The Giant’s Pocket Watch #fridayfictoneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

The wooden back of a huge pocket watch had stood in the corner of the town’s park for hundreds of years. The origins of it had long been lost, but the myth was that the pocket watch had once belonged to a giant.

The giant Haldor was running late for the yearly Giants Together meeting. As he trod over a village, ignoring the fleeing of little people far below him, he drew out his pocket watch and checked the time. Seeing, he was going to be very late indeed, he hurriedly put the watch back into his pocket.

However, he missed and the watch hit the floor. Angrily, he bent to pick it up and swiped down two cottages as he did so. Hurrying on, he didn’t notice that his pocket watch had broken in the fall.

Years later, a shepherd lad was searching for a lost lamb when he came across the back of the pocket watch. He stared up in awe at the huge wooden circle then spotting his lamb nearby, he hurried to collect her. When he returned home, he told his father about what he had seen, for the lad was too young to remember the giant Haldor. His father clearly recalled the day though.

And that was how the myth of the giant’s pocket watch began.

 

(Inspired from a prompt from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/03/15/17-march-2017/ with thanks. PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast)

Waiting

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Time had long ago stopped in the castle. The dust lay thick and the silence heavy. Small animal bones scattered the floors and abandoned spider webs clung to the walls. In a stairwell, a forgotten suit of armour and a clock stood waiting to be used again. And in the rooms where people had once lived and worked, sharing a life now lost to the past, there were only echoes of ghosts.

(From a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/01/26/thursday-photo-prompt-waiting-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Ticking Down

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Her eyes were constantly watching the numbers on the clock change. Time was passing so slowly and she felt so bored. Today was the perfect day to sit and write. She was home alone until her parents arrived back and she wasn’t at her actual job till tomorrow afternoon. She had also done all her Christmas shopping and more beside.

Listening to the pounding tones of some classic rock music, she tried to focus on the blank page before her. Well, it wasn’t really blank because it was her blog and there were tool bars down one side and also the internet tool bar at the top of the screen. She pulled a face and flicked through the other tabs she had open. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon before going back to WordPress where the empty page sat still waiting for her words.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard and she tried to think of anything to write. Nothing came into her head, it was like all the characters and settings had packed up and left. Pulling a face, she looked out of the window next to her. She had left a gap in the heavy curtains to let the natural light in, not that there was lot of it.

The early December day was cloudy and dull. The sky threatened rain or worse snow. Most of the frost had now vanished, but some of the cars still had a dusting on their metal bodies. It looked cold and she wasn’t in the mood to put on a load of layers and go for a walk.

Her eyes looked back at the computer monitor clock. It had only gone up by a few minutes. Sighing, she give up and decided to walk away. Nothing else could be done. Stopping the music, she took off her headphones and got up. Walking into the living room, she saw the family’s old dog curled in his bed. Leaving him to sleep, because he was becoming more and more grumpy about being woken up for no real reason, she turned on the TV.

Really, she should grab one the writing books that lined the bookcase next to her computer or  go upstairs to her room and pick a new book to start reading. Instead, she flicked through the TV channels and settled down to watch some daytime TV, which was a dull as the day outside.

Post It Note #28

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She didn’t know what happened, but somehow she’d lost a day. She knew it had something to do when the clocks had gone back at one am because of the post it note in her hand which told her to change her watch. Other then that though, there was nothing else to tell her what had gone on, but somehow she just knew that instead of a hour gained, she had had lost twenty-four hours.

Travel Book

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I want to take you away with me. Not just in your imagination but in your heart and soul too. I want to take you to lands that don’t existed and perhaps they never did and lands that will existed in the future, but even your children will never know them. There’s no need to be afraid or to pack your suitcases, in fact all you need is a comfy seat and some light.

I want you to meet people who have never been and yet always have been. They will tell you stories you won’t believe and take you on adventures which will always stay with you. I want you to feel every emotion to the core of your being and know that your tears are not wasted. For each bout of sadness keeps our heroes and heroine live for longer.

I want you to remember that even as you close the covers, the end doesn’t happen. You can visit these places and those people as many times as you like. For they are always going to be with us because they and their stories have been immortalized.

So what are you wanting for? Go and pick up a book right now and travel where ever it takes you too.

