This week's offering for Master Class Monday at EatSleepWrite. I chose the prompt; Waylaid Mutterings.
I also took inspiration from The Light and Shade Challenge. The prompts were a photo of a grandfather's clock and the quotation; Tempus Fugit.
Christian lost his concentration, his muttered chanting waylaid by the three percussive chimes of the grandfather clock downstairs still reverberating in his ears. Blinking in confusion he unfolded his legs and pushed his aching muscles to stand. He stretched his shoulders as he shuffled across the room, heedless of the thin line of salt scattered by his feet.
He stumbled into the dark hallway and found his way to the bathroom. Flipping the switch, Christian sighed in annoyance at its refusal to shed light. Reaching for the cold water handle he was greeted not with water but a dry gurgle.
He stomped downstairs to the front window and yanked the drapes open. He scanned his neighbors' homes for signs of power. The street was in darkness, no porch lights, no street lamps. His attention was drawn to several junk yard worthy vehicles sitting randomly along the street. Christian's mood shifted slowly from anger to puzzlement. A power outage, not unheard of, but someone parking junk cars in a neighborhood was bizarre.
With the power down the house was eerily silent. The only sound came from the clock, its pendulum whispering back and forth in the narrow space. How long had it been? He remembered sitting within the pentagram and lighting candles. He'd started the memorized chant, the one that promised to make the world a better place.
He bounded back up the stairs. Entering the room he'd recently left, opened the curtain to let the sparse light from a waning moon into the room. The candles had burnt to the bottom. Christian huffed to himself, "Five day candles? Yeah, right!"
He returned to the lower floor, this time going into the kitchen. If there was no electricity, he ought to eat before everything spoiled. The refrigerator door took an extra tug to open, as it did Christian was greeted with a small dust cloud that reeked of mold.
"What the hell?" he cried. His limited vision couldn't determine the contents and he wasn't inclined to stick his hands into the unknown depths. Slamming the offending appliance shut, he wandered to the back door. Grabbing the knob, he stood a moment, an odd tingle of fear keeping his hand from turning it.
Pushing down the uncomfortable feeling, Christian threw the door open and stepped onto the small concrete stoop. The silence of the dark pressed against him. He held his breath as he listened for the sound of distant traffic, the scamper of a rodent, the creak of tree limbs. He heard nothing. No breeze moved, the air was sterile and tasteless.
Paranoia won and Christian bolted back inside, locking the door behind him.
He paced the room, mumbling to himself, "Wait for daylight, ask the neighbors what's going on. Walk uptown, find a newspaper. Stop being a wuss!"
A chill filled the space, stopping Christian's internal rant. His heart pounding he closed his eyes and uttered a prayer that was ironic in its direct opposition to the chant he'd recited previously.
A guttural laugh silenced him. "Too late to switch sides now, Christian. You've done well. The world is a much better place." The voice mocked him.
Christian dropped to his knees, "How long has it been? I have to know." he asked through chattering teeth.
"Twenty years. It takes a lot of chanting to accomplish a change of this magnitude." A snide chuckle accompanied the startling statement. "Time flies when you're having fun, right?"