Shawni can't afford to be late for work one more time so she gets an alarm clock so loud she isn't the only one it wakes...
Rude Awakening by Rob Fields A Fan Submitted Story
Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com
Produced by Daniel Wilder
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Shawni Jerral never had a problem getting to bed on time. In fact, she was usually in bed by eleven when she had to work the next morning. When she didn’t have to work, she would stay up late, which meant sleeping in late.
But today wasn’t one of those days . . .
Shawni smiled softly, no doubt having an exciting dream. But her smile faded when she finally heard her smartphone ringing.
She opened her eyes slowly, sat up, grabbed her phone, and muttered, “Whoever is calling me better have a good reason for it.”
“Hello!” she snapped.
“Shawni, get in here!” a female voice said quickly on the other end.
“Bev?” Shawni asked.
“Get in here!” Bev repeated. “You’re an hour late for work!”
Shawni gasped. “An hour late?”
“Yes!” Bev confirmed. “Hurry! Get in here! Brent’s pissed!”
“Just a second, Bev,” Shawni muttered.
Shawni looked down at her clock. It was almost noon. She pressed the Alarm Check button. The display read ten a.m., just the way it should have.
This was the second day in a row her alarm clock had refused to cooperate.
“Tell Brent I’ll be right in” Shawni muttered. Shawni walked into the mall’s bookstore where she worked. When Bev saw her, she quickly motioned for her to come to the checkout counter.
“Brent wants to see you – stat!” Bev said. “He’s really pissed.”
“Shawni Jerral!” a masculine voice called out.
The two girls turned to see a man in his mid-twenties standing near the back room entrance. His eyes seemingly burned right through Shawni.
“Hi, Brent,” Shawni weakly murmured.
He held up a hand to silence her. “In my office! Now!”
Bev gave Shawni a look that wished her luck.
After work, Shawni pulled her car up to the closest plaza from her house. She quickly parked the car, got out, Bev in tow, and pulled on the doors of the department store, but found them locked!
“Fuck!” Shawni turned and leaned against one of the doors. “This sucks! I should’ve been watching the time. Fuck!”
“Aren’t there other places nearby that sell clocks?” Bev asked.
“Yeah, but they’re closed by now,” Shawni muttered. “And I don’t want some cheap piece of shit. I need a good clock. And loud!”
“You say you’re looking for a loud alarm clock?” a voice called out nearby.
The girls turned to see a man in his late forties standing in the doorway of a store next door. The man had graying hair and looked pleasant enough. But there was something about him that just didn’t feel right. Shawni couldn’t say anything to Bev about it right then, but she wasn’t about to turn down the possibility for getting a working alarm clock – tonight.
“Yeah,” Shawni answered. “I need one that’ll wake me up and it’s gotta be loud.”
“Why don’t you step inside for a little bit?” the man suggested. “I think I can help you.”
As the girls walked toward the store, they looked up and saw the sign above the door: Tinker’s. The man motioned for them to enter as he held the door open.
The store was filled with what appeared to be many used electronic items.
“I’ve never seen this place before,” Bev said.
“Me neither,” Shawni agreed. “Because people don’t think to look here for things when they need them,” the man said. “I have an alarm clock in the back that I think you might be interested in.”
“Sure,” Shawni answered. He turned and walked into the back room. Seconds later, he returned with a small electronic clock.
“Would you like to examine it?” Tinker asked.
“Sure,” Shawni answered.
Tinker handed the alarm clock to her. It appeared to be a standard GE brand electronic alarm clock.
“If you wish to buy this one, I can make you a really good deal,” Tinker offered.
“What kind of a deal?”
“I’ll sell it to you for five dollars.”
“I’ll take it!”
“Excellent!” Tinker motioned to the register to ring up the purchase.
Tinker saw the girls to the door. Once they were out and returning to their car, he closed his shop.
At eight o’clock the next morning, the alarm on her new clock kicked on. The repeated blaring woke Shawni up immediately. She quickly turned and pushed the Alarm Stop button.
Shawni stared at the clock for a moment. Then she took a deep breath and smiled. She got out of bed, grabbed her work clothes, and headed to the bathroom to get ready.
Shawni walked in through the employee entrance to the bookstore with a good fifteen minutes to spare.
“Hi, Brent,” Shawni murmured.
“Well, look who’s here!” he exclaimed. “Looks like you get to keep your job.” Then he added jokingly, “For at least another day . . ..”
It seemed Eight o’clock came almost immediately after she fell asleep that night. Shawni shrieked and suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. She quickly reached over and shut the alarm off. The alarm had all but scared her half to death.
After she collected herself, she got out of bed and looked at the clock. “You seem louder today than you were yesterday,” she said to the clock.