Dreams

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There was always safety in dreams. Logic didn’t have to apply and fantasy ruled. It didn’t matter what the adventure was or who was a part of it, just that it was happening. One night I fought the grim reaper in a sword battle and won. The next my friends and I were tripped in a church whilst zombie animals tried to get in. Then there was that one time when I had to save a beautiful woman and she invited me back to her bedroom…then she turned into a vampire and tried to bite me.

The best dreams though are the ones that only make sense of dreams. Like the time I wrote the world’s best novel ever. I was sitting in a cafe and was working on the final drift, but this old man kept interrupting me with his ideas which then I ended up writing into the novel and the old man got his name on the cover instead of me! Or the time I came across a group of kids who had a time machine that was an massive acorn.

Of course, Nightmares are the worse, but there’s always some kind of get out and it’s only your mind playing tricks with you. My nightmares always have a graveyard or cemetery in them, which is odd but it’s how I know it’s a bad dream. I’ve been having this repeating on lately. I’m being chased by something, it’s like a dark shadows that take on long human and animal shapes. I’ve no idea what they want, but I hide in this old cemetery, which seems to go on forever. Then I always come to this cliff edge, which is well hidden by large statues of like Romans.

I always try hard to stop myself from falling, but then I always do. On waking, I know I’ve just died in the dream and it takes me awhile to realise I’m alive. I hate those kind of dreams. What do you think it means? That I’m going to die tragically? That I’m trying to run away from something I can’t let go of? I just don’t understand it. I prefer the happy dreams.

Do you think that’s why I’m here, Doc? ‘Cause my dreams are making me insane? I didn’t even know that was possible, but I guess anything can be…Like they say dreams can come true, so I bet nightmares come real too, don’t they?

Postcard #16

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Phone Call

She picked up the phone and for the first time in twenty years called him, ‘Dad?’ she whispered.

The Last 24 Hours

The numbers were displayed wrong, yet my brain told me they were right. I hummed, pulled a face and shook the clock. It was in the shape of a tennis ball, but made of hard plastic with some blue oily liquid inside. The clock mechanism and display were in another ball which floated freely in the blue oil sphere. The numbers spun around then settled in front of me again; 11:11.

‘No!’ I said too loudly that my cat shot me an evil look.

I stuck my tongue out at Misty and watched her curl back to sleep in her hammock. I settled back in my beanbag bed and shook the ball clock again. The numbers spun around, blurring before becoming stable. The same numbers flashed by.

‘It’s broken,’ I uttered and placed it back on my bedside table, ‘How could I have lost twenty-four hours?’

Misty made a small snorting sound.

I looked at her and decided there was no point trying to talk to her. Instead, I searched though my blankets and dug out my screen. Waking it up, I watched the home menu and spotted the clock at the top of the list. The clock was 11:12. Scrolling on to the interactive network, I waited for the pages to load and looked at the latest newsfeed.

To my shock most of the headlines read: World Lost 24 Hours. I skimmed down, not really reading further then the top line. Finally at the end was an advert. I fingers automatically began sliding back up. God. Everyone seemed to be talking about and my doubts about my time problems begin to feel bigger.

Maybe it was all just an adverting stunt, like Cola’s We’ve Officially Discovered Aliens. I shook my head and decided to see what my friends made of this. Looking through ConnectX, I saw that a few had comment saying they believed. A few others claimed it was a lie. My shoulders sagged and I flexed my fingers.

We’d probably never know. The government was so tight lipped about everything and everyone knew it was going to collapse soon. Maybe they’d fixed this stunt? I rested the screen against my knees and looked at Misty. She was sleeping and didn’t seem effected. Animals couldn’t really tell the passage of hours though.

I got up and went to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, I tried to notice anything different about my eighteen year old male body. Nothing looked different, though my hair needed cutting. I ran my fingers through it and tried to flatten it down. I got some hair gel and did it that way instead. There really was nothing different.

I went back to bed and arranged the blankets and pillows. Was it really so bad? I wondered. What did twenty-four hours matter in a life time? Granted a lot could happen, but the loss of it? How does that work? I leant back and looked at the ceiling. I guess we wouldn’t know until it happened.

Count Down (Part 4)

Brighton. It had practically been wiped off every map. There were no sign posts anywhere, so I just ran in as straight a line as possible. I reached what looked to have once been a park and stopped. Taking in huge breaths and dumping my stuff, I sat down on the edge on tree stump. The grass was wild and it took me a few seconds to notice that I was actually in a graveyard. I felt a chill along my arms and the impulse to leave. However, my stomach, sides and legs were hurting and I needed to collect myself.

