19. Grassland

Zara stared moodily down at the golden watch. After a couple of hours, neither of the young women had thought of any solution to their dire problem. Yet, over in the time-stream where time ran smoothly, the minutes tick on.

Zara hastily glanced down at her own personal, and non-motionless, watch. Boredom had made those furtive glances frequent, and so the time was nearly always the same. Even so, she repeated the same warning to Aidelle.

“My time ticks on. Soon there won’t be any left.”

“Don’t talk to me about time,” Aidelle muttered dejectedly.

She sighed deeply, trying to fight back the tears that were brewing.

“We’ve tried our best, I suppose,” Zara spoke, “But, even after rewiring that clock, we’ve got nowhere; we have not even rewound any lost time. Perhaps even ended everything…”

Aidelle stared out deeply into the dark garden, clutching her steaming mug of tea close to her lips; she felt the boiling liquid flow softly down her throat, but it could never bring the sort of peace that it once did. Aidelle listened to the silence Zara unwillingly gave.

“Perhaps we’ve been going about this the wrong way with all this?” She muttered into the teacup.

“Hmm…?” Zara nibbled on a broken, dirty fingernail, before realising and scolding herself, “What do you mean, grandmother?”

“Think about it,” Aidelle teased, taking another sip of the warm, milky brew. Once again, she wondered how much was left in the teabag-box, and whether that ‘bottomless pit’ would remain so.

“But…we’ve tried our best to rewire the little clock, without losing any more time. It’s impossible! And now, the irony flames on as we’ve lost even more time trying to get it back. I suppose that all that’s left is to say goodbye to everything we ever once knew as the norm… Although, there never was much of normality for me…” She added the last as sub-clause to herself alone.

Ignoring the long-winded trail of despair, Aidelle remarked:

“Yes, that’s just it. Think about it, Zara; we’ve been put all our sturdy concentration, and energy, into trying to fix the watch, as though that is the source of all our despair and troubles-”

“Well, of course, it is. Listen, Aidelle, there’s something that I’ve been…well, not purposely concealing…but something that I’ve overlooked… The scientists (if we can call them ‘scientists’) told me about the part of nature called ‘time-energy’. They told me that it’s at the heart of the different time-streams themselves-”

“What? Why didn’t you say-?”

“Sorry,” Zara interrupted her, not sounded all that sorry at all, “I just got so caught up in…everything that I forgot to mention it. Personally, I thought it was a ridiculous story they were spinning us, but then they showed me their research into the time-energy that could not possibly have been doctored.

“They told me about how they had not yet actually been able to locate and extract the time-energy at the centre of the diverse time-streams. They said that they didn’t even know what colour it is! But, on the other hand, I think that they shouldn’t even need to extract it. That sounds vile and dangerous, if not against true nature itself. I mean, what would happen- perhaps it has already happened-”

“Zara,” Aidelle tried to stem the flow of Zara’s gushing rant, “Zara, wait, and just listen to me, please…”

It was in vain.

The End

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