Inspired by “Clockwork” by Vindsvept

There was a clockmaker in the town of Tynsk. He lived on the fringes, aloof and alone. He never opened his door to the townsfolk, but welcomed every lost traveler and poor wanderer.

All who spent a night in his house spoke of the clocks, the finest they’d ever seen, tick-tock-ticking away. It filled the house with more than sound – a soft peace, a peace beyond words. They heard the care in the clockmaker’s work, the same care he extended to his guests. Though he called no one friend, the old man was loved.

Stories spread. Jealous, the townsfolk wondered why the clockmaker denied them – his childhood companions – his hospitality. They grumbled about a bewitching peace produced by warlock clocks. It was too good to be true.

Famine came. The people of Tynsk grew desperate. All but the clockmaker. He had a bounty.

The starving townsfolk begged at his door. Still, he refused them. Still, his guests left with full bellies.

Outsiders. Mad and cursed vagabonds. The lowest humans on earth.

It was more than Tynsk could bear. “Kill the miser!” the people cried. “Burn the warlock and his witchcraft!”

Who held the torch, no one remembers. They set the clockmaker’s house ablaze. The clocks tick-tock-ticka-tocked as their creator died, choking on the smoke.

As the walls fell away, the crowd heard them too. The clocks drowned out the crackling flames, till the fire was nothing but dancing light. The crowd stood entranced, their jealousy at long last satisfied. The clocks ticked and tocked until their springs and cogs warped into silence.

On a quiet night, in the abandoned clearing where the clockmaker’s house once stood, you can still hear the tick and tock of those clocks. Some call the place haunted. Others call it paradise.

©2019 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.