6. Timelines [III]

Whilst she tried to digest the information, Aidelle felt her stomach rumble, something which had not digested nourishment in a while. Yet, it was no time at all…?

“Do you want anything to eat, Zara? I’m afraid we don’t have much.”

“Have you got any chocolate? I will admit that I’m peckish, but I had a bite to eat before I…left.”

Laughing, Aidelle passed a bar to Zara, and started to make a tomato sandwich with the leftover white bread. There wasn’t much.

As they ate, Zara absent-mindedly played with her right puffed cuff, pushing it backwards and forwards over her skin, and the watch. Aidelle observed her, curiosity growing in her chest.

“What is that timepiece?” Aidelle said, catching Zara by surprise, as she physically caught her wrist.

“It’s…well…it’s a watch, of course, but also…” Zara was struggling with the words to say.

“What are the other hands? You have second, minute, hour; but what of the…changing ones?”

Aidelle pondered a word to describe the mesmerizing hands that seemed to oscillate between all the colours of the human eye…and some that it wouldn’t pick up in normal circumstances. But, these were, in no way, ‘normal’ circumstances!

“The others are my ‘destination’ time settings. Unfortunately, I can’t control the hour, minute or second in which I ‘arrive’, so it could have been pretty random. I’m glad you heard me when you did.”

“’Destination’ time?”

“This watch helps me jump through time. In a similar way that you have to change the clocks back and forth as the year goes on, I have a gear on the back-” Here she carefully took off the watch and flipped it over. On the underside were two mechanical cogs, one bright stainless silver, the other a shimmering copper, reminding Aidelle of the three extra ‘destination’ hands.

The word ‘Zara’ was scrawled hastily on the inside of one strap. On the other, the same pen had scribbled indistinguishable words out.

“It enables me to choose. It changes the hands to a year in this century,” Zara continued, fitting the straps back around her tiny wrist. She lifted the clock-face up to Aidelle.

The older woman could see that, around the numbers one to twelve, common to all timepieces, were ten smaller, golden-coloured numbers, counting upwards in steps of ten to a hundred, and below the usual twelve were thirty-one tiny cherry-coloured digits, counting, unsurprisingly, from one to thirty-one: the days of a month. Two of the mystical hands were pointing to a red twenty-five and just after the yellow ten, respectively, but the other had slid itself around to settle firmly on the normal digit, six.

“August, the sixth month,” Aidelle murmured to herself.

“So, you see how it works? I twist the dial on the back, push it in (just as with setting the normal hands) and after a minute of using the sun to charge up, I jump to the time I have set.

“You use the sun to charge up? Like, solar power?”
”Yes, the…place that experiments with…time is very much in favour of trying…umm…new things.”

Aidelle wondered whether Zara was still concealing something about where she had come from. Suspicious thoughts popped into her mind, but Aidelle couldn’t put a dagger against the throat of her own granddaughter (to be).

“It looks very valuable…”
Zara quickly slipped the cuff of her top back over the device.

“Technology-wise, yes; it’s very much in demand. But also, the solid hands are pure silver. Yes, this piece is probably worth a lot to many people… For different reasons.”

“Silver hands… Like the two clocks in this house…”

“Yeah, grandfather said that the hands were removed from the little gold clock on the marble mantelpiece in the sitting room-”

She gasped and stood straight up, almost knocking her chair to the floor.

“The clock! That must be it!”

And with that, she was gone into the sitting room.

The End

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