When The Clock Strikes Twelve

Submitted for Contest #64 in response to: Write a ghost story where there’s more going on than it first appears.... view prompt

10 comments

Oct 24, 2020

Holiday Mystery Funny

As the clock struck eight, little monsters were herded back to their warm beds, every one of them with a cheeky smile and a mind full of delicious candied thoughts. Danny and Jones were laying out tiny plastic cups on the kitchen island. Two bags of tiny cups needed laying out and three bags in the fridge holding green half jelly-half liquid concoctions. Orange and black streamers crisscrossed every inch of ceiling in a thoughtless mess. Jones had bought out the 52nd street dollarstore’s inventory of styrofoam spiders and scattered them onto every surface in the two storey house.


The clock struck nine, slutty animals and bloodstained movie stars were released into the night. The crisp October chill as disrespected as Mrs. Oakley’s front garden. Danny and Jones’ rivalry with Mrs. Oakley began early September, when the garden was dying from stomping feet and discarded beer, and the house next door became a college party zone. The old lady stormed through the open door one afternoon with her garden spade and crazy hair swept into a lopsided bun, yelling, “STAY AWAY FROM MY PROPERTY!” The irony was not lost to Danny and Jones, who stumbled over hooded zombies, empty coffee cups, and rainbow Post-Its to calm old Mrs. Oakley down. She was agreeable at first, charmed by Danny’s soft velvety voice and topaz blue eyes. Then Jones pointed out the rude intrusion on Mrs. Oakley’s part and all was lost.


The clock struck ten, the house filled to the brim. Face paint, fish net, and frocks. Prisoners, presidents, and poltergeists. The music was loud and the lights were off. Jones turned on the smoke machine and a dance-off commenced. Upstairs, Jones’ bedroom was occupied by groups of seance enthusiasts and Hocus Pocus descendants. Snoopy Dogg walked in, his presence encompassed in a cloud of smoke, and was immediately ejected from the club. Next to Jones’ hijacked room was Danny’s room, locked; the single key sat unguarded on the top shelf of the bookcase next to the window alcove in the sitting room. About mid-way through the first hour, two officers showed up at the doorstep to address a noise complaint. The confrontation veered away from the complaint and towards more casual conversation under Danny’s calculated charm. The officers left, each with a chocolate bar in one hand and a candied apple in the other. Just before they got in the car, the one called Rob waved Danny goodnight.  


The clock struck eleven, Little Red Riding Hood spilled her beer and Joe-nny Depp slipped across it, falling face first into the coffee table and knocking a plastic vase of mud and dead flowers to the ground. The fiasco led to two other accidents and a round of shots. Kim Kardashian and her disgruntled partner Kan-Nah East made a scene when she caught him flirting on the staircase with a broken rag doll in a skimpy skirt, about to head upstairs. The two had it out just as they would on reality tv, with Kim bringing in her sisterhood crew of online influencers and pink-clad Pooja Cat. Rag Doll was no pushover with Danny on her side. They took the fight outside. Danny’s bowling ball was thrown across the yard; nobody got hurt... except a Mahonia bush… and Kan-Nah East’s ego. The altercation ended with the twelve-member sisterhood leaving, a deflated Kan-Nah East in tow. Danny and Rag Doll high-fived, the remaining crowd cheered; shots fired, colloquially and literally—with Flaming B-52s.


When the clock struck twelve, Jones woke up light-headed and confused. The back of his head throbbed, and his eye sockets felt hot. He felt no pain. Disoriented and against his better judgement, he gets up and opens the door in front of him. The room before him was dark, barely illuminated by the white light of the tv in the corner. A single, sad armchair sat in the middle of the room, facing the small tv. What is this place? He whacked the side of his head with the cushiony part of his palm. A gust of wind blew past him from behind, rustling the unfamiliar flimsy white curtains. A head wobbled above the armchair, turning towards the rustling. Jones saw, in the indistinctive reflection of the object on the coffee table, a witch’s face. He slammed the door closed as another gust of wind blew.


The clock struck one, Jones had meandered across Mrs. Oakley’s garden and returned to the safety of his party. Half the attendees had left, for better or for bed. Jones floated through the remaining crowd looking for Danny. “Have you seen Danny?” he asked a skeleton with its bony skinsuit peeled halfway off his body, oxymoronically revealing flesh. The skeleton stumbled away. How rude. On the stairs, Jones tapped on the shoulders of two Britney Spears, who wobbled around to face him, and proceeded to walk right—a gust of wind blew—Jones’ eyes closed shut as the two drunk superstars walked side by side right into Jones, AND THROUGH. The impact or lack thereof knocked the breath out of him. He keeled over, gasping and wheezing. He coughed and swallowed, trying to keep the night’s alcohol consumption in.


“Hoooooly fuuuuuuuuck.”


