The clock struck fourteen, for one or more of its cogs was wrongly aligned in their grooves on the inside of the carriage. Granddad had left the clock to Molly, and from his place in the next word he heard the fourteen chimes and wondered whether the magnetic poles had finally reversed where Molly lived. If so, he hoped she was all right.

When he had that clock it used to strike the correct hour, then burp, then strike twice more. That was disconcerting, but it only moved a small black hole into the garden for a brief spell, and as long as no-one went near the garden all was well. They never did, because the garden was for show, and not for playing in.

Now that Molly had the clock it appeared to have become more unstable overnight. Granddad had considered leaving instructions for it to be destroyed, but he knew Molly loved it, so in the end he left it to her. But there was a mysterious dynamic between Molly and her newly acquired clock which exaggerated its non-conforming behaviour.

As Granddad drew near to check on Molly, he saw many others who appeared to be checking on her too. Her house was full of ghosts, and the black hole had become larger and was now in Molly’s yard. She didn’t have a proper garden in which to play.

A quarter of an hour later the clock struck again, fifteen times, and Granddad tried in vain to hold onto Molly as she raced across the yard looking for her mother, to ask her what was wrong with the clock. In the middle of the yard, Molly vanished.

 

Channelled from Ino