• There was clock that hung between the living room and the kitchen that Claudia couldn’t stand.

    It sang so sweetly when it was brand new, fresh from the dark wooden box, but now it whined so pitifully that the damned cuckoo almost seemed like it was alive. She remembered her Mother ordering it, her father upset that she was wasting so much money on having the wretched thing shipped and that he wasn’t going to put it together. Luckily for her, when it was removed, all it took was two small screws and a bit of wire to put it on the wall. That is where it will sit too until Claudia can find the time to shatter it into a million pieces. Daddy never once touched it and she honestly couldn't remember if it had ever been wound. The was something inside it, Claudia wasn't sure, that made music or had chimes. It made a small series of noises that would sound almost familiar, so much so that it made memory build up inside your head like colors . It could also act so foreign that it seemed those notes danced to whatever rhythm suited them for whenever it felt like singing. It could be the beginning to happy birthday or it could herald a Chopin classic when ever the moment was right.
    It chimed when Claudia’s brother Ralphie was born in the bathtub to a huge fuss, 9 pounds and 2 ounces with a mouth of teeth. It sang something pleasant when Aunt Gertrude announced she had cancer to a room full of family that were as silent as strangers. It did something when Daddy left them for Tammy Marshall down the road and her house full of girls although if you asked her, Claudia couldn’t remember what it had said or did too well on that occasion, all she could remember was that it made a quick chime and then Daddy ran over her bike on the way out of the driveway, and she heard her bike bell let a tink tink one last time when he had done that. Momma sobbed, Ralphie sucked his teeth and spit while Claudia asked if the bike could be fixed or if they were homeless now. Claudia loved that pink and white bike although every time she saw one now it filled her with a sad memory of her old pig tails and bent tires. Bad bells.
    It trilled softly and nearly fell when Momma answered the door to a Marine saying Ralphie did good but he didn’t do his best when he fell on a mine on the way home from Germany. Momma asked where they buried him over there and the clock said nothing as the Marine told her something about pieces of people always getting lost on the roads back to the states. It was quiet when they found out Daddy died after getting the wrong sort of shot from the wrong sort of people. That clock was almost as much as a constant in Claudia’s life as her Mother's constant nagging or breathing.
    The day she found out Momma had passed, her computer was beeping at her with an new email and all she wondered was if that damned cuckoo clock made a similar noise the moment her Mother died. What sort of weird song or series of notes did it relinquish the second that it’s beloved owner died? She liked to imagine it cried or that it may have spun out into one of those long harsh trills like those toys when it’s batteries start to go or a siren with a bad speaker. Maybe it went off all quiet like, similar to how Momma’s life support blipped off the night the power went out. Claudia was terrified of going back to that house. But the thing that scared her the most was that clock.

    It would drive anyone mad.