The tick-tock in my clock…

The tick-tock in my clock…

Like a disgruntled old goat, I sometimes have to shake a metaphorical fist at myself when I sense the shine wear off my smile. Under the weight of shambolic modern day advice, it could be easy to fall for the notion that I should share my negative moments, or at least put them out there to release the angsty mess that gathers up at my corners, as the winds of trouble swirl about me on bad weather days. But I know better.

There is nothing like a little repression to save the rest of the world from your bullshit. Lord knows, I have to listen to myself enough without imposing any of my own troubles on the world. And so it is. Forevermore, I shall endeavour to maintain my inner demons, doubts, worries and concerns, to avoid boring the arse of the rest of you.  No doubt there will be plenty who advise against such a notion, but unlike the so called experts, I know me.  I’ve lived with me for a long time now and I completely get me… well mostly. I’m not sure the rest of the world should have any hand, act or part in working me out.

Having declared my penchant for repressive self-analysis, I will share something with you. This is less an inner demon than and outward projection and a puzzle. As any regular visitors to my blog will know, I have had an occasional visitor to my nights over the past two years. As if to add fuel to the flame of my nocturnal dark stalker, we have had increased unexplained activity about the place. Now I named my dark friend Mr. Squiggles to ease the sense of fear that he brings.  I thought by giving him such a childish name, he might disappear.  It was not to be. He first came to me in my hospital bed as I recovered from heart surgery and has frequented my bedroom at precisely 3:35 on the rare occasion he appears.  I thought him a function of my condition, a psychological trauma if you will, brought on by dying – if only for a minute, but I still attach that traumatic event to his appearance.  It seems however he followed me home.

Now other strange and unexplained things have begun to happen and not just to me.  We increasingly hear people who are not actually there, in other rooms in our house. Just yesterday there was someone in the ensuite bathroom in the room next to ours. The thing is, there was no one else there.


As the grand master of sceptics, I have explained most things away, even my Mr. Squiggles who if I am honest, I merely dismiss or repress out of my inability to technically explain him away. Three nights ago, or should I say early that morning, at my usual personal witching hour, I lay awake and sensed a presence.  It was akin to how I feel when ‘he’ is about and I opened my eyes and checked the time.  It was indeed 3.35 in the morning.   I listened and heard nothing, but Mr. Squiggles makes no noise.  He is pure stealth, a creature with hidden malevolence waiting to be revealed.

The first time he came to me, I watched his dark shadowy form creep about the outer walls of the courtyard, just outside my hospital window.  He disappeared and reappeared many times, as he dipped in and out of other hospital ward windows, as if looking for something.  His movements were quick and it was very disconcerting, for I have a mind to believe only what can be seen, touched and what I know to be real.  This was something else. 

There are lots of logical reasons why my Mr. Squiggles could have appeared. My mind playing tricks on me is the obvious one, although, I do not normally suffer from such strange delusions and while I was physically very ill at the time of his first appearance, my mind was crystal clear.  I am no longer quite so ill and yet he comes. As he only appears at a set time of night, this perhaps adds to some notion of personal confusion or even a trick of the light.  Despite my very strong personal scepticism, I cannot accept either as a reason for his existence, so I am still trying to resolve his presence in my life.  I do know that real or not, he waits for the right time to appear.  He watches me.  I feel him like an impatient Grim Reaper, who slips in my window, when he senses the exact moment when I am l physically struggling. 

But I digress. It wasn’t Mr. Squiggles that came creeping through my window on Tuesday night. Our bedroom is quite dark, but the window is illuminated slightly from the outside world and it was there that I watched the strangest of sights unfold before my very eyes.

Again it would be easy to believe that my eyes or my mind were playing tricks on me and I would prefer to choose that it were indeed so, but alas, it was not. What I saw set my hair on end. It was very much like the evening last month when someone walked across the kitchen in front of me, someone who wasn’t there.  Last night it began with a shadow and I immediately suspected my usual dark companion had come to check on me. I was wrong.


As I lay there, a black bubbling mass began to gather at the centre of the window. It was even blacker than the darkness framed outside the edge of the window and while it started off as an uneven ball of blackness, it slowly grew until it filled at least half the space where the feint light gave it a silhouette.

I knew what it was and I looked away for a moment. There was no doubt in my mind what I had seen, but I could not quite get my head around it. I looked back but it was still there, only moving even more than before.

Fear is a peculiar thing and I tend not to allow it in, so I cannot say I was afraid but I was certainly startled and my skin gave a good impression, but the goose bumps and risen hair were involuntary. I lay there and squeezed my eyelids tight together before opening them again.  I wanted to dismiss what I saw as an optical illusion but this was crystal clear to me.  I was wide awake. I looked about the room and fluffed the duvet as if my physical action might shake my madness, by  eliminating the strange vision in the night.

Now you just want me to tell you what I saw, right? Don’t worry I’ll not keep it a secret, but I have to explain that in telling you the truth of the matter, I can never express the depth of the darkness that it represents to me. This is something real and unreal, something unexplained.

One black inky hand, as clear as my own only in shadow form, grew out past the black wrist that followed it, only to be pulled back by another identical hand and then there was another, and another.  The hands that reached out were as real as my own, fully formed, three dimensional, clawing from a dark central mass, as the numbers of desperate clawing grasping hands grew. They were not trying to grab hold of me, they were too far away for that and I could see they were hands filled with an expression of fear if that can possibly make sense. 

They were trying to escape but other hands pulled them back. So it was a black, almost undefined mass of hands that I saw and I could sense something even darker behind them. Then it was there, in the background.  It was my old friend Mr. Squiggles. I didn’t see him, but he was there alright and unlike the hands that were real to me, he was imagined because he was sitting out of sight on the window ledge, waiting as he always does.  


