The Clockwork Pentagram

(my first book on protagonize! It might be a bit long so it's going to be quite beefy) Five clocks, each individual, each with it's own inspiration. All have a common ancestry: a mistake made that would, unbeknownst to the maker, cost lives. Now his descendent must embark on a journey through the worst humanity has to offer to reclaim the clockwork pentagram and save all that he holds dear. But can he succeed when the resources of a near nation are pitted against him?




Through the dimly lit corridor came a shaft of light, flowing over the hallway. The mark looked like it was burnt into the floor, a barrier of luminescence to all accounts if they had been made. The sliver was coming from behind a door that was slightly ajar, but even there you could see how blinding the light was inside, hot and bright. Then the barrier disappeared and the corridor was dark save for the smallest trace of the sliver of light, now aged and orange. Beyond the door was a room which was dark as the blackest night in one corner and bright as day on the other. Along the walls were shelves, dusty with disuse and in the center was a large table, shaped like a flat doughnut, with a chair in the very centre. On the far side was a window, now with the shutters drawn like the face of the graying man in the epicenter of the lighting. Past his prime, his cheekbones were starting to become more prominent and his lips thinner. He had what was left of a rounded jolly face, now thin and composed of little in the way of meat. The fingers working rapidly were long and spindly, extending from an equally frail hand wrist and arm, which disappeared into the folds of his rolled up sleeves. It was hard to discern whether he was small or tall as he was hunching over a pile of gears, springs and finely wrought items of a related use. This man who sat in front of the desk in the far corner was the clock-maker, or as he was often called: Dr. Gear.

                He was poring over the random parts of timepieces and running over them in his mind again and again, deciding what to do with these minute jigsaw pieces. Minutes passed without a sound, then in a flurry of movement he assembled what he thought in his mind was the best configuration. The moment he let go the clock disassembled itself mockingly, as if to tease the poor craftsman. He tried this again, and again, and again until he finally decided upon the best course of action: he needed more parts. His arms slowly rested themselves upon the arms of the chair he occupied, and with a swift push he was out. Grabbing his cane which he was to need if he was going to walk at all after his injury, he headed over to the shelves. The injury came a few years before he grabbed his cane on that day, when he was making a substantially larger model of clock and one of the hands, which was about one-third the size of clock tower’s face in London, snapped off and went not so cleanly through his leg. Shards of the great spike were still in there and he blamed this for his rapidly deteriorating health. Going through the shelves he found that he was missing a good few parts and then deciding to go out after checking his watch, reading quarter past seven in the afternoon. It wasn’t too late for his good friend to be open, so he took his coat, scarf and hat, smelling as he neared the door some kind of roasted meat. Probably the neighbor…, oh well let them have their fun. He thought to himself as he opened his front door to the chilly January air.

                His friend was a couple of blocks down so he walked with as much grace as he could, though having bits of clock stuck in his leg it was far from his ideal. He saw young people walking around him, enjoying their winter break. They didn’t mind him and he didn’t mind them, a good arrangement it was agreed by all. The clock-maker did not find himself particularly cantankerous, and neither did the throngs of schoolchildren, young adults and practically everyone else younger than him. The clock-makers friend’s shop was down an alley, not your typical dirty and dark alleyway, but rather a side street that wound down to a small store at the very end. The sign read: A.E. Marcus and Sons Gunsmith. He would often come here for parts as the wire, raw materials and other bits and pieces were readily available to him there and cheaper than your other shops. The door to the shop swung opened, ringing the bell once and then again as it closed. The store was a cross between a museum, and an armory, with both muskets and machine guns as close in space as they are far in time. The clock-maker went over to the counter as his friend came in to view, heavy set and with a scattering of stubble across his formidable chin. His eyes warmed as he saw the clock-maker and he seemed to relax. "What can I do for you John?"

                “I need some parts; I’ve run out for one of my projects.” John said to the gunsmith in a soft tone, like you would expect a rabbit to speak in.

                “I have just the thing, but it’s not what you’re used to, just wait a moment.” John was puzzled. Not what he was used to? He could only guess at what that meant. Shortly after departing the gunsmith was back, and in his voluptuous grip was a cloth, or rather something covered with a cloth. “It was special order from a client, but I messed up with a few components.”

                “But you never screw up. Not even when you restore the muskets.”

                “Well, it doesn’t matter really.” There was a twinge of nervousness in the gunsmiths hand as he handed the item over. It flashed and John caught a sliver of metal. “Listen, after this I’m going away so I’ve shifted my inventory to a storage facility near here. Here’s the key to the box.”

                “So this is goodbye?”

                “See you round Gear.” As they concluded their business John headed for home. When he reached the safety of his workbench the item sat on the desk like a cat purring contentedly about having killed a mouse, enigmatic as the Mona Lisa’s smile. John sat wondering what it was for a good while, and then finally lifted the cover slower then stage curtains being drawn. It was a gun, surprisingly, but that was not important, it was larger than your average hunting pistol, but it was intricate, the metal carved in many designs, mostly geometrical, arcane looking markings and polished to a shining finish. From the ornately ribbed revolving chamber to the small flick on the end of the trigger it was deadly artwork. He began to carefully disassemble it, piece by meticulously crafted piece. It was loaded however and John was shocked when a bullet dropped out of the magazine. But to his delighted surprise it made a beautiful sound, like birdsong mixed with chimes and sprinkled with a soft hum, with the whole lot being stirred into a symphony of tones working together as well as one of his gear mechanisms. He looked at all of his resources and made a bold decision: he would make the clockwork pentagram. There was a tale he was told by his father, that a clock-maker was able to make such sweet sounding clocks that it would make the animals tame and the trees still. But he was ambitious and attempted a great device, five separate clocks which could be joined together with a magical device to make the sound more melodic and beautiful by a hundredfold. In a year and a day he made the pentagram, but the music was so beautiful it attracted the attention of a jealous rival who shot the maker and stole the pentagram, but when he played it the soul of the clock-maker, which lingered in his work, killed him with his own weapon and the clockwork pentagram and it's music was lost forever. But that was just a story, and he decided to make it his final work, and ambitious project but he didn't care. He believed his time no matter what, and he wanted to leave something behind, to mark that he indeed limped upon this earth.

                For years he toiled at these devices and at the end he revealed it to the world. It was sold in 1938 and John died shortly after, with a smile on his lips and a light conscience. He never thought of his friend after that but it’s just as well. His conscience would have bashed the smile off of his face if he had. But bygones are bygones right?




The End

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