The Clock

 The clock hand struck 6:45 am and the sun began to rise. Professor John Stanton was lying in bed asleep in his second floor flat in downtown Sheffield. The flat faced east. The morning revealed a breathtaking sunrise. Bright shades of orange, red, and yellow illuminated his entire room.  

  “Bloody hell, why is it so hot, my skin is on fire?”, John mumbled to himself as he was awoken by the sun shining through the open window. His skin began to sizzle like bangers on a hot skillet. He opened his eyes and quickly leaped from the bed to close the shades and draw the curtains as he couldn’t take it anymore. The burning hurt so that John moved without the use of his cane. Something he hadn’t done since the accident.

 The clock hand struck 6:46am. The pain went away. John was not quite awake yet. He was in a sort of haze as he stood in front of the bed. He barely noticed the stark naked young woman lying in the bed next to where he was just a second ago. “Who the hell is that?”, he thought as he rubbed his eyes and reached for his glasses to get a better look.

  “There, that should help”, John said to himself as slipped the bridge of his tortoise-shell eyeglass frames snuggly against his nose.    

  The corrective lenses blurred his vision, so he removed them. He repeated it again and again. It was distracting him from what was clearly a much larger issue. He was astonished, his vision improved significantly without the glasses. John had worn them since he was a boy and was very near-sighted. “How could this be”, he pondered.

  “Bloody hell, the..the girl!”, he shouted inside of his own mind.

  She was just lying there sleeping with her back to him. John noticed that she was very pale, but also very beautiful. He couldn’t see her face, but her long black hair cascading over her bare shoulder was luminous. He began to tremble and his heart race. He couldn’t remember anything. He didn’t know what to do.

  The clock hand struck 6:47am. John stood and stared at the remarkably gorgeous young woman lying asleep in his bed. All he remembered was stopping for a pint at the local pub on his way home from work. Who is she? How did she get there? Is she one of my students  These were all questions that rushed through John’s mind as he frantically searched for the right way to approach the situation. “This makes no sense, I’m probably more than twice her age and besides I never talk to women. Well, not in a very long time” John thought to himself.

  John’s nights usually consisted of staying late to work on lesson plans, grading papers, and self loathing. He was never the same after the accident. He never moved on. Last night was the 25th anniversary of the accident and his wife’s disappearance. John had planned to stop for a pint and have some dinner at the pub.  Afterwards he planned to go back to his flat, take a bottle of sleeping pills and fall asleep forever while dreaming of his lost love.

  John and Mina were college sweethearts and were married right after John was hired by the university as an english professor. They were both young and very much in love. They were going to have children. Mina was going to continue her education program and be an elementary school teacher. They had their whole life ahead of them, or so they thought.

   One stormy night in November, about a week after moving into their downtown flat, John had to work late at the university. He was concerned about Mina, so he phoned her to let her know his plans and when he would be home. She reassured John that she would be fine and not to worry.

  Seconds later there was a knock at Mina’s door. It was her downstairs neighbor, Lucy. She had come to borrow some candles as she and her husband Arthur had just moved in and didn’t have any. The storm grew intense and lightning flashed repeatedly. There was a loud roar of thunder and the lights went out.

 A couple of hours later, John arrived back at the flat. He rushed up the stairs, excited to be home with his beautiful wife. When he opened the doors he was horrified. The flat had been ransacked. There must have been a break in. He saw Mina lying on the floor unconscious and bleeding. They didn’t have a phone to call an ambulance. John knew he needed to get her to the hospital as soon as possible. He couldn’t imagine life without her.

  He swept her up in his arms, swiftly carried her through the door and down the staircase where he laid her gently in the back seat of the tattered old green station wagon. He quickly slammed the car in reverse to back out of the driveway. Out of nowhere something slammed into the side of the car. The old station wagon was spun across the road. That’s when everything went black.

  About a week later John awoke in the hospital. He had been in a coma. He was still in pretty bad shape. He immediately thought about Mina and screamed for the nurse! The nurse rushed in to calm him down and stabilize him. “Nurse please, where is Mina! Is she OK? Please, I need to see her”, said John.

  “Sir, please calm down. You have been in a serious accident. You have a broken hip, two broken legs, and a punctured lung. I need you to remain calm.”, said the nurse.

  “Please, my wife was in the car with me. I need to make sure she is OK”, said John.

  “Sir,you were the only one found at the scene of the accident. In fact the police aren’t sure what hit you as there was no trace of another vehicle on the scene. We’ve tried to contact your family but we were unable. Do you have a phone number or know the whereabouts of any family we could contact”, said the nurse.

  “I am an only child and my parents are both gone. The only family I have is my wife, Mina, who was in the car with me before the accident. You see I came home and she was lying on the floor unconscious and bleeding. I was on my way here when everything went black”, said John.

  “Sir, I’m not sure how to say this, but the police said there is no record of a wife. They even checked your apartment and there is no evidence of your wife, not even a photograph”, said the nurse.

  “That’s impossible!”, shouted John.

  “Sir, calm down. I am only trying to help. Can you tell me anything else”, said the nurse as she prepared a sedative.

  Well there was a break in, maybe her things were stolen. Maybe she is lost and has amnesia. For the love of God, please find my wife!”, exclaimed John as he began to panic. The nurse injected him. Soon everything went black again.

  The clock hand struck 6:48am. John kneeled over the young woman in his bed, he was going to go for it. The moment of truth was upon him. He carefully grabbed her by the shoulder and rolled her on her back. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

  It was Mina. It was Mina exactly as he had remembered. She looked exactly the same as she did 25 years ago. She opened her eyes and smiled.

  “How could this be! How…”, said John.

  “It’s OK, you’re with me know. I saved you”, interrupted Mina in a sort of soft calming voice as she reached to John for an embrace. In shock, he fell to the ground facing the mirrored bifold doors next to the bed. He looked up to face his reflection in the mirror, but it was not there. The clock hand struck 6:49am.

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