The cries of seagulls punched the air and I looked around for the birds, but didn’t see them. A surreal quiet hung about, making ever other noise seem a little bit creepier. I hugged myself and looked back at the gateway I had darted through. It was covered almost by the bushes on either side. Beyond was the road I had come down, across from it split off another road on which some tall trees faced another graveyard.

I drink some water and finished off the bottle. I left it behind me on the stump, as I got up and went to the gate. Looking around, I decided to carry on following the road I had come down and see where it led. The wheels of my suitcase and my slapping footsteps were the only other sounds to be heard. A small breeze stirred the trees from time to time, but that was it.

Brighton was deserted as if someone had announced a full evacuation. Really though and everyone knew the story, the town had died. Like so many places along the British coastline, it had fall out of popularity with everyone. Business and money had moved away then the people had slowly gone. With the restrictions on births and emigration, the population and peoples’ attitudes had dramatically altered too.

I walked on, passing spaces that had once been graced by buildings. Now, their bricks and memories were laying broken on the ground with nature claiming them back. A dismantled traffic light and road crossing came up as did a turn off to the right. I kept on going, trying not to take in too much of the town as the empty bleakness of the place was beginning to worry me.

I remembered once hearing something my dad had told me about places like Brighton and Blackpool. The State had decided not to waste money regenerating and saving these towns. There was no profit in it for them and they’d rather the population was as close together as possible. I think he also said something about them not being respectable enough. I’m not sure what that means.

At the bottom of a sweeping corner was a side road. I paused and debated which way to go. Without all the tall buildings in the way, I could make out the sea ahead of me. If I listened hard, I could even hear the waves. Smiling, I took the side road and followed it down to a clock tower. I paused and looked at the sand brick structure. It stood out alone and left behind. I could make out the remains of figures and decorative arches just above the base. It had looked pretty once and now it was a symbol of time run out for Brighton.

I went over to what had been a black stone seating area and rested. Around me was a wasteland of rumble. There was nothing left, but multi-coloured bricks, shattered glass and twisted metal. What I imaged to have once been a busy town centre had been reduced to an apocalyptic battlefield, just without the fire and soldiers.

Seeing the clock, trigged me to check my own. I pulled out the life event timer. The numbers showed I had an hour and forty-seven minutes left. Moving on, I had to really pull my suitcase over the destruction. Now though, I could truly see the sea ahead of me. It helped to throw of my tiredness aside and in a matter of minutes I was standing before a pastel lime green railing looking out at the beach and the sea.

Next to me was what had been a kiosk. Cream paint peeled off the sides and barred windows look rusted. It seemed to be the only building for miles. Looking out across the sea to the left, I could see a pier. However, to the right there also seemed to be one. I frowned and wondered which was the correct one?

Leaving my stuff next to a broken bench, I walked what had been the main costal path towards the right pier. There was something strange about the structure raising from the sea. It looked sort of hollow. I got closer, passing holes were lampposts had been and avoiding the large cracks in the pavement. Waves rocked the line of sand, dragging it back and forth like a child shaking a rattle. I’d never really seen the sea or a beach before, but that thought passed by in a flash.

I began to see that the right pier was actually little more than a collection of metal poles. I paused, realising that couldn’t be the correct pier at all. I glanced back, but couldn’t see anything behind me. I still had time, so I walked opposite and to what should have been the pier entrance. Tall metal fences still blocked the area off, though most had fallen down. The remains of what had been a white painted building seemed to indicate some kind of entranceway. I didn’t need nor what to get any closer.

I turned back and went to get my things. The other pier looked more intact, so I headed over there. It took longer to get to then I had first thought. The sea kept me company and I tried to ignore the emptiness to my left. Soon, I could see that the pier was all still there and that just behind it was a towering white-grey structure. Wondering what that was, my mind questioned if had something to do with my life event.

I got closer and finally arrived at the pier. The entrance gate, still complete with clock tower on top of it looked undamaged. I went up and peered through. I could see rotten wooden boards stretching towards a largish white building then darting to either side of it. It didn’t look at all safe. I withdrew and went to the side, where I could get a better view. Beyond the white building was a large open area that had the skeletons of a few different metal frames. I couldn’t make out what they had once been.

Instead, I turned to study the other structure I had seen. It appeared to be a large wheel from which pods hung down, a few were missing as well as a few poles. It had once been a giant viewing wheel, I realised, like the one in London. Why would they just leave that behind?

