Rats in the Clock

The deadline approaches.
The deadline approaches.

Tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic

Do you hear that? Time is ticking away.

Tic, tic, tic, tic, tic….

Like the sound of rat toenails on pavement as the vermin flee a warehouse engulfed in flames, the sound is maddening and filthy in my head. I cringe from it, but the noise still builds.

Tic, tic, tic, tic

The deadline no longer lumbers toward me, it descends upon my head with extreme, though imagined, malice of forethought. It is my enemy. I fear it and quake.

Tic, tic, tic

Doe, Anyers, doctors, soldiers collapse upon me, half-formed and hungry.

Tic, tic

There is no shelter, no place to hide.


I scream!

*clears her throat*

*checks the label on the medicine, nods…*

“and with a brief shudder, carries on*

Shall we begin again? Perhaps this time without the rat toenails? Yeah?


Good morning, all. Did you know the short story deadline is approaching?

But I, for one, refuse to panic… I hear those giggles, by the way. Shush.

The plan is this: I want to get half of the story complete today. You know, all the little bits tied together, the plot cemented in place, maybe give John Doe a name (poor guy’s just floundering around like an unknown species of fish; nobody but his “mother” knows he exist.)

Tomorrow, I’m concentrating fully on the second half, tidying up the storyline and spiffing up that final crescendo of romance.

Deadline day, I’m fact-checking and doing the grammatical edits. Cover letter, final mad read-throughs and maybe even a title for the thing is also on the must-do list.

The Ticker to Madness will return with tonight’s evening blog. Right now, the word count is holding steady at 4,334… But that, my friends, is about to change. Off to work, I go!

Until this evening, when the tic-tic-tics will be even louder…


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