Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Clock - A Short Story By Me

I haven't blogged in a while, and I'm stilllll working on my half-finished reviews, so I decided I'd post a short story that I wrote for one of my classes last semester. To be honest, I hate creative writing because I always get super-frustrated, and this was one of the first things I've written that I've ever been proud of. Hope you guys like it & thanks for reading =)

The Clock

I stared down at the paper. The first question read: “Draw the most thermodynamically stable stereoisomer of the molecule 2-isopropyl-5-methylcyclohexanol (commonly known as menthol).”

Oh crap! I definitely do not know the answer to that one. I looked at the clock. One hour left. All right, that’s plenty of time. I’ll just move on to the next question; I’m sure I’ll be able to answer the next question, then I’ll come back to this one at the end if I have enough time. Deep breaths, I told myself, deep breaths. So I took a deep breath, letting the cool air calm me, and started reading the next question:

“A long jumper leaves the ground with an initial velocity of 12 m/s at an angle of 28-degrees above the horizontal. Determine the time of flight, the horizontal distance, and the peak height of the long-jumper.”

Oh my God! I can’t figure this one out either! Think, Jamie, think! What did the textbook say about projectile motion? As I desperately tried to search my mind for the solution to this grueling question, I noticed the clock out of the corner of my eye. Three o’clock… wait, what? That means I only have thirty-five minutes left! That can’t be possible; I could swear that I last checked the time only a couple of minutes ago.

Actually, now that I think about it, there’s something about this clock that seems out of place. Yes, there is definitely something wrong with this clock. I continued to gaze intently at its large, perfectly round face, watching the seconds tick by, fixated on pinpointing the anomaly. Just watching the seconds tick by… and that’s when I realized it. The long, slender, black second hand – it was moving too quickly! Or was it? I checked again, focusing on the rapid, jerky movements of the thin needle. Yes, it was definitely moving faster than it should. With this realization, I felt a slow wave of heat ripple from within the core of my chest, wash over my body, and rise towards my face. I kept staring at the menacing contraption, unable to peel my eyes away, willing it to slow down. And the longer I stared, the faster the hands seemed to move, as if to antagonize me further. I was losing time, watching it race past me, right before my eyes. I started to sweat with anxiety.

I had to finish this test; failure was not an option. Only twenty minutes left… that’s still manageable, right? Devoid of options, I resolved to push forward with my best effort and complete as much of the exam as I possibly could. I grasped my pencil with clammy trembling hands, and attempted to answer the third question. Luckily, this one was much simpler than the previous two. I hastily scribbled down my response and glanced at the next question. I was halfway through my explanation when I heard it -- the ticking. The ever-accelerating pulse of the clock, like a pounding heartbeat.




It seeped into my ears, unnerving me, growing louder and louder. My chest began to ache; my breaths came faster and faster, as if to keep pace with the clock. A furious urge to run across the room and smash the wretched thing into a million pieces overwhelmed me. Just look at it, with its smug face, incessantly taunting me with its ticking – a reminder of the time that was constantly escaping me. Once again I found my eyes glued to my tormentor, glaring down at me from its place on the wall. Once again I found myself silently commanding it to stop, for time to stop, if even just for a moment.

Finally, I got my wish, but not in the way I had hoped. The clock struck three thirty-five. The ticking abruptly ceased and its hands stood as still as stone, frozen in place.

Time was up, and I hadn’t even come close to finishing the exam. I assessed my paper; it was completely blank, save for the one question I had answered. To put it plainly, I had failed. Panic began to bubble up from my stomach like acid, and my vision went blurry. My mind swirled, and the details of the clock slowly faded from my sight until all I could see was darkness surrounding me. For a moment I actually appreciated the black emptiness, embraced it, for the serenity it brought me. It was as if I had fallen into a peaceful sleep, a much-welcomed escape from reality. No sooner had I thought this, a jarring noise pierced the silence and resonated through the murky abyss, like nails on a chalkboard.

And just as suddenly, I was awake in my bed, covered in a cold sweat. I immediately discovered the source of that noise – my broken alarm clock. After hurrying over to the nightstand to turn off the alarm, I went back to my bed, sat down, and surveyed the room. The desk was spotless as ever, all the pens and pencils in an oversized mug next to the lamp. All the books were neatly aligned on the shelf next to the calendar displaying a picture of the Eiffel Tower. The shoes were lined up in a nook next to the door. Once I was satisfied that everything was in its proper place, I grabbed my cell phone and checked the time. Ten forty-five in the morning, Saturday, the fourth of December.

It had all been only a dream, a terrible nightmare. The relief I felt at that moment crashed into me like a bucket of cold water on a scorching hot day.

I was in control again!

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