Small offerings: Distracted fiction

By in Distractions

The ticking of the clock is palpable in the dark — reverberating off the small bones in the middle of his ear. The stapes, a tiny hammer, lightly taps against the oval window in response to the minute vibrations that have travelled through the air to hit the tympanic membrane.

Known as the smallest bone in the human body — a most delicate design — it transmits vibration further into the dark cavern of the canal. Small ripples oscillate forward, propelled through the fluid of the inner ear to tickle his auditory nerve.

This small electric current is consolidated into his temporal lobe and assessed by a collection of neurons that hum near the front of his skull. He recognizes it as the clock, an anachronistic object that hovers between past and present in a future dominated by our digital signals and signatures.

The man, much like the clock, hovers between past and present in a future dominated by the transient transmission of whispers that pass through the curtains of his bedroom window. They travel like hungry ghosts, collecting just out of reach near the ceiling. They hover there as the man blinks against the dark, listening to the ticking of the clock in the stillness of his house. He can feel it in his bones.

“I never should have opened the box,” the man thinks, watching the hungry ghosts as they swim across his ceiling. Below the man, beneath the bed, the small wooden box lies open, its contents spilling out — shifting in and out of the man’s bedroom, between the past and future, dominated by the archaic beating of his heart.

Erin Matthews / Opinions Editor