12:01

a writing by Dwayne Leon Rankin


“The twelfth hour is 12.00 it is the hour that takes you from morning to
night as night closes
the 24th hour becomes 00.00 a time when doors from
the darkness open, and it is known that at midnight the clock will strike
12 counts 1 more time....
at midday the clock strikes 12, and also at
midnight.
12.01pm is a time to keep closed the doors that you fear
By the writers at Stories from the attic
Dwayne Leon Rankin, Rahul Bothra along with his mother Tulika Dugar, Jeannie Kirchen, Charlotte Rains and Bonnie Jennings, with Alan Johnson doing the introduction and introduction.
_____________________________________________
A small sound, just a small one and his eyes flew open. “What was that?” he asked himself as he looked. The clock said 12:01 a/.m. Sighing… he got up to check what it was.
He opened the door to his bedroom and slowly walked down the hall into the living room and stood there a moment. “Nope, nothing.” He thought to himself as he checked the windows and the door to make sure everything was secure. Sighing again, he turned to go back to his bed room
and noticed his daughter’s light was on, in her bedroom. He softly knocked and cracked open the door and there she was reading. “Hey Sweetie, it’s after midnight and you have school tomorrow. You’d better turn off your light now’. She looked up at her clock and said “ok dad” then turned the light off.
He turned toward the living room thinking of getting a drink of water before returning to bed when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Stopping, he turned around… slowly this time. Someone or something was watching him, he could feel it. His breath was starting to get labored from the fear and his heart started racing. “What is going on?” he thought to
himself. The feeling was getting stronger and stronger until…
His eyes flew open as he gasped out in surprise. He was in his bed and everything was quiet… and yet his heart felt as if it was going to burst. He slowly looked at the clock and it said 12:01 am. He froze then, shutting his eyes and reopened them but still the clock read the same.
He jumped a little while lying there as he heard a noise coming from the living room. With some trepidation, he slid out of bed and went out into the hallway and down into the living room.
The light was set on low in the kitchen area and stood there listening but couldn’t hear anything. Sighing, he quickly checked the windows and the door but all was secure. He knew that they would be as he stopped and looked around. Moving back then to his bedroom, he stopped at his daughters door and cracked it open a little, just enough to see in but not enough to disturb her as she slept, her dog, which was on her bed with her, lifted up his eyes and growled softly. “Quiet boy!” he whispered as he quickly shut the door then turned to go on down into his room.
But something stopped him; he had the feeling that he was being watched with a certain intensity as to make him pause. There WAS something behind him, he knew it. He found himself then frozen in one spot, not being able to move a muscle, and his breath came in great short gasps as he sought to move just a fraction but he couldn’t. Faster and faster his heart started beating. “Move” he commanded himself; “Move, oh move!!!” How he tried to but he couldn’t.
A bead of sweat broke on his brow and his eyes were wide with terror as the feeling of dread grew stronger and stronger.
His eyes, dilating then, he let out a groan of fear when suddenly he found himself
as back in his bed. He quickly glanced at the clock and saw that it read 12:01 am. In a panic now he sat up in bed and threw off his blankets then went out into the hallway toward his daughter’s room. The light was on but no sound was coming from inside. He knocked and cracked open the door as she looked up and said with a resigned smile, “ya, I know I have school tomorrow, I’ll
turn off my light’ then as the dog gave a soft growl she whispered to him, “Quiet!” then looked at her dad and she said “goodnight”.
He sighed of relief wondering why was he so on edge, he didn’t understand it but still, being up, he went and got a drink of water, then checked the door and windows and found them all securely shut and locked. He paused at that and wondered, then shaking himself he turned and went back to go to bed. It was then that he felt something, something behind him… getting closer and closer. His heart started racing and breathing heavily, he tried to turn to see what it was but found he couldn’t’ he was paralyzed with fear! Closer and closer that feeling got as he struggled to move.
Suddenly he sat up in bed with a gasp. What was going on? He wanted to look at the clock but couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was too afraid of what he would see. He shut his eyes then, taking a deep breath, he then opened them to see what time the clock read; 12:01 am.
