The Tick-Tock Man

That old clump of wood
used to chant. People round
about for miles would come
hear that old preacher’s son
sing like an angel; we all
used to sit outdoors in spring,
gather our children and pluck
and tuck them chords
till early evening hours closed in;
that tower above would ring
and ring – I can almost hear it
even now – ding, ding, ding.
They must have taken
it with them. He died
you know. Some say he’s still
there. Still preaching.
I don’t know much about
such things. Ghosts? They seem
to float from our dreams
don’t they? I just drink this whiskey
and they don’t bother me none.
Once before I retired
I drove Comax down these woods,
where he stayed a night
possum hunting down there –
that boy came hightailing
it up next day,  sheet white
like those blisters
you get on your feet:
his eyes were strange,
had little sparks in them –
said he’d seen a monster
out of hell, some black thing
crawling from that old church,
a veritable procession.
I told him to lay off
that bootlegged shine.
Funny thing: that tick in his bad eye.
Still there: tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Like a bad dream. From then on in these parts
he was known far and wide as the tick-tock man.

Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

6 thoughts on “The Tick-Tock Man

  1. That was very hick’ish of you. 😉 A different type of story, different type of writing. I liked it – it was visual, fun and eerie all at the same time. However, you should believe in ghosts, they’re the wind that pushes the hands of the clock forward — which releases the tick of the tock – an optometrists dream.

    P.S. That picture is a bit unnerving (the portrait) … thank you for this evening’s nightmare, I hope you enjoyed your stay? 😉


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