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The Broken Clock

The Broken Clock

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The house that I grew up in was built in the 1920s and had a large, unfinished basement with an adjoining cement back cellar. The basement had poor lighting and was somewhat spooky to begin with, but a recurring incident made the basement even more unsettling.

My Mom would go into the basement to do the laundry as the washer and dryer were hooked up in the basement's main room next to a concrete sink. There was a heavily cluttered table next to the room's door upon which was strewn with lots of junk, including a broken wind-up clock. The wind-up clock had been left by the house's previous owners and sat on the edge of the table for no apparent reason, undisturbed among the junk since the former occupants had moved out years ago.

This is what Mom told me about the clock: she would sometimes walk into the basement room, put the basket of dirty clothes on the floor next to the washing machine, and then...the broken clock would start ticking. The ticking would continue until my Mom left the room to climb the stairs to the kitchen above, and then stop once she had reached the top of the stairs from the basement. This odd phenomenon wouldn't occur with any regular pattern and the clock would only begin ticking for my Mom and no one else.

My Mom never threw out the broken clock or even tried to touch it. She and I would both sometimes have very disturbing nightmares involving shadowy figures moving around the basement, even speaking to her in harsh whispers. Our family dog would sometimes refuse to go into the basement, instead standing at the top of the stairs growling and barking at some unseen presence.

Later, during my high school years, there was a mysterious fire in our home which the investigators blamed on faulty wiring in the basement. The basement was completely burned out, along with the ghostly clock. After our home was restored, we moved back in and the disquieting dreams of the basement phantoms never returned to either myself or Mom. This is just my suspicion - I think that the basement fire was intended for us, but no one was home when the fire started.
The house that I grew up in was built in the 1920s and had a large, unfinished basement with an adjoining cement back cellar. The basement had poor lighting and was somewhat spooky to begin with, but a recurring incident made the basement even more unsettling.

My Mom would go into the basement to do the laundry as the washer and dryer were hooked up in the basement's main room next to a concrete sink. There was a heavily cluttered table next to the room's door upon which was strewn with lots of junk, including a broken wind-up clock. The wind-up clock had been left by the house's previous owners and sat on the edge of the table for no apparent reason, undisturbed among the junk since the former occupants had moved out years ago.

This is what Mom told me about the clock: she would sometimes walk into the basement room, put the basket of dirty clothes on the floor next to the washing machine, and then...the broken clock would start ticking. The ticking would continue until my Mom left the room to climb the stairs to the kitchen above, and then stop once she had reached the top of the stairs from the basement. This odd phenomenon wouldn't occur with any regular pattern and the clock would only begin ticking for my Mom and no one else.

My Mom never threw out the broken clock or even tried to touch it. She and I would both sometimes have very disturbing nightmares involving shadowy figures moving around the basement, even speaking to her in harsh whispers. Our family dog would sometimes refuse to go into the basement, instead standing at the top of the stairs growling and barking at some unseen presence.

Later, during my high school years, there was a mysterious fire in our home which the investigators blamed on faulty wiring in the basement. The basement was completely burned out, along with the ghostly clock. After our home was restored, we moved back in and the disquieting dreams of the basement phantoms never returned to either myself or Mom. This is just my suspicion - I think that the basement fire was intended for us, but no one was home when the fire started.

© James Dermond - 10-28-18



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Horror writer. Author the short story collection, 'Doorways to the Unseen: 6 Tales of Terror and Suspense.' [More]...


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Added 10-28-18

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