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The Clock, Part 2, A Short Story

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.


Author's Note

This is part two to a story I wrote recently in response to Bill Holland's (Billybuc's) photo challenge #5. To read part one of my story, click here. I hope you enjoy the second part to my story.

The Clock, Part Two

Jacob stared at the handguns in the glass case. Dozens of pistols and revolvers lay waiting for him to choose. He could purchase a rifle and kill the man from a distance, but he wanted to look into the man's eyes as he died. At least, that is how he felt at the moment. He finally selected a Desert Eagle .357 magnum and went straight to the firing range.

There was no sense wasting time with an elaborate plan. Jacob called the bank and asked to speak with Phil Rogers. When Phil answered, Jacob hung up. He just wanted to confirm that the man still worked at the bank. He did. And now Phil Rogers was the senior vice president of marketing.


The parking lot cleared out quickly at a couple of minutes after 5:00 PM. Phil approached his Mercedes and pulled the keys out of the pocket of his suit coat.

"It looks like killing my mother paid off in a big way for you, Phil." Jacob was wearing a light-weight jacket and a baseball cap.

"Jacob, we've been over this in court. I didn't kill your mother," said Phil without turning around.

"Well, she disagrees."

"What is that supposed to mean? She's dead."

"Let's go for a walk, Mr. Vice President of Marketing."

"I don't have time for this foolishness." Phil turned around. "Now leave me alone, or I will call the police and have you charged with harassment."

"No, we'll go for a walk. I insist." Jacob pulled the gun out of his coat pocket just far enough for Phil to see it.

"You're not serious."

"I am as serious as you were when you stood ten feet from my mother with a gun pointed at her head. Then you waited for my father to walk in the front door so you could frame him for her murder." Jacob was beginning to sweat despite the cool temperature. "Then you fired one shot that hit her right in the center of her forehead.

"That is preposterous. A judge and jury agreed with me." The words were bold, but Phil looked and sounded perplexed.

"New evidence has materialized."

"What evidence?" Phil was beginning to sweat as well.

"A document written by my mother a day before she died." Jacob handed Phil a copy of the document.

"This is a forgery."

"That will be a matter for a judge and jury to decide."


The two men walked for only about ten minutes. In the distance, the clock stood guard like a clock-faced soldier over the portal between here and the hereafter. Jacob wondered if it had all been a dream, or worse, a sign of psychosis. But he knew it had been real. As they drew closer, time clicked forward minute by minute. It was 5:33 PM.

Jacob's hopes materialized at that moment. The patch of space began its wavy pattern.

"What's that? Said Phil.

"You said a few minutes ago that a judge and jury agreed that you are not guilty of the murder of my mother." As Jacob was speaking, two figures entered the strange scene. "Let's hear what the victims of your crime have to say." Jacob shoved Phil toward the window in space and time.

"No! I won't go!" Phil turned and faced Jacob. The barrel of the .357 touched his nose.

"Turn around and walk."

Phil walked hesitantly toward the window and the two figures waiting on the other side. When he passed through, Jacob stopped and let him go on alone. Phil fell to his knees before the woman he had killed and the man he had framed for the murder. Jacob's father waved, his mother blew him a kiss, and the window faded.


On the way back to his car, Jacob dropped an envelope, with no return address, into a mailbox. It contained a fifteen-year-old letter, in his mother's handwriting, addressed to the city police.

He hadn't killed the man. But that minor rationalization was irrelevant since Phil was permanently in the afterlife. With no motive, weapon, body, or witness, Jacob felt confident the authorities would not find a reason to suspect him.

When he arrived at his apartment, he poured himself a glass of milk and sat down at his laptop. He opened a document that was already half-written. It began with a formal greeting.

Dear Sirs,

It has come to my attention that there is an opening in your bank for the position of Vice President of Marketing. I will share with you a few reasons why I would fit well into the vacancy left by Philip Rogers.

© 2020 Chris Mills

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