The Broken Pocket Watch – Chapter Six

Catch up on The Broken Pocket Watch HERE

A small building, between a clothes shop, and an unmarked building. Hidden away, by the more impressive towers next to it. A couple of tables outside. A little sign with “A Cup or Two” written on it, hanging over the door. Through the window, I could see more tables, the counter and a person working behind it. For a second my heart stop, even though I knew it couldn’t be mum. I hadn’t used the watch, so it couldn’t be. But for just a second, everything stops.

Dad leads us inside and sits us at a table in the far corner, near the counter. There is a small pot of flowers in the middle of the table, they look healthier than anything in the village outside the farm. There are flowers on every table, all shapes and colours, giving a light summer smell to the air. I wish I knew more about flowers, how pretty and colourful, but I know nothing. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. Wonders of the city.

“What are they?” I ask

“They’re roses, those ones, tulips. I think they are orchids. Your mum used to love flowers. The village she was from has loads.”

“Is it still there?”

“What? The Village? I think so. I haven’t been that way for a long time, but I haven’t heard otherwise.”

A young woman, who was behind the counter earlier, walks up to our table with a wide smile.

“Good morning, can I get you anything?”

I didn’t reply, instead I just stare at her blue uniform, wondering if mum wore the same thing.

“Is that all?” she continued, making me realise dad had ordered for me.

“Yes, thanks.” Dad said.

She walked back to the counter, and started putting cups under machines. I’ve read about things like that, designed to make life easier, but I’ve never seen one this close before. And she’s using it, as if it’s normal. I suppose it is here.

“What did you order?” I asked.

“Orange Juice for you,” I love orange juice. “And a coffee for me.”

My dad loves coffee, but it’s not a common drink in the village.

“That’s what I used to get when I came here to see your mum. Near enough every other day, for months. Just to speak to her. I never had money for anything else.”

“So this is where she worked?”

“Yes, about twenty years ago. It looks different now, but mostly the same, those posters behind the counter, of flowers and green fields, they weren’t there. The paint was different. But essentially it’s the same. The same coffee, the same nice polite service. Only the people and colours have changed.”

I had to stop my heart from fluttering. This was the closest I’d been to my mum since she died. We don’t have anything of hers in the house, dad gave most of it away, and the rest is in boxes under his bed. He used to get them out and show me, but that’s been a long time.

“Yeah she used to work here, while going to University. She wanted to teach, but then I ruined her plans. I don’t think she minded though. She always seemed happy enough, but her life could have been completely different if she wanted it to be.”

“Did she know about the watch?”

“Yes, but she couldn’t get it to work. I showed her a couple of times, sunsets, stuff like that, but she couldn’t replicate it. It has to be someone with the blood that was spilled into the clock, all those years ago. I don’t understand why.”

“Where’s the university from here?”

“Just a couple of roads away, about a five minute walk. She lived in a flat in the street behind this place, with two other students. Lovely people.”

The drinks arrived, and I took a sip of my orange juice. I looked around the room, at the walls and tables my mum had looked at so many years ago. She never thought I would see this place, not while she was here. That couldn’t have entered her mind, but here I am just wanting to be close to her. I didn’t realise it, but I’d been holding the watch in my pocket. I don’t know when I started, but when I realised I pull it out.

“Did you want to try and use it now?” Dad asks.

“I’m not sure,” I reply.

“Go on, if you don’t want to carry on using it, then just don’t. Return to now and live your life. It’s a blessing not a curse, so don’t let it control you. You have the power, and I’ll be waiting for you to get back.”

“How will I get back? Can I over shoot and end up in the future.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. The future hasn’t been written, so there is nowhere to go. The past can be bent, but not changed. Nothing you do will change the world around us, just hold the watch and think of the present moment, me, school. It will bring you back, quicker than you think.”

I close my fist around the watch, holding it tightly. I think about the past, about when Mum worked here. At first nothing happens. My dad just looks at me, waiting. Almost reassuring me that nothing can go wrong. For a second I start to think this is the worst joke in history, and I’m the punchline. But then I realise Dad has stopped moving. I lean closer, and he’s completely still. And then the world shifts. Light disappears from the room, and reappears so quickly.

