The Pendulum

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January 2019

1st Place in the Short Short Fiction Contest
By Sabrina Guo, Art by Marco Lu

Tick Tock


Most nights, my cat stares at the grandfather clock in the living room. She is a grey tabby with splotches of black and white. Her eyes are golden and edged in greenish blue, like a miniature painting of the sun over a forest, or a mood ring, because you never know when the colors will change.

When she is calm, you see more of the gold, flickering. But when she is scared, her pupils are large and black, and you notice more of the green, which is the way she looks before the clock at night—her back arched, her fur raised like small tufts of grass. She stares at the oval shape of the clock as if it is the moon revolving around the earth and the earth around the sun. When the clock sounds on the hour, her ears twitch, but she doesn’t move. She simply resets her eyes, refastening them to the pendulum’s sway.

Unlike my cat, I think this time might have been better spent outside in the fresh air like my mother always wants me to do. But for my cat, no second is wasted; she merely sees and does: when she is hungry, she eats, when she is tired, she sleeps, and when she is frisky, she scratches the furniture, no matter how much we scold her.

When she is happy, she purrs, or she brushes her side against my leg, nudging her head and nose into my wrist when I reach down to pet her as if she is pleading, but for what I am never sure: more food, a toy, my lap? I never know exactly what she wants except that when I am with her, I am warm and calm, certain there is still enough time for everything.

The Pendulum Sabrina Guo

Sabrina Guo, 12
Oyster Bay, NY

Tick Tock Marco Lu

Marco Lu, 12
Champaign, IL


About the Author

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One Comment
  1. Anthony Mazzucca January 12, 2019 at 10:41 am Reply

    what a great story and a great image.

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