Time will run out
The Pocket Watch
Weird Finger Guns and Fire Girl
I get home and turn the TV on, making sure the volume is low. I switch it to the news channel and check the clock. 11:40pm, if there’s been a crash it’ll be on the news by now.
“And that’s all tonight, we’re moving onto sports now with Damon Kisley,” the newscaster says, setting down her papers. The scene changes to a man in front of game statistics. I switch the TV off, it had to have worked.
If somehow it didn’t work, then I’ll hear about it in the morning. But I’m pretty confident that it worked. Maybe this’ll be easier than I thought it would. It’s really just a matter of manipulating time in my favor.
I fall back onto my bed and close my eyes, falling into dreamless sleep almost immediately.
The steady beeping of Mauve’s heartbeat on the monitor is somewhat comforting, but not much. I look down at her. She’s so pale, so grey, so quiet, so lifeless. So not-her.
Mauve is anything but quiet and lifeless. She is as radiant as the sun, and louder than thunder. This isn’t right. Part of me still can’t even believe it’s real. Part of me is still hoping it’s a bad dream and I’ll wake up at any moment.
But it is real, it’s not a dream. At least I have a way to fix it. I just have to stop two more disasters and she lives, then life goes on and I continue as normal, except, most likely, with a newfound phobia of pocket watches.
At the thought of the watch I reach down into my hoodie pocket. Sure enough it’s there. I run my hand across the cool, smooth edges, and in an instant, the world around me disappears.
I’m in a very familiar setting, the library. In the flashes that begin to play out before me, I catch sight of a clock. 4:52pm. As the the scene continues, almost like stop motion animation, I watch the disaster play out. A break room, a gas stove, a tea towel too close to the flame, and before I know it the entire room is going up in flames.
I blink and the scene is gone, I’m back in the hospital. I turn to look at the clock on the wall. 4:38pm. I have less than fifteen minutes to stop the fire.
I get up and run out of the room, dashing out of the hospital and into the street. The library isn’t too far away, but I don’t have any time to waste, so I run the whole way. I run in and look for a clock, I have five minutes, and I don’t know where the break room would be.
I turn down a hall, glancing into the rooms as I run by. A woman scolds me for running as I dash past but I ignore her, if she knew, she’d understand.
I run down stairs, finding myself in another hall. Then I spot a red clock on the wall, I saw that in the vision. I throw myself into the room next to the clock and find a break room slowly filling with smoke. I run forwards a yank the tea towel down, stomp on it. By the time that’s out, I realize a roll of paper towels has caught fire. Then, someone rounds the corner and steps into the room.
“Hey, you aren’t supposed to be in he- oh my!” the man shouts, catching sight of the fire.
“I didn’t do this,” I say, waving my hands. The man and I put out the few other things that were beginning to smoke or catch fire, all of which were safety hazards, being so close to the stove, anyway. You’d think they’d be smarter than this, and then I wouldn’t have to rely on a magical pocket watch to save them all from fiery deaths, but no, they just have to go and leave tea towels and paper towels right next to a gas stove.
“Well, there we go, crisis averted!” I shout, shooting finger guns at the man, awkwardly. Then I turned and ran out of the room. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to come back or if he’ll recognize the weird finger guns and fire girl. Oh well, another disaster successfully averted. Who needs a good reputation when you have a magical pocket watch and a cousin to save? Well, I mean, a good reputation wouldn’t hurt but I’ll choose to rise above that and bask in the glory of my heroism that no one knows about, and will never ever know about because then they’d think I’m nuts. But yeah, at least I know.
I run out of the library, looking around. All these people have just been saved by yours truly and they have no idea what could’ve happened. I guess now I know why superheroes are so flashy. Being recognized must be nice, but I don’t see myself running around in spandex and sparkles anytime soon. I guess I’ll have to live with being the unknown hero Weird Finger Guns and Fire Girl.
I walk back to the hospital and take the elevator up to the floor Mauve is on, having run from the hospital to the library and through most of the library, I think I’ve had enough exercise for the day, and maybe the rest of the year.
I walk into Mauve’s room to find her doctor and nurse there as well, talking to uncle Carson and my parents.
“See, we don’t quite know what’s going on. She’s simultaneously getting better and getting worse. We’re going to run some tests and we’ll let you know as soon as we have an answer,” the doctor says. Uncle Carson’s gaze falls to the floor as he takes in the information that his daughter might be getting worse. I meet eyes with the doctor and she gives me a sad smile, “your cousin is-”
I cut her off, “I heard,” I whisper.
“Alright then. What I want you all to remember is that she is getting better, she’s just also exhibiting problems that we’re mildly concerned about,” with that, she leaves. Mauve’s nurse stays and takes her vitals, and leaves a few minutes later.
I sit there for hours, and eventually my parents drag uncle Carson out and down to the cafeteria, promising to be back soon and to have a nurse come and get them if something changes. I don’t answer verbally, I just nod as they leave, not even bothering to make sure they see.
I lean over and whisper to Mauve, “I’m going to save you, hang in there, Mauve.”
She doesn’t answer. I don’t know why I was expecting her to, but I’m still disappointed. I squeeze her hand. One more disaster.
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