I pulled the covers around me cozily, Mi,chiding myself yet again for going to bed so late, and resolving to wind up earlier from now on. Famous last words.

As I got accustomed to the night sounds, the sound of the fan bothered me. I realized it was too fast, and reluctantly got up to bring the speed down a notch. Ah, if only I had a remote controlled fan. Sweet talk, considering our fan is at least two decades old.

I got back into bed and tried to bring back the feeling of coziness. The quiet enveloped me. Slowly the almost pitch dark room began to lighten a bit, the familiar shadows keeping me company.

Tuk.

Eh? What was that?

I almost held my breath as I listened.

Tuk.

There it was again. I couldn’t decide whether it was close to my pillow or coming from the shelf next to the bed.

Tuk.

Huh! I could no longer ignore it. Cautiously, I slid the covers off and sat up, feet subsconsciously feeling around for my flipflops. And of course I managed to push one away. I silently cussed; of course it had scooted off under the bed.

Tuk.

Ears alert, eyes trying to see through the dark, I fixed my gaze on the sewing machine in the corner, three feet away from the bed. The periphery of the table is filled with my junk jewelry boxes. My mind wandered just a bit, distracted by one of them, trying to recall what I kept in that odd box

Tuk.

Nudged back to the moment, I realized the noise came at regular intervals. I felt a bit bugged that I couldn’t figure out what it sounded like.

Tuk.

No longer able to wait, I just threw the covers off and stood up. Went to the sewing machine – I was pretty sure it was the source. Picking up my cellphone, I tickled the darkness around and above it with the the dim light coming off the phone. Nothing.

Tuk.

Louder now! It had to be there. I didn’t want to move the carrom board behind the machine to see if there was anything. Frustrated, I just stood there, holding my breath.

Tuk.

A flash of memory lit my brain. Wasn’t there supposed to be a clock on the sewing machine? I gently felt around and found the odd contours of the clock, lying face down on one of the earring boxes.

Tuk.

I picked it up and held it close to my ear. Ah, I could hear it working. Except, it was wounded. I guiltily remembered how I accidentally swept my arm across it a few days ago and it went crashing to the floor. Just as quickly, I picked up the pieces, fixed them back and put it on the box, as I knew I’d have to take a look at it later. A later that my memory didn’t bother to put on its to-do list.

Tuk.

I took a closer look at the dial. Awww. Poor baby. After almost a decade of efficiently keeping time, the hour hand had come loose. Yet it continued to valiantly work, except that it didn’t show the time. The tuk tuk tuk tuk had now become tuk……..tuk…….tuk.

Satisifed that I had solved the mystery, I couldn’t help grinning as I got back into bed and settled down to a good night’s sleep.

Except, two minutes later I just had to get up again to do that thing that’s unavoidable. Oh well. Another five minutes later, I was back. This time to actually drift off to sleep.

I always wonder, why do all the scary things we’ve ever expereienced come rushing in when we feel a little scared, Mi? Involuntarily.

But this time I had the antidote to that. I didn’t sleep before the memory of another time had me laughing. Remember how, back in ’87 when we lived in that little room next to that bungalow’s garage, we heard a hissing sound at night and were scared out of our wits, convincing ourselves it was a snake in the house? Let’s laugh over that tomorrow!