Puzzling, I went and sat down beside one of the pillars that was supporting the pier’s entranceway. Pulling out the timer, I saw I had hour and ten minutes left. I checked the note and decided this was defiantly the place. I’m not sure why I knew that, just that it was. Bring my knees to my chest, I heard my stomach growling.

I had time to eat. From my bag, I took a can of fizzy orange and tin of sliced peaches. I wondered and worried over things whilst I took a break. Afterwards, rested my chin on top of my knees and listened to the sound of the sea and the breeze creaking things. I had placed my timer at my feet before and I was half watching the numbers tick down.

It seemed that a lot longer amount of time had passed then the numbers displayed as they flicked to 00: 20: 16. In twenty minutes it would happen, I told myself. The sea wind made viewing wheel creak and that caused me to look up. A pod was swinging slowly. I shivered and huddled in my coat.

‘It’ll be over soon. Whatever it is,’ I mumbled into my knees.

I shut my eyes and just concentrated on the sounds of the sea.

The alien noise of someone else’s footsteps beat in my ears. For a few moments, I thought it was some other sound or else I was dreaming it. I opened my eyes, saw that the timer now read: 00:10:02. Looking up and about, I saw in the distance, coming down the road ahead of me were two figures.

The breath caught in my throat and my teeth sank into my lip. I stayed still and watched them coming closer. They came into focus as they approached and I saw that they were two men in white suits. Closer still and they had matching white shoes, sliver shirts and slightly darker ties. They had white top hats on their heads, which made me almost giggle a loud.

They came to the end of the road and looked across what had been a small roundabout at me. I stole a glance at the numbers: 00:06:08.

The men crossed the road and came to the spot I had actually stopped in before. We all looked at each other. The two men looked to be twins in their middle thirties, if not younger and they didn’t seem threatening. They carried nothing with them and had an air of importance about them.

After a few moments the one on my right spoke, ‘where are the others?’

I glanced around quickly then wondered if he had been talking to me.

‘There should be six of them,’ the other twin stated.

‘Where are the others?’ the first repeated directly at me.

‘I…don’t know,’ I started shakily, ‘I’ve not seen anyone else.’

The second man checked his watch, ‘it’s almost five to.’

‘You’ve seen no one?’ the first asked.

‘No.’

They turned slightly away from me and seemed to be whispering to each other.

‘What’s happening?’ I asked, a little too loudly, ‘is this actually my life event?’

‘What’s your name?’ the first asked.

‘Caz. Cassandra Melvin,’ I responded.

He nodded and joined his twin in looking around for other people. I stood up, feeling a little unsteady. My hands tensed into fists and I couldn’t force any of my questions out. I felt sick.

‘Nothing’s going to happen to you,’ the second man said, ‘don’t be so worried.’

I frowned up at him, ‘then what’s this about?’

‘You’ve been selected,’ he declared, pointing at the timer next to my feet, ‘we’ve come to escort you and explain everything to you.’

I felt a cold chill prickling my skin. I didn’t feel any comfort from his words. I bent and picked up the timer. The numbers were so close to zero now. I felt my heart beating alongside the racing seconds and though I didn’t want to take my eyes off the twins, I couldn’t remove them from the timer’s display.

Another minute ticked away and now there was only two to go.

‘Nobody else is coming,’ the first twin growled under his breath, ‘it’s too late.’

‘We got one at least,’ his brother countered back.

‘I’m not going anywhere till you tell me what’s going on!’ I half-shouted.

The twins seemed to shrug their shoulders at the same moment.

‘That timer is a spying device. The state uses it to select the very best of the best,’ the second twin explained.

‘For what?’ I nervously asked.

‘To leave earth and start populating a very liveable other planet,’ he concluded.

‘Luckily you getting selected, well done,’ the other man said in a condescending tone, ‘shame you have to go alone.’

‘At least for the first part anyway,’ the second cut back in, ‘then you’ll get to travel with everyone else who’s also been selected from around the country and the world.’

‘All that stuff you’re heard about people’s life events, it was all fabricated. The State’s been feeding everyone lies and controlling you all ever since it came into power.’

‘But you’re going to a much better world now,’ two said, cheerily.

Words jarred in my mouth and my tongue rubbed against teeth.

I looked down and my timer had finally hit; 00:00:00.