When The Clocks Go Back

Old Tom watched the clock. At two in the morning, they always came back to haunt him, but only on this day of the year when he’d forgotten to put his clocks back an hour before going to bed. The same ghosts, year after year, but only on the night that the clocks went back.

An hour later, they were gone, and he could sleep, but one year he never woke up again.


The day before the clocks went back, Monica moved into Tom’s old house the following year. Tired, she decided to put the clocks back an hour when she’d wake up the next day.

She was woken at two in the morning to the sound of her bedroom door opening. She froze in terror as the ghost of an old man danced around her room while slowly making its way over to her.

“What are you doing in my house and in my bed?” the ghost bellowed.

When the clock struck 2am for the second time in an hour, Tom’s ghost disappeared, and Monica’s eyes opened. Had she just had a nightmare?

Monica noticed that her bedroom door was wide open, sitting up in bed. She was sure she had closed it. She always closed her bedroom door at night.

As the cold autumnal air hit her bare skin, Monica felt a shiver go down her spine as she got out of bed, walked across the room and closed her bedroom door.

Getting back into bed and pulling the covers over her head, Monica soon fell asleep.

When the clock struck 2am for the third time, it was the sudden movement of something under her bed that convinced Monica it hadn’t all been a nightmare.


#shortstory #flashfiction

Sleep tight tonight and, on the night the clocks go back, always remember to put your clocks back an hour before going to bed.

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87 thoughts on “When The Clocks Go Back

        1. That’s most observant, Rob. I wrote this story two years ago and, when writing it, I wrote it as if I was writing a piece of young adults poetry. However, it developed into a piece of flash fiction.

        1. It does, Judy, because that orb keeps visiting me. Not all the time, but I’ve seen it floating by the side of me when I’ve had the webcam on. People I’ve been on calls with can also see it. 😱

      1. Thank goodness I have drawers under my bed so I’m safe on that count. (That doesn’t stop me from keeping my arms and legs safely tucked in and safe from accidental dangling over the edge! You can never play it too safe!)

  1. Yikes! I always leave it till the morning after! Safe this year, phew, but I’ll remember for next year. Great story, Hugh! Happy Halloween. 👻🎃😙

    1. It is, Diana. Autumn has always been a favourite time of year for me. Darker, chiller nights, and things that start to go bump in the night (usually me falling down, after that extra glass of red wine). 🍷

  2. I just read you changed your time this weekend. Ours is next weekend, I suppose to accommodate Halloween. But I’ll be keeping your story in mind..:)

  3. Good story – sent a shiver down my spine!

    I have just returned from Malta where the churches have two clocks, showing different times. It is said that the one on the right shows the correct time for the religious locals, while the one on the left shows the wrong time to confuse Satan from disturbing the mass.

        1. True, but I just wondered how much the time was out? A little or a lot? If a lot, I can imagine a lot of people (including me) wanting to say something about it until they knew the story behind it.

        2. Oh I see, actually I don’t know if it is a consistent time difference at every church or just entirely random.

          A few years ago we went to Portugal and as we landed we automatically adjusted our watches to European time. What we didn’t know was that Portugal keeps the same time as the UK so we spent a whole day one hour ahead of ourselves. We were confused all day long until we belatedly understood our mistake.

  4. Spooky, spooky! In the US, the clocks fall back an hour next weekend. It’ll be tricky to figure out where all the clocks are in this new to us house where we are pet sitting for three months. None in our room, for example… Maybe I should ask the owner before she leaves, or more than one ghost might get upset!

    1. So, that means Old Tom will be visiting your part of the world next weekend then, Elizabeth. Remember to change all the clocks before going to bed.

      Thanks so much for linking to the story. I appreciate it.

  5. You must be getting into the Halloween spirit, Hugh 🙂 Now, if your ghost was a young Tom, whole different story 🙂

  6. Love it!! I change our clocks (maybe two manual ones), the rest are digital and automatically change. Our Daylight savings time doesn’t end until next week Nov 5th. Still don’t know why we still use this archaic time function. Most of us don’t live in an agricultural society any more…

    1. True, Terri. I do enjoy the lighter mornings, but the darker evenings can be rather stressful thinking that I’ve done hardly anything all day when it gets dark. It gets dark here at 4pm in December & January, but we do get the benefit of long Summer evenings that are light (providing the weather also plays ball).

  7. I change my clocks back the next morning and then spend the next two weeks trying to figure out what time it really is. Why don’t they just leave time be? It’s unnatural to mess with time!!!

    1. Rest? Who said anything about any rest? I’ll be staying up until at least 3am. Or should that be 4am? Is it forwards or back? Gaining or losing an hour? Or is it 1am? Let’s just say until I hear the dawn chorus. 😀

    1. You’re lucky not having to remember whether it’s forward or back with the time change. However, old Tom dislikes any kind of poor timekeeping. Just make sure your clocks and watches are never out by more than an hour. You’ll be fine if you remember that good piece of advice from me.😱

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