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Gardiens du Temps (The Keepers of Time)
A long time ago there was a society called the Gardiens du temps. It was a small society composed of about fifty or so people. They lived similar to how we do today, advanced beyond their time. In fact, they were so advanced that they could mess with time. They discovered this one day when they went to a small spring just outside the town. A young boy walked to it and drank from it, and then suddenly everything seemed to stop. People looked at him, confused. It was only when they looked at their clocks that they realized time had been frozen.
The elders consulted with each other and decided it was best for everyone if they stayed away from this spring. No one had used it before so they did not know what the side effects were. For years they stayed away from the magical spring, even though many were tempted to drink from it. After a while all the elders died off and a new set of people came to rule. They decided to open the spring and let everyone use it.
Soon people began to use this spring for their own personal gain. Lovers who feared the heartache of tomorrow froze it so they could be trapped in one perfect moment forever. Parents used it to punish their mischievous children by freezing time so they were grounded longer. School teachers used it when they needed extra time to explain a certain topic to their students. Children used it when they needed a few extra hours of sunlight to play outside before it was time for supper.
Everyone was happy. Everyone loved being able to manipulate time. No one noticed the small wrinkles that started to form on their faces. They were all too transfixed with the thought of having all the time in the world, they didn't realize they were growing so much older so much faster.
One day in class the teacher turned to a student and said, “Christina, can you go get me a cup of time?”
He handed her a mug and she walked to the spring. When she arrived, she looked around for it, but it was nowhere to be found. She walked back to class with an empty cup and handed it to the teacher.
“I'm sorry sir, but there is no time left,” she told him.
“No time? Why, you must be mistaken!” he exclaimed and then went to the spring himself. He looked all around for it but could not find it.
Soon a crowd formed and everyone stared at the spot the spring had been at. They all wondered what happened. They looked at each other confusedly, but gasped when they saw each other; their skin was pale and translucent, their eyes were tired and droopy, and their hair was thin, now a mixture of white and gray. “What is happening?” asked one of the men.
A woman looked at him and said, “We seem to be getting...older...”
Someone else looked at her. “Impossible! We stopped time! We shouldn't be getting older!”
They all stared at each other, puzzled. Finally a man came from the clearing and stood in front of them. “You fools,” he said, shaking his marvelously young head. “You have not been stopping time! No one can stop time!”
“But our clocks stopped!” One man argued.
He nodded. “Yes, technically you made the clock stand still. However, a clock is a clock and clocks are not time. You did not stop time, you only stopped your lives from moving forward.” He looked at the spot where the spring used to be and shook his head. “Your elders were right; you should not have messed with the spring. We are each given a certain amount of time and you have now used yours up.”
“Well, what do we do now?” Someone asked with terror-stricken eyes. “What happens now?!”
The man sighed and said, “You do what happens to everyone when their time expires.” Without another word he disappeared, leaving everyone to wonder what he meant.
Thousands of years later the remains of the Gardiens du Temps were found. Bones were scattered together all around one natural spring: the spring of time surrounded by its keepers.