“The clock thing” started when Jerry and Steven were still moving in. Jerry found an antique wall clock with the note: “Aunt Edna left this to us. We never put it up. Hopefully it can brighten your new place. Love, Mom.”
Steven compared it to something you might find in a toilet, so the guys put it up in the bathroom, because that was about the level of humor you could expect from them.
The next morning, Jerry noticed that it was displaying 12 o’clock. He wound it back to nine fifteen. That evening, the clock read 12 again. Jerry mentioned it in passing to Steven, who said it probably just had a gear missing that made it stop at noon and midnight.
That didn’t explain why the next day it was stuck at 11. Jerry wound it again, but minutes later he found it pointing to 11. Jerry got Steven to take a look, but when they entered the bathroom, it was displaying the correct time.
The next day, every time Jerry looked at it, 10 stared back. If he got Steven, it would show the correct time.
The day after that, it was 9.
Then it was 8.
By 4, Jerry was transfixed. He lost interest in almost anything except observing the clock, trying to coax out of it the mystery of this menacing countdown.
Jerry hadn’t slept for days, and he wouldn’t even acknowledge Steven as he tried to drag him out to a party. Jerry just sat, staring at the clock. It only replied:
Hours passed. A sudden thundering knock at the front door. It continued. Then a smashing of glass. Footsteps up the stairs. Toward the bathroom. A knock at the bathroom door.
Jerry sprang up, slipped, and fell into the bathtub, striking his head on the faucet.
The drain carried away the blood from his temple.
The door opened. “I couldn’t find my keys-” Steven began, but he stopped, seeing his roommate in the tub, not wanting to wake him. Even though it was a strange spot, at least Jerry was sleeping. He glanced up at the clock.
“Awesome. It’s only midnight.”