Timelessness (part 1)
Belle’s eyes twitched over the clock, lingering over the hands.
She rubbed the back of her neck with a cloth, and then her moist chest. Almost...almost. She was heating with anticipation. Just two more minutes. She flounced her hair a bit, picking up the sides and the front, trying to capture volume in her pin straight hair. She heard the grandfather clock chime exactly 3 times and she leaned over its glass cabinet, pressing her face to it like a kid would at a candy shop. There was a flash of fire and then her eyes alighted on the subject. He was pure beauty. As a child of 10, when she had first discovered him, she could not appreciate his features. The too strong jaw, the golden beard, the big grey eyes, all too strange and foreign and frightening. After that extraordinary night, it would be a long time before she ventured downstairs after 3am again. The next day, while sitting on a pink chair in her mother’s all pink living room, squeezing her teddy bear until it was bulging on all sides, she asked her what that ‘thing’ was in the clock. “You’ll find out when you’re a little bit older and when you can handle it better. But just know, we are keeping it as a prisoner. Anything else I tell you is far beyond your comprehension.” Belle looked up and down at her mother, who was always a very dainty, petite sort of lady. So small and soft, she could never claim her 37 years without an incredulous face staring at her, and even well after 37. Belle could hardly imagine a woman of her staure being a prison guard to such a broad massive man, or herself for that matter if that was what her mother was implying with her words.
The day came when her mother explained it all. That day was her 18th birthday, and the weird man was far from Belle’s mind, having since been explained away as a figment of her imagination, or a nightmare, or just a child’s fancy, for her mother never broached the subject again and she never lost the irrational fear of going downstairs to have ever witnessed him again. Her mother urged her to blow the candles off her cake, and take up as much cake as she wanted, then whispered that she had a gift. Belle smiled up at her beautiful face, revealing teeth with pieces of cake and frosting. “Girlie, I give you youth.” “I..uh, technically, I already have that. I’m only 18.” “Eternal youth.” “What?! You’re finally going to share your secret with me, mom?” She laughed. “Uh, no...there's no secret. It’s the clock, honey.” Belle stared at it intensely. “And?...am I missing something here?” “Great. Should have told you this last year. Honey, I’m going to be leaving soon, to see your father. I’ve finally found him. He got lost somewhere in the 16th century, trying to find some precious rare metal that has the same properties as the clock in case we ever need to replace it. I am leaving you in charge of this place and that clock ’til I come back. I won’t be back for another 2 decades but it won’t seem that long, hopefully, while you are here in this house.” Belle was gobstruck, she put a palm on the kitchen table and steadied herself. “Honey, you’ve known that I do magic,” she said, twisting her wrist emphatically. “Yes, little kitchen potions, natural herbal remedies and folk rituals! Not...not hardcore...MAGIC!” “Oh sweet, to do the small stuff leads to bigger things.” “And I, I thought dad abandoned us.” Her mother gripped the sides of her head. “I never said that. That was your assumption, Missy. He only got lost, for about 8 years, which really only felt like 2. I’ve been trying to pin down his location for the longest time and now I have and I can go get him. He really missed us. He wrote us little letters whenever he could use a bit of magic, hoping they would find their way to us. He didn’t want to be burned at the stake taking the risk of using too much, what with him jumping to different times completely by accident, and in such unforgiving times for magic at that.” “I, I just can’t. How has this clock kept you youthful? Let’s start there!” “You’re being overdramatic.” “Am I really?” “Yes. What would have been the point of telling you earlier? If anything, I didn’t want to lose you like I lost your father if you had started practicing magic and knowing this part of your heritage.” “Just answer my first question, Mom!” “The clock contains a demon. Your father and I trapped him because he was causing all kinds of trouble, slowing time or stopping it altogether. Within this house, his powers are confined, constrained, and we can enjoy them. We experience time slower than normal.” “Is this why i have pebbles for boobs and I still have this stupid boyish frame?” ”...You’re being silly again. I’ve taken magical precautions so that his presence wouldn’t affect you that much. You have to understand that the women in are family have always developed that way.” “Just leave mom, go on your trip!” Her mother sagged on a chair. “I’m sorry, I wanted to introduce you to our world, but with your father gone...it never seemed like any moment was the right one. I, at least you won’t ever get wrinkles?” “Go!” “Fine but some ground rules, so you’re safe. Any time you need to contact me, write me a letter then burn it into a fire with this sigil on it. And don’t leave the house for too long or you’ll experience time so sped up, it will make you sickeningly dizzy. This is primarily why I homeschooled you. If you want to be outside for longer periods, you must wear this necklace. It has a piece of the clock in it, the demons essence.” And with that, she kissed Belle on the top of the head and entered the block’s glass frame. Belle shook. “The demon doesn’t come out ’til 3am. You can keep avoiding him and I can still use this clock to travel before he pops up.” She disappeared with a plume of smoke. And Belle was almost all alone. She looked at the clock and shuddered.