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Rockin' the Clock - Graveyard Shift #5


"What could they mean?", Zoe quizzed gently shaking her head. The secret note, her father's handwriting and the unusual riff were tormenting her but it seemed like there was only one thing to do. Curling her blue locks behind her ears, she grabbed her trusty Stratocaster by the scruff and draped the "Eat my shorts!" strap across her chest as if she was about to be crowned with a tiara. Having become second nature over the last few months, she suited up with army precision, setting her pocket pod to 'Tweed Drive' and plugging in to her amp with a crackle of feedback. If this was it, Zoe was going to play it loud and proud.

Being a scatter cat, Dimple was now hovering near the open window, getting ready to exit the scene. Zoe knew it bothered him when she cranked up the volume to 11, which is why she usually defaulted to her old school headphones. Using a battery-powered pocket pod, she was able to shred her electric guitar in the nearby park - just about anywhere! She didn't have an audience of kids and concerned parents to judge her this time, but was ready to rock - her feet planted firmly in front of the scrawl! Looking up as if to kiss the sky like Jimi, she winked to Dad wherever he was as the plectrum hit the strings. Powering through the notes as if she was playing for a stadium, the sound reverberated off the walls. It was so loud that she knew mom would be leaning up against the door frame with her arms folded and head tilted to say "you should know better" without a word. Feeling as though the heavens or earth should open, the epic moment led to a massive anti-climax.

Silence. Eerie silence. Everything around Zoe had become incredibly quiet. Standing for a few seconds in disbelief, she realised it wasn't pure silence. She could hear something. Taking another moment to compose herself, she realised it was her heartbeat. Her breathing. She was the only one making any sound at all. Looking across at Dimple, who had returned to his perch after the blast of sound, the two locked eyes until he slowly blinked. It was so quiet she could hear Dimple purring from across the room. While comforting to know she hadn't finally gone deaf, it was strange that mom hadn't appeared at the door. Even stranger was that nothing besides her ginger cat was moving. Everything had a stagnant feeling as though the air had been sucked out of her bedroom.

"Mom?" she plead, her voice echoing and warbling as if she was underwater. Perplexed by the sensory shutdown, Zoe moved over to the window, hearing the sound of crunching paper beneath her feet. Her bedroom was in a hush, the kind of black out quiet that mutes fridge white noise. It was as if big red velvet walls had shower-curtained their way around the room. Peering out the window as Dimple continued to purr, her mouth dropped. Everything was in a standstill. The remnants of the backyard tree house were far creepier without the gentle swaying and rustle of cascading leaves. The view was beautifully serene like a photograph yet equally as unsettling as being in a whisper-quiet cemetery.

Gobsmacked to the point that she felt her mouth drying, Zoe turned to Dimple as if to say pinch me. Dimple's golden eyes and full-chested purr were unnervingly calm. It was like he actually preferred the silence, not having to needle pick sounds out of a cacophony of possible threats. She half-expected her cat to start levitating. At least then she'd know it was a dream. Rubbing her eyes, slapping her face awake... nothing seemed to alleviate the sense that everything had frozen. "Mom!" she finally blurted. Just as Zoe was spinning around on her heel to go find out if her mum was okay, everything rushed back to real-time as the fridge buzz, chirping birds and gentle hum of life returned to normal. Just then a loud hissing sound erupted before a dull thud. Lying face down on the floor, she realised she had tripped over the cord running to her little amp. Wincing from the pain of bumping her nose, tears gathered in her eyes. Glad no one had seen her face plant, she raised her head to see her mother leaning against the door, arms folded and looking down at her... desperately trying to disguise a smirk.