The clock in the hallway ticked – an inexorable, reassuring constant – and Gunther latched onto the sound in the otherwise eerie, dark silence of the house. Between that and the warm hand still against his skin, he managed to keep the worst of his fears at bay.
And then, just a few minutes later, he heard the clock’s mechanism begin to wind up to strike twelve. It wound and wound, and then… stopped.
The silence was almost unbearable; heavy and oppressive. He couldn’t even hear Valois breathing, and he realised he was holding his own breath, too.
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