Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock…
The steady rhythm was maddening. It never sped up, just stayed at the same, consistent, regulated beat. Penelope felt quite ready to scream, having lain in bed for so long just listening to the ticking, ticking, ticking clock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Finally, with a quiet growl, she threw off the covers and stepped out of bed, pulling on her robe to shield from the cold and padding down the stairs. Her feet sank into the plush carpet as she reached the living room and took a seat on the couch. This way at least she’d be away from the clock as she tried to sleep and she’d be the first one to the Christmas tree. It was set up in the corner near the electric fireplace, all lit up. It sparkled and glittered in its own lights, which reflected off the ornaments to send colors splaying all over the room.
As Penelope pulled a throw over her and settled into place, she heard a snick, snick, snick sound and glared at the clock on the mantle. “I thought you didn’t make noise,” she muttered. She tried to ignore it, but the harder she tried the louder it seemed. She tossed the throw back onto the back of the couch with another fierce glare at the clock and headed down into her father’s den. There was an couch down there that smelled like old leather and his aftershave, and it would do all right for a bed. It’s Christmas Eve, she thought. Why am I so irritable?
She laid on the couch and sighed, trying to relax. After a while of the silence, she was finally able to fall asleep.
Penelope was woken by someone shaking her, and she looked up to see her father standing over her. “Hey, Pen. Why are you all the way down here?”
“The clocks were annoying,” she answered, getting up. Realization hit her. “It’s Christmas!”
Her father nodded with a grin and Penelope dashed up the stairs. No more waiting, no more maddening clocks, just family and light and presents and… She glanced out the window. Snow! She jumped and ran into the living room, almost right into her mom. “It’s snowing!”
Her parents laughed and the three of them sat around the tree, passing out presents and enjoying the peace and joy that flooded the house.