Friday, November 1, 2013

"Waiting for You" by Midnight Oil

You find the pocket watch at an antique shop.  It is buried underneath many other things in a box on the second floor.  It seems out of place, as if someone were trying to hide it.  Perhaps a child had found it and stored it away there when their parents wouldn’t purchase it.  Or maybe the store owner wanted to hold on to it for a while, and so they tried to hide it away.  In either case it’s a beautiful pocket watch.

It looks like it’s from about the civil war era, or just after.  It’s of English make, and slightly damaged.  The metal is bent a bit, and the watch won’t open.  But when the sunlight hits it, light scatters all around the room.  The details on the watch are ornate, and cast beautiful patterns all over the walls.  You can see why someone would treasure this, the light show from it’s reflection is spectacular.  It would make a perfect addition to your collection of antique watches and clocks.  You have to have it.

The girl working at the register smiles and asks if that will be all, to which you respond yes.  She writes up the purchase, $70.  (Undervalued in your opinion.)

The store owner comes up to you just as you get ready to leave and says,

“Are you sure you want to buy that?  We’ve got plenty of other watches that aren’t… damaged.”

So it must have been the store owner who hid it away.  He clearly thought the watch was valuable, otherwise he wouldn’t turn you away from it.  You tell him you would like the watch you purchased, and no other.

The shopkeeper hesitates for a moment before saying,

“Well, don’t tamper with it too much, or try to get it open.  You might break it.”

He looks at you as if he’d given you a severe warning, almost life or death.  Which you find to be a bit unusual.  You tell him you’ll take care of it and won’t mess with it.  Before making your way out of the shop.  

“What a strange man,” you think.  “But to be fair he spends most of his life around junk and antiques.  He could be stranger.”

You make your way home with the watch in passenger seat.  Quite proud of your purchase, it immediately goes on display when you get home.  You put it on a bookshelf where light hits most of the day, and the watch gives off its brilliant light display.

You go to read for a bit, but can’t stop thinking about the watch.  Pocket watches like that usually have a display on the inside.  You want to know what the broken latch was hiding from you.  You have to get it open.  You have to know.  Something, some voice is telling you:
“Open it. Open it. Don’t you want to know?”

You get a screwdriver, a small flathead.  The watch would certainly open if you wedge the screwdriver in the latch slightly.  You take the watch from its spot, and put the screwdriver to it.  You fiddle with it for about a half hour when suddenly you hit the right spot.  The watch door swings open.

You are a bit disappointed.  The clock is stuck at 1:26, and the display only has a picture of a young woman and a little note:
I’ll be waiting for you.

So the man this watch belonged to clearly had a lover, and he must have gone off.  She left him a note that he kept in his pocket watch while he traveled.  An interesting look into the past, but there is really nothing special about it.

Later in the evening you think about the note again:
I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll be waiting for you.

For a moment you can almost hear a young woman’s voice saying those words.  So tragic, it is likely that the owner of the watch never got to return to her.

You get into bed.  You need an extra blanket, even with the heat turned up the house is unusually cold.  You have a dream that night, you are in an argument with a young woman.  It seems you have wronged her in some way.  She is screaming and comes charging towards you.  Right then, you wake, startled.  Cold nights like this always gave you nightmares.  You look at the clock: 1:22.  It’s going to be a long night if things keep on like this.

But just as you lay your head back down, you hear sobbing.

Someone is crying, yet you’re alone in the house.  Is there an intruder?  Why would a robber be crying?

You pick up the baseball bat that you keep in the bedroom and go into the hallway.

As you slowly make your way toward the stairs the sobs get louder.  And louder still as you creep down the stairs.  The sound is coming from your study, and as you approached, you see a young woman on her knees, holding the pocket watch.  She notices you and her sobbing stops.  She looks at you with a piercing gaze.  She is the same woman from your dream, and the photograph inside the watch.

“You.  I waited for you.  You broke my heart.”

Your chest begins to burn.

I waited for you.

You try to move, to speak even, but you’re completely frozen.  The woman stands up, she walks closer and with every step your chest burns more and more.  She glares at you, her face rapidly changing from distraught to angry, her head twitching unnaturally.

We were going to be married.  I waited for you.

You are in so much pain you can hardly take it.  Your heart is beating so fast it felt as if it might burst.  Your chest feels on fire now, and it feels as if the muscles in your torso are being ripped apart.  Your ribs are cracking and your consciousness is fading.

You broke my heart.  So now I need a new one.

The woman slowly reaches toward you.  Her hand extends to right over your heart.  Her hand plunges into your chest.

The police find the body 3 days later.  There are no cuts, no blood, no external injuries to report.  The victim is entirely normal, with one exception, there is no heart.  Their only pieces of possible evidence:
A pocket watch that won’t open.
And the fact that every clock in the house is stuck at 1:26 am.

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