No batteries in it? What was that supposed to mean?
She reached into the pocket of her coat, murmering something about nicking the batteries from the fire alarm of her previous house, and brought out two AA penlights.
"Wait..." He tried to stop her, but she was quick.
Damn, she was quick!
He lunged forward, trying to grab her wrist, but before he knew it, the batteries clicked into the empty heart of the Pocahontas clock. He closed his eyes and lost his balance, falling forward with his stretched out hand onto her soft chest. She caught him, lovingly, with strong hands, and didn't seem to mind.
It was not the homely sound of the clock - it was not the sound his daughter used to sleep to.
It was not his heart, beating in his throat or ears.
Wat was it, that made the house tremble and the central heating tick?
It was her warmth, her heartbeat, the stroking of her hand. She wanted to share her life with him. To live with him. She wanted to bring him back to life.
He couldn't accept it. Of course he couldn't. He couldn't let go of what once was his - and now belonged to the land of the dead.
He was the only thing that connected them to the world where they belonged - because he was living the life of the dead. He couldn't give in to her warmth. This was not why he had invited her in.
it was the sound of his tears dripping on the doorstep. She tried to wipe his face with her thumb.
"No," he said. His thoughts echoed. No - no - no!
He pulled himself away from her, grabbed the clock and smashed it through the window. She shrieked, jumped up in surprise and backed away.
"Get away from me!"
"You get away from me!"
They screamed at each other until she ran down the stairs, grabbing her coat to leave the house.
Once the echo of the slamming door had died away, he took his computer and his laptop and carried them up the stairs. They were heavy and dug deep furrows into his arms - there was no need for him to take them both at the same time - it's not as if he was trying to save time. If anything, he was trying to kill it. For these machines, he had realised, were the last clocks in his house that kept him hooked to the real world, that kept pulling him away from his beloved wife and children. He carried the computers up the stairs in order to chuck them out of the broken window - to see them crash on the pavement.
With them gone, he would soon not be able to pay his bills any more, not be able to order in any more food or company... he would soon be forced to join them in eternity.