There’s a cuckoo clock that hangs on a white, smoke stained wall, dimly lit in the
rising sun that beams through the dust in the air. It ticks by the passing of time, the hands piercing the complete silence of the abandoned house in which the clock resides.
Little gears and gadgets twist and pull in mechanical bliss within the clock, custom made, one of a kind. Tick tock, tick tock.
It’s 6:45 AM, and everything in the house is silent, save the cuckoo clock. Dodge the spurs that spin and the weights that descend and walk down a darkened archway preloaded with a spring, attached to a bird.
The songbird perches patiently at the door, waiting for someone to knock. It doesn’t blink and its empty wooden heart doesn’t beat but still it waits for its cue. Tick tock, tick tock.
6:52 AM and the house lays dormant in filth and resides silent in obedience. A scorching breeze twists through a broken window. A picture hangs crooked opposite the clock, a framed history of no meaningful consequence. They were happy, and they smiled as the waves crashed behind them in the summer of 1997.
Winters have passed and died and an endless summer has reigned for many setting suns and rising stars but the clock wasn’t made to track dates and so it continued in its mission to keep accurate time regardless of how much has changed since the family vacation of ’97.
6:56 AM and the cuckoo clock awaits its mark in a world that had long ago missed its own. A sand storm roars outside and rattles the few remaining windows. Sand piles along the moldy carpet. The cuckoo clock anticipates the meaning of its creation as the gears twist the second arm that had long ago broken off.
6:59 AM and the storm has roared by and taken the attic with it and debris rained down into the disarrayed living room that the woman in the picture opposite the clock would have thrown a familiar fit over. The man would’ve sat apologetically silent. The children would’ve watched from the second story landing. The cuckoo clock would’ve tick tocked, tick tocked, and the world couldn’t have cared less.
A few seconds now. The springs pull back and prepare to launch the songbird. The rusty gears go into overdrive as one after the other fall away and clang to the wooden base below. One more tick, one more tock, and one last song for the silent world.
7 AM. The doors fold out and the bird springs free. It tweets seven times, an engineered beauty that the world will never see again. The hour arm breaks off and strikes the bird and they both fall to the living room rug, covered with sand instantly, and the world revels in the echo of the last song of the apocalypse.
The family smiles as the motionless waves crash behind them. The cuckoo clock sits empty and barren, and the world spins on. Tick tock, tick tock.