“Maria,” I hear someone call. That’s my Mum’s name. “Has that customer been served?”

“I didn’t see her there, sorry. I’ll get to it now.”

She walks over to me, smile from ear to ear. Her tied up hair flicking from side to side.

“Good morning, can I help you with anything?”

“Orange Juice,” I stuttered. “Please.”

“One glass of orange juice. I’ll be right back.”

She turns away and half skips back to the counter. It’s her. She’s real. More vibrant and alive than I could ever have imagined. What do I do now? Just sit here and observe, or maybe try and talk to her. But what about? She doesn’t have a clue who I am, and it’s not like I can tell her. She wouldn’t believe me.

Maria, orange juice in hand, begins her walk back to me. She places it on the table in front of me.

“There you go. That’s one coin, please.”

Money. I didn’t even think about money when I was ordering. I’ve never had any for myself. A flash of waves over me, as I start to shake.

“I think I’ve left my money at home,” I mumble. “I’m really sorry.”

“Oh,” my mum starts. She knows I don’t have any money. She would be able to tell from my grubby face. Dirty cloths. Everything about me shouts poor. I can’t believe this is how I meet my mum. My head drops.

“One coin? I’ll cover that,” states a male voice.

“Thank you, but you don’t have too. I’ll leave.” I respond.

But then I look up and see my dad’s unmistakable face gazing at me. He’s younger than I’ve ever seen him before, even in pictures, but it’s him. No doubt about it. He hands my mum the coin.

“You’re so nice,” she says, almost laughing.

“Thank you.” I state.

“Don’t worry about it, drink up,” he says, while winking at me.

My dad just winked at me. I’m not sure what’s stranger. Being here, seeing them together like this. Or his winking. The two of them ignore me and walk to the counter, deep in conversation before they finish one step. They were both completely oblivious to me. I slowly lifted the glass, trying to keep my hand steady, while focusing on the pair of them. He sat down on the stall at the bar and she went behind and started pouring him a cup of coffee. The same he was having earlier. Well future earlier. So this was his routine. Both of their routines. It looks like she enjoys seeing him as well. It’s really weird being able to see them together. I don’t remember it. And at the start of their relationship as well, when they don’t know the future in front of them. They barely know each other. I can’t do anything but watch. Maybe next time I will be able to speak to her.

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The Owls are Not What They Seem

Minor Spoilers ahead…

Just over 2 days ago I sat down and watched the first 4 episodes of the new season of Twin Peaks. The Revival. Something I’ve been hoping and waiting for, ever since I finished watched the original series nearly 10 years ago. I mentioned that in my weekly update, but since then I’ve let it all settle in. I want to just go into more detail with my actual thoughts with it. This isn’t a review, it’s just my reflection of the opening episodes now that I’ve had some time to think about them.

It’s actually happening, I’m not making it up. We have new Twin Peaks and it’s actually really good. It’s taken a while for that to feel real.

There was a moment, just as I pressed play, when a sharp stab of worry hit me. What if this isn’t good, what if it doesn’t do the original show justice, if it’s just rubbish that couldn’t live up to the hype. And then the first 30 minutes flew by. It felt like barely any of it was set in Twin Peaks, that I spent a good amount of time watching someone watching a glass box. There was almost a moment when I was going to give up. My hopes were shattered. And then all of a sudden the wait was worth it. Things were happening. Things I don’t understand, and probably won’t until September. That thing coming out of the glass box, one of the creepiest things I can imagine. The way it moved, the way it attacked.

Over the course of the 4 episodes there were moments, such as with Michael Cera, that felt close in tone to the original series. Most of it though felt darker, closer to the film, Fire Walk With Me. Twisted and almost horrific. The quirky off-beat tone is pretty much no where to be seen. At points this feels like a bad thing, such as at the start of episode 3 where Cooper is in the purple room with the woman with no eyes. I had no idea what was going on, but somehow 20 minutes went past without me noticing. I can pass that off as the dream-like world of the black lodge. I think it’s a good thing that it feels nothing like the original though, it’s not pandering to audience expectation and I’ll just have to get used to it. It’s good to have something so different.

