The Clockmaker

by Wootbot

More Tales From The West Boo-foo Cafe

3rd place in Derby #139: Madness, with 824 votes!

Say there, strangers. I don’t mean to a bother or nothin’, but I couldn’t help but overhear you fellas talkin’ about the old Hosking place up on Tower Hill. I reckon the old legend is what brought you into town, is it? Well, if you can spare an old man a piece of pie and some of your time, I’d be more than happy to tell you what I know about the place. Of course, this here story ain’t for the weak of heart or bladder, if you get my meanin’.

Now, I can’t say exactly when Charlie and Mildred Hosking came to West Boo-foo, but they were good folk. Really well-liked by the rest of the townsfolk. Mildred, she used to work here at this very diner while her husband would build clocks in his workshop up there. Made some beautiful clocks, too. I reckon there was a Hosking clock in each and every home here at one point. And when the two of them announced that Mildred was pregnant? Well, they threw a party the likes of which ain’t been seen in these parts for years. Of course, that was the last time anyone other than the cops ever entered the place, too. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Legend says that there was a right awful storm the night the boy was born. Legend also says that boy was born precisely at midnight and as he made his first scream every clock in town chimed thirteen times instead of twelve then never worked again. I tell you I’ll swear on this slice of cherry pie that it’s true.

Now I don’t believe a child can be born evil, personally, but Harold Hosking was a strange one. Nothin’ but clocks on the brain. You know, I was a janitor for a short time down at the elementary school and I’d catch that boy just staring at the clock every moment of the day. Not the way a regular kid would do, though, like they were excited to get out of class. No, see, if you looked closely enough, you could see his lips movin’, like he was talkin’ to the clock. Kid wasn’t much of a conversationalist, either. He’d be quiet for hours, then suddenly begin to rant about how efficient clocks were, how wonderfully precise and consistent they were. Creepy kid, sure, but not evil. And as the years passed, Harold took up the family business of clock making.

I can’t tell you when the trouble started between Mildred and Charlie. Awful fights, I heard. A few times, Mildred would come into the cafe trying her hardest not to cry as she’d pour the coffee. You’d think parents bickering like that would break a boy’s heart, but not Harold. The way I figure, it wasn’t his heart that was broken. It was theirs.

When Mildred didn’t show up for work for a week straight, folks thought the worst. Folks thoughts, though, weren’t nearly as bad as what the officers found when they went up Tower Hill for answers. Found them in their living room, sitting next to each other with their hearts sliced clean out of their chests and placed in their laps. Inside each of their chests was a finely crafted clock, intricately designed to look like one another’s faces, Charlie’s in Mildred and vice versa. Horrible scene. And Harold? Well, he disappeared, never to be seen again.

Some folks will tell you that they see a light in the old workshop when they look up the hill. Others will tell you that as you head up the trail towards the house, you can hear a ticking that gets louder and louder the further up you get and that it’s the sound of Harold’s clocks mourning the death of his parents love. I can’t tell you anything about that. I, myself, don’t like to dwell on such sad things. I’ll tell you this much, though. I haven’t kept a clock in my house since.

Thank you right kindly for the pie, friends. You take care now.

Wear this shirt: when time is not on your side.

Don’t wear this shirt: if the sound of your alarm clock in the morning is maddening enough.

This shirt tells the world: “To the tick-tock, you don’t stop. EVER.”

We call this color: All Clockwork And No Play Makes Jack Go Cranberry

 

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