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Creative Corner

Creative Corner: Seven-Fifteen

Person writing in book against pink background with the title 'Creative Corner'
Creative Corner Logo by Roar News

Creative Corner is a space to share your creative writing at Roar! We hope you’ll enjoy the short stories we publish, all of which are written by current KCL students.

The daughter usually left for work fifteen minutes before her younger brother woke up for school, but there were times when he would wake up earlier, so she wasn’t surprised when he came into the kitchen in the morning with his face washed and teeth brushed.

“Why are you still here?” He asked his sister.

“Just waiting for my train,” she replied, but when her eyes drifted to the time on her phone, she jolted in panic. Her head snapped up to the clock in the kitchen; she stared at the white face with Roman numerals which hung against the beige kitchen wall tile, framed by a row of cupboards on either side.

It stared back. What are you looking at me for?

For a brief moment, she had forgotten that the clock in the kitchen ticked anti-clockwise. When she came in that morning, the clock had been at seven-fifteen, matching the real time on her phone screen, but now it said six forty-five. Thirty minutes had passed, and she only had ten minutes to reach the station for the next train. She grabbed her phone and her bag and bolted out the door.

The siblings’ parents had bought the clock at a charity shop on their first marriage anniversary trip. The owner had told them that the clock simply ticked anti-clockwise, and that there was no way to get it to tick any other way. He said that it never needed a battery change and that it sped up and slowed down on its own accord. The parents kept it as more of a decorative piece. They had enough clockwise-ticking clocks anyway, and thought it would add some charm to their new house.

The clock hung on the kitchen wall above the stove and the family never thought anything was strange about it, though strange things did start to occur. Their mother reported “losing track of time” in the kitchen, even with oven timers and her phone. She would go off to prepare a ten-minute snack for the siblings and end up taking an hour to make it, which was always the time it took for the siblings to finally give in to their hunger and peel themselves away from their activities to investigate.

Food also took longer to expire than the dates advised, which the siblings discovered through risky experiments they conducted while their parents were away for a week-long trip. Milk was perfect to use for a week after the expiration date; it was not smelly or chunky and made incredible milkshakes. Meat also lasted longer; there were no unpleasant smells, sliminess or colour changes, and so the siblings cooked it into delicious pasta. While their parents scolded them and said it was down to luck with the batch of groceries or preservatives getting stronger, the siblings infrequently spotted them using three-day-old milk – which was perfectly fine – for pancake batter or tea.

Nobody ever ascribed these peculiarities to the clock, but they joked about it to their friends and other family. It was one of those instances where regular people noticed slightly irregular things, but incorporated it into their daily lives.

You can send your short stories, poetry or creative nonfiction to [email protected].

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