DEATH took The Old Star-gazer and led him by the hand. The Clockmaker’s son followed into the nothing. There, Time sat on a pile of broken things, humming. She pulled a clock hand from one of her wings and spun it between her fingers.
“Good luck!” DEATH called to him.
The Clockmaker’s son approached Time. She smiled, her eyes clicked as the gears turned.
“I demand you stop all this nonsense!” The Clockmaker’s son cried.
Time sighed. “Okay,” she said. She dropped the clock hand into the pile of broken things at her feet and smiled.
The clockmaker’s son frowned.
“I need you to stop,” he said.
Time frowned. “I just have.” She motioned to the clock hand.
“No, stop time, stop moving.”
Time stood very still. “Like this?” she muttered through tight lips.
The Clockmaker’s son glared.
“That isn’t funny. I am in love! Do you not understand? You have taken my love from me!”
Time looked around herself and sighed.
“Okay, what would you like me to do?”
“Stop, for me.”
“That is the simplest thing in the world.” She picked the clock hand off the ground and held it out to the boy.
“There, there, put this in your throat, or,” Time screwed up her face, “your heart? Anywhere really, there are so many spots, I forget.”
“I do not wish to die.”
Time frowned. “You’re confusing.”
“I want you to stop for love.”
“What is love?” Time asked.
The clockmaker’s son grew red.
“It is all that matters! It is the reason why we are put on this earth, the reason we live!”
Time smiled, wide. She began nodding.
The Clockmaker’s son waited. Time stopped nodding.
“So, love is food? Okay, I will find you some food.”
Time spread her wings and flew off into the nothing.
The Clockmaker’s son stood and wept. He sat among the broken things and waited. But, Time did not return. Soon, DEATH came strolling by leading a large man in a red soon.
“Sit right over there.” DEATH told the man. She seemed in high spirits. She smiled at the clockmaker’s son.
“Did you get your answers?”
The clockmaker’s son looked up at her bleary eyed.
“I don’t understand,” he said.
DEATH sighed. “You’re not meant to. Go home.”
She waved her hand and The clockmaker’s son fell from the nothing. He stood in the Star-gazer’s empty room. He made his way back to the village where he found the troupe had departed. He went to his father’s shop. His father stood outside.
“My boy!” He cried to his approaching son. He ran to the boy and grabbed him by the shoulders.
“It is a miracle!” He cried and began dragging the boy toward the house.
Inside the clockmaker’s son looked around at the mass of various foods that had arranged themselves along every inch of floor and wall; dried meats, grain, seeds, bread of all sizes. The Clockmaker’s son jumped slightly as a cow mooed from the corner.
“Isn’t it wonderful! We could feed the whole village for a year with all this,” his father cried.
And his son stood there and wept.