Pen & Ink

Sharing Fiction, Poetry, and Writing Tutorials

Short Story by Samantha Mullenhour

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I apologize for that. However, I have returned with a short story for you, written by my friend, Samantha Mullenhour.

Samantha is a super awesome friend of mine, and she wrote a story called The Ticking Contraption which is absolutely AMAZING! I thought I’d share it on this blog for you all to read and enjoy.

So now we’ll get on with the story! Please feel free to leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

The Ticking Contraption

By Samantha Mullenhour

I was walking around the woods, gathering the herbs that Mama wanted to season supper. As I walked into a small clearing, I heard a faint ticking noise. The ticking was obviously coming from somewhere specific because the ticking got louder and quieter depending on the direction in which I walked.

Abandoning the gathering of herbs, I made a game out of trying to get as close as possible to the ticking noise. I walked around the area, looping around trees and kicking my feet in the dead leaves on the ground.  As I searched, I thought about what could be making the noise- a strange bug? My questions were answered when I stepped on a small object laying on the ground. It was hard, and my foot hurt from stepping on it. In pain, I hopped around for a few seconds, then plopped down on the leaves. Picking up the mystery object and looking closely at it, I suddenly forgot my pain.

Upon inspection, it turned out to be a small, round circle, with fancy, blue-green designs all around it. The ticking sound seemed to be coming from the strange contraption. I looked at it closely, trying to determine what it was.

Inside the greenish circle was a white circle. In the perimeter of the circle, there were strange lines. Some of the lines were the same, and some were different. Some were in groups together, and some were alone. The most baffling part, however, wasn’t the lines – it was the sticks. There were three small sticks inside the circle. Two of the sticks weren’t moving, but one of them moved around the circle. Whenever that stick moved, I heard the ticking sound.

After making this discovery, I wondered what would happen if the stick stopped moving. Would the ticking noise stop? I decided that it was worth figuring out. However, when I attempted to do so, my fingers didn’t make it all the way to the sticks. There was a strange, see-through covering over it.

At this point, I began to get scared. I didn’t know what this contraption was, and yet I was touching it – holding it! My sudden fear taking over my actions, I dropped it on the ground, stood up, and took several steps backward. I began to wish my parents were there with me.

Completely alone in the woods, my fear grew. I didn’t know whether to run away or freeze. My parents wouldn’t come looking for me until hours had gone by, and I did not want to be with the ticking thing for hours.

At this point, there was a war going on inside my head. Obviously, I couldn’t stay there with the contraption. It was absolutely too dangerous. I felt like I needed my parents, as they always knew what to do. However, if I went to get them, the contraption might not be there when I returned. Then, I would be accused of lying and wasting their time, and punished. The only option that seemed possible was for me to take the contraption with me to find my parents.

I tried to reason with myself, tried to gather the bravery that I needed for my task. After all, it hadn’t hurt me when I’d held it before, although that was only for a few seconds. I attempted to gather the strength to pick it up again. I stared down at it as it lay on the ground, dead leaves surrounding it, ticking menacingly.

The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to pick it up. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t important, that there was no reason for me to bring it to my parents, that it could just stay on the forest floor forever.

After a couple seconds, I found the courage to turn away. I ran home as fast as my legs could carry me. When I made it home, Mama was waiting for me. She wanted to know why I didn’t have the herbs she sent me for. When I started crying, however, she comforted me.

When she asked what I was crying about, I just told her that I had seen a snake slithering towards me.

I never told her nor Papa about the strange machine in the woods, but every night I would dream of it. Sometimes it was beautiful and strange, sometimes it was evil and cruel, but always, always, it was ticking.



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8 responses to “Short Story by Samantha Mullenhour”

  1. Payton Gardner Avatar

    That was great!!!

  2. Jonah Avatar

    Aaah, I got chills! I’m suddenly very aware of the clock ticking next to me right now…

    1. Annabelle Avatar

      Lol, that’s the same way I felt when I first read it.

  3. roseqaddams Avatar

    Eerie and lovely! Thanks to both of you for sharing!

    1. Annabelle Avatar

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked it!

  4. Sam Mullenhour Avatar
    Sam Mullenhour

    Thanks! I had so much fun writing it, and I’m glad that others can enjoy it, too!

  5. Emma Rose Thrasher Avatar

    Oh my, that’s awesome. I love the narration.

  6. Amora Avatar

    That’s so good! Tell Samantha she did really well!! It’s lowkey symbolic in the way that the MC has awareness that “time is ticking” and that’s either scary or comforting. Kinda the way life passes us by. Idk if she meant for it to be that deep but that’s how it struck me lol.