TICK…the watch hand clicked each second away…TOCK…each second seemed slower than the prervious one…TICK…it had been two hours since they had left him…TOCK…it was the first time he had been alone for three months, maybe four…TICK…it was hard to remember…TOCK…the seconds were getting slower…TICK…maybe the watch needed to be wound…TOCK…where had he left it…TICK…he could never remember where he set it…TOCK…“it must be wound every day to keep working”…TICK…his father’s words echoed in his mind and he began to panic. His father hadn’t said what would happen if the watch was not wound…TOCK…would it stop working? Nothing could be worse than that…TICK…he searched frantically for it…TOCK…
The watch was a golden pocket watch. It was just over three inches in diameter with a large knob on the top to wind it. The outside of the gleaming gold that the watch was made of held no images, no scratches, no etching, nothing that took away from the light that always seemed to illuminate from the watch. When the front plate was flipped open, the inscription on the inside cover read: To my dear, beloved Roger. May we always be one. The face of the watch was pearl beneath a smooth, domed crystal. The hands that ticked and tocked and moved with perfection were gold and over-sized; they shimmered as they counted down days, weeks, and years. There was a chain that had replaced the original leather band that had been attached when the watch was presented to Roger. The chain was only a few years old, but matched the watch as though they had always been together.
The watch itself had been passed down through six generations since Roger and had been wound every day as instructed so often by whomever the current owner was to whomever the watch was to be passed on to. With one exception, the watch was always given to the first born son.
TICK…“where is it, where is it, where is it?”…TOCK… “I don’t want to be the one to let the watch die”…frantic, he tried to follow the ticking that seemed to be coming from all around him…TICK…“It’s slowing down! I know it!”…TOCK…he screamed, still unable to find the watch that he knew was slowly dying.
His best friend, Tweed, was slender, tall, and had a large head. On that head was a mop of sandy-blond hair that stayed throughout the day the same way it was when Tweed woke in the morning. He wore jeans that hung loosely on him and a tight t-shirt. He had never seen Tweed wear anything else, but either a white or black t-shirt. Tweed’s piercing blue eyes were the only thing in the world brighter than the watch and his large teeth seemed to explode from his mouth when he smiled, which was often.
The two had been friends for as long as either one of them could remember, but neither perfectly remembered how they met; they had just always been together. Never was one seen without the other.
“What do ya want to do today?”
“Isn’t there a movie or something?”
“I don’t have any money.”
“Me either.” That wasn’t surprising, Tweed never had money. “Let’s go down by the creek and see if anything is going on.” The decision was made and the two walked out of the house down to the nearby creek.
The creek was small, but ran swiftly through a tree covered area. Years ago, someone had built a thin wooden bridge across the creek. At one part it was deep enough that someone (probably the same someone who had built the bridge) had tied a rope to a thick branch high in an ancient maple tree that many people used to swing from into the water on hot days. Today was not a hot day. There was a chilly north wind that forced him to wear a jacket even though he hated to.
He and Tweed walked along the bank of the creek, jokingly threatening to push each other into the chilly water along the way.
“What?” asked Tweed
“In the water.”
“I don’t see it.” Tweed looked into the water.
“Help me grab it. Hold onto me.” Tweed grabbed his arm to keep him from falling into the water. It was deeper than he expected and his sleeve got wet as he reached to the bottom and wrapped his fist around the object. “Wow! Look at this!”
“What is it?” Tweed was curious now.”
“It’s a knife.”
“A knife. It’s old. Ouch! Still sharp though.”
“Careful buddy. Can I see it?”
“Sure, here.” He handed the old knife to Tweed whose white shirt-sleeve dripped slightly. The weapon was about six inches long with the handle and had a knick out of the blade. Other than that and a little discoloring from the water on the wooden handle, the knife was in surprisingly good condition.
TICK…I wish Tweed was here now to help me look for the watch…TOCK…he could never find anything though…TICK…“Ahhh!” He screamed and pulled apart his bed looking for the watch…TOCK…it wasn’t under the mattress, it wasn’t in the closet, or on the dresser…TICK…“I’m sorry Dad. I didn’t mean to lose it”…TOCK…“I promise, I’ll find it.” And then it happened. There were no more ticks, no more tocks. He froze in the middle of the room listening for any hint of the watch’s sound. It was gone. He collapsed weeping, on his knees, “I’m so sorry.”
Minutes went by and graduated into an hour, still he sat perfectly still, listening, hearing nothing. He was alarmed out of his coma by a loud knock at the door; then, before he could get up to open the door Tweed, in his white shirt and jeans, was standing in front of him. “Hey buddy.” Tweed flashed one of his trademark smiles and helped him off the floor.
“I lost it.”
“How do you know?”
“I heard you,” Tweed answered. “I’ve been knocking for over an hour.”
“Oh,” he stammered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
“That’s ok. Want me to help you look for it?”
He hesitated for a moment before accepting the offer.
(to be continued…)