Melody could sometimes hear the faint rhythmic clicks when standing in the kitchen. Otherwise the hundreds of dull-faced dolls that she had placed in every space hushed this unhappy home. Her grandson moved out last week, defeated, and her husband had moved to the basement, disgusted. She defied them both among all the indifferent eyes. Bernie surrounded himself in the cool cellar with his collection of hundreds of clocks, chiming, buzzing, ticking and tocking, day and night. He slept through it, watched TV through it. It marked this time, her time, and whatever time he had left.
—Spencer Seher lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children, and works as a research editor at a financial firm. He’s an avid consumer of podcasts, novels, short-story collections, scary movies, true-crime documentaries, and stand-up comedy. This is his first published story.
Spencer Seher on writing “Surrounded:”
I got the idea from my sister-in-law’s grandparents, who had this kind of arrangement in their house. I added the tension and ill will, and the resignation at the end, because what makes a good story conflict but some good old-fashioned disdain and resentment among loved ones, am I right?