TEN MORE MINUTES by Scott McGregor 

At 7:30 AM, Claire awoke to her alarm clock, a rackety, insufferable sound.

She contemplated how long it’d take to get ready for her day. Fifteen minutes to shower, ten minutes to get dressed, five minutes to gather her belongings, a twenty minute drive, and arrive at work by 9:00 AM. The way she thought about it, she could afford to stay in bed a tad longer.

Just ten more minutes.

So, she hit the snooze button and returned to sleep.



In a black, endless space, Claire sat in a chair, bound by a hundred chains. Across from her stood a man with a clock for a head, dressed in a white tuxedo. On what she assumed was the man’s face, the hour and minute hands spun rapid, ticking slowly. He kept his arms crossed, not moving a muscle.

“Hello, I am Tick Tock Man,” he said.

“Where am I?” she screamed back. “What do you want with me?”

“You’re asleep, and you’re here to feed me, so to speak. Ten minutes out there is ten hours in here. And every minute in here, you grow weaker as I absorb your essence.”

“Then the second I wake up, I’ll be free from here.”

“Do you undermine my capabilities? Time can be rewound, if you know how to use it. Tell me, how many hours does the average person live for? How many times can I roll back the clocks until you’re gone?”

And then, Claire began to weaken. She didn’t know how or what, but it felt like something from within her was being sucked away.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Nearly ten hours passed, and Claire could hardly breath, muscles stiff and eyes heavy. Then, a loud, thunderous ring entered the crevices of her mind.

“Time to wake up, Claire,” Tick Tock Man whispered. “And, time to rewind the clocks.”



At 7:30 AM, Claire awoke to her alarm clock, a rackety, insufferable sound.

She pondered how long it’d take to get ready for her day. The way she thought about it, she could afford to stay in bed a tad longer.

Just ten more minutes.

She hit the snooze button and returned to sleep.



Within the void, she felt her life force sucked from her, trapped as Tick Tock Man absorbed her essence. For hours, he stood perfectly still, and though he lacked eyes, she knew he watched her the whole time. A point reached where she grew too weak to move. To flinch. To even speak. She wondered what she might look like after he was finished with her. Perhaps a haggard, shrill carcass, forever asleep for ten minutes, trapped in time.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Again, she heard the boisterous ring creep into her mind. She wished she could speak to herself the moment she awoke, pleading for one thing. Don’t go back to sleep!

Then, Tick Tock man whispered, “Time to rewind the clocks, Claire.”



At 7:30 AM, Claire awoke to her alarm clock, a rackety, insufferable sound.

Just ten more minutes.

She hit the snooze button and returned to sleep.

 

Now available from Schlock! Publications.
 

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