GENRE: Speculative Fiction
She’d always figured it was just an expression, but the clock on the opposite wall was, in fact, ticking. It was carved out of wood with a shining classical face—hands and everything—and a brushed metal pendulum swinging back and forth with a slight mechanical jigger. A pure analog pattern of motion that nearly induced hypnosis but for that perpetual tick. Tick. Tock. Over and over. She was surprised she had not picked up on it before.
Her closest frame of reference was her old metronome, but that beat was for keeping, for holding a little snatch of time in place. This sound was altogether different, a conspicuous nod to the passage of the past twenty-two minutes. Kallie supposed that might be the purpose of the antiquity—a subconscious reminder that someone’s time was valuable, just not hers. She shook the thought away. There might be plenty to malign the physicians for, but their choice of wall decorations was not one of them.
There had always been people who mistrusted the doctors, avoided them, feared them. Men who had convinced themselves that taking care of oneself was a greater sign of weakness than a stubborn march into the advanced stages of disease. Women who preferred to fatten the pockets of anyone with a book or a pill—or both—to sell. Skepticism was healthy. But the prevailing attitudes were not skepticism and even now, after everything, Kallie would not join them. Her rationality would not allow it.