Out of Time

Fifteen days until the big festival of time, thought the watch maker as he continued to press together the gears for a grandfather clock three times his size. “Let’s see,” he said continuing his thoughts aloud, “if I keep up this pace I’ll finish this in one hour then go back to making sixteen pocket watches per day, but only four today due to the delay of this one.” Despite the time constraints he did not rush himself, he worked at the same pace he always did, it wasn’t slow and steady, in fact he was very very efficient, but unlike the others who would speed up their work to prepare, he kept his pace, every movement in time with the ticking of his favourate clock, tick tock tick tock. He was content to keep his life in time with the clocks, and everyone had much respect for his diligent work. The watch maker never took a day off, with the sole exception of the coming festival, there were many festivals celebrating different aspects of nature, but the one of time was the only event he attended, the others, he remained hidden within a pile of gears putting together clocks big and small. He loved the people, with their busy lives, he knew they needed to keep track of time, he knew they needed him, he couldn’t just let them down, he couldn’t take time off. Tick tock. But then something happened, the sound of the clock was slightly distorted and much faster, he looked up from his work to see the rain, and chuckled to himself at how easily the sounds of the rain confused his sense of time, then he returned to his work, resynchronized with the clock. Then he heard a new sound, like someone howling in pain, he looked up and saw the rain was more angled, and chuckled to himself about how a simple thing like wind sounded like such pain. He wondered vaguely about the pain a storm might feel while he finished up the clock and the storm grew louder. He heard another shout, this one definitely human, he looked over to see Sarah from the market banging on his door, odd seeing as it was never locked, still he got up from the bronze pocket watch he started and walked over to see her, “get out get out get out” she spewed in a panic rich voice as she turned to run away with wild enthusiasm. “Odd, she’s always getting caught up in her wild fancies.” He said turning back to his work, ignoring the only warning of the true danger that was moment away from…

He continued his clocks and watches time was all he had, three down one more to go he thought to himself, and then it happened, over the sounds of the ticking and the howling and the tocking and the ever faster pitter patter, came a crash and a bang, and even a boom. It happened too fast for him to see, he was at his chair inspecting the gears one moment, the next he was up in the air, gears everywhere, spinning faster than ever before, his life was so simple so clockwork, and now he spun deeper and deeper into the chaos, he knew he couldn’t float forever, soon he would fall into the abyss. The dark storm had caught him, and his perfect schedule was gone, his time was up, he looked around him, thinking to himself only of his demise, he knew before he saw it, as if he figured out the universe’s sick little joke before the punch line would come, he knew exactly what would happen, there was only one way things could go. It was his greatest creation, he designed it with the help of the local masons when he was a youngman, it was his greatest creation, his mind could think of no other words to describe it as he zoomed through the air towards it, the clock tower. Amongst the large crashing sounds of thunder and the constant pounding of the rain was a dull thud, the once again he could hear it, the distinct tick tock of his tower, it was distinct from the others in that he could make out the sounds of the internal gears slowly grinding against each other in perfect clockwork fashion, the whole thing was designed to only need turning once a year, at the festival of time. He listened carefully to the sounds as his consciousness began to fade, He thought he would die.

He awoke in a dark room tied in a chair; confused as he was he felt comfort in that familiar sound. Tick tock tick tock, the sounds of the clock were all he could hear, he felt caged by the darkness wondering why things turned out like this. He did everything they asked of him and still he found himself trapped, waiting, hoping that thing changed, knowing they wouldn’t. He pulled out his flashlight and turned it on pointing to where the clock was, there was no clock, he held his head. It was too late, they had taken everything dear to him, and now he lost his mind too.

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