The clock struck thirteen.

There is a particular click that can be heard on the front steps of the court house.
It is a gear in the clocktower locking into place before the chimes signify the hour.
On October 31st, it made that click at thirteen minutes past midnight.
Ezra Quint was standing on the front steps of the courthouse when it happened.
He held the long handled brush hook easily in one big hand, running a whetstone along the curved blade.
At the first chime, Ezra stepped down off the courthouse stairs.
Sholto McCabe stood at the corpse gate to the old graveyard, That place visible on the hill behind him.
Strange hymns were being sung outside That place by the elderly congregants.
The Reverend Young’s voice shouted hoarse entreaties and blandishments from within.
The sexton held his shears low.
At the second chime he looked up and began to walk towards the village green.
At the third chime, both men increased their pace towards each other.
At the fourth chime, Miri Chaudhri, bundled up in the cold at the gazebo, lit her twentieth cigarette of the evening.
Boyd Spencer’s pipe has gone out, but he was barely aware.
Glen Roth’s cigar was down to a stub.
At the fifth chime, the alderpersons watched as the sexton and the caretaker began to run towards each other.
At the sixth chime, Constable Rhonda Weary stepped out of the Village Cinema where she had been enjoying the creature feature.
She was holding a sleeping Alice Jay in her arms.
The child had eaten two buckets of popcorn and half of a third before passing out.
Rhonda stepped into the street on the seventh chime, to take the little girl to the constabulary and let her sleep on the cot.
Then she would make an official visit to the Jay house.
As she stepped past the pothole, she glanced down and saw black viscous liquid bubbling at the bottom of the crevice.
As of the eighth chime, the two large men clashed together like bears.
McCabe caught the downstroke of the brush hook between the blades of the shears, and wrenched his enemy’s weapon to the side.
On the ninth chime Quint released his hold on his weapon, stepped in and hammered McCabe’s burnt face with a closed-fist.
The sound of McCabe’s jaw breaking resonated through the village.
On tenth chime, Rhonda began to jog towards her office.
She heard hoof-falls behind her, clopping on the pavement.
She didn’t look back.
On the eleventh chime, Robert Earl Mundin let out a laugh that was also a sob, and broke the seal on his bottle of vodka and took a long drink.
His eyes were wild, as he stared at the creature walking down Maine Street behind the running constable.
It looked like a horse from the illustrated bible his gran had given him as a child; all red eyed and jutting ribs and smoking nostrils and a color that defied his brain.
It dipped its massive head towards the divot in the road and drank from the liquid that steamed and roiled there.
As the bell chimed a twelfth time, Quint locked his massive hands around McCabe’s throat.
The sexton drew the sharp file he used to keep the wrought iron fence free of rust, and dragged the coarse rasp across the side of the caretaker’s grimacing face.
McCabe’s shattered jaw hung at an odd angle, giving his already frightening visage further menace.
His eyes didn’t help.
Quint released McCabe’s throat with one hand and grabbed the sexton’s wrist, keeping the file from his throat.
On the hill, as the hymns reached a climax, That place burst into flames.
The clock struck thirteen.

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