Seth awoke the next morning, tired and cranky from an endless night of tossing and turning.
He left his bedroom and headed downstairs to see his parents before they headed for the airport, but to Seth's surprise his parents were nowhere to be found.
He ran back up the stairs to see if maybe they had been still packing. No one there.
Seth found this very odd because his parents had always told him goodbye before leaving the house, even if they were just running errands and would be back within an hours time.
But today they hadn’t woken him up to say goodbye, or even leave him a note.
A little annoyed, and a little sad and confused Seth figured they had been running late and had to leave in a hurry.
It was still early and Lily wouldn’t be coming until a little later, so Seth made himself a big bowl of cereal and parked himself in front of the tv.
He grabbed the remote and turned it on, trying not to be to upset about his parents leaving without a goodbye. “I’ll talk to them when they get to the hotel later anyways.
” He thought to himself. The tv was nothing but static, Seth flipped through the channels trying to find anything but the static. Seth was unsuccessful. “Great.
” He thought to himself somewhat sarcastically. He turned off the tv and finished his cereal.
Seth hated being alone in the house, it always felt eerie to him as it is dead silent and all the creaks and moans of the house seem to get ten times louder when he was there alone.
Off in the distance he could hear the tick, tick tick, of the clock up the stairs.
He stood there for a moment just listening to it when he was abruptly rattled by someone unlocking the front door.
A little jumpy Seth looked around the corner towards the door to see Lily stepping inside.
“Hi Seth!” Lily said in a very enthusiastic and excited tone.
Lily and Seth had always gotten along great, she would play soldier with him, and take him for ice cream, and was always there to help him out whenever his parents were gone.
She was almost like a second mom to him.
“Hey Lily.” Seth replied in a still sleepy sounding tone. “Do you know if my parents went to the airport already?” He asked.
“I didn’t think their flight was until a little later, why, are they not here?” She replied.
“No, i woke up and they were already gone. Usually they would wake me up to say goodbye, but they didn’t.” Explained Seth. “I don’t know why they would’ve left without saying goodbye.
” Seth explained clearly hurt about the fact.
“Well i’m sure they have a good reason for it sweetie, maybe they came in and you were sleeping so soundly you don't remember, or they didn’t want to wake you.
” Lily tried to explain attempting to make him feel better about it. “I’m betting that’s what happened.” She finished off.
“So, I have a laundry list of fun things I figured we can do today if you want to.” She changed the subject.
This peeked Seth's interest, Lily always had a list of fun things to do, and Seth had a hard time choosing which to do first.
After getting ready for the day the two of them headed out for a day of fun, sugar rushes, and memories.
The day seemed to come to an end all to soon, it always does when it is spent with Lily. They had just returned home from seeing a new action movie that Seth had been wanting to see.
Before that it was dinner at his favorite pizza place, and the zoo, and several different toy stores.
Needless to say Lily spoils Seth whenever his parents are out of town and she is there to watch him. Lily unlocked the front door to the house and the two of them were greeted by the darkness.
Seth reached over and flipped on the light switch illuminating the entry way.
They set down the random collection of toys and miscellaneous novelties that Lily had gotten for Seth throughout the day and began to settle in for the evening.
“Lily, can I try and call my parents now?” Seth asked, almost forgetting about the call due to the distraction of all the new toys he had collected.
“Of course.” She replied, getting her phone out. She began to dial his parents number and handed him the phone as it began to ring.
He held it up to his ear and listened to the ringing, one ring, two ring, right after the third ring he got an answer.
“Hi dad.” Seth said into the phone eagerly awaiting a reply. Nothing. “Dad, can you hear me?” Still, nothing. Seth listened closely and could faintly make out a noise in the background.
Tick, tick, tick, and then silence. Seth, trying not to appear to freaked out handed the phone back to Lily and explained what he had heard.
“Maybe its a bad signal.” She said looking at the bars on her phone. “Lets try your mom's number huh?” She looked back down at the phone and began to dial. “Here sweetie, it's ringing.”
One ring, two ring, and again after the third ring an answer. “Hey Mom.” Seth said into the phone.
“Mom, are you there? I just tried to call dad and the reception must of been bad because I couldn’t hear him, I just heard a ticking noise.” Tick, tick, tick. Seth almost dropped the phone.