He gave a strangled cry jumped up and ran out into the living room but all was quiet in the
semi darkness of the nightlight. He looked over and the door and windows but didn’t approach them, he just stood there breathing heavily.
It was then that he heard a soft growl coming from his daughter’s room. With eyes glistening in fear he approached her door and slowly opened it, just a crack, enough to see inside. She was lying quietly, fast asleep. But the dog who was lying at the foot of the mattress growled softly at him. He tried to shush him up until at last the dog laid his head down, keeping his eyes fixed on
him as he slowly closed the door.
By this time, his heart was going a mile a minute and his breath like he had been running at top speed for the past few minutes. He put his back against the wall and leaned into it trying to get a hold of himself. Then standing there with his eyes shut he tried to calm himself. Then focusing on the silence, he strained to hear anything that might be moving around, but nothing was heard. Slowly he began to relax and started to smile when all of a sudden, the feeling of being watched was over and with such intensity that he could almost feel a sense of hatred flowing toward him from the living room. His jaw dropped as he froze in place when suddenly… he was back in bed staring at the clock which read 12:01 am. And that was when he silently let out a horror ridden scream.
Time stood still…
He wakes up again, looks at the clock; 12:01 am, always 12:01 and the sense of being scrutinized was still there, growing, growing ever stronger until he couldn’t take it any longer stand it. There is no choice, he has to go and find out what is going on; what is watching him, stalking him in his sleep like this, for now he knows it has to be a dream. It just HAS to be he prayed ; just a dream… just a dream…
He goes to his daughter’s bedroom and is certain it’s not the dog watching since he could hear him softly snoring. He walks through the living room puzzled with parched throat to get
a drink of water, but as he begins walking to the kitchen, the hairs on his neck stand up, and the
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sense of being watched was growing, growing ever stronger until he feels a shiver shooting through his spine. It’s then that he notices that fridge was missing and where it used to stand, a single door was now oddly placed. His eyes grow wide and his breath shallow and very rapid and his heart was pounding, pounding, pounding inside his chest. His eyes were frozen and he was drenched in his own sweat. Grabbing a flashlight from the counter he began to approach the door, but stopped when he heard a tiny whisper in the stillness of the night, “You cannot escape”.
Horror struck deep inside him a he realized he couldn’t escape the fear and anxiety; He had to confront it.
With his heart pounding, he slowly opened the door and found himself standing face to face with a tiny, but utterly frightening creature! Hugh, its eyes were so huge and its body was covered with fur and it stood there staring up at him muttering words he couldn’t understand, in a low growling voice. In shock and fright he slammed the door and turned the lock!
Fear drove him now as never before, back to his room, as if the very devil was after him.
Back to his room with his heart bursting with adrenalin he ran for his room. And then like a small child of 5, he dove for the covers wanting to hide, pulling them high over his head and listened, silently sobbing, and waited and waited…
His eyes flew open as he woke up soaked in sweat… He didn’t want to, he really didn’t want to but he knew he had to as he glanced at the clock next to his bed. 12:01; again 12:01. Trembling, he shut his eyes and left out a soft moan.
Why is he being plagued by this recurring dream? How could he escape this nightmare? “12:01” he muttered, mumbling the number over and over like a mad man. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut but knowing that he had to eventually open them he took a deep stuttering breath. He looked around from between his half shut eyelids and started thinking. Whatever that creature was, he knew that it wanted something. But what, why was it having this impact on him and for what?
This was like the movie Ground Hog Day only much worse, the man thought to himself. There had to be something about the time 12:01, but what? The strange sensation of being watched haunted him! He could feel it!
Once again, in spite of his fear, he rose to make sure his house was secure! Only this time something was different! Not only was the refrigerator still gone, but so was that door!
The monster was still here, he knew that, it was here somewhere, lurking in the shadows just behind the missing door calling him to come out with its rough raspy voice and all the man could do was just stand there muttering again and again as tears streamed down his face. "Wake up!! Wake up!! Wake up!!! ", his brain screamed out again and again!
But wake up, he did not! Not this time! Instead he saw that vile creature staring at him, eyeing him up and down!
"Stop bellowing”, it hissed! “Get out here before I decide to come in and get you!"
