Creative Writing: Tick

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‘Tick’ by Owen Harvey

Tick tick tick.

There it is again. That ticking noise. Tick tick tick. It’s never-ending, like someone banging a tiny hammer inside of my skull. It’s not loud, but it’s always there. Tick tick tick.

What’s he staring at? He’s so hoity-toity with his briefcase and suit and bowler hat and walrus moustache. Tick tick tick. Why can’t he hear it? What’s he looking at me for? Does he think I’m strange? I’m just a bit jumpy. If only he could hear the ticking, he’d be jumpy too. Tick tick tick.

Why, why, why does it keep ticking? Why is this happening to me? I need to stop stressing; maybe that’s what’s making it tick. Yeah, maybe my worrying has kept the ticking going. It’s trying to break me. It won’t break me… Fuck, just stop already! What’s this? Walrus-man’s coming over. What does he want?

He’s saying something, but I can’t concentrate. Tick tick tick. Look, there’s a bird up in the sky. So blue, so pretty. It doesn’t have a care in the world. Why can’t I be like that? Argh, my head is on fire! What the hell is Walrus-man saying? Get away from me!

Tick tick tick.

Tick tick tick.

Where am I now? It’s dark here. And cold. How did I get here? The ticking’s still there. Tick tick tick. It’s never going to stop.

Huh, the door is opening. Who’s that? I don’t recognise you. What do you want? Why are you grabbing me? What are you doing with that needle? Let me go! No! Tick tick tick.

Ugh, I feel so groggy. Why am I even here? I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m just jumpy, that’s all. I didn’t mean to hurt that guy. It’s not like I wasn’t provoked; he was all up in my face. He was asking for it! And that ticking doesn’t help! Tick tick tick. Maybe I should tell someone about the ticking, get some help. But they’d all think I’m crazy. They probably already do. Maybe I am crazy. But would a crazy man ask that?

Tick tick tick. No, it just keeps going. Relentlessly. Infinitely. The white coats are trying to talk to me. Why would they care about me? They get paid regardless of what happens to me. They probably don’t even want me to get better. The longer I stay, the more they get paid. Tick tick…

What?

It stopped. The ticking stopped. Gone. But how can I be sure? What if it comes back? I’d never rest if it came back. It’s going to come back, I know it. It’ll start up again soon. It’s inevitable.

Well, I’m back outside. It’s nice and sunny and there are happy faces all around, but I don’t like it here anymore. I live in fear of the dreadful ticking’s return. The anxiety is killing me. When will it come back?

I need it.

 

Yak will now be accepting creative submissions, so feel free to email us your stuff at yakmedia@newcastle.edu.au (Note: we will publish at our own discretion and contact you only if successful).

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