The prompt for this story was to write 1000 words starting with the sentence,
The clock winked.
All pictures were taken from Google, not by me.
The Clock Winked
A fairy tale by Emily Harris
Word count: 960
The clock winked.
Hannah stopped in mid stride and turned to look. It was a large grandfather clock, imposing and majestic. It had stood guard in the hallway of her family’s home for as long as she could remember, having been passed down through the generations. A common table stood beside it with framed pictures of Hannah and her family. She had ignored it most of her life, yet for some reason she had turned her head to see it’s face for just a second. A millisecond.
And the clock winked.
It was late – 11:47 p.m. according to the clock – and it was a long night after a long day. Hannah shook her head and pressed the heels of her palms to her eyes until she saw stars. She was tired and imagining things, nothing more.
As she lowered her eyes and blinked away the shadows and lights that obscured her vision, she saw it again.
The clock winked.
“It’s nothing,” she repeated to herself, yet she crept forward. The clock was silent except for the familiar ticking of its internal organs. She placed a hand on either side of it’s trunk and stared up at it’s impassive face.
Tap, tap, tap.
Hannah jumped. A faint but urgent tapping was keeping pace with the ticking of the clock, and the tapping was coming from behind her.
Her heart thudding to join the disturbing beat, Hannah turned.
There was nothing but a mirror. It’s gilded frame was dusty, it’s glass in need of a cleaning. It was fine, it was –
Within the mirror, Hannah’s reflection tapped on the glass.
Her reflection in the mirror began to pound furiously. “Stop that!” the second Hannah said, her voice muffled. “Stop that right now. Are you going to waste our time screaming? Stop!”
“Now, come here,” the other Hannah ordered, beckoning the frightened girl forward. As much as she didn’t want to, Hannah felt she had no choice. She stood in front of her reflection and asked, “Who are you?”
Her reflection rolled her eyes. “I’m you,” she said. “Obviously.”
“Yes, but -”
“How are you here?” Hannah squeaked. “How are you talking to me?”
The girl in the mirror waved her hand as if batting away a pesky fly. “That’s not important,” she said. “What’s important is that you help me.”
“Help you?” Hannah asked. “With what?”
“Help me get my freedom.”
“Freedom from what?”
“Are you an idiot?” the mirrored image screamed, and Hannah jumped at the sharpness of her remark. “From here! From this mirror!”
“You’re trapped in the mirror?”
“Yes, I’m trapped in the mirror!”
“I don’t understand.”
“You are an idiot. Just my luck,” Mirror-Hannah gave a heaving, dramatic sigh and fell to the floor in a heap. Slowly, Hannah followed her example and sat down.
“Several years ago,” the girl began, and Hannah crept closer so that she might hear better, “I was a young and happy girl with a completely normal life.
“My only flaw was that I was incredibly self-centered. I always made sure that I was dressed the best, and flirted and flounced and forced everyone to give me attention. I couldn’t pass a mirror without sneaking a look.
“I was beautiful, and I knew it.
“And then, they came.”
“Who?” Hannah asked. She leaned closer until her nose was inches from the glass.
“I don’t know,” was Mirror-Hannah’s disappointed answer. “But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have finally discovered how to free myself from my imprisonment. I need you.”
“Okay,” Hannah said. “But why? How?”
“The clock winked.”
“You saw that?”
“Of course.” Hannah was getting a little tired of the Hannah-in-the-mirror’s arrogance. “The clock winked, which means it’s time. When the clock chimes – ”
Behind Hannah, the grandfather clock began to chime. Ding–
“Hannah!” Mirror-Hannah shouted, rising to her feet. “Hannah! Push on the glass!”
Hannah stood and did as she was told. The two Hannahs put their hands together on opposite sides of the mirror and began to push.
The mirror hummed. It faded and pulsed and moved beneath Hannah’s fingers.
“It’s working!” she shouted. “Hannah, it’s working!”
Her reflection ignored her and continued to concentrated on the barrier between them.
Just before the twelfth and final chime of the clock, the Hannah in the mirror spun away and toward the clock. She reached out and took one of the picture frames on the table and smashed the face of the clock with it.
The world exploded in light and breaking glass.
Hannah slowly opened her eyes. Her body was sore, and as she moved gingerly into a sitting position, she could hear the tinkling of glass as shards fell from her.
She glanced up and saw the frame of the mirror in front of her. On the other side of the glass, the other Hannah stared down at her.
“It didn’t work,” Hannah said.
“Don’t be silly,” Mirror-Hannah admonished, “Of course it worked.”
“Free!” She laughed and spun around, her arms stretched out to the ceiling.
“I’m free!” she shouted. “And all thanks to you, my dear.”
“But you’re still trapped in the mirror,” Hannah said.
“What? No, sweetie,” Mirror-Hannah said. “I’m not trapped.” She bent down so that she was at Hannah’s eye level. “You’re the one who is trapped.”
She grinned as fear flooded Hannah’s mind. “We broke the barrier, and before the clock’s chiming stopped, I smashed the clock on my side. I’ve broken the connection.”
Mirror-Hannah winked at the now crying girl on the other side of the mirror. “And you’re my replacement.”
With that, Mirror-Hannah – the new Hannah – waved goodbye and left without a glance behind her.
Hannah ran to the door but was stopped by an invisible barrier. She could see the door, she could see the rest of her home, but she couldn’t reach it. She was stuck – she could only go as far as the mirror reflected.
Hannah sank to her knees in despair.
Behind her, the clock was silent.
It never winked again.