Even Time Itself Is No Barrier For Two Souls Seeking Each Other

Cal had a small cut from climbing down the ravine, but it was just a small one and he didn’t care overly, because he could see what he was looking for.

The Involuted Clock was so mysterious it was practically a myth, and plenty of people looked for it without ever finding it. And Cal had found it—and in just a few weeks of tracking its last supposed location. Considering he’d only been at this artefact hunting business for a few months, he thought that was pretty good. He was definitely going to be awesome at this.

The Clock was about a half-metre wide and maybe that tall, though it wasn’t a square. It had a face like clocks had, though with way more hands than any of the ones Cal had seen even in the hands of the most ostentatious sailors, and some of them were moving the wrong way. All the pieces and gears and bits that made clocks work were on the outside, but the more Cal looked at them, the more he was struck with the fact that they couldn’t possibly all be moving together, and yet they were.

“You’re a big fucker, aren’t you?” Cal asked it, getting closer. He looked up the ravine walls, then back at the Clock. It was sitting there innocuously on top of some rocks as if it belonged there, as if it were waiting for him. “How the fuck am I going to get you out of here?”

He didn’t recognize the metal the clock was cast from, and it was probably heavy as fuck, but Cal was determined to make the Clock his. He’d put it in his bag and get it out of here, then hike to Endwan and sell it to his employer. It was too bad he couldn’t get on a boat and take it up north to Merket, where he could get a higher price, but he couldn’t break his contract…

As he thought through all of this, he reached out and tried to lift the Clock. Instead, the Clock lifted him.

December Birthday

The bus lurched to a stop at the station, and Jeremy sighed, heading for the door like he was walking to a gallows. He wasn’t totally sure what a gallows was, but he knew it was something bad, like a cliff or a wall of razor blades or a locker room or something.

All that was on the other side of the bus doors was, in fact, the bus station, which was just as terrible, and not just because everyone at a bus station was in a foul mood because they had either just left or were about to get on a dirty, crowded bus. Rather than going inside, Jeremy walked around the exterior, aiming for the road. It wasn’t far from here, he could walk.

It would give him more time to put off the inevitable.

Strip Search

“Okay,” Cal said, looking out the window at the run-down old building. It had been a bookstore in the late fifties, but it was clearly abandoned now, covered in graffiti, and it was marked on Cal’s map. He resisted the urge to take that map out. He knew they were in the right place.

He had the worst feeling there was going to be nothing here. Again.

“Okay,” said Beatrice. “Hopefully this place isn’t a bust too.”

“Probably will be,” Arky muttered.

“Wrong attitude,” Cal said, getting