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The Clock, Part 2, A Short Story

Chris has written more than 200 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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

Comments

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 30, 2020:

Chris

Thank you for the pointer where I could find the conclusion, it was well worth it! Loved the story and loved the little twist at the end.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 27, 2020:

Venkatachari M, I appreciate your comments about the story. Thank you for taking time to read and share your thoughts.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 27, 2020:

A nice conclusion to the story with that same clock and space proclaiming the judgment to Phil's destiny. Enjoyed both parts with thrill.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2020:

Thank you, Shyron.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 26, 2020:

Just desserts Chris, I love it when people get Just-dessert and I hope Jacob gets the job at the bank.

Blessings always

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2020:

Shauna, thanks. Whether he gets the job or not is up to the reader. I'll let this one pass on into the archives of short stories.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 26, 2020:

Shauna, thanks. Whether he gets the job or not is up to the reader. I'll let this one pass on into the archives of short stories.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 26, 2020:

Chris, part two is full of twists and turns. I love it! Your idea of a portal to the afterlife is brilliant. As you say, no evidence left at all.

What really got me was the cover letter Jacob is writing to the bank. Another brilliant move! Will he get the job???

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

Greg, In your comments on part one, I think you may have been closer to understanding than I gave you credit for. My final sentence refered to the killer of Jacob's mother's murderer. I think most read it to mean the killer of Jacob's mother. But you seem to have caught that litte detail. At that time, I was intending for Jacob to kill Phil, but as I went along, it just didnt' seem right. So that final sentence in part one was referring to Jacob. Thanks for your comments and your interest.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

Thank you Pamela.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 25, 2020:

Ha! There you go, Chris! I was waiting with bated breath for this second part. You gave me quite a teaser with the 95% comment a while back. I like loose ends that are tied myself, and this story definitely did not disappoint in that regard. Nicely done!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 25, 2020:

This is a very good story, Mel. I really thought the ending was especially good.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

John, I'm glad you liked it.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

Ann, thanks. I'm glad the story was satisfying.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

Thanks Eric. That document brought out the lawyer in you, didn't it? :)

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 25, 2020:

Liz, Thank you. I was a bit concerned readers would not remember part one. Thanks for setting me at ease about that.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 25, 2020:

This was a terrific ending that left the reader satisfied. You did a great job with both parts of this story Chris.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 25, 2020:

Brilliant! This is one of those 'satisfactory feeling' stories. Just desserts and all that!

I've just been reading the second part of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' and that's full of portals to different worlds so this reminded me of that.

You have the knack of turning a story in our minds, with great imagination.

Ann

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 25, 2020:

I like it. Thanks for a great read. I also always study your work for technique -- and this was great to learn from. Don't know about that document deal.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 25, 2020:

Brilliant story. You have a great imagination, which you have transferred with clarity in this piece. It had me hooked from beginning to end and I quickly recalled part 1. You have a real storytelling gift.