So here I am crossing already blurred lines, talking of real, grasping, terrified, desperate hands appearing to me in the night, hands that anyone reading this will put down to some illusion or dream. On the other hand I use the word imagined when talking of Mr. Squiggles, but I only say imagined in the sense that what was imagined, was  precisely how might be sitting on my window ledge, not that he was there, for he surely was.

I have a tick tock in my clock these days. Ever since the unimaginable happened and I crossed the line of life and death only to return, the second hand has become so much more of a presence in my life. I am finite it seems and it was something I had chosen to ignore for most of my life, as no doubt we all do.

But has my infinity crash caused a lapse in my sanity, opened a window on a madness that I have begun to see as normal, or is there some other explanation.  Let’s be clear. I don’t believe in ghosts. I do have a vivid imagination, I am a writer after all, but I am not inclined towards such flights of fancy, that would explain away  the strange visits that are becoming all too frequent for me.

A logical man, I demand an explanation and in its absence I have a default position which is; that which I don’t understand, can only be explained as something outside my sphere of understanding. There still exists a logical explanation; I just have yet to discover it.  I spent two bloody days this week working out a series of connected excel formulas that seemed impossible to resolve.  Just because I couldn’t find a solution, nor could anyone be found who did, no matter which source I went to, didn’t mean there wasn’t one.  I finally worked it out yesterday.  Not knowing, meant only that I lacked sufficient  knowledge at the time, not that it was impossible and perhaps it is so with Mr. Squiggles.

Today as part of my work,  I took a new 4 wheel drive Mercedes Pick-up through its paces off road.  I drove up and down 43 degree slopes, through a river and sideways on a slope that promised to tip me over, but it didn’t.  It was incredible fun, but there was a moment where I was climbing up a hill so steep that I could only see sky, when I had to totally put my trust in the vehicle.  I could see nothing but I made it through because I backed myself and what I had been taught about the vehicle.  It reminded me of how I am when my nocturnal watcher appears.

I have no idea of what is about to happen, but I somehow trust that it will work out.  I can’t see where I’m going, but I have no fear of what lies behind the horizon. Maybe I am foolish. I hope not.  Tonight I will go to bed without fear or trepidation, knowing I may have to face him again or maybe he will not appear for weeks.  It makes no difference. He will eventually come back to haunt me.

I was recently whispered the date of my death, I doubt it will come true.  But the real secret, is that I have already been there to that place and it holds no fear for me anymore.  So what fear I Mr. Squiggles?  Maybe someday he will reveal his true nature and purpose and then of course, I will share it with you.  But in the meantime believe what you will, I know there is a reason for everything as I listen to the tick tock of my clock and wait to see what comes next…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
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13 thoughts on “The tick-tock in my clock…

  1. You know how to keep a reader gripped to find out what happens next, Patrick… If you are looking for an explanation that bridges imagination and dreaming, and has nothing to do with ghosts, there is the phenomenon known as Night Terrors – which is a form of dreaming that is as vivid as wakeful consciousness but is actually still a dream. I had a client years ago who suffered from them, and I’ve never forgotten how real they sounded, and how they terrified him, on a regular basis. Much as Mr Squiggles and the grasping hands might inhabit a Max Power novel, they might also have a less surreal explanation… although of course consciousness on any level is already pretty surreal! 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Lesley .. I like the explanation but it’s not so much ‘terror’ as being an observer of an observer.. I know it’s a trick of the mind of some kind but like anyone I guess it is hard to believe I could fall foul of such imaginings .. I’m too arrogant perhaps.. open to almost anything except there is a reality in this I simply don’t have the talent to write to life.. not yet anyway 💐☘️🎈👻🤔

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This reads more like an excerpt from the Chronicles of Darkly Wood, Patrick. I was about to put on the light in my study … until I realised it was bloody on! .:D
    You’re the only person I know who could use his blog posts as the basis for a novel. Seriously, mate, I’ve never been to that dark place you tested with one foot, but I empathise — I’ve had a couple of close calls in my time and they’ve lived on in my mind, which is pretty shit, but better than an early end.
    I believe my ‘condition’ might be best explained by Lesley’s description of ‘Night Terrors’, but your own recent history is for me, much more frightening, and to an extent grounding. You’re a steady fella, but however you feel about opening up, don’t let pride stop you. 😉
    Great post, as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Tom.. believe this or not -both Joanna and I have just witnessed something most dark in our kitchen (just 2 minutes ago) and my loyalest canine companion reacted and is still staring at the space where we saw something let’s call it Mr.S…I’m going with mass (well 2 and a dog) hysteria.. lord only knows.. I remain disbelieving and will figure out our visual and aural anomalies if it kills me.. there is an -as yet undiscovered- perfectly logical explanation.. if things start moving though, I’m changing my medication 😂👻👻🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it might be me who was moving… Some years ago my husband was driving along a dual-carriageway with a friend when he saw a car drive across in front of him as if it were on an invisible bridge. His friend turned to him and said ‘Did you see that?’ They both saw this car and later discovered there used to be a road bridge at that place. He swears there was no way it could have been a reflection of anything. There’s stuff out there we simply don’t understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “I have a tick tock in my clock these days. Ever since the unimaginable happened and I crossed the line of life and death only to return, the second hand has become so much more of a presence in my life.”

    I have never (yet) had this line of life/death experience, but being well along the road of life, I find myself agonizing over seconds wasted–to the point where it zaps the joy from the day, so that is my “Mr. Squiggles”, the czar of time. It all started when I celebrated a birthday on which I realized there would not likely be more years ahead than the ones already past. That, while nothing like what you have gone through, was a sobering moment. Still, I don’t want to fall into the Dylan Thomas trap–being so frightened of death that he drank himself into a very early grave.

    Liked by 1 person

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