New Year’s Eve writing exercise

When my hunnybun was busy guitar geeking with a friend on New Year’s Eve, I amused myself with writing. The only idea I came up with was a countdown to midnight, so I used it. I think I’ve managed to build some tension but I don’t read enough suspense to have a clue where to take this story that isn’t an overdone bore. Therefore, it goes into the writing exercise folder and posted here for those who’re looking for a post that isn’t a tweet transcript of my pointless tweets. 😀

 

With the old year ticking down to its last second, he sat in his chair and stared at his clock. He watched the second hand move over the stark white face from bold black number to bold black number. The year was almost over, and the promise, threat?, had been clear. He would see the clock strike twelve this day, but die on the tick of two seconds later.

     Despair brought his head into his hands and a moan to escape. The augury of his birth broke his family apart. His father had assaulted the old seer, broke her collar bone throwing her out of the house he’d been told, and his mother fell into a depression so deep she couldn’t care for her baby and killed herself before he was five.

“It wasn’t fair!” he thought and slammed his meaty fist on the table hard enough to crack the soft-sanded wood. He felt the wound in the blonde grain with his rough fingertips, ashamed. He’d made this table, every piece of furniture in the house in fact, to earn his master grade as a carpenter. His pieces had made their owners smile and their creator renowned.

He stood and faced away from the traitor clock, hands behind his back. A deep shuddering breath brought his rage under control again, but it couldn’t stop his mind.

Granny and his many aunts never let him forget the awful prophecy. They kept it handy as a whip to make him mind, a goad to make him excel in school, a taunt to bring his defiance up short. Hands clinched in rage. “Superstitious bastards,” he screamed at the ceiling, “Rot in Hell!”

A gray cat jumped out of the armchair next to the fire and ran out of the room in fright. Heat moved up his neck and face. It wasn’t his cat’s fault. His body flopped into the vacated chair and perversely enjoying the warm spot the cat had left on the cushion. Loneliness wrapped around him like a too small coat he was forced to wear. He wished he had a wife, someone to comfort in these final minutes, but the one time in his life he’d found a lovely lady to woo, his doom threw a shadow over everything and his heart turned cold.

Tear blurred eyes stared at the orange-red coals in the fireplace. Thoughts chased each other like children playing tag. He was only twenty-one. Why should his life be taken from him now? Why did the gods curse him so? Why didn’t that seer keep her big mouth shut? They could’ve kept it from him, not told him of his doom, but they let it cast its life-taking pall over everything he did.

Hell, he’d become a carpenter to fashion his own coffin. He rose and walked down the hall to his bedroom. There, up against wall was tall object covered with cheery green blanket to match the curtains. He pulled the blanket down and looked at his proudest handiwork.

The lid opened without a sound on oiled hinges to reveal a silk padded interior. With a sigh of resignation, he eased it down flat on the floor and climbed in, leaving the lid open.

The quiet house let the kitchen clock broadcast its tick tock back to the bedroom. Tears began to flow as he waited for it to strike midnight.

A weight landed on his chest and his hands jerked to find warm fur. He stretched his neck forward to see his cat had jumped up and was busy making herself comfortable on his warm chest. His hands stroked her spine and she purred. He smiled.

He kept stroking the furry beast until the clock began to strike. His hands froze in mid motion. The cat’s head lifted and she looked at him in puzzlement.

He counted them as they rang, and his voice grew louder with fear as the number grew. “…ten…Eleven…TWELVE!” he said. The cat got up and left with an air of being put upon. He didn’t have a thought about the cat however, as he sat up to watch the door.

       As the tones faded into silence, a whisper flowed along the floor. A shadow shape filled the doorway. He fell backward to lie down again, but hit his head on the edge of the coffin and he knew no more.

 

As usual, opinions are welcome. Just tell me why you liked/hated it, ok? Thanks.

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