David Lynch is truly being himself here though. You can see his style shining through. The arm evolving into a electric tree thing (Probably a brain neuron, but I prefer electric tree) feels like something straight out of eraserhead. The weirdness is strong here and I can’t wait for more and to spend the next however many years re-watching and trying to figure out what it actually means.

I hope the original tone starts to shape up when Cooper regains his mind, if he does. Watching him walk around the casino shouting “Hellllllllllooooo” and “Call for help” is funny, but also twisted. I don’t like seeing Cooper like that, especially when his doppelganger is out there causing chaos. I hope he’s back to his old self soon. If coffee doesn’t do it, then maybe cherry pie.

Speaking of the bad Cooper, or Mr C. Kyle MacLachlan does a good job with the completely different characters. Mr C. is pure evil, and remember that face being so happy about cherry pie only makes his murder spree that more evil.

I read that the whole series was shot as one piece and then split into episodes, and that’s really evident throughout the opening episodes. Things happen, and then aren’t mentioned again until the next episode, with little reminding. The whole show seems to lend itself to binge-watching which fits modern TV. I can’t wait for it all to come out and be able to do that.

I really like the show so far, I can’t stop thinking about it. Once again Twin Peaks has taken over my life. I’m glad the new show feels fresh and not in any way a nostalgia trip, which most revivals seem to be. Twin Peaks is as strange and out there as always. I’m glad we’re not only seeing old faces, but more than plenty of new ones. I want to see more of the actual town, and hopefully good cooper will take us there.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

 

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A Place Both Wonderful and Strange

Hello and welcome

It has been a strange week. I’ve spent more time editing than writing, which is unlike me. Normally I do anything to put off editing. I’ve still managed to write about 1500 words, which I’m pretty happy with, even if it is slightly lower than my aims. The opening to my new story 2467 seems to be coming together quite well. I think this could be the best thing I’ve written so far. Which even if that’s not true, it’s a good feeling to have.

I’m happy with the response The Broken Pocket Watch is getting. It seems like people are enjoying it. Chapter Six will be uploaded this Friday (Thursday for Patrons). I’m going to spend Wednesday editing Chapter Six and hopefully beyond. My plan is to always be one week ahead with editing, and then keep to my one chapter a week schedule. I know I’m not the best editor, I’m too close to the work for one thing, but it’s better than nothing.

Ulysses also took a back seat this week. I’ve only read around 30 pages, which is a lot less than I was planning. Things get in the way, and I haven’t felt like reading in my free time. I’m in the process of some pretty big changes in my life, which will slow things down for a while on all over fronts. But I’m so far ahead with writing I should be able to publish something every week, without missing a deadline. I’m sure I’ll falter somewhere though, that’s how I do things.

The big thing this week was the premiere of Twin Peaks Season 3. I have loved Twin Peaks from the moment I watched the first episode, which was about 9 years ago. I watched the whole series and movie with my Mum,  very quickly. I consider it my favourite series, and I’ve re-watched it a couple of times since then, it only gets better. I can’t believe it’s finally here, and can’t imagine how it would feel to have waited the full 26 years since that cliffhanger. I watched all 4 episodes one after the other, and while it was a slow start, the revival seems to be on track to live up to the hype. I feel like waiting for each episode will feel longer than the last 9 years.

I’m half way through Season 3 of Game of Thrones, which is taking up most of the free time I have. I’m really enjoying the show, and still can’t get over how I left it for so long. I’m hoping to be up to date before Season 7 starts, which is entirely doable.

Once Upon a Time wrapped up Season 6 last week, which would have been the perfect ending if it hadn’t been for that final scene. I feel like the show has been weak for the last couple of seasons, but number 6 seems to a return to form. I hope Season 7 is worth it, especially since most of the main cast won’t be returning. Robert Carlyle will be, who is the best character in the show, so at least that’s something.

