Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tick-Tock (Friday Fiction)

Hi everyone! I've the pleasure of hosting Friday Fiction this week. To join in the fun, just add your name and link to the Simply Linked Widget below. You don't need a blog to participate, just a story and a place where folks can comment. Feel free to write, read and share! To learn more about this blog meme, visit on facebook.



Author's Ramblings: To all my USA readers, happy holiday weekend. I am looking forward to it as the fall semester has begun and my life flip-flops until I hammer down a solid routine. Due to that, it's prompt fiction again this week. *ducking* I know, I know, but since everyone enjoyed last week's snippet, I thought I'd slip away with it again. ~_^  I'm thrilled that everyone enjoyed Madrisa's story, there's definitely more to her stowed away in my head. Perhaps I'll have a chance to write her out sometime soon. This week features Chimey, a mysterious FMC with issues--such as, she won't stop singing in my head. (which wouldn't be a problem, but it's the theme for that old western show, Rawhide) anyway, enjoy the read and happy weekend! 

Tick-Tock : Snapshot : Light Fantasy 

Found on Google Images

Tick-tock.

Tick-tock.

The sound echoed in the empty bedroom. It rattled along the walls and spilled over at the windows.
Chimey bristled at the whisper of the wind that danced through her precious bedroom. She chewed on the end of her fat pencil and then stuck it into her messy braid of hair. “I can hear you, you know!”  She glared at the ornate wooden clock hanging on the wall before her.

Tick-tock.

Tick-tock.

She sighed and crumpled the half-written sheet of parchment before her. The pointlessness of the act mystified her. A realization made clear as the magical sheet dissolved to dust in her hands. Picking up the newly dusted sheet, she blew off the dust to the ground.

In wisps of sparkling gold they fluttered to the ground, disappearing almost at once. Chimey rose from the desk, replacing the paper. She walked to the bowl and washbasin at the far end of the room, snagging her clean shawl from the bed on her way.

Washing her face in slow, deliberate movements, Chimey straightened, cool water dripping down her neck. She breathed for a count of five, then reached for the shawl and swabbed her face.

“Windows, open” she murmured.

The bronzed fasteners on the foggy window clicked open, swinging out into the night air with a faint sparkle of pink-gold.

Tick-tock.

Tick-tock.

Tick-Tick…Tock.

Chimey moved to stand by the window. She stuck her head through the opening, breathing in the night air in great, big gulps. The coolness soothed her at once and she withdrew to the room’s warmth when a few shivers became known.

Tick-tock.

Tick-tock.

“Yes, yes, I know!” She scowled, returning to the desk and beginning to scribble once more, the half-damp shawl wrapped around her thin shoulders. In a matter of minutes, she finished the document, folding it neatly before stamping her seal on the front.

Trembling hands held the official missive for a few silent moments before she tucked it inside her blouse. This was one message that required hand-delivery. There was no way she’d let it fall into any other hands.

Delivering it herself would also allow no room for error. If the Empress chose to accept her offer, then she’d be right there.

“It’s quite logical, you know.”

Tock-Tick.

Tock-Tick.

“No, I don’t agree.” She swept from the desk to her closet in a huff. “Stop talking in riddles.”

Tocker-Tick.

Tocker-Tick.

Tick…Tick…Tick.

“Oh be quiet!” Chimey fished out her rich, fur-collared traveling coat from the musty depths of her wardrobe. From the stiff sleeves and thick fluffiness that rose up around her face, she took a few cautious breaths. The wardrobe hadn’t done much for it, but then again, neither had she.

Her traveling boots awaited to the left of her bed and her traveling pack appeared shortly afterwards in a poof of pink sparkles. Chimey grinned. “Thank you, much appreciated.”

She bustled about shoving her feet into boots and checking the pack for all of her usual reading and writing materials. The well-stocked result was hefted over one arm. A cursory glance swept over the room and Chimey finished with a raised eyebrow at the accusing clock.

“Well?”

Tock-tocker-tock!

“That’s not the right answer.”

Tocker-tock!

“I’m well aware of that, but I don’t have a choice. You do. I would never make you-”

Tick-tock.

Tocker-tick-tocker.

“I know that, but if I’m going to be used, I’d rather chose who uses me.” She sniffed. “Don’t you think that’s a better way to look at it?”

Ticker-tocker.

“I know.”

Tocker-ticker.

“I know that too. Look, are you going to stay up there all night?”

Tick-tock.

“Then I’ll leave you behind.”

Tick-tick-tick-tock.

“That went out the window the moment you said-”

A swirl of pink-golden sparkles guided the clock from its place on the wall to waist-level before Chimey. It danced about before the lights grew bright and she closed her eyes. When it faded, she opened her eyes to stare down at a short, redheaded little boy with accusing green eyes.

He opened his mouth to speak and she clapped a hand over it.

“I know, I know…tocker-tick. Do you want another time-out? I don’t have all day here. I’d like to get going as soon as possible and I really don’t want to leave you behind, you have a habit of cleaning the wrong things.”

He bit her hand.

She jumped back, wiping the hand on the rich material of her travel coat. He glared at her. She glared back. He sniffed. She held the coat open.

He rushed forward, throwing skinny arms around her waist. She smiled. “You’re adorable—and you’re the best assistant I’ve ever had." She ruffled his curly red hair. "We’ll be off now, okay? Hold on tight.”

