the clock with her corpse again. She tried again and again with no luck, as the corpse watched her with a calmly amused facial expression. At last, she ran out of energy and had to stop to catch her breath.
The corpse put her hand on her shoulder and snickered. “Oh Susanna, what precious time just ticked away. You could’ve spent it talking to me and yet you chose to run away. Look at what you just wasted.”
“A-am I gonna die?” Susanna asked shakily through tears, finally making eye contact with her corpse.
"Perhaps," she laughed. "That clock is counting down the time you have left. Soon you'll be just like me, Susanna.” The corpse licked her lips. “That is, unless you are able to stop the clock from counting down to your final second.”
"H-how do I do that?” Susanna asked, feeling a faint bit of hope rise in her.
“To add to your time, you must take another's.” The corpse grinned. “The only other person in the house besides you is your mother. Are you gonna do it, Susanna?”
Tears started to flood down Susanna’s face again. “I-i…”
“Oh, Susanna. I know you wanna do it, Susanna. You despise your mother. You want her dead, Susanna. All you need to do is stab her. I’ll help you dispose of the body, Susanna.” The corpse dug her fingernails into Susanna’s wrist, drawing blood.
Susanna found herself back in her house, gripping a kitchen knife as she stood before the bed of her sleeping mother.
The corpse ran her fingers through Susanna’s hair. “Tick tock, Susanna.”
“I don’t wanna do this…” she whispered back anxiously, feeling her heart drop.
The corpse had an unreadable expression. “The world is coming to an end, Susanna.”
A tear ran down Susanna’s eye as she dropped the knife. “I can’t do this.”
The moment the knife hit the floor, they were in the abyss once again. The corpse stared at Susanna with a curious, yet morbid expression on her face, as if she were a scientist watching a rat eat a newly invented poison. Frightened, Susanna stepped back only for the corpse to push her against the clock and pin her by her arms.
“Oh, Susanna. Susanna, Susanna, Susanna!” The corpse said in a teasing voice, as she put her cold fingers on Susanna’s chest and started digging her nails into her skin, as if trying to create holes identical to the stab wounds on her chest. Susanna clenched her fist and bared her teeth, letting out a whimper as the corpse started feeling her neck with her other hand, sending shivers down her entire body.
“W-why are you doing this to me?!” Susanna cried out desperately.
“Because it’s my time now, Susanna.” She slashed at Susanna’s neck with her fingernail, but not deep enough to kill her, only to make her choke.
Susanna fell to the floor, coughing up blood. The second hand on the clock came down and sliced her right arm off, causing even more blood to spurt from Susanna’s body.
“Tick tock, your time is up, Susanna.” The corpse grinned and picked up the still alive Susanna, taking her into her arms. She gave her one last gaze and ran her fingers through her hair before laughing and throwing her into the gears, letting them tear and grind against her body, crushing her bones and spurting blood and guts as she let out one last excruciating scream.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
The next day, Susanna’s mother, Iris, noticed her daughter was sleeping in a lot later than usual so she decided to check on her.
“Susanna?” she opened the door to find her daughter sitting on her bed, staring at the wall with intense fascination.
“Can you hear it, mother?”
“Hear what, dearie?”
“Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. That’s what the clock sounds like.”
Iris frowned and looked at the area Susanna was staring at to see that there was indeed a clock on the wall; one she had not seen before. It was made of black marble and had roman numerals as the pendulum moved back and forth.
“Oh, that is a lovely clock. Where did that come from?”
“It’s going tick tock, tick tock, Mother. It’s counting down the time you have left.” Susanna said, not blinking or averting her gaze from the clock.
“Susanna, why are you- ACK!” Iris fell to the floor and looked down at her stab wound in shock, feeling the knife pierce through her heart, then back to Susanna who had just stabbed her, before her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she went limp.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
Over time, the neighbors started to get suspicious as they finally took notice of the fact that there was no activity going on with the mother and daughter next door. Not once had they heard any noise come from the house, or even saw a light turn on. They haven’t seen a car pull out or found any sign they might still be there. Several times they had called their house phone to get an answer, but there was nothing.
Eventually, they decided to investigate it themselves. As the couple approached the entrance to their house, they started to take notice of a faint stench. Although that made them feel hesitant, they continued to look. They could hear a faint ticking from inside the house. Something about it made them uneasy. The doors were locked and the curtains were down, but they could’ve sworn they saw a figure through the shades at one point, and even heard a faint voice.
It was then that they decided to call the police. When the cops arrived, the neighbors were nowhere to be found, so they were forced to find out themselves what was going on with the vague amount of information they were given on the phone call. The sheriff proceeded to pick the lock and enter the house only to find Iris dead on the floor, twelve stab wounds in her chest and stomach area with a slash in her throat. There was a clock crudely stuffed into the area where her heart should’ve been in.
That wasn’t the first time they had a case like that. Apparently, it had been happening several times in many other states in the US, and it recently started occurring in other countries as well. The sheriffs knew it would only be a matter of time before the entire world was plagued by this. Cases where they found the body with twelve stab wounds to the chest and stomach, a slit in the throat, and a clock placed where the heart should’ve been. In a majority of the cases, there was someone identical to the corpse in the household displaying strange behavior. In some places the entire town had been wiped out and replaced by those strange doppelgangers. Many of them had been sent to wards and prisons, only for almost every patient or doctor to be found dead the next week with their doppelgangers walking around and showing either immense confusion or little to no emotion.
A woman’s voice that matched the neighbor’s description of Iris called out from across the hall, “Who is it?”
The cops stood back and sighed. They knew what their fate was.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…
Behind them, they heard the sound of a clock.