Thanks for Reading,

Ashley

If you would like to support me, check out my Patreon page. Joining will get you the weekly chapter early, as well as a other exclusive rewards. I’m currently publishing To The Other on Patreon. Chapter Three will be uploaded this Wednesday.

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The Broken Pocket Watch – Chapter Five

Catch up on previous chapters HERE

We set out pretty early. The sun was no where to be seen. We stepped out of the shop, into the cold street. Dad locked the door behind us, the clanking noise echoing around us, carried by the harsh wind. Another house just down the street. The chimney was breathing, dark smoke flying away into the clear night sky. Besides us were two boxes, each had a clock in. Expensive heirlooms, that dad had fixed. I wonder if it was our family who built these clocks in the first place. It would make sense.

Dad places the keys in his pocket, mumbles to himself and picks up the smaller of the two boxes. He passes it to me, with a smile and picks up the other one. Without a word he starts to walk down the street, I follow.

The clicking and tapping of our feet is the only sound for quite a while. Neither one of us wants to wake any one up. We walk to the end of the street, and turn left. We walk along the line of the lamps, knowing we will be the last people to walk past them this morning. Soon enough the lamp-lighters will be out, extinguishing them. Then they will disappear until the evening. I’m not sure if it’s a lonely or adventurous job. It’s so repetitive, but being able to walk freely, with the fresh air, and knowing you’re doing something important. Maybe that’s what I want, nothing complicated.

I’ve never been this far away from my house before. The school is the closest I’ve ever been to the city. Everything looks the same though, small wooden houses lined upon dirt paths. If you didn’t know the area, it would be easy to get lost. The lamps were taller than some of the houses. We’re lucky to have two floors, even if one was just for the shop.

Soon enough we break away from the village. There is a small clearing before the wall, no buildings for about fifty metres, almost like a moat. But not a ditch filled with water, just nothing. I’ve never been this close to the wall. Cobblestone, uneven bricks, joined together, towering over me. It has stood here for centuries, stopping people from breaching the city. There are guards standing along the top, evenly spread out, looking over the village. I can just about make them out in the rising sun. Directly in front of us is a large wooden gate, split in the middle. We walk up to it, and dad knocks on the wood. A little slit opens up and reveals some eyes. He nods and closes it. There is movement behind the gate, shuffling and clanking and banging. And then it opens. Slowly. The weight of the door is evident. The wood creaks as it is pulled away from us.

Through the growing gap I can see the sun shining through, making everything on the other side glisten. Through the gap we join the light. There are a couple of guards, who are quick to close the gate once we are on their side. They replace a bar over hooks on each side of the gate, locking the world out.

“I’m here to deliver these clocks to the Fantson family, and Klivitil family. They will be expecting me.”

“I’m sure they will, Jim, just go on through.”

The guards don’t hold us any longer, the go back to their positions and we start walking away from them. The dirt path has turned into a smooth stone one. It’s completely smooth. In front of us, incredibly tall intricate buildings. Taller than anything I’ve ever seen before, and they are still quite a distance away. At the moment it’s just the path, with grass on either side, leading towards the maze of towers in front of us.

“That’s just the outside of the city,” my dad starts. “Inside it’s even more breathtaking. The towers are where people live. Beyond that is the shopping district, with the more rich houses beyond that.”

“I never dreamed it would look like this.”

“Nice, huh?”

“It’s weird. Completely different to where we live, to anything I’ve seen before.”

“There aren’t many places like ours left. Only the poorest of places remain like that, unable to catch up with the cities. I think they like it that way, we provide most of the food for them.”

We walk along, and finally get to the outskirts of the towers. The silence from outside the walls has followed us, but somehow seems more tranquil. The path leads between two of the towers, which leads to another block of towers with roads intersecting each one. These must have taken a generation or two to build. As we stand between them, I feel like they’re about to fall down on us, swallow us whole. They block out the sun.

