19 – A Life Lived Through Stories: The Pendulum

It began with three knocks.

I don’t know much else, just that:  it began with three knocks.

Then the realisation of something massive beginning to move, laboriously, overhead.

Swish…Slowly, from left to right.




Swish…right back to left.




Swish…again returning to the right; each time feeling a little closer at the lowest point of the swing with all potential energy gone, replaced, for a brief moment, entirely with movement but never quite making the reach of my outstretched hand.

Like the ticking of some gigantic, but invisible grandfather clock, the pendulum continued on its journey back and forth to nowhere, achieving nothing but, being inanimate and so lacking the ability to reason like a man, pushing on relentlessly.

All I knew was waking up in a place that was not my home. Even in total darkness I could tell. It was cold; it was damp; it was…smothering.

I got up from where I had been lying. Feeling the edges, I had been placed on some kind of wooden bench. The floor felt like concrete or stone to my bare feet. My shoes had been taken though I retained the rest of my clothes.

I called out in the darkness, hello? Is anyone there? I heard my voice echoing but no response from another human being. I tried again. And again. By the fourth or fifth time I began to move from the bench and tentatively feel my way through the darkness. All the time the swooshing sound of the swinging pendulum above continued ceaselessly, hypnotic in its monotony. What was it? Why was I here?

To continue reading this story please buy the book ‘The Old Man on the Beach and other stories’ available January 2015.



Copyright © 2014 D K Powell



2 thoughts on “19 – A Life Lived Through Stories: The Pendulum

  1. […] The Pendulum was the story I wanted to write last because it was the one which inspired the idea for the whole book in the first place though I doubt you’ll be able to see why very easily. Inspired by both Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe (fairly evidently from the title) this is, by far, the most allegorical and metaphysical of all my stories in the collection as it currently stands. It’s also the one most pertinent  to where I am right now and where I have been for a long time (though I  couldn’t say exactly how many days or nights 😉 ). It’s moody, so be warned! […]


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