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A Most Peculiar Alarm Clock
By Claire Engstrom
Genre: Fiction Level: Junior 7-9
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

Mr. Kevin Robbins lived on the fifth floor of Bryarsville Apartments, at room 56. He was a fairly young man, age 29, and was an intern at a large publishing company far from his apartment. Most of his mornings were spent frantically getting ready for his work, which started much earlier than when he had woken up. His afternoons; however, were much more stressful, as he saved himself from getting fired. Each time, he pleaded with his manager explaining that his lack of an alarm clock and the distance he had to travel to work made him late.           

That weekend, Kevin finally motivated himself to buy an alarm clock. Five dollars should be enough. Pocketing his spare change, Kevin rushed to the elevator, but then it dawned on him that his front door never shut. The rotting piece of wood gingerly blocking the entrance to his apartment was always a hassle. Slamming the door thousands of times, Kevin finally heard the tiny click of the lock. He heavily sighed, and after his, came a higher sigh. Confused, Kevin turned around and saw a bulging set of hazel eyes, on a face too small to hold them, staring directly into his.

"Why are you late all the time, mister?" the young girl questioned, cocking her head.

"Who are-"

"Grown-ups go to work at nine. Why are you always late?"

Kevin shrugging her off, answered, "Not gonna answer that one right now, kid. I need to go."

As he left, the little girl confidently, no, smugly called, "You need an alarm clock, don't you?"

Kevin spun around, wondering how thin his apartment walls were becoming, and if he had been talking to himself out loud. He slowly asked, "What did you say?"

"An alarm clock," she frowned, "Mommy thinks you need one. I don't think I need one, so I'm giving you my old one."

The young girl thrusted a bright pink alarm clock into Kevin's face. It, covered in jewels and embellishments, was incredibly gaudy. He cringed and pushed it away.

"Thanks, but I think your mother would want you to keep such a treasure."

"No," she quipped, "She wants you to have it."

Nervously, Kevin accepted the gift forced upon him. The girl proud, lifted her chin high in the air and silently paraded down the dusty hall. He stared shamefully at the engraved unicorns on the frame. What is wrong with me? I have just taken a toy from a little girl. How low have I stooped? Dejected, he entered his apartment. It was as if all his self esteem whooshed away with that young child's sashay. Placing the alarm clock by his briefcase, Kevin slumped down on his sofa. Suddenly, a twinkling music disrupted his moping.

"What the..." Kevin glared oddly at the alarm clock. To stop the jingly sounds, he shook the clock, but again, was interrupted. Bring... bring, bring. As it had been dropped so many times, Kevin's phone inconsistently rang when called. Ignoring the current task, he answered.

"Hello?" Kevin asked.

"Mr. Robbins?" A very professional voice questioned.

"Ah. Ms. Stockwell, um, I'm really sorry about that whole being late thing-"

"I am not calling about that. Fortunately, I bring good news today."

"Really?" Kevin excitedly inquired.

"It seems that the writer you convinced us to let on is a huge success with young adults."

"You mean Cary?"

"Mr. Heis' book, Backpacks, is bringing in millions. We are very proud of you, Mr. Robbins. Now if you only came in on time, you might even earn yourself a raise."

"Thank you! This is really a coincidence, I mean, I just got an alarm-"

"Very good, Mr. Robbins. I do hope that I will be seeing you on Monday at the appropriate time."

"Um, thank you, Ms. Stockwell."

"Good day."


Happily, Kevin closed the phone in a single clap. He never knew that this publishing job would go anywhere! But then he remembered the alarm clock. How was it that it rang right before his boss called? Kevin shrugged it off, as he didn't believe in chance, but this fateful event didn't end here. Contest winnings, raises, and great fortune bombarded him each time his alarm clock sang her sweet, sparkly song. He especially liked that it woke him up on time.

After weeks of good luck, Kevin, though he still lived in a beat-up apartment building, was truly happy. As he relaxed on the brand-new sofa that he bought with his winnings, Kevin pleasingly stared at his bright pink alarm clock. What a life I'm having. Again, he peered at the clock, but now, he did so with affliction. But do I need it anymore? I have everything I have every wanted. He left the couch, ready for his hand to grab it. It didn't have to be this way, but Kevin knew it was for the better. His left hand clutched the child's alarm clock and brought it near the trash. For one last time, he took a sad glance at the face. One chiseled unicorn wept her demise, while the other, distant and cold; they were much unlike their merry introductions. Finally, he let go of his luck, his fortune, and his chance.

Though he was deeply thrown with this act even the next day, nothing actually changed about Kevin's life. Praise filled every room he strolled, he met all pennies with their face turned to, and won every contest he entered. Maybe I didn't need it after all. After work ended, Kevin strode home in glee. He entered the elevator with a gleaming bright exuberance, and left it with many elevator patrons in awe. Even budging the door open was no frustrating task for Kevin. Suddenly, a sight ruined his reign of cheer.

On the coffee table, next to a stack of Ben Franklins, was the pink alarm clock. His briefcase slammed against the floor breaking its clasp. Kevin's jaw dropped. The clock seemed to whisper, "Don't throw me away. Don't throw me away again."

Quickly, he threw away the plaything once more. Ripping off a long piece of silvery duct tape, Kevin sealed the trash can shut. He sighed and flopped onto the sofa. Just as he felt at peace, a shimmery, yet angry tune filled the air of the apartment. Tensely, Kevin jumped up. Out of nowhere, a heavy wind blew into his face, while his documents blew out of the open window.

"NO!" Kevin screamed, reaching for the business documents flowing through the air. As his hope ran out, the last document flew through the air. Eyes widened, Kevin dived for it. His arm stretched out; he was inches away! Gravity started to take its toll. As Kevin fell, his last paper flew out the window. He landed on the table with a loud crash, while his foot ripped a hole in the sofa. He turned his aching face and could only focus on his earnings flying out the window too. Kevin attempted to reach the window to shut it, but sadly, it was too late. Not a speck of green or gold stayed.

Kevin sobbed for his lost possessions. He never knew how much material things could mean to a person. Pushing himself up, Kevin staggered to the only object that had ever brought him luck, the thing he had just rejected.  Ripping off the duct tape, he reached into the grimy trashcan to find exactly what he was looking for. Tears of joy spread from his eyes as he once again caressed the lucky clock a young girl gave to him not but three weeks ago. Kevin squeezed each side to make sure he wasn't dreaming, but with this, he found despair. Water had infiltrated every spot on the clock. Miserably, he fell onto his knees, knowing that his luck would never come back. In the crack of the door, a youthful face leered at this, and then paraded down the hall.       



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