The Broken Pocket Watch – Chapter Eight

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The next few days seemed to return to normal. Everything else just blurred into the background. Neither one of us mentioned the past for a while. I still think about it when I’m alone, but I can’t help that. The pain in my Mum’s voice, will haunt me for a while, but at least I know I will see her again soon. I’ve decided that I want to go and see the village she grew up in. The pictures from the wall in the past are etched into my mind, and I want to see where they were taken. Where half of my family were raised. Maybe some of them are still alive. I don’t think I’ve ever met them before, or that even my Dad has mentioned them to me. Before I go back to the past again I want to see what it looks like now. That will give me enough time to prepare myself for the past, while also giving time for my body to recover. It’s been two days and I’m still exhausted. I’m struggling to get up in time for school, which has never been a problem before.

“Honey, you’re going to be late if you don’t get up now.”

“I know Dad, I’m getting up, I’m just tired.”

“I know,” he pauses. “Are you still using the watch?”

“Not since you used it.”

“Good, not that I don’t trust you, but if you use it more and more it will take it’s toll on you.”

“I know.”

“I just worry.”

“I know that too.”

I pick the book up from my bedside table and shove it in my bag, it’s all I need to get through the school day. I look at the watch, which has been sitting next to the book for the last few days. I don’t need it. I feel compelled to take it with me, but I really just don’t need it. Simple as that. I near enough skip out of the room, not wanting to be to late. Or tempted to go back for the watch which would make sure I’m not late.

“You’re off now then?” my Dad asks as I walk past the counter.

“Yes, but can you do me a favour?”

“Of course.”

“When we went back into the past. I saw a load of pictures hanging on the walls in the stairway. Do you still have them?”

“Yes. Somewhere. I’ve haven’t thought about them for a long time, did you want to see them? I suppose I should have shown them to you when you were much younger.”

“I would like to see them.”

“I’ll find them out as soon as I can. Now go, before your late. They can wait, literally.”

“I’ll see you later, have a good day.”

School really drags, but then again I’m actually looking forward to getting home. Each lesson blurs into another, until one teacher asks me to hang back at the end of the lesson. She does it discreetly. Just kneeling next to my desk and asking as she walks past. I have no idea, what she could want. I haven’t done anything, nothing to gain attention since that lunch time last week. And that doesn’t really count anymore. I learnt a long time ago, that if something happens to you in this school, it matters for less than a day. If you haven’t been scolded or asked if your OK, within a couple of hours, it won’t ever happen. I slow down when packing everything in my bag, and make my way to the front of the classroom, meandering between the desks. Most people have left by the time I reach the front.

“Nymia, thanks for staying. It’s nothing to worry about,” Mrs Edina starts. “I’ve just noticed how distracted you’ve been in the last couple of days. I’m worried. You’re one of the only students who shows actual promise, and I don’t like to see that wasted. Is there anything going on, anything that I can help you with?”

“No, everything is alright.”

“Are you sure? You can tell me anything? You not feeling sick, or anything? Not getting enough sleep?”

“Everything is normal. Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.”

I turn and start to walk towards the door.

“Wait a second, please. I want to ask you something else. Have you heard of the City Scholarship?”

I pause for a second and turn back to Mrs Edina. Something about that sounds familiar. Maybe I’ve heard about it before, or it was mentioned in assembly. No, it wasn’t. My dad mentioned it last week. Or something that sounds like it.

“Is that where the City Council pay for someone to go university?”

“Yes. It’s the only way people get out of places like this. Most people in your year will do the exact thing their parents do. School doesn’t do much for them. To be honest with you, it’s essentially day care, so the parents can carry on with their jobs. Every year the closest villages to the city get to put forward a couple of students for the scholarship. We do it every year, but don’t really notify the students, it’s a lengthy process that is normally finished before it begins. It’s been quite a few years since someone has actually shown some promise, and you really do. We’ve spoken about putting you forward next year. You could be given a place in a subject of your choice at the Eastern City University. Which would get you out of here. You really have a chance, that’s the only reason I’m telling you this. I can see there is something distracting you, so I just wanted to to talk to you about it and see what you think?”

I stand there in silence for a couple of seconds, not really knowing what to say. It’s as if everything in my life is falling into place in front of me. I’m able to see my Mum again, and now the future I’ve always dreamed of, has just fallen down in front of me. All I have to do is take the first step.

“I think my Mum did something like that, in the village she was from. She went to University. In the city, to study history.”

“That’s great, you see it’s in your blood. I would love for you to make this happen. If anyone deserves a chance to make a good life for themselves it’s you. You’re on the right track, you just need to focus, and you’ll get there. I have faith in you.”

I almost feel like I’m being scolded, that I’ve messed up somehow.

“I’m going to try. It wouldn’t be right to just let this pass by.”

“Good, that’s what I was hoping to hear. I know things can be difficult, but I’m always here to help if you need any. So is the headmaster. We both want the best for everyone, but to be completely honest not everyone is suited for something like this. But you have actually applied yourself for years. I know your name is going to be put forward, all you need to do is impress them, and you can do that with ease.”

“Thanks, I’ll see you later.”

“See you later Nymia, I’m always here if you need help.”


To Be Continued…

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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