A quiet morning was broken by the sound of the church clock exploding again. No one was entirely sure why this kept happening, but as yet no one had the heart to just give up on replacing it. Sometimes it melted, just for a bit of variety, and on one memorable occasion it had turned briefly into a sundial before launching itself at the duck pond.
Today was pretty restrained by those standards – a short shower of sparks erupted from the central mechanism and a brief gout of flame scorched the clock face with a dull boom. Bits of ironwork and masonry sprayed across the carpark in front of the church shortly afterwards. Fortunately it was empty at the time, mostly because it wouldn’t be time for the school run for another couple of hours. A skip hired from the council for just these sort of occasions was the only casualty, taking a direct hit from a high velocity iron number three that punched a hole in the side.
There was a few stunned moments of silence, and then the dawn chorus piped up, guaranteeing that the now wide awake vicar had no chance of getting back to sleep. He briefly wondered if someone, somewhere, was trying to send him a message. If so, he hoped they could learn a less oblique way of doing it soon.