the clock story
nikita zuev

Note from Zendexor: inspired by a crux of history, this short-short tale with a deadline and a punch-line was penned by a 13-year-old Russian whose command of English shows up considerably better than that of most of my native British pupils...

The clock is ticking, I am just counting seconds. One thousand and thirty six.  Somewhere in the kitchen, a not fully closed tap made an annoying sound. Drop, drop, drop... Outside, dog screaming in excitement. The Feet of Troopers, stomping in puddles, mud, soil. Guns being reloaded, bullets ready to deliver firepower. They found me. Drop, drop, drop… One thousand and forty nine seconds. Felt the shotgun in my hand. A bit out of range, but a good weapon. Knock on the door, the air becomes heavy, silence. Only the clock is ticking and the tap drops… Drop, drop, drop… One thousand fifty seven seconds. Second knock. It’s more inpatient. A shout of a man suddenly travels to my ear: “You have 10 seconds, give up, or we will break the door and take you by force”

I don’t respond, meaningless. I look at the table next to me. Shotgun shells, bottle of red wine, a fancy glass… I have five more seconds before they breach the door. Drop, drop, drop… I hear them move around, they are taking position. Dogs are at the door, growling. Windows are sealed, two people on each window. No, no people, they are not human. More like animals. Two seconds. Drop, drop, drop… I drink the wine; it tastes like… It has no taste, it’s plain. I spit it back into the glass. Shotgun shells in my pocket. I put the table sideways. One thousand and sixty eight seconds. They are late. Drop, drop, drop… Sudden noise the door reaches the floor, letting the dogs and the cold wind in. Boots of the soldiers bring in the snow. No manners. First bullets fly in the air, hitting the table. Unexpected barking from behind.  Split second and the dogs are already on the floor, with split throats, lying in a puddle of fresh, warm blood. I pity those creatures. The sound of machine guns interrupts my thoughts. One thousand and seventy four seconds. The table is destroyed by the fire power. As I move in to the kitchen, my shotgun shell exploded, injuring a twenty year old. No hope for recovery. I hear familiar sound. Drop, drop, drop… The machine gun tore walls by moments. Drop, drop dro…  Crash! Bullet went into the sink, breaking the structure of pipes like a hungry shark, reaping fresh meat. Couple of soldiers decided to move in. Bad choice.  Their bodies fell down, full of shrapnel and broken bones. What a mess. Suddenly, the machine gun stopped. One thousand and ninety two second. Escaping the kitchen, I found myself back in the Hall. Dead bodies everywhere, broken bottle of wine, sounds of wheels and Heroes shouting: “War is over!”. 1945, 9th of May, zero hours and One thousand and one hundred seconds.