The man then mustering all the strength he had, looked up and made his way to the wall where had a door separated him from the tiny frightening creature, he tapped on the wall and said, “I’m here,” in a shaky voice. “What do you want from me?”
The monster then appeared before him. The man then drew a long ragged breath. Within the reflection of that monster’s yellow sickly eyes, the man could see nothing but his own fear.
The monster repeated. “I am here” the monster said. The man looked all confused and flustered. His being was filled dread as he wondered what the monster meant when he said “I am here”.
What did it want from him? “What! What! WHAT!!!’ He wanted to shout at that creature. “What did it want from me!!!”
“Think man! Think back and you know why, think back and remember!!!” the monster whispered out menacingly. And think the man did as if his very life depended on what answer he could come up with.
“1201? What could be the meaning of 12:01? Is it Dec. 1 or maybe Jan 21? Was it somewhere buried deep in his psyche? He couldn’t think, he didn’t know! Moaning in fear the man just stood there frozen in that spot.
.
Again, the man heard that voice taunting him again. “You think I m a monster? Think again. Remember!!!”
“You are! You’re the monster, not me! No, never, not me!” the man said. “Is this a dream? Why are you plaguing me?”
Everything stopped. He was back in his bed and he was shaking violently. He shut his eyes and said softly to himself. “Calm down, just calm down” then looking again at the clock, he saw it read… 12:01! “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Oh please let this horror end” he thought to himself.
Then with an eerie feeling, he suddenly thought to himself. “No, it’s not a dream” he said as he pinched himself, and then started to laugh uncontrollably with tears streaming down his face.
He looked down where he had pinched himself and wondered at the pain, yet there was no mark on his arm, none at all. And there should be a red mark from that hard of a pinch.
He got up slowly from his bed and went out into the hallway and checked his daughter’s room but she was fine, both her and the dog were sleeping soundly. Sighing then, he continued on into the living room and was immediately hit with that same sense of terrible panic he had felt before.
He felt it, that deep seeded terror, but everything looked normal and in place. Suddenly the force of realization hit him. This monster was of his own creation. It was all in his mind, Memories began to flood through his head like a torrent. He winced at the thought of how much pain he had caused others.
When he looked into the kitchen, he saw the fridge was back but the microwave was flashing 12:01 on and off. Why, why, why that number? Why was he remembering things now? The pain, oh the pain that he had caused, he thought as he softly gave a quiet sob. But what was the 1201, why 1201?
He looked up at that monster and taking a deep breath, He muscled up to face him. “I won’t let you control me”. He said “You may be my Frankenstein monster but you will never have the best of me”. I will wake up and your existence will cease. NOW TELL ME WHAT
12:01 MEANS!! TELL ME!!” he shouted
The monster replied in that hoarse voice that he sounded as if sand paper had rubbed the back of his vocal cords, “Think back and remember, and when you do, this number will be seared in your brain forever”
It was then that he heard the screams… and as he raced to his daughter’s room, it was that was running through his mind time and time again. And when he got there and saw the look on her face, that look of shear fright, unimaginable anguish, he collapsed in a heap onto the floor of her room.
“MY DAUGHTER! NOOOOOOO!!! Keep her out of it. NOOOOOO!” He screamed but the monster just laughed. He could hear her crying out in terror.
The dog was sitting up and growling softly when he had burst in, but not at him. There was a shadow in the corner and it was moving closer and closer toward her.
"No!" he screamed as loud as he could. "This has gone far enough! I know now the meaning of 12:01. It's the time you die and this nightmare ends!" He closed his eyes, and in his mind's eye he saw the creature explode and vanish in thin air.
He smiled and felt at peace. That feeling of being watched was gone. He looked down at his sleeping daughter. His dog licked his hand as he reached down to scratch its head and he sighed with a feeling of contentment. This terrible nightmare was over... but then... he sat up in his bed with eyes both staring wide; he looked down at the clock and saw it still reading 12:01.
It was then that he heard that horrible laughing inside his head
“NOOOO!! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOO!!!” he tried to shout out but no sound came forth when he did. Getting up he ran into the living room and found his front door wide open. Behind him he turned quickly but not quickly enough as a blade, swift and sharp came plunging down into his back. But in falling forward, he was able to deflect it so that it only grazed his arm leaving a deep bloody gouge running the length of it from his shoulder to his elbow.
