was on a Tuesday that Irene first noticed it. It was a rainy day,
and being so, she had spent most of it inside. She had watched
the six o'clock news and noticed that when she turned the television
on that the news was already well into the comments on the happenings
of the day.
at the corner of her screen, she saw the time was five minutes
ahead of her living room clock. The battery in it must need replacing.
up her sandwich plate and heading for the kitchen, she stopped
short as she noticed the dining room clock was also wrong. It
had the same time as the living room clock. Strange, this one
was a wind-up. They had both lost time.. and the same exact amount
off her plate and quickly drying it, she reached for the cupboard
door above the microwave, stopping short, to stare at the digital
clock at its upper corner. What the heck? This clock was wrong,
too! This one was electric. Someone had been here, playing a joke
on her, setting all these clocks back.. That must be it..
had gone out to the garden with her little dog for a while, and
that would have been time enough for someone to do it. She had
thought she had the doors locked, but maybe not..
clocks in the bedroom were also behind time. What was the purpose
of someone doing this and.. who?
woman could not shake it from her mind the rest of that evening.
Bedtime came and she was still wondering. Her little dog curled
at her feet and fell promptly asleep, having not a care in the
world. Irene was soon asleep, although she didn't realize it until
she suddenly found it was morning.
awoke with a start, almost as if something had startled her. It
must be going to be a dark cloudy day because the light had not
started to filter through the blinds yet.
was halfway to the back door before she realized Gertie wasn't
dancing ahead of her. Strange, Gertie was always begging to be
let out the door at exactly seven, and today she wasn't.
to the bedroom, Irene saw that the little dog was sleeping soundly.
'Well',she said to herself, 'let her sleep. I am headed for coffee'.
was when she realized there was no coffee smell wafting to the
bedroom from the kitchen. Another strange thing.. She knew she
had set the coffee maker to brew at six forty-five. Maybe she
was catching a cold.. and she also did not remember turning off
the alarm clock earlier.
the kitchen she sighed, looking at the empty coffee maker. Darn..
maybe it was time for a new one. 'What the heck..' she started,
leaning over to make sure she was seeing what she thought she
was seeing. The clock read five after six.
that explains that',she mused. 'I woke up too early, that's why
Gertie is still sleeping and there's no coffee made. That would
also explain why there was no sunlight yet. It hadn't even come
in the bedroom, she picked up the alarm clock and turned it over
to find the shut off already pushed in. As she stared at it in
disbelief, she vaguely remembered what it was that had shaken
had thought that there was a hooded figure next to her bed, holding
her alarm clock in his bony (..bony?) hand. Irene shivered. He
had leered at her from beneath a dark hood that he was wearing
as he held up her clock and pushed in the stem of the shut-off.
she could see was his eyes.. That was when she had awakened. Wow,what
a dream! She had forgotten all about it on awakening, until now,
when she had picked up the alarm clock.
was jostled from her reverie by the shrilling of the alarm clock.
Realizing it was still in her hand, she pushed in the shut-off
stem quickly. What is going on here? Where had almost an hour
gone? Was she waking up for the first time, or was she already
awake? Irene actually, at that moment, had no idea.
could smell fresh coffee brewing and see the first pale rays of
sunshine through her blinds. Gertie bounded from the foot of the
bed to the floor and began her morning dance to be let out.
sure of anything, except the urgency of her little dog's request,
Irene followed her to the patio door to let her out.
was when Irene first saw the hooded figure peering in at her through
the glass door. Why, Gertie hadn't even barked at the figure..
In fact, she appeared not to notice..
believing her eyes, Irene blinked, and the figure was no longer
there. What the devil was going on?
still danced and begged her mistress to open the door. Irene turned
and sat down in the chair near the door, still shaken at what
she had seen. Gertie stopped dancing and promptly relieved herself
on Irene's red throw rug in front of the glass patio door.
caring at the moment, Irene stared as the wetness enlarged itself
into an ink blot type shape upon the red background. Forcing herself
to look out the glass door, she saw there was nothing.. nothing,
even near it.
remembered having the flu a few weeks ago and she had taken lots
of medicine for relief.. Perhaps that was it.. some side effect.
She must be having hallucinations because of recently being sick,
and who knows what the side effects could be?
down a little, she called Gertie to the door and let the sheepish
little dog out to finish her morning business, all the while looking
from side to side on the patio.. Gertie ran to her usual spot
and looked back at Irene as if to say 'well, it's about time'.
washing the throw rug was not a job Irene relished first thing
in the morning. She left it for later and poured herself a cup
of coffee and all the while mulling over what she thought she
had seen.. It looked just like the figure in her dream. There
had been the same intense hooded eyes, as in her dream, staring
back at her through the glass.
figure could be just a dream and a figment of her weakened body
and imagination, but what was going on about all the clocks?
her coffee, she opted for another cup, and as she was pouring
it, she thought she heard a faint tapping on the patio door. Irene
felt a chill come into her chest as she turned slowly to face
Wilkins, Irene's next door neighbor, leaned on the glass door
with his hands cupped around his face, trying to see into the
kitchen. He could barely make out a crumpled shape on the kitchen
home, he told his wife to call 911.. All was not well next door
at Irene's house.
had repeatedly rang the front door bell, with no answer. Irene's
little dog, Gertie, had appeared on his steps earlier that morning,
looking as though she had been out all night.
knew something had to be wrong because Irene loved Gertie like
she was her own child. She would never allow her to be outside
alone for very long.
police came and sent for an ambulance and then the coroner's car
was seen to pull up into the driveway. The neighbors slowly began
to gather and watch for some sign of what was happening. The front
door opened and the coroner's crew brought out a black body bag
on a stretcher and loaded it into the ambulance.
neighbors stood about the lawn and walkway, watching and still
wondering. Old Mrs. Henly approached the coroner and asked him
what did he think had happened to Irene.
attack," he said, "probably brought on by her bout with
the flu recently. I would place her time of death at about six
oh five last evening."
the ambulance pulled away, the policeman locked up the house,
awaiting the arrival of Irene's next of kin, who lived out of
state. He arranged for Gertie to stay with Mr. Wilkins until someone
arrived to take care of her. Hopefully she would be taken home
with one of Irene's relatives.
done and everything secured, Officer George Stall headed for his
patrol car and called in on his radio to report leaving the premises..
back at the house one last time before he left, Officer Stall
confided into his mic, "Strange thing.. Every single clock
in that house is stopped at six-o-five..."