Father Time

Father Time was dead. But it would be hours and hours before the first whispers of concern reached the Department for Secondary Reclamation, where Ruby worked as a Junior Clerk.

She’d been there a month; a long month. She knew she should feel proud to have been chosen to help gather up all the unused, wasted seconds so they could be recycled. But she'd soon discovered that whilst a lot of time is wasted, hardly ever is it not used at all.

She missed her old job. Most people wouldn’t like shovelling up mouse poo all day. But Ruby had loved it. She’d loved it because she could watch the mice running on the huge wheels as she worked. And their excitement when a huge gloopy deluge of chocolate sauce and peanut butter came down the chutes, and splattered them in delicious goo, always made her giggle.

Like most people, Ruby didn’t really know how important the mice were. Most of the mice didn’t know how important they were.

The morning ticked slowly on. Ruby stretched and looked up from her desk. The large clock on the wall told her (in the whining, high pitched voice that all the building’s clocks used) that it was only eleven O’clock.

“Are you sure?”, she asked it.

“Oh, yes”, said the clock, slowly. “Well, actually, now it’s eleven O’clock and about ten seconds.”

Ruby looked back at her desk despondently, and at the pile of paper stacked beside her computer. Days in the Department for Secondary Reclamation never passed quickly, but this morning had been the worst ever! She felt like a snail towing a caravan. 

Father Time was dead. But time doesn’t just stop. Time is a huge, colossal, mammoth thing, and it would take time to wind down. But wind down it would. Slower, and slower the seconds would beat until, eventually, with a last ponderous tick from the clocks, a final breath of air, time would finally, completely…. stop. And with it, the world.

Ruby didn’t know that yet. She just knew that the morning had really, really dragged. 

Lunchtime finally, warily, arrived. She listened impatiently as the clock counted the final seconds down: “Eleven fifty-nine and fifty-seven seconds, eleven fifty-nine and fifty-eight seconds.” The clock stifled a yawn. “Eleven fifty-nine and fifty-nine seconds. Twelve O’clock.”   

“Finally!” 

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Rod Webb
Dec 2 2020

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Comments:

Wonderfully bizarre. Loved it!

Agnes Mika
Dec 18 2020

Good fun and interesting read

Ric Hayden
Dec 18 2020

I think lots of kids will want to read 'Alice' now!

Nonita Thomas
Dec 18 2020

This story kept me curious and reading right to the end. I liked how things slowly got clearer and everything fell to place in the end. A great way to make kids think and fantasize about time.

F vdMeer
Dec 14 2020

Hickory dickory dock! :)
I really like the small details you spatter throughout the piece which provide a tight layer of consistency. Smiled all the way through!

Paul Sterlini
Dec 12 2020

Lovely, humorous and thought-provoking

Janette Ostle
Dec 4 2020

Fantastically imaginative explanation of how time works. Who knew how important cheese would be? And a very PC ending for
Father Time. I think children and parents will find this fun.

Tony Spencer
Dec 2 2020