This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 784 words.
On the day I moved out, all I had to take were my clothes and some books. When I had loaded up the Fiesta, mum came out with a carrier bag containing her old clock/radio, the one with the red digital numbers that had been beside her bed to use as an alarm clock. “You might as well have this, Darren. Now I’m retiring, I won’t need an alarm clock anymore. You can come back for dinner next Sunday if you want, up to you”.
And with that she went back inside, and closed the door.
Mum hadn’t asked me anything about the flat, other than how much money she had to pay the solicitor arranging my purchase. Same with the car, just asked who to make the cheque out to. I had a vision of her enjoying being alone with her memories of her dead husband, and the other son that she had truly loved.
Now ten years later, the clock still worked, I had the same car, and lived in the same flat, using all same the stuff the young woman had sold me. The television was new, as the old one had too small a screen. And the kettle had died, so I had bought a flashy new one four years ago.
The Indian meal was surprisingly good, and I washed it down with four cans of lager. That didn’t turn out to be such a good idea, as I woke up in the middle of the night, needing to pee. I was relieved to discover the clock said 3:01, not 3:17. Perhaps that spooky spell had finally broken.
No such luck. Not long after, before I was really back off to sleep, I heard a strange whirring noise. At first it sounded like one of the neighbours was using a drill. But at past three in the morning? That was unlikely. Besides, it was coming from above me, near the ceiling, and I lived on the top floor. It stopped, started again, then stopped. The next time, it went on a bit longer, and was then followed by a clickling sound, like someone slowly winding up something that had a clockwork mechanism.
Of course, the clock was reading 3:17, just as I knew it would be.
It was almost four when it stopped, and I eventually got back to sleep. I was woken up by my mobile alert going off just after nine. I checked it, and it was a text from Mark. He wanted to come over later, and said to text him when I was up and about. That threw me. I couldn’t remember when or if Mark had ever been to my flat. We always met at the pub or some food place. I replied to his text, telling him to come over after two. Then I went back to sleep.
He was quite excited when he turned up, and after accepting my offer of a cold beer, he sat down to tell me what he had been doing. “I had no luck with those other number combinations, Darren. Believe me, I tried. I even put them into a numerology programme I downloaded, but it kept coming back to 317 all the time. There has to be something connecting that number with your life, I’m sure of it. You have to think hard, it must be in your brain somewhere”.
His beer was already drained, so I went to get him another one, assuring him that I had thought of nothing else since that first group of coincidences, but I honestly didn’t have a clue. Then I warned him that was the last beer in the house.
Reaching into his shoulder bag, he pulled out a small sleek laptop that must have cost a fortune, and asked for the wi-fi password to connect it. “I have been doing some research, and I want to show you this site. I have sent a link to your email already, but I know you almost never look at personal emails”. Tapping away while complaining about my broadband speed, he eventually got up what he wanted to show me. “Check this woman out. She has a good reputation, and yes she’s a psychic, but look. She specialises in numerology, the psychic connections involving numbers”.
I looked at the website. ‘Sylvia Townsend’. She was based in London, had numerous glowing testimonials and she did private investigations into what she called ‘Psychic events, especially those involving numbers’. Mark was finishing the second beer. “You got a shop near here where I can get more beers?” I told him where it was, and he left me looking at the laptop.
Wondering how much Sylvia charged for her services.