Synaesthesia Magazine Science & Numbers - Page 62

> weight and he is almost standing. He presses his ear to the wall and hears the muffled heartbeat of the clock.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

He gazes at his own ghostly image in the glass; his skin is almost as white as his hair. The right side of his face seems to have a heavy weight attached to it. The minute hand is still moving but now he can see, he is certain, it is moving forwards again.

He stumbles to the desk and leans with both arms but his right arm gives way and he collapses to the floor again. The blood is thumping in his ears and his eyesight has almost gone, but somehow he struggles to his knees. He coughs; blood seeps out from his nose. He can smell roses.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

He is gasping for breath but somehow, head vibrating with the intensity of his effort, face purple, his hand reaches the manuscript. He pulls the top page over the edge of the desk where it falls like a leaf, floating from side to side and landing face up behind him.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Wells wriggles his body round to face the paper. Two small streams of blood trickle from his nostrils. He tastes the salty life dribbling over his lips. He falls flat, his unshaven chin squashed against the wood laminate floor, burgundy blood already making a permanent stain. He drags his left arm towards his face and pushes his first two fingers into the blood.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

He stretches towards the piece of paper and aims his bloody forefinger at the page. He tries to write a letter or a number but the blood just makes a shapeless splodge beneath the words Two Twenty-Two.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

He edges forward and tries again with the next finger. This time he manages a short diagonal line and a longer line at ninety degrees to it that fades to the edge of the page. A definite tick.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

He collapses onto his back and gapes at the clock. He can feel the clock’s pulse between the punching in his ears.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

The left side of his mouth turns up balancing the downward curve of the left.

Wells gazes at the clock as the he tastes his last breath.

The clock still says two twenty-two.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

John D Rutter is a writer, teacher, editor and management consultant. He specialises in short stories and has written many (and published one or two). He is currently working on a PhD about the short story form at Edge Hill University.

Right: Robert White is the creator of the webcomic Versus; a series of genre mash-up cartoon illustrations & comic strips depicting odd, humorous or just down-right cool showdowns between popular genre types & types of people. The series can be found at http://versuscomicbook.blogspot.co.uk