From the damp stone wall the oppressive timepiece hammered out the death throes of a spirit: tock, tock, tock. The man fought to disassociate from the callous beat that marched down time, leaning back into the sharp bench slats and forcing his hard fists against his ears. Anything to block the unrelenting beat. He thought he’d try to meditate again, to put all his effort into this one act of oblivion. He saw the white light pulse through him, the other-worldness of dreams, blocking out the beat, beat momentarily. Then he was back in real time, hearing the seconds pounding away.
The man knew he needed to move, to strain immovable joints, to break the pain barrier that fenced him in. Gripping the front slat of the bench, clenching his teeth and emitting a hollow growl he levered his body out of its frame. He stretched himself out of the seat, putting unaccustomed weight onto unbending limbs. His sigh echoed around the bare room as he sank back down. He’d been too long in the one position that locked his knees and made the air hard to breathe. Too long, and the seconds were beating down to a close.
A sudden chink of light bled under the heavy door. Another soul was near. Maybe more. He strained to hear a movement, a sound. But the beat kept on, filling the room, filling his mind. He shook his head free of the noise, and forced himself to stand. Just six feet away was the heavy door with its rusted hinges and blocked keyhole.
Again and again he tested the weight upon his legs and feet knowing that relentless effort was his only hope, his only hope of destroying their power to hold him, to make him their man. He’d had the force of his will, knew the power of controlling his own destiny – before they tried to break him, to beat out everything he stood for. He would defy their petty oppression; he would defy their need to make him theirs.
The clock ticked on. With every second, and with every minute, and with every hour the man became stronger. He willed and worked his useless joints until he was free of their tyranny, until he could push a path to that door.
With blackened nails the man gouged a splinter from the wooden bench and began to dig into the keyhole, easing out piece by piece the matter that was blocking it. Within a day he could peer through the hole, and within another he could press his ear against the hole and hear the silence of the outer room. He would survive.
Thank you for reading my short story. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.