In a wisp of golden sparkles, she blew through the bedroom window. Floating in the air above the castle courtyard, she watched the guards on duty playing cards by candlelight. Her smile wavered as she thought of the king and his selfish demands.

Bequeathing her services to the enemy Empress was a risky move at best, betrayal at least.

“Tocker-tick” the voice from around her waist mumbled.

Chimey smiled. “Yes, I’m fine. We’ll be fine. We always are. It’s illegal to kill timekeepers, remember?”

“Tocker-tick-tick.”

“Ha. If they forget, then we’ll just time-freeze them too.”

© Sara Harricharan

A/N: And the prompt was....Tick-Tock! ^_^ I hope you enjoyed the story. Comment if you feel so inclined. ^_^ 

5 comments:

Catrina Bradley... said...

Sara, I just love to read where your imagination takes you! You remind me that sometimes it's better to leave a lot unsaid and unexplained. It's so much fun to use my own imagination to fill in the blanks.
Love
Cat

Yvonne Blake said...

What an interesting concept. I loved the dialogue!

BethL said...

Clever story, Sawa! I especially enjoyed the "time-out" for the "tick-tock." :)

J.H. said...

__ I’m ba-aaack! Hello Sara and thank you for at last returning my comments. I couldn’t be sure whether you were extremely busy or if I’d finally frustrated you into silence with my criticisms. Glad to see you bounce back just as quick (or is it just as slow?) as ever. Well, let me get into this commentary; you’ve probably just posted your Friday Fiction piece and desperately need a break from words on a screen.

+ If there are 10 things I hate about you Sara, the fact that you are a reliable writer tops the list. And even if you missed that movie reference, I hope you’re taking me in good jest that you’re like Green Lantern’s ring, an endless well of creative energy! All that to say, what a clever play on the “ticking” and “tocking” of a pendulum clock. To find out it was a person was somewhat of a letdown (I’ll explain), nonetheless, like Catrina Bradley said above, “I just love to see where your imagination takes you.” I respond favorably to fantasy elements and you know the words to use to get a response. You write for your audience which is why you have such a solid following.

- A few errors. “The sound echoed in the empty bedroom.” [par.3] That’s somewhat of an oxymoron. Why call it a ‘bed’room if it’s empty? Chimney certainly didn’t ‘act’ like it was empty, she’s talking to a clock hanging on the wall! And if it’s empty why is she at a desk, in a chair, and going to a bowl and washbasin “at the far end of the (empty) room” [par. 8]? She’s also got a wardrobe [par.28] and...a bed! in an “empty ‘bed’room”?! Clearly, you may want to give the reader a different impression of the setting.

- I can see “sound” rattling along the walls, paragraph 1, but I don’t see it spilling over at the windows. I appreciate your search for fresh description and it could just be my ear, but, this descriptive phrase just fell flat, like, ya know, something that could be flattened, but then...why would you flatten it?

? The clock was a person?! Letdown. That probably shouldn’t surprise me since I felt hints of the supernatural all throughout, but I couldn’t help that most of my mental energy was focused on deciding whether Chimney was really talking to herself or to another person. I say that’s where you should have been the most intentionally vague, don’t you agree? You said this piece was inspired by prompt, so I assume you don’t intend to develop this into a novel or serial, right? If so, why did you spend the effort exploring the politics of Chimney’s situation: the Empress choosing to accept her offer, and the King and his selfish demands. Yes, you raised interest in how and why she is affected by them, but the story is called “Tick Tock”, it’s about the clock and your clever idea of interacting with one. Why add further mystery to this stand-alone story, unless, you don’t intend it to be? Which is it?

Sara Harricharan said...

Hi J.H.! My apologies for taking so long to get back to this comment. I'd publish it sooner, but knowing me, if I did, I'd forget it was there once my student life started up in full-swing once more.

Thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful review. I'll always reply, though it may take me longer than other times to do so.

Well, reliable is a new one on me. I've never been called that before, so thank you, I suppose. ^_^ I shall try my best to keep a good 'reliable' in that I do not fall into to much of a rut and ruin things for my readers.

Empty room should be empty. Er. Right. Thank you. That one went completely over my head. I suppose my idea of an empty room is a bedroom with just the basic necessities in it, thus making it 'empty', but even so, the basics of a bed and such are still present, so you are right, empty does not even come close to it. Thanks for pointing out the obvious that I quite so obviously missed! ^_^

Hmm, it's been a while since I wrote this little piece, I think my original aim was for Tock's energy to be visible and kind of sparking. Not sure why I didn't clarify that though, I wrote this one on blogger, so I don't have any notes to refer to. *thinking*
Originally, Chimney was talking to herself. I just didn't like the way it was going, so Tock became a person by the time I'd reached the end. This is a bit of prompt fiction in that I had a general character idea (Chimney) a sort of snippet (her working through a conversation of some sort in a place where it was dangerous to stay) and then I clicked through some prompt generators to flesh out things like the Empress, (royalty) and her gift(tremendous power) and running. It kind of started off there and I cut it off where it was, because I ran out of time while I was writing and didn't want to turn it into a giant serial adventure. It is in my folder of snippets for future writings. ^_^

Thank you--as always--for taking the time to leave helpful and objective feedback. I truly appreciate it and I'm sorry I took so long to get back to your comment. I hope you've been well and the same for your writing! ^_^