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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2210521
A strange, faint rhythmic sound. Written for Screams!!! 1/17/2020.
Clickerty Click

You are on the point of climbing into bed for a good night's sleep when you hear a faint sound. It's an odd one, but at the same time it is vaguely familiar. Not from here though; you might have heard it before, but never in this room.

Clickerty click, clickerty click.

Frowning, you concentrate, try to work out exactly where the sound is coming from, for there is no one else inside the room with you. You walk around, with footsteps muffled by the carpet and you put your ear to the wardrobe, even to the drawers in the chest, but whatever it is it is not coming from either of those.

Clickerty click, clickerty click.

The sound seems to be coming from the wall. It might not be so disturbing if there was a room behind it, but there isn't. You know for a fact that the wall is solid stone and very thick. On the far side of it there is nothing but air. Could it be some kind of infestation? Birds, squirrels, even rats have been known to get inside walls, but would any of those make such a regular rhythmic sound?

Slowly, nervously, you lift your hand towards the wall, lean your head forward, and it is at that moment, when your balance is slightly compromised, that there is a tug. It seems to be coming from the area between your shoulder-blades, at the base of your neck. Before you have a chance to lift up a hand and explore your skin, there is another yank, harder this time, and you brace yourself for impact with the wall.

It doesn't come though, does it; for as impossible as it is, you find yourself being dragged into the wall, then through it, until you find yourself staggering into a room that simply does not exist.

Clickerty click, clickerty click.

A woman sits in front of you, knitting. The sound that was familiar was the clicking of her needles. Your mother used to knit, didn't she, and your grandmother, but she is neither of those. She pulls on the thread and it pulls you forward, chokes you. The yarn she is using is coming from inside your body, leaking out through a hole that is exactly central to your clavicles.
"St... stop..." you manage to choke out.

"I don't think you'd want her to do that, dear." The voice does not belong to the woman that is knitting but to another, one you had not noticed before.

Staying still, trying to breathe deeply enough to stave off the panic, you see that there are three of them. They must be sisters, you think, for they look very much alike. All three are old and wrinkled, with greying hair, arthritic hands and long fingernails. Their clothing is nondescript. In spite of their age, all three have blue eyes that almost seem to glow as they focus on you.

Even the woman that is knitting is staring you in the face until you stumble down on to one knee. She cackles, and you watch those needles as she picks up a dropped stitch, pulling you back up on to your feet as she does so. With barely a break in the rhythm, she continues to knit.

Clickerty click, clickerty click.

The woman to the knitter's left holds up what looks rather like a long, wide scarf. Although for the most part the stitches seem in place and perfectly even, you can see little mistakes here and there. A couple are places where a stitch seems to have been added, but there are equally places where two have become one. And then there are holes. It is those that you find most disturbing.

Clickerty click, clickerty click.

"This," she says in her throaty croaky voice, "is your life in my hands. So far, it's looking to have been far from perfect."

"But... " you start to say before the cord pulls hard once more and makes you hold your tongue.

The middle sister begins to talk. "This is your present. My needles are working in real time, as I can so easily demonstrate." She holds your eyes, as she once again drops a stitch and sends you plunging to the ground. "I can drop you," she says; "and I can pick you up." The needle works its way into the center of the loop of thread and lifts it back on to the needle. As it does so, you are once again lifted into a standing position.

"Okay, okay... I get it," you say, trying for a placatory tone. "Please, can you be a bit more careful."

As her needles continue with their clickerty clicking she throws back her head and laughs. "It's not me that you need to worry about, but her." She nods her head in the direction of the third sister.

This woman seems to be almost bored by the encounter. From what you can see, she is doing nothing and might as well not be there at all. That is what you think until you see the scissors that gleam brightly in her hands.

The woman that is knitting nods her head. "That's right. She is your future. It is held right there in her hands. You would do well to remember us."

You watch in horror as she pulls out a length of yarn from inside you, her needles momentarily still as the scissors lift, open and approach the thread. Suddenly you feel yourself falling backwards through the stones of the wall. You cannot get your balance but keep on staggering backwards until you collide with the side of your bed.

You jolt upwards, sitting up from your pillow, your mattress. Sweat runs down your face and your breathing is much faster than usual. A nightmare? Was that really all it was? It must have been, and yet it seemed so very real.

You can't help checking though, can you. That spot, where the thread was making its way out from inside your body; your fingers simply have to explore it. And there is a lump, not large but big enough for a length of yarn to fit through. It wasn't there before, but it is there now.

And if you listen hard enough you can hear those needles as they knit away at your life. Clickety click, clickerty click. It's kind of reassuring, that sound that breaks the silence. You hope that you never hear it stop.


(1083 words)


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