“What's wrong Seth?” Lily asked with a hint of concern in her voice.
“It’s just ticking again.” Seth said starting to get more freaked out. He handed the phone back to Lily who began to look at it and fidget with the screen.
“It says I have full bars here, so it’s probably your parents reception wherever they’re at.” She explained it off.
“Tell you what, why don’t we unpack some of your toys so that they’re ready for you to play with in the morning. It’s getting late and you look tired.”
With that, Seth and Lily unpacked toys, played just for a quick minute with some new toy soldiers, and then headed off to bed.
Seth wasn’t able to fall asleep at all that night. He hadn’t talked to either of his parents since the night before they left, which was very unlike them.
He couldn’t shake the feeling of dread from the pit of his stomach, something just didn’t feel right. He got up to get a drink of water from the bathroom sink.
Opening his door he looked out into the pure dark nothing again, hearing the tick, tick, tick, of the clock. He wanted to take the clock off the wall and smash it to bits.
What is normally overlooked noise had become a reminder of his unease.
After building up the courage to venture into the dark hallway he hurried past the clock and down the hall towards the bathroom. Not quite a run, but much faster than a normal walk.
As he approached the guest room which was right before the bathroom he noticed something odd. There seemed to be a faint, dim and flickering light coming from under the door.
Why he couldn’t have seen it before from his own room was beyond him.
A little voice in his head told him to keep moving and ignore it, but just as he started moving away from the door he heard a voice.
“Seth? Is that you?” A voice from within the guest room called. “Come here, I have something I want to show you.” It sounded like Lily, which coming from the guest room only made sense.
Not thinking twice about it being assured that it was Lily, Seth opened the door and gazed into the room. As he did the pit in his stomach felt like it had exploded into a black hole.
Scattered across the room were lit candles, and strange markings on the floor.
Lily was sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by strange objects that looked like they belonged in a halloween store.
“Do you still want to talk to your parents?” She asked giving him the scariest smile he had ever seen. “Come.” She motioned him over to her.
The little voice in his head now said, “Fuck this, run!” Without hesitation Seth turned and bolted out of the doorway and towards the stairs.
As he was reaching the bottom of the stairs two hooded figures appeared at the bottom, blocking his escape. They didn’t say anything, just stood there blocking his exit.
At the top of the stairs Lily stood letting out a twisted laugh of pleasure, and excitement.
“Come on now sweetie, let's play!” She began laughing that twisted laugh again as she descended the stairs.
With nowhere to run Seth was trapped. He could feel his knees get weak, and his vision get blurry, the world seemed to close in around him until there was nothing but darkness.
Darkness, and the tick, tick, tick of the clock.
Seth felt a hand on his shoulder, shaking him, and a familiar voice saying, “Wake up sweetie.” He opened his eyes with a startle, he was covered in sweat and breathing heavily.
He rolled over to see who was there and locked eyes with his mother.
“Dad and I are headed for the airport now, but we wanted to say goodbye first.” His mother said calmly. “You must of had quite the nightmare, I could barely wake you up from it. Are you ok?”
After a few deep breaths to calm his nerves Seth replied, “Yes, I’m ok now.”
“Well good, we have to go but we love you, and behave for Lily ok.” His mother said. “Call us if you need anything.” She kissed him on the forehead and gave him a hug.
Seth didn’t want to let go from that hug after having such a terrible dream.
“Love you to mom.” Seth said finally releasing his mother from the hug.
He walked down the stairs and saw his parents out the front door and watched as they loaded the car. They backed out waving goodbye and blowing him kisses.
Seth smiled, knowing that they wouldn’t have left without saying goodbye first.
As he headed back into the house, he heard the tick, tick, tick of the clock on the wall, when suddenly the ticking was drowned out by the sound of screeching tires and a loud bang.
The sound of crunching metal, and breaking glass sounded like it was right beside him.
Time stood still, Seth walked over to the front door and looked out to see that his parents car had been T boned at the first intersection leaving the neighborhood.
Panic filled Seth, things went quiet, tick, tick tick, boom. The car exploded in a ball of smoke and flames.
Seth let out a scream but couldn’t hear himself over the crackling of the flames that now engulfed his parents car. All he heard was the clock.