|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Six
19 - The Clock Struck Midnight - Lucie
His eyes flitted across the dark room, not touching on anything more solid than a shadow. He could feel the darkness closing in around him and he longed for nothing more than the comfort of his own bed, in his own house. No matter how foreign it may be, it was still his and nothing could change that. The sleep didn't come anymore, it was so evasive, and he never seemed to have the energy to stalk it down. So he spent most nights like this, just laying there and watching nothing and everything all at once, alone in the darkness. . .even though he was never all alone.
The clock ticked away and he listened, mesmerized by its fluent staccato pattern, broken by nothing. He remembered the way each clock in his house sounded, and the shrill tick-tock of this clock was unsettling, nothing like home. He knew that he had to sleep some time, there was too much going on, he needed that sleep. Although he figured that some day he could die of sleep deprivation, maybe that way he could escape the silent madness that his life had slowly become. He wondered if the career was even worth this traction. He wanted out, but there were no open doors.
And the clock struck midnight, and he fell into a restless slumber, not a comforting sleep but enough to keep him alive a little longer, one more concert, one more week, just until they were happy with his performance. He could hear his brothers now, their breathing was deep and steady, like the ticking of the clock that was slowly driving him closer to the borders of insanity, and he smiled at the thought of being clinically insane. That would effect his career, now wouldn't it. . .
Zac lifted his head off of the sweat-covered pillow and looked around his room. The clock ticked maniacally on the wall and his brothers were both asleep, at least for now. It was time to get up, time to get going, there was a flight to catch and a concert to perform, more fans to please. . .too bad he really didn't care anymore, he was so apathetic. He wondered if anyone else wanted to go home, if anyone else felt to insanely alone, even though they were always surrounded by people, he was so isolated in this crowd.
Taylor slowly awoke from his deep sleep and looked at the clock, it was time for a shower, but his bed was so comfortable, just like the bed at home, he smiled. He waited and waited and finally just got up and got dressed, it was so much easier than taking the time to shower, no one noticed if he skipped a day anyway. He saw Zac lying in the bed next to his and he grimaced, that kid was just getting weirder every day, it was really starting to scare him.
He wasn't sure why Zac was so strange, it was just the way Zac had always been, but now Zac was getting more and more bizarre by the day, no, more like by the second. And another second ticked by on the evil clock on the far wall, but Taylor didn't hear it, he didn't really care.
Isaac watched as Zac signed another autograph, his smile mechanical, his signature always the same. Zac was withdrawing slowly from their world, but he was still the same old Zac. Isaac couldn't pinpoint what was wrong; Zac just seemed to be silently withering away.
And they finished the concert and did a quick interview for MTV, same as all the others, Isaac thought. Zac says something bizarre and everyone laughs, he then cracks a joke that's really morbid, yet strikingly funny and everyone laughs but him, and he always used to laugh at his own jokes. This was too strange to comprehend, but Isaac was so tired and he just wanted to get some sleep. As he lay in his warm bed he let the gentle ticking of the clock on the far wall lull him into an exhausted slumber.
Zac looked around his room again, glancing one last time at his brothers, and smiling insanely, but only because he was insane. There was something about those clocks on all the walls, the clocks that were slowly ticking away the seconds of his life. They were slowly counting down until his death, stealing from him seconds that he desperately wanted to use for living a life, HIS life, but he was living a lie and every clock on any wall reminded him of that, he hated them all. He quietly whispered a good-bye to his brothers, assuring their sleeping frames that it wasn't their fault, and then it was time. He took the whole bottle of sleeping pills never to awake again, and he passed away listening to the damned clocks that were driving him insane and stealing his life. His final breath was a slow one as his eyes closed for a final time.
And the clock struck midnight. . .