The Alarm Clock – The Death Warning from across the Sea
In 1940 or thereabouts Johnny’s uncle left home to go to Australia where he joined the navy. Before he left home he bought his mother a present of a delft alarm clock with a brass bell on top of the clock. It had a delft hand as an imitation striking hand but it couldn’t actually strike the bell. The alarm rang from inside the clock.
Johnny’s father used to visit his aunt very regularly. One autumn night he rode his bicycle along the dark country road leading to his aunt’s house when two little dogs came out of a field and ran alongside of him. He remarked to himself that if the big policeman from Plumbridge village saw them the owners would be in trouble for letting them lose. Letting dogs go on the prowl in sheep rearing areas was against the country code for farmers.
The dogs kept pace with him, running fast and slow as he altered the pace of the bicycle. From that moment that they appeared until he reached his aunt’s house those two dogs kept appearing and when they weren’t there, two different dogs would take their place. Every foot of the way there were always two dogs accompanying him as he cycled the whole way to the house. He wasn’t scared, just a bit puzzled that there were so many dogs about.
He went into the house and started to chat to his aunt. For some reason they both fell silent at the same time. Neither could speak a word until into the silence came the echoing sound of the delft hand striking the brass bell on the clock. His aunt was astonished. There was no possible explanation for the delft hand striking since it was just a fixed ornamental one, yet they both watched fascinated as flexed and struck thirteen times. When his father examined the clock later the arm was rigid and in one piece.
The next morning his aunt got word that her son was drowned while swimming in Australia the previous day. He realised that it had happened at the time when he was cycling to his aunt’s house.
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