She picked it up and found the Volume Control knob. It was still where she had set it. She turned the volume down slightly and put the clock back down.
Thursday morning came. When Shawni’s alarm went off, it was so loud that she shot right awake . . . and fell out of bed trying to slap the Alarm Stop button.
When Shawni stepped out of the house, she heard the front door of her neighbor’s house open. Mr. Sizemore stepped outside and glared at her with the most hateful eyes.
“You the one making all that racket this early in the God damn morning?” he snapped accusingly.
“What racket?” Shawni answered, confused.
“What racket?” He pointed sharply up to her bedroom window. “That fucking racket you’ve been making at eight every morning since Tuesday.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Sizemore. The only sound that’s been going off at around that time is my clock. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I don’t want to be late for work.”
Mr. Sizemore pointed sharply at her. “I shouldn’t have to hear all that shit every day like that… especially this early in the God damn morning.” He stormed back into his house and slammed the door shut.
Shawni rolled her eyes as she stepped off the porch. “Whatever . . .” She got into her car and headed off to work.
The next day’s alarm was so loud that Shawni screamed from fright. But this time, the alarm wasn’t sounding off in continuous blares. It was one continuing blare. She reached over to the clock and pressed the Alarm Stop button. The alarm did not shut off.
“Shut up!” she screamed, pressing the button again. “Shut up!”
She pressed the Alarm Stop button one more time. Finally, there was silence.
As soon as she walked outside, she was greeted by an unfriendly, familiar voice.
“I warned you about that fucking racket, young lady,” Mr. Sizemore snapped.
“But I didn’t do it!” Shawni almost shouted.
Just then her other neighbor, an elderly woman, came out onto her porch and shouted at her, “Listen, you! If I have to put up with that loud racket at this time of the morning one more time, I’m going to call the police!” “But it wasn’t me!” Shawni protested.
The old woman ignored her and stormed back into her house, slamming the door shut behind her. Shawni then realized that some of the other neighbors were looking over at her house, probably for the same reason. She also realized there was only one thing that could have possibly been making all the noise.
Her new alarm clock.
She turned and walked back into the house, walked back upstairs and into her bedroom. She went to the alarm clock and unplugged it from the wall outlet. She needed to return it to Tinker’s and get a refund.
As the girls were shelving the new books that came in, Shawni told Bev about her clock and how her neighbors had complained or stared at her. Bev just looked at her. “I’m not making this up!” Shawni exclaimed. “That new clock is loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood.”
“Shawni, I’ve got a suggestion.” Bev held up her index finger. “Why don’t you just turn the alarm volume down?”
“I did – two days in a row.” Shawni was frustrated. “But when the alarm went off this morning, it was so loud I woke up – just like that. And both of my next door neighbors gave me hell about it.”
Bev’s face then lit up. “Let’s take it back to that store and tell Tinker about it… but first, I have to hear it!”
“Oh… I don’t know Bev… “
“C’mon… bring it over tonight, the girls are coming over, we can annoy them too!”
“O-okay… “ Shawni said reluctantly.
That night, the girls gathered at Bev’s house. Bev lived in a large house just outside of town. Her closest neighbors were in the graveyard right across the road.
In addition to Shawni, Bev had invited two other close friends to her sleepover. The first was Mary Deekins, a slender, geeky girl who was always game for anything exciting. And then there was Pam Westly, a girl who lived on the mischievous side.
“Your clock really wakes up your neighbors?” Pam asked Shawni.
“Uh-huh,” Shawni answered.
“Well… “ Bev motioned at the clock.
Shawni looked at the device, shrugged and set the alarm to go off in a minute’s time… and it did… louder than ever before.
“Shawni, your alarm clock really rules!” Pam cheered.
“Shut up!!” a voice shouted, seemingly coming from nowhere.
“Can’t a guy get any sleep around here?!” another voice, a raspy one, called out.
“Turn that blasted thing off!!” another voice shouted.
The girls started in fright. Mary rose and went to the nearest window.
“Holy shit!” Mary screamed.
Shawni saw that Mary was frantically pointing to the graveyard across the street. And then she screamed, too.
Corpses were coming up out of the ground. Some of them were already shambling past the graveyard entrance.
“Turn that thing off!!”
“Shut up! Shut up!”
“Who dares to awaken us from our eternal sleep?!”
“I’m gonna kill whoever’s making that noise!”
Shawni quickly turned and yanked the clock’s plug from the wall.
The alarm was still blaring!
Shawni shrieked and fumbled with the Volume Control knob. She turned it in the direction of a lower setting. But nothing was happening.
Bev raced to the front door and locked it.
“I’ll get the back door!” Pam shouted, running for it.
“Get the side door too!” Bev shouted back.
