Time will run out
The Pocket Watch
The Halloween Hoax
The vision comes at 10:40pm, I arrive to the dock at 11:00. I have half an hour. Half an hour should be enough time, more than enough, but the problem is I don’t know how to stop it.
I run towards the dock, unsure of what to do. The Halloween Hoax, a boat that always holds a Halloween party, is about to depart. And the only way to stop what’s going to happen is to get on it, but if I can’t stop it, well, I’m sure you can imagine the end result will not be in my favor.
I shove my ticket at the man and run aboard. Okay. Think, Cadie, I tell myself, it’s gotta be easy, there has to be an easy solution.
I can’t exactly just run up to the boat owners and tell them that I somehow know their boat is going to sink, they’ll think I’m nuts. (Arguably, I might be, but that’s not the point).
The boat was filling up with costumed people, the costumes ranging from ridiculous to terrifying. I pushed my way through the growing crowd, frantically looking for any signs of damage on the boat. It’s here, it’s got to be here. Stupid watch and it’s unspecific sinking directions. I mean, honestly, if you’re going to tell me the boat is going to sink, can I have, like, a map or something? Part of me hopes the mystical pocket watch gods are listening and the other part of me is telling me to get it together and find the spot.
The image is clear in my mind, but with the crowded and loud party going on around me I can’t seem to find the right spot. If I can just find it I can take someone to it, a worker, they’ll see it, they’ll see it’s bad, and they’ll get everyone off. And Mauve will be safe.
“And we’re off!” someone shouts, and I feel the boat start to move. Cheers run through the crowd as music starts.
“Stupid loud people, stupid scary holiday, stupid party, stupid magic pocket watch,” I mutter as I run through the crowd. Judging by the weird looks I get, some people hear me. Then again, maybe they just don’t take kindly to being pushed aside by a girl who looks like she’ll snap and murder someone at any moment.
“Stupid people getting mad at me, I’m trying to save them,” I say as I shove past a boy. He turns around and gives me a girl-who-are-you-trying-to-save-and-what-on-earth-is-wrong-with-you? Look. It’s quite familiar at this point.
I shove past a girl and she turns around and shouts, “what on earth is wrong with you?”
“Oh shut up, I’m saving you all, you’ll thank me later,” I say, not bothering to turn back and watch her reaction, I’m sure it isn’t good. At this point I don’t particularly care if anyone thinks I’m nuts, I’ll say it’s part of my costume.
Lost in my thoughts I run head on into someone. “Hey, what’s your problem? Watch where you’re going!” the boy shouts.
I suppose that’s probably a rule of being a superhero: don’t get kicked out of the place you’re trying to save.
If this boat doesn’t sink and I survive, I might just consider becoming a supervillain. Maybe the superhero lifestyle just isn’t for me. Too much work, too much heroism, too much pressure. But see, when you’re a supervillain you don’t have to care about anyone but yourself! Yes, supervillain life here I come. Right after I save this boat of silly party people and my cousin, of course.
And then I see it. I must’ve passed this place several times before but it only just now clicks. I run over, shoving people out of my way, I’ll care about my rudeness later, right now I have a boat full of people to save.
The spot was directly under a bench, a place in the boat that—for whatever reason—was weak and cracked. I don’t know how anyone missed it but it’s obviously unsafe. I watch as a few of the cracks begin to widen. No, no, no, no. I frantically spin in a circle, looking around for someone to help me. I spot a man in a captain’s uniform and realize as I’m walking towards him that it’s obviously a costume.
Finally I run into the man who had been taking tickets. I glance down at the watch on his wrist, I have ten minutes.
“Sir, there’s a weak spot on the boat, it looks like it’s going to fall apart, we’ll sink! We need to go back to the dock, right now!” I say, and I’m sure my panicky voice does nothing to convince him.
“Miss, please calm down,” he says, holding up his hands.
Rolling my eyes I grab him by the arm and drag him over. Without saying a word I point at the floor and the widening cracks and then cross my arms and glare at him. I’m sure I closely resemble an angry child but at the moment I can’t possibly care less.
“Oh my,” he says, his eyes widening. “Inspection must’ve missed that, I’ll tell the captain.
“Thank you,” I say, still slightly bitter about him not believing me before.
I fished my phone out of my pocket. Eight minutes. I hope that’s enough time to get back.
An announcement over the sound system explains that we’re heading back to the island because of safety concerns, which is met by several groans of disappointment. I sit down on a bench and watch the ocean spread out behind us as we start back towards the island. My phone stays in my hand as I watch the minutes tick by.
Four minutes.
The music is playing and people are enjoying the party while they still can, though I know it’s either about to be cut short by reaching the dock or the boat sinking.
Three minutes.
The island is in view now, so close and yet not close enough. I walk back over and examine the cracks, they’re growing wider and wider.
“You’re the gal who found this, yeah?” a man asks. I nod. He’s trying in vain to patch the cracks but they’re spreading out, now covering at least three feet of the bottom of the boat.
“It’s good you saw it, could’ve been a really bad ending to a good party,” he says.
I nod again, and walk away without a word.
Two minutes.
We reach the dock and people begin piling off. The crew tries to usher people off quickly but don’t want to alarm anyone so it goes painfully slowly.
I am the last civilian off the boat, I glance down at my phone. Either the crew will recognize there’s nothing they can do and leave the boat or they’ll fix it and everything will be fine.
In my haste to get here, I had dropped my bike by a lamppost. I pick it up and hop on. It’s a twenty minute bike back to the hospital. I’ll either be arriving to the news that Mauve is getting better, or that she’s fallen into a coma.
I chain my bike to the rack and dash into the hospital. Please let Mauve be alive. Please.
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