Jones perked up, tears in his still-hot eyes, and looked around to match a face with the exclamation. Someone saw that too! Who?! Standing next to the staircase was Snoopy Dogg, his left hand deep in a bag of All Dressed chips and eyes as red as Jones’ eyes felt.


“Oh thank god! I was starting to think no one could see me! What the fuck, do you know what happened to me?” 


Snoop shoved a handful of chips into his mouth and patted the scarecrow walking by. “Yo, duuuuude. Can jyou shee him?”


“See what?” he looked at the now vacant staircase and chuckled, “Dude, you’re so fucked. Chill out on the weed, bud. You’ll be fine.”


“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” Jones, still standing in the middle of the staircase, panicked, “Please, you need to help me find Danny.”


Snoopy Dogg turned to the couch, mumbling “Ride it out, Dave, ride it ouuuut.” He adjusted his tail and plopped himself into the cushion.


Jones floated over to the only person high enough to be on his plane. He loomed over the Snoopy Pupp, who was now rocking back and forth and whispering, “Oooooohh, it’s so close. Ohhhh maaan.”


The clock struck two, a loud scream erupted from above, followed by a chorus of yelling. Snoopy Pupp tucked his legs into his chest and continued to rock himself to sanity. Jones blew up the staircase towards the commotion. He stopped just short of hitting Danny in the face, or passing through him entirely. Danny and a handful of the Hocus Pocus crew were standing in a small half circle. One of the witches bent over, pulling something bulky out of the master ensuite bathroom. Jones sucked in his breath. A gust of wind whooshed through the room. His body. A pale-face replica of himself laid on the bathroom tiles, a small pool of blood around his head was smeared from the moving of the body, creating a scene straight from a horror movie.


“What happened? The door’s supposed to be locked,” said Danny. 


“Oh god, stop moving the damn body, Maria!” said the orange-wigged witch to the black-wigged witch.


“Somebody call the cops!” somebody yells from the hallway.


Jones glides through the crowd so he could have a better look. How did I die? He whacks his head again with the cushiony part of his palm. A gust of wind blew into the room from the windowless bathroom. He closed his eyes and sees a dark room with a tv, a bobble-head with a lopsided bun, turning towards the door. Two brown, beady eyes staring right at him, “STAY AWAY FROM MY PROPERTY.”

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10 comments

Shea West
05:32 Oct 29, 2020

This was so fun to read. I was able to envision every moment of it in my mind so easily. One of favorite lines is about the skeleton showing skin😂

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Vinci Lam
23:37 Nov 26, 2020

Thanks, Shea! I'm super happy that this was how the piece was received. Haha, and definitely glad it gave you a bit of a chuckle. <3

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Josh C
09:08 Oct 27, 2020

I'm loving the new activity feed that Reedsy has. It makes following people actually useful. Loved the story! I particularly loved the way you described things, using celebrity namesakes and costumes. That's really clever - it allows you to characterize a whole party worth of people without boring the reader, or over-confusing them. Really helpful in a short story and I thought it worked so well! Also loved the 'clock struck' openings. It gave everything an almost poetic quality, especially in this one: The clock struck ten, the house...

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Vinci Lam
23:47 Nov 26, 2020

Hi JC! Sorry it took me so long to reply. I agree, it took me a while to understand how the Reedsy platform worked (always a good idea to follow someone so you don't lose them in the void). Thanks for your critique on this story! Funny because you read my first sci fi attempt and this is my first humour attempt. I'm sooo happy it came through as clever and not cringey! Glad to hear you're a fellow sucker for alliteration. Lately I've been trying to read my work aloud and it really makes all the difference. But then again, you can neve...

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Josh C
03:59 Dec 11, 2020

No problem at all! It's my turn to say I haven't been logged on for a while. I haven't found a prompt I really liked until this week's. I definitely agree with reading everything out loud, you catch so many more little things that way.

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Vinci Lam
04:39 Dec 16, 2020

Ooooh, I'll give it a read some time this week! I applaud you for getting it done - I've been finding it difficult to put out new material lately, but I've been reading a lot. Look forward to reading your new piece. :)

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Josh C
04:59 Dec 16, 2020

That would be awesome, thank you so much! Writer's block or not enough time?

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Nikki J
02:22 Dec 29, 2020

Well done, what an enjoyable story. You captured the chaos of the party well, and the references to celebrity costumes was funny and evocative. I loved the skeleton whose costume was ripped and revealing skin! Very funny.

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Piper H
17:16 Dec 09, 2020

That was crazy!! but in a good way. I loved how literally you describe Halloween and that made everything so easy to imagine. the story was so spooky, leading to the discovery of the body, and all the foreshadowing lined up beautifully!

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Vinci Lam
04:30 Dec 16, 2020

Thank you for your lovely compliments, Piper! I'm happy to hear that the story maintained some of its spookiness, I was thinking it probably wasn't spooky anymore because of the humour around it. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! I really appreciate it. :D

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