I've seen the same clock in my grandparent's house as long as I can remember. It's always in the same place on the dresser with the red flowers. My late grandfather handcrafted the clock himself, and I remember my parents jokingly referring to it as Grandfather's clock as a child. A few years ago, my grandfather passed away. Ever since the day, the clock developed a habit of chiming during the odd hours of the night. I'm not a believer in the paranormal, ghosts, or anything like that, so I brushed it off as the clock's gears being rusted. My parents are a different story.
They are the opposite of me, believing in everything from ghosts to even fairies. I'm their logical child, believing that math and science is the answer to anything. Still, whenever I visit my grandparent's house, the sight of the clock on the dresser feels welcoming. One day, when I go to visit my grandmother for some afternoon coffee, the clock isn't in its usual spot. Confused, I ask my grandmother if she moved it. But she hesitates at my question and doesn't answer immediately.
"It's...somewhere," she finally says, slowly. I cock my head out of curiosity and confusion, wondering why she's acting this way.
"Where?" I ask, eager to quench my curiosity.
My grandmother twists her hands a bit nervously and doesn't answer the question. I'm confused about why she's acting so nervous and start towards the stairs. But then, a sudden tug on my arm stops me.
"I think....we should wait until tomorrow to look at it," she tells me.
"Gran, it's just a clock," I say, unconcerned. I even start to laugh a little at the situation. I tug my arm free from her grasp and make my way towards the stairs. She doesn't follow me, but I feel her gaze on my back, watching. When I reach the stairs, I start looking for the clock. I don't see it right away, so I go upstairs. There's still nothing but silence, and I'm starting to get frustrated.
Then, I hear something. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick Tock. It's the clock ticking, but I don't see it anywhere. After a few more minutes, I consider abandoning this ridiculous search. But as I get closer to my grandparent's room, the sound gets louder and more distinct. I creak open the door, but there is no clock to be seen in the room. What the hell? Where is it? How I can hear it if it is not here? The logical part of me attempts to rationalize the situation, but I can't make sense of it. Then I hear my grandmother's voice from downstairs.
"Sweetie, she says.
It's not there, its at the shop. Last night, when I was watering the roses, I noticed it wasn't ticking as it should be. My Gerald must want to come back to his spot and I've taken away his clock."
"Gran, that's silly, I shouldn't hear it if it's not here," I say. She doesn't respond, and all I hear is the ticking sound of the clock.
"It should be ready to come back home tomorrow, my grandmother states, avoiding my unsaid questions. I hear her footsteps walk away, and I've left listening to the clock ticking. I convince myself that it is here and that I just haven't found it. I go back to my grandparent's room and start searching for the source of the ticking.
The closets, under the bed, behind the nightstand, and under the window. An hour later, I can't find it anywhere. I don't understand what's happening, so I write it up as my imagination, pushing away the doubt and worry that this could be something else. The next day, when my grandmother brings the clock back to her house, it looks and acts perfectly normal. The familiar sight makes the house feel welcoming once again, and I quickly forget about what happened last night. Before I go back home, I peer at the clock one more time. As I'm admiring the beautiful wooden design and the painted flowers, something else catches my eye. The small and large hands of the clock look....different. Instead of moving clockwise, as they should be, they are moving counterclockwise. Once again, I brush this off as the clock gears being old and rusty, even though I know that it just got fixed yesterday.
It's been years now since that day, and my grandmother passed away a few weeks ago. As my family and I are cleaning out her house before the funeral, I suddenly spot the clock on the dresser. After a few years, the gears corroded and the clock stopped working. My grandmother was diagnosed with a host of health issues and stopped taking it to the shop to get fixed. She was placed in an assisted living facility after a terrible fall. My family insisted weeks prior that she move into one due to her breathing issues and onset of dementia, but she would not leave my grandfather until she was forced to leave.
When she left, my parents would go to her house to fix it up and clean it every week. During those times, they would swear to me despite knowing I wouldn't believe it, they would hear and see strange noises and occurrences inside the house. It seemed to confirm their theory that my grandfather's spirit was around.
"Gerald must miss Nancy being in the house," my father said one day after coming back.
The neighbors would also report strange sightings at night, like the lights turning on by themselves when no one was home, the doors locking and unlocking themselves, and the windows being open when they weren't open before. None of what my parents said seem true or make sense, but when I go to look at the clock as I'm cleaning out my grandmother's house, the hands are moving. I'm suddenly nervous. Like I said before, I'm not a believer in the supernatural at all. But, the clock moving despite the gears being gone is unsettling, because I saw for myself that the gears are nothing but dust. I cam't believe I'm saying this, but grandfather's spirit may truly be real and inside the house and clock. It's like he's waiting for my grandmother for her arrival in the house from the nursing home. Of course, she isn't coming back. So, why is he still waiting for her?