The clock was ticking too slow. Not ticking slow in the time-was-taking-too-long-to-move sort of way, but more in a that-minute-hand-was-moving-way-too-slow. You were sure you weren’t crazy… but time moving too slow was a crazy concept in itself.

So you stood in front of your little hearth clock, listening the how it didn’t match the grandfather clock’s ticking in your hallway, and staring at it as if looking long enough would magically have made it catch up to the other. You thought you’d fixed it yesterday, but no. Time simply insisted to move slower in that room, it seemed.

With a sigh, you reached out and picked up the hearth clock and turned toward the door. You glared at the hot, humid haze outside, and wondered if it was worth braving. It was just a clock after all.

A clock that was driving you out of your tiny little brains.

You took the door handle before you could question yourself any longer, and opened it to a what felt like a solid wall of humidity. Not bothering to take a breath of the thick air, you stepped out onto the sidewalk, locked your house up, and set off.

The sun glared into your eyes, nearly blinding you.

At least, that’s what you blamed when you were pretty sure you saw you see a girl walk by you with a feathered wig and antlers sprouted from her head.

You paused, the clock a steady, too-slow tick, tock, tick, tock  against your chest. Well, you did live in an odd city, maybe there was just festival going on you didn’t know about. Simple, really.

When the fog of heat started to become splotched with shadows, that was a little harder to dismiss. You looked up. The entire sky was filled with hot air balloons.

Okay, fine. Maybe this was the weird festival that you thought it might be. Except when they started pulling out guns and shooting each other.

One of them fell on the street next to you, smashing through the building and somehow exploding and setting itself and two houses on fire.

It was at that point that you thought that running might have been a good idea.

You barely felt your legs and feet moving underneath you. People swarmed the streets, but they weren’t exactly what most would call “people.” They had the jaws of predators, alien-shaped legs, facial features misplaced — there was a particularly nasty one that had a mouth on its forehead and knives in its hair.

This is the one that started your hysterical fit, where you started screaming and flailing and running without truly seeing where you’re going.

Until you hit a brick wall.

As you fell and your vision went black, two things occurred to you. The first: at least the brick wall was normal and you weren’t eaten by a forehead mouth. The second: you hadn’t drank any water all day. And heat stroke was probably something you should have thought about before taking a stroll.

Perhaps it wasn’t worth going outside in attempt to not lose your mind, since it seemed you’d already lost it.



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