Clock In The Corner
Paige sat at the bottom of the front porch poking at the grass with a stick. At fifteen years old, summer break should be a time of fun at the beach and the discovery of life with her friends. Not this time—Paige’s mom often traveled for her marketing job. This summer, her mom must travel for six weeks to various destinations and thought this would be an excellent opportunity for Paige to visit with her grandmother.
“Why can’t I stay with Sue and her family?” Paige complained.
“Paige, please don’t start with me. Your grandmother is so excited to spend time with you. You two used to be close, and she moved closer to us so she could see you grow up.”
“Yes, but her house is weird—and it’s creepy.”
“Oh, it is not.”
“Yes, it is. Mom, you haven’t slept there.”
“It’s an old house, Paige. Old houses only seem scary, but look at it this way; it’s a cozy and wise old home.”
“Get your stuff and put it in the car. I don’t want to be late for my flight.”
The trip took under an hour. Paige sat in the passenger seat straight-faced, glancing out the side window. The last time she visited her grandmother, she heard loud bumps and bangs coming from the downstairs library. Inquiring about it only brought the same clichés—it’s an old house, or the house has character.
Thoughts of spirits floating around the house consumed Paige. She always had an unusual interest in the phenomenon of paranormal activity. Being curious, she read books on ghosts and entities. Paige watched the typical ghost hunting shows. Even so, she didn’t like her grandmother’s house. It had ominous energy that tightened her chest at times.
This trip seemed to take less time than the last one. Either Paige’s mom drove faster, or Paige had her mind on more interesting thoughts. Paige’s mom parked the car and stared at the front door of the house.
“I’ll bet your grandmother’s been pacing in front of the front window for an hour.”
In a rush of excitement, grandma ran to her granddaughter.
“There she is—my Paige.”
Paige hugged her grandmother tight. She’d forgotten how fun she was.
“I have so many things planned for us to do.”
Paige’s mother carried her luggage to the front door. “Well, mom, I need to go now if I’m going to make my flight on time. Here’s a list of all the hotels I’ll be staying in, and the dates and times. Paige, be good and have fun.”
As she drove away, she waved and blew kisses.
“Come on, let’s get you all settled in. Are you hungry? I made some blueberry muffins.”
“Oh, I love your baking, grandma.”
As they walked through the living room, they passed the library. Paige glanced at the clock in the corner.
“You still have that clock. Why did you keep all the furniture when you bought this house? They’re old and dreary.”
“I didn’t have the money to buy both a house and furnishings. All of these fabulous things aren’t old; they’re just full of character and personality like me.”
“Whatever you say,” Paige said as she patted her grandma’s back.
They spent the afternoon in the vegetable garden and the lanai drinking sun tea. Her grandma always had jars of teabags and water soaking in the sun. She swore it was the best way to make tea without an effort.
The night crept in, and the two of them sat in the living room looking at old photos.
“Grandma, do you ever get a feeling like you’re being watched here—in the house?”
“Oh, don’t let the noises bother you. Every old house has a creaking or two.”
“That’s what you keep saying, but don’t you ever feel like something or someone is watching you?”
“No, I don’t recall ever feeling that way. I just let the house do its thing, and I do my thing. We live in harmony. Some things do go missing, but I’m getting old and forgetful.”
“That grandfather clock in the corner of the library creeps me out.”
“Well, I don’t know why it does. It’s just an old clock, Paige. It’s an antique and worth a lot of money. Although, it hasn’t been keeping time properly. It keeps stopping at three o’clock. Every so often, I have to reset it.”
“Did you say three o’clock? That’s the witching hour.”
Laughing, her grandmother said, “Don’t be silly. You have quite the imagination. I’m going to bed, sweetie. I’ll see you in the morning.” Her grandma leaned over and kissed her on the head before going upstairs to bed.
The time was 10 p.m., and Paige, still wide-awake, investigated the clock in the library’s corner. The moment she walked into the room, static snapped around her, causing the hair on her arms to stand straight up. Anxious, Paige walked through the thick air permeating the room. As she approached the clock, a stabbing pain seared the middle of her chest. It burned as if someone was putting out a cigarette. What the hell…? She ran out of the room to catch her breath.
She stood in the doorway peering in; she wondered if her grandmother ever experienced the same thing. How could she live in this house? Paige decided to go to bed. The ordeal left her weak. She changed into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, went to the bathroom to wash her face, and brush her teeth.
While at the sink, the air turned cold behind her. She turned abruptly. Nothing but the entrance to her room across the hallway appeared in her sight.
She finished washing and crossed the hallway to her room. Paige rolled herself onto the bed, reached over, and switched the light off while making a note of the time; her watch read 11:30 p.m.
Later that night, Paige awoke to a series of loud bangs coming from the library. She sat up. Her heart was ready to burst out of her chest. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and slipped her feet into her slippers. Paige tiptoed her way down the stairs. When she made it to the bottom of the stairs, she stopped. Breathing shallow, she listened for other noises.
Silence emanated from the room—she inched her way to the entrance. The moon shined enough light through the window to make it easier to scan the room. The grandfather clock stopped at 3 a.m. She glanced at her watch—it said 3:13 a.m.
Paige made her way to the clock in the corner when suddenly her spine felt like someone had gripped it so hard that it was about to crack. Bending over in agony, she gasped. Not wanting to wake her grandmother, she slowly hobbled out of the library and into the adjoining room and sat in a chair until the throbbing subsided.
Paige realized that a dark force took up residence in the house, specifically in the clock. Her grandmother might be in danger. It would now be her duty to protect her grandma. Either the clock must go, or the house must be cleansed.
The hard part of this would be convincing her grandmother of the problem. Another thought entered Paige’s mind, though. Becoming a paranormal investigator would be an exciting career. She could use this house to gain experience.
Throughout the six-week stay, Paige endured devastating nightmares involving her grandmother, her mother, and herself. Were the bad dreams a warning? She knew the demonic or dark entity caused them. Paige felt rage and anxiety often but managed to hide it well. Her attachment to the house became stronger as the days and weeks went on. Exposure to the entity combined with her inexperience dealing with such forces opened Paige up to possession, or at the very least, a dark attachment.
The day arrived for Paige to depart from the house and her grandmother. Paige’s mom noticed that her mother looked haggard.
“Mom, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m okay. I’ve been tired lately and can’t find the motivation to do what I used to.”
“Well, maybe you need to see a doctor.”
“I called and made an appointment for next week.”
“Good. Let me know if you need anything. Is Paige ready?”
“Yes, she’s in the library. She’s spent a lot of time in there this visit.”
“Really? Why is that?”
“She seems to like that clock for some reason.”
“That’s strange, don’t you think? Why on earth would she be interested in a grandfather clock?”
“Don’t know, but she’s been different this time. I’d keep an eye on her. She’s a teenager, and they can be moody.”
“Paige. Let’s go. I want to be home before dark.”
She hugged her mom and slid into the driver’s seat of the car.
Paige walked down the driveway and gave her grandma a hug and kiss. “I love you. I’ll be back soon, I promise.”
Her grandma smiled and hugged her back. She sensed a shift in Paige’s demeanor—a change that caused her to shudder.
Paige threw her luggage into the trunk and slammed the lid. She sat in the passenger seat, secured the seat belt, and waved goodbye.
Backing out of the driveway, Paige’s mother asked, “So, how was your visit?”
“Better than I thought it would be,” Paige said, grinning. As Paige looked out the side window, she saw her reflection. A distorted smile and red eyes looked back at her.
Featured Image by DavidPogue (Frank Meitzke) from Pixabay