The Halloween Clock

A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories Book 1) – The first novel in the Captain’s Point series.  A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries Book 1) – a full-length, cozy mystery by Annie Acorn.

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

It’s FALL, and here in the mid-Atlantic, we’ll enjoy a proper one. You know, one that lasts longer than the two days that are allotted to both spring and fall in the Deep South, where I have spent most of my days here on this planet.

Those who get to know me well soon discover that this is my favorite season of the year. The wind lifting my hair, a hint of coming winter in the air, red and gold raining down from tree limbs overhead as fattened squirrels run amongst fallen leaves blowing along the ground – each one sends my spirits higher, ever more than the one before.

And then, there are the holidays, stacked one upon the other, but first, one must pass through the magic portal – Halloween – a night of witches, goblins, and unseen other things.

As a child, this first fall holiday was a single sliver of fear in an otherwise calm and tranquil world – my earliest memory of this emotion formed by a collage of several things, all imprinting on my memory in the year that I was five.

It all started with the clock…

In my mind, my younger sister and I have been taken to visit my great-grandmother, blinded as a child by the high fever caused by her contracting measles and scarlet fever all at once.

Each time we are taken to Grandma Zachary’s four room home with dust motes floating in the dim light coming through its tiny windows and its huge black heating stove, my sister clutches at my hand as our great-grandmother feels our faces with cold, dry fingers so as to ‘see’ us.

This time, though, there is a difference. Merely by coincidence, the large, black, mantel clock behind us booms its death knoll, just as this regimen begins.

My sister jerks beside me, her arm passing round my waist as I stand tall, not wishing to hurt Grandma Zachary’s feelings. Still, a tingle runs along my spine, and the tick-tock of the golden pendulum on which a farmer leans against a fence grows louder in my mind.

Tick-tock, tick-TOCK, TICK-TOCK! He sends his message towards us.

We only visit a few minutes, before we return to the bright sunshine without and seek our great-grandfather where he sits beneath a spreading Catawba tree, a white enamel dishpan filled with hen and chicken plants resting at his feet – snatches of memory embedded in my brain.

It is he who bought the clock – a gift for his blind wife, the deep tone with which it strikes the quarter hours loud enough for her to hear the time throughout their cottage and into the yard.

Other frightening things occur within a few days of one another this fall.

I’m introduced to the Wicked Witch of the West for the first time, and she haunts my dreams for weeks. Years later, my husband will watch the Wizard of Oz with our sons, so that they won’t sense my lingering discomfort.

My sister and I are taken to a Halloween event that’s held at a small strip of neighborhood stores we know well, but this darkened night they’ve been transformed – their windows painted with life-sized scarecrows, carved pumpkins leering forth through backlit eyes, and an incongruous boy who sticks his tongue out. Mimes hand out candy to the strolling crowd, and to this day, a mime gives me the shivers. Both of us grip our father’s hands and drag him home.

Still, it is the tick-tock of the clock that lingers in my soul the longest, perhaps the passage of Time the scariest thing of all.

Years pass, and I become ill. A diagnosis is difficult to determine, and yet, I feel the pain – unrelenting, claiming me. Knowing I am losing ground, at thirty-four I write letters to friends and family, telling them how much I’ve cared, and for some reason unexplained, I mention in my letter to my uncle that, if I should survive, someday I would like to have great-grandmother Zachary’s clock.

A miracle occurs – a surgery cures me, and my request is long forgotten. My uncle ages and must come to live nearby. One day, he turns to me and says, “It’s time you took the clock.”

So, now it sits on a credenza behind my chair, its death knoll tolling not yet for me, as I find its ticking the minutes by to be somehow comforting. Awakening in the night, I lie and listen in the dark for its tones to tell me where we both stand as we wait to greet the light of dawn.

My friend tells me it is a Christmas clock – the gold features on its sides resembling the Jacob Marley doorknob in a televised version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, but I know better.

It is a Halloween clock, this one, for it was owned those many years ago by one who lived only in the dark.

Happy Halloween!

Annie

A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! – by Annie Acorn

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries Book 1) – by Annie Acorn

NOTE: Author is NOT responsible for anything the main character says!

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Annie Acorn’s 2014 Christmas Treasury (Annie Acorn’s Christmas Anthologies) – edited by Annie Acorn

Also available in print and for Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

Captain’s Point Stories Box Set – The first box set in the Captain’s Point series.  A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit series written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.

This set contains the first three novels of the Captain’s Point series – A Clue for Adrianna, A Man for Susan and Love’s Journey as well as the Christmas short story A Christmas Kiss.

The set is available on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

 

 

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