Mary looked out through the front door’s window and saw that the living dead were in the yard now, some almost to the front porch.
Bev screamed, “They’re here!”
“What the fuck are we gonna do?!” Shawni shouted.
Bev turned to her. “Turn that fucking clock off!” “I’m trying!” Shawni pressed all the buttons on the clock repeatedly, but the alarm still wouldn’t stop blaring!
Pam returned. “The doors are all locked.” She turned to Shawni. “Turn off that clock! This isn’t funny anymore!”
“I’m trying!” Shawni repeated.
“Try harder!” Pam shouted.
“Give me that!” Bev snatched the clock from Shawni.
Bev held it up high before flinging it to the hard floor. The clock smashed against it with a loud bang. The alarm still didn’t stop blaring. And the clock wasn’t even damaged.
By now, the girls were putting their hands to their ears to try and block out the horrible racket.
Pam hollered out, “They’re at the front window!”
“There’s more at the door!” Shawni added.
“What the fuck are we going to do?” Bev cried.
“Out the back!” Mary suggested quickly.
Shawni grabbed the clock and followed the others out the back door. The living dead were now in the back yard also. The girls ran off the back porch before the dead could block them in. A zombie wearing a Civil War-style uniform almost grabbed Shawni.
“Turn that blasted thing off!” it rasped in a shout at her.
“Let us sleep in eternal peace!” a female zombie wearing a tattered white wedding gown added.
Shawni was really frustrated. She took the alarm clock by the cord and swung it hard and fast onto the hard stone walkway. When the clock hit, it was still not damaged, nor did the blaring stop.
“Where can we go?!” Mary shouted. “Those things are everywhere!”
Pam turned to Shawni. “Will you shut that fucking thing off?”
“I’m trying!” Shawni screamed.
The girls ran into the garage through the side door. Bev locked it behind them. She turned to Shawni. “Grab a hammer or something and smash that fucking clock!” Shawni saw a sledgehammer on a nearby workbench and grabbed it. Throwing the clock down, she lifted the heavy hammer over her head. With a loud scream, she swung the hammer down at the accursed clock. She hit it right on the mark. But the clock was still undamaged and still blaring loudly.
“I don’t believe this shit!” Shawni cried.
Everybody looked at the still-undamaged clock. The dead had surrounded the garage. The female zombie wearing the tattered wedding gown shattered one of the garage windows with a single blow. Window shards flew inside.
“We’re coming in!” the female zombie gurgled. “You will all suffer for awaking us!”
Then it reached both of its decaying arms inside and cradled the lethal object that was hanging on a nearby utensil rack.
“She’s got an ax!” Shawni screamed frantically.
“We’re coming iiiiiinn!” the zombie cheered, gurgling.
The girls screamed as the zombie started chopping away.
Shawni continued to smash the alarm clock with the sledgehammer. But no matter how hard she swung, no matter how many times she hit it, the clock would neither stop blaring nor be destroyed for anything.
The zombie bride had finally chopped its way through the garage door. Another zombie smashed its way through the side door window and stuck its hand inside to unlock the door.
Mary quickly grabbed a nearby mallet, ran to the side door, and bashed the zombie’s head. The zombie cried out and looked up at Mary. Then it screamed loudly at her. Mary screamed in terror with the zombie. She screamed even louder as the side door broke off – with the zombie Mary hit now walking inside.
Shawni gave up trying to smash the clock, seeing it was pointless. She dropped the sledgehammer and picked up the clock. As she did, she saw a small rectangular outline on the clock’s bottom. Of course! Shawni thought. These alarm clocks have a battery backup in case the plug is pulled out of the wall or the power goes out at home.
The zombie bride raised the ax, intent on striking Shawni – just as she had opened the battery backup compartment. One hard jerk severed the industrial strength 9-volt battery from its connectors.
The clock had finally stopped blaring.
The zombies turned and started shambling back toward the graveyard. Shawni knew what she was doing after work the next day.
When work was over, the girls punched out, got into Bev’s car, and headed for Tinker’s.
“I hope you can get your money back,” Bev said. “You’ve got the receipt.”
Shawni groaned. “I don’t care about that. I just want this fucking thing gone.”
The girls suddenly stopped dead in their tracks.
“Bullshit!” Shawni cried in shock.
Bev was just as shocked. The store that was once Tinker’s was only an empty suite now.
Shawni pointed sharply to the empty suite. “I bought this clock here, Bev! I know I did.”
“You don’t have to convince me, Shawni. I was here with you.”
“But how did he move out so quickly?”
Shawni shrugged wearily and threw the clock where the shop once stood, turned and walked away.
As the girls walked off, Tinker reached down and picked up the clock. He held it up in front of him and laughed.
And laughed . . .
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