Over the open window the lace drapes fluttered in the breeze like lazy waves caressing a sandy shore. Shadows waltzed across the oak floor boards finding their way up the side of a bed cradling a skeletal figure. Beatrix Button slept for days rarely stirred from her slumber while she kept company with her dreams.
On the wall, across from her bed, is a clock given to her as a wedding gift. Bea, as Beatrix was called by her friends, knew from the first moment she unwrapped the clock that it was special. Although her marriage lasted less than a few hours, the clock stayed with her all of her days.
The rich tick-tocks were healing after Frank died. He did everything he could to please Bea and when she needed her wrap from the car he was only too happy to fetch it for her. He made the mistake of only looking right and not left when he jaywalked across the road in front of the church. Their ten day cruise turned into ten hours praying for a miracle that never came.
Frank’s funeral came and went, and the days turned to months and months to years during which Beatrix spent listening to the gentle tick-tock, tick-tock. Although people found pendulum clocks a bother to wind and keep tuned, she found this one soothing. She guessed it might have been made sometime in the 19th century, but never bothered to find out just as she never discovered who gave her the clock.
Life for Bea was a series of joys wrapped in tragedy. She weathered each storm with the clock as her constant companion. It never wavered in keeping her on schedule to arrive at every celebration of life precisely on time. She said goodbye to her family one at a time as they each moved on to the next plan of existence. Until it was just her left to putter in her garden or dust the empty rooms that surrounded her.
Beatrix Button did not stir when her visitor came gliding across the floor as if riding on the shadows themselves. Impossibly tall with less substance than Beatrix herself, the figure leaned over her and whispered something only Beatrix could hear. Her eyes opened a tiny slit recognizing the stranger from her dreams. Like a ghost she raised her hand and touched the edge of the stranger’s cloak.
The visitor paused for a long heartbeat then stood and drifted toward the door. The clock seemed to wait by the door and it was lifted from its place on the wall the clock fell silent. Beatrix Button’s smile slipped from her lips as she sighed her last breath.
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