He hit the floor rolling trying to dodge that fateful blade...He heard a howl as the creature missed time and time again.
"STAY STILL”, he heard it cry out as it struck out again and again at him while staring into the man’s eyes. Then suddenly he starts to change becoming a younger version of the man.
The man looks in horror as he sees himself then in a flashback to December 1st. It was at night and he saw a man running through the darkness with a mask over his face, a purse in one hand and a gun in the other. But as he runs an old man steps out and tries to make a grab for him and in a panic he shoots him. The sound of the gun going off was deafening and the
look on that old man’s face was one of disbelief as he fell slowly over dead.
He can’t stop now, he has to get away. He runs to his car and begins driving with tears streaming down across his cheeks at the stark cold realization of what had become of him with his own gory hands. He screams as he drives, swerving around objects in his way as he glances
at the dash board clock and sees that it is 12.01 am on that dark and dismal night.
Slowly he comes to himself back in the kitchen; his arm is aching where he had been cut by the blade. Then slowly he thinks to himself “I’m a murderer?”
No that can’t be, he doesn’t even own a gun, never has. It can’t to be, it has got to be something else then as he looks around and sees that he is back in the present, he sees the monster leering at him, waiting for his response.
The monster speaks softly, "You can never escape the truth. Why you ask? Why? Because I am your memory. You can wash your hands but the blood stains from that night will never leave your spirit”. The monster then vanishes.
The man wakes up spent and dripping in his sweat. He begins to process and wrap his head around what had just happened. And suddenly he thinks to himself, what time was it? Was it still 12.01 am? Slowly the man looks at the clock and lets out a terrible moan: 12:01!!!! He shuts his eyes and prays for it to change but it doesn’t. The clock still reads the same time.
He then gives a start and gets up to check his daughter’s room. But when he opens the door, the room is empty. “NOOO!” he shouts and runs in to the room but there is nothing there, everything is gone and the room is totally empty as if no one had ever slept there or even stayed there. He slumps to the floor in tears wondering what is going on. The feeling was coming back and he knows that the monster is still there, somewhere inside the room… or maybe inside him, he doesn’t know any more.
“Where is she?” he yells! “What have you done with her?”
“With whom?” the monster asks then gives out with a maniacal laugh.
“My daughter, that’s “who” he yells out in a panic.
“What daughter? You don’t have a daughter. The man you killed did, but never you! She had a dog there to with her in the car who also was killed as well; killed by you!!!”
The man rises to a sitting position with his knees drawn in and his arms wrapped around them crying out in anguish with tears streaming down his face. He knows now that this is the truth.
He just sits there rocking back and forth crying out in silent pain that won’t go away.
Outside the door, two men in white coats look in at him shaking their heads. They were told to keep an eye on him; a suicide watch. He had tried once to harm himself but had only succeeded in cutting himself down the back of one of his arms. A nasty cut running from his shoulder to his elbow. How he had managed that, they didn’t know but now he in on a constant watch.
But now al he does is sit there and rock back and forth moaning something about
his daughter. They glance toward each other, then to the Doctor who walks
to them.
“Hey Doc, does this man have a daughter?” they ask. Sighing, the Doctor answers them with a shake of his head. “No, the man who was killed in the car accident did. Both of them died in the crash as well as their dog. They were on the way home from visiting family when the accident happened just past midnight. It was during the first winter storm of the season, no one expected being just the first of December, but as for him, he wasn’t married nor did he have any children. As far as I can tell, he blames himself for her death as well as the other man’s demise, even though it was clearly an accident. He’s been here ever since he started remembering a year ago. He has never recovered and probably won’t.” The other attendant then took his station as the Doctor steps in to see if he can get through to the man today. He could hear the man muttering something about it still being 12:01 am. He then shuts the door securely as they enter the room.
He stands and watches them both inside but there is no sign of recognition from the man on the floor, and the last thing that the Doctor does is make his final notes of the session in the records of this poor man before he walks away sadly from the patient in Room 1201.
The end

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