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Time Keeper

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Rainwater slid down the window pane like sweat dripping from a coal miner's back with ferocity. It tapped on the roof crazily with tempo like a madman's footsteps while running, steady but uneven. Close up, her bright eyes blinked with a regular beat, trying to tame the messed up rhythm of the rain. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop. But she couldn't. So the generous clocks on those four walls tried to help, tic tok, tic tok, tic tok. Five clocks on this wall, three on that wall, four on the other, and seven on the opposite, though they were quite certain that it had no use because hurricane rains could never be tamed. Those eyelashes fanned like the tail of a peacock. Her pink lips weren't too thick nor too thin, but just the perfect proportion for a sweet smile. Her gorgeous dark hair was the envy of every lady friend of hers, it fell gracefully on her shoulders. On the dresser beside her, she had liked to put a lamp in front of the big mirror so she could see herself clearly, but mostly it was the photographs she loved to stare at. A dead pocket watch rested in peace next to those photographs in golden frames, yet she knew very well that it was baloney to keep broken things. But she didn't want to get rid of the pocket watch because it was more than just a watch. And because she remembered her father had said that even a dead watch showed the right time twice a day. The girl was kneeling on the bedroom floor, in front of a big bed. A boy lied peacefully on the bed. She ran her finger along his face, brushing through his forehead, nose, lips and then chin. She leaned in and looked at him with her big eyes, head tilted, admiring. No matter how hard she tried to inhale, it seemed like no oxygen could ever reach her lungs. She smiled as she leaned in closer. Her heart pumping, pumping, pumping, louder than the clocks that tic-tocked, than the rain that drip-dropped. It felt ten times more embarrassing blushing while no one's looking. She held his hand forcefully as if he was hanging on to dear life and she was trying to pull him up from the cliff. But he was dead. Still, she grabbed his hand very tightly and the blood in her veins continued to rush, rush, rush through her; in fact it never stopped. Her heart pumped, pumped, pumped on. Even when broken it still worked.


You won't understand the scene above if I haven't told you what exactly had happened, and how. "The girl" has a name, and it's Bessie. The dead boy, his name is Willie. Willie's cause of death is… he is killed by a witch but well, not directly. And here's the story:

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a time keeper. People in the village called him 'Timelord'. Timelord owned a time machine. But dear readers, you see, owning a time machine isn't always a delightful thing. There were villains who tried to perform bad deeds with it. So Timelord kept his time machine locked in a secret basement. Soon, Timelord got married and his wife gave birth to a baby girl. His baby girl grew up and fell in love with a young man who lived in the same village as she did. One day, she tried to impress the boy, and brought him to her father's basement where the time machine was hidden. A few days later, Timelord came to check on his basement and found out that the machine was gone. His family looked for the boy and the time machine in every corner of the world where you and I could possibly think of, but it was nowhere to be found. Years after Timelord had died, his daughter finally found the time machine and the boy, with the help of some witchcrafts she had been practicing over the years. He told her he hadn't loved her at all, never even a bit. He was only using her for the time machine. The girl was heartbroken and furious, so she casted a dreadful spell on him, and hid the turned-off time machine in a much safer place where the only way to turn it on was breaking a certain spell. No, wait. The witch did not cast a dreadful spell on her ex-boyfriend, in fact, it was casted on the whole village: One blossoms when love lives, and dies when love is dead. In other words, it means a person may live "happily ever after" with his/her partner if both of them love each other; and die if he/she stops loving them. As time went by, the couples who succeeded, they lived a marvelous life; and the couples who failed, their heart stopped beating, and slowly, they died.

The witch somehow, managed to marry a man who loved her with all his heart. The time machine was preserved for her posterity. The spell to activate the machine was passed on from the witch to her son; and from him to his daughter; and from her to her son; and from him to his daughter. With time, the spell became inaccurate, nobody knew how to reactivate it and so, it just became a piece of junk.

So the actual cause of death of Willie was the spell. No, he did not betray Bessie, nor did he use her. He just stopped loving her.


Despite the noises everywhere, she was not distracted by them. Bessie excelled at concentrating on certain things. And if it was looking at Willie, believe me, she could do it all day. But in one way or another, her gaze wandered around the room. She was thinking. All of a sudden she got up and grabbed the pocket watch. Bessie had no idea what she was doing, all she did was running, running, running. Her thoughts were a tornado in her head. She went out of the room, rushed down the staircase, hurried past the hallway, and exited from the clock tower where she lived.

The clock chimed eleven notes, with each one her heart skipped a beat. The owls were calling to her, who, who, who! And she then was certain about who, what, when and where. It was no longer raining, but the streets were still wet, and Bessie kept running regardless. Run, run, run. Full speed ahead. The locomotive station was where. She sneaked into the locomotive from the forth cart. Then her footsteps decelerated as she went through the carts one by one. Finally she slipped into the control room of the locomotive. Bessie switched on the light and searched around the area. She was panting, but she was content. This was exactly where the time machine had been hidden. When the witch casted the spell, she didn't realize it was also casted on her descendents. Bessie became one of the victims. Anyhow, she clicked open the pocket watch, and read aloud the words engraved inside, "Power of the witches rise, coarse unseen across the skies, take me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time." To her, love was timeless. Time didn't exist, clocks did. She waited for the spell to work, but nothing happened. There was a circular shaped hole next to the brake on the control panel. Bessie did not even try to second guess, and inserted the pocket watch into the opening. It fit perfectly.

The first "tic" of the pocket watch attacked her nerves. Her face lit up. The watch resurrected. She kept her eyes shut so tight that all she could see was the immeasurable blackness that stretches far beyond her closed eyelids. Her eyebrows squeezed together, expressing all the very impossible things she had tried to make happen and yet she had set her mind to the task regardless. She felt the locomotive moving. Suddenly she was nervous. Bessie opened her eyes and the only emotion she had was awe. Whooooot! Whooooot! Whoooooot! The locomotive shuttled along the track, full speed ahead. Chchchch-Chchchch-Chchchch, it was on a mission. She didn’t know if it was the loudness of the train that scared her, or the excitement of going back in time surging. With every sound it made, her heart pumped along. It was pumping, pumping, pumping victoriously into the air, refusing to give up. It fought to pump the blood around to heal, to replace what she was losing.

In that nano-second she was consumed with joy. Bessie walked out of the control room to the second cart. The train was moving too fast that she had to grip the handle firmly to stay balanced. One step, two steps, three steps… as she was moving closer and closer to the end of the locomotive, every atom of her was embraced by the scent of the past. The same train where she and Willie had first met, she remembered every inch of its structure: silky curtains, shimmering seats, golden armrests… even when she closed her eyes, the vivid image of the interior could be clearly projected on the back of her eyelids.

The view outside was gliding at the speed of light, the flowers, the trees and the mountains were merged, crossing and re-crossing, green and red, yellow and blue. Bessie rested her chin on her arms, appreciating the splendid scenery. Images of her memory faded in, projected onto the windows of the train, like a series of documentary: their last kiss; the time when they had gone to Prague holding hands; when they had skinny dipped in her parents' swimming pool in Greece; when they had ridden a camel drunk; their escape to Paris when his parents hadn't allowed them to see each other…
Bessie doodled on her breath on the glass while watching the past flash by. She leaned closer to the window pane and rested her head on it. The train stopped suddenly and there were noises everywhere. Bessie panicked when she saw all the passengers entering the train backwards, like when you rewind a tape. The conductor did not collect tickets from the passengers, instead, he gave them out. The servant did not pour them tea, instead, the tea pot sucked it in. The conversations of the passengers were inaudible, because they were speaking in reverse. The train started moving again.

From not far, a young man walked near Bessie, he was walking forward. Even though she couldn't see his face clearly from a distant, she was very familiar with the way he moved. She knew Willie like the palm of her hand. He sat beside her silently. After so many years of talking, she didn't really know what to say. Willie turned to look at her and smiled. But the smile did not last long. Suddenly he was nervous. His eyes kept scanning her face, as if he had discovered a new continent. He was trying to fight the gushing tears. Bessie's heart did a strange flip, Willie's expression was melting her inside, she could almost feel his unbearable pain.

Willie reached his hand into his pocket, and took out a pocket watch. Bessie held his hand while a million different emotions were engulfing her. She leaned her head on Willie's shoulder, just as she'd had when they'd travelled together in the train through the storm.




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