We walk along street after street, in near enough silence, while I’m waiting for the towers to disappear. As amazing as they look from a distance, there is something off about being within them. Maybe you just get used to it.

Eventually they start to lower in height, and we reach a block that isn’t taken by a tower or a path, instead it’s just grass, trees and a pond in the middle.

“What is this?” I ask.

“A park. There are a few of them around the city. People come here after work, with children, at the weekends to relax and just enjoy things. I wish I could have taken you to one of them when you were younger, but I couldn’t. Sadly work took too much time.” I can see the distress in his face.

“It’s nice to see one now, even if I didn’t back then.”

“I’m glad you like it. Something about it, I don’t know what it is, but something, is just nice to be around.”

“I know what you mean.”

We move on from the park, taking a right, and move in between two buildings, still three or four stories high, but smaller than the towers we’d seen before. We walk past a few shops, I see one selling books.

“Is that where you buy me books from?” I ask, nodding towards it.

“Sometimes, there are quite a few around. We can have a look on the way back if you like?”

That sounds nice, but I don’t answer. We walk past a cafe, and while I was sure dad would point out the one that mum worked at, I still stop breathing for a second.

The first place we arrive at is a building bigger than the school. Enormous. A massive manor house inside it’s own walls. We are escorted from the front gate to the front door by one man, and then led through the grand entrance by another. Finally we meet the man we have walked so far to meet. In his private room, filled with more books any one person could read in a life time. All I want to do was drop the box and open one up. So many books, so many stories and adventures. I can’t focus on anything else.

“Ah, Jikwin, what a surprise. I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow.” The man of the house, stated with a smile.

No one calls my dad Jikwin in the village, it’s always Jim. That’s the name he uses, but people from the city always use his birth name. That or our surname, Volund.

“It was finished early, and I was already in the city today with another visit, thought I’d drop this off today. This is my daughter, Nymia.”

I smile, not knowing what else to do.

“Nice to meet you, another clock maker in the family then. I suppose it’s good to hear the line will be continued. There isn’t a clockmaker anywhere close to your fathers skill around these parts. I hear that people come from the next city other to visit him. That no matter how old, he will fix and it will appear brand new.”

“No need to flatter me,” Dad says.

“I’m sure, she’s seen you fix it all, I suppose there is no need to tell her what she already knows.”

The two of them start talking about the clock. My dad puts the box he was holding down on the table and starts to unfold the cardboard lid, he lifts out the clock from inside and gives it to the man, whose name I have already forgotten, despite being told it several times over the last few days. He lifts it up, a simple clock. It would sit nicely on top of a shelf, A long panel with angel carvings on either side of the rather small clock face. My dad not only got the gears working again, but also retouched some of the paint from the delicate wooden carvings. No idea how old it is, but it does look brand new again. The man looks happy, and places it on top of the one of the tall bookshelves. I wish I could just get a little closer to the shelf and feel the books. I try and make out some of the titles from the spines, but they are either too faded or not there at all. These books must be older than any book I’ve touched before. Even if the school ones seem beyond ancient, these ones are older. I wonder how many generations have passed since these forgotten stories were gazed upon. The mysteries sat here, locked away from anyone who would want to read them.

Eventually we leave the house and end up back on the street. My dad takes away the box I was carrying.

“I’ll take that now, no need for you to hold it, if you don’t have to. The next place is just down the road. Not far.”

“Thanks.” I said, wanting to ask more, about the cafe, about mum. About the city. It’s so different from the village.

Everything somehow seemed brighter. Even though the houses were tall and bigger than most of the buildings from the village combined, it still felt fresher here. No beaten down mud tracks, with centuries of boot marks etched in the world around us. No dark colours, of just wood and dirt, repeated over and over again. Instead the bricks seem fresh and vibrant, smooth. My mind is made up, I wanted to live here. Away from the village. Maybe find some way to change things for everyone, even though I know that won’t be possible. It’s just so weird to think how close we are to such riches, and yet most of us will live our entire lives without being within sight of it.

I’m not stupid though, and it’s not going to be easy. But I can’t just live in the village for ever. There has to be more to it than just that. Mum went to university maybe she could have made something for herself, if she didn’t get married.

“Why did mum come back with you to the village, if she went to university?”

Dad almost seemed shocked at the question.

“Um, well, she wasn’t from our village, but one a little way off in the west. That’s where she was born and raised. And then through a scheme thing she got a place in the university. She went there, and got a job to keep herself afloat. That’s where we met, and then things moved so fast. Before we knew it, university was over, she moved in with me instead of going back to the village. And then we got married and had you. She was going to find a job in the city, she dreamed of showing you around, taking you to the places she visited during her university years. As you know she studied history, and wanted to teach it. She loved this place. I never really understood that. To me this will always be full of elitists. Something I’m proud we’re not part of. But she could see beyond that, beyond the living, and look at it with naivety and innocence. Probably the best way. It’s not the buildings that towered over us for generations, it’s the people inside them. Anyway, here we are. We’ll make this quick and then I’ll quickly show you the cafe. It’s not that far from here.”

To be continued….

If you would like to support me, check out my Patreon page. Joining will get you the weekly chapter early, as well as a other exclusive rewards. I’m currently publishing To The Other on Patreon. Chapter Three will be uploaded next Wednesday.

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On to the Next One

Last Thursday I finished writing The Broken Pocket Watch. It took me just over a year to write it, and I was nearly late for work because I was so close and couldn’t leave it for Friday. I started writing while I was waiting for the disappointing Battleborn to install and load up. Can’t believe that was over a year ago.

Originally the story was meant to take place over a couple of decades, but ultimately ended up being just one Winter in Nymia’s life. The ending changed, right up until I wrote it. I woke up with one idea in mind, and something else came out as I typed. Most of the things I write end up differing from my original idea, but this takes the record for most changes.

The whole story is 21 chapters long, unless I change that in editing. I will publish chapter 5 here on Friday, and a day earlier on my Patreon. It feels weird being so far ahead of what I’m putting on here, especially since I want people to read the ending so much.

I’ve already started writing my next story, which is currently called 2467. It’s about a group of people from different times that are re-awoken in 2467. I’ve been working on the plot for  a few months and am really excited to actually start writing. It’s science fiction with a hint of horror. I’m only 500 words into it so far and there is a plan, to an extent. I don’t have an ending in mind. But it will come to me.

Last week I took a challenge from a friend. He told me I should try reading Ulysses since I have an English/Creative Writing degree, and like reading. So I decided to read it. I went out on payday and bought the hefty tome. Sat down and started it. I’ve read 40 pages, which is no big feat but it’s a start. I’m aiming to read about 10 pages a day because it feels like something which should be read slowly and focused, rather than rushed. It will take me about half a year at this rate. Maybe I will read more as I get into it, but either way I will finish it.

I’ve started watching Game of Thrones for the third time. This time I’ve finished the first season. The first time I stopped after episode one to read the book, which I didn’t finish because I highly underestimated the reading load at Uni. The second time, I couldn’t get into it. Probably still bitter about not finishing the book. I don’t even know where my copy is any more. I’m enjoying it a hell of a lot more this time, and feel ashamed of how long I’ve been missing out.

While writing this update I’ve been listening to Paramore’s new album for the first time. On track 8, Grudges, at the moment. Which is my favourite so far. I really liked the first single, Hard Times, but found the second one, Told You So, boring. It’s grown on me a little. The whole album seems underwhelming, especially when compared to their earlier albums. At least in my opinion. I’m sure it’ll grow on me. I didn’t think I’d ever like their self-titled album when I first heard it but now I love it.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

If you want to support me, help me grow as a writer and get a few extras. Think about joining my Patreon page (Click HERE). You’ll get stories a day earlier than here, as well as exclusive stories.

To The Other, Chapter One and Two will be uploaded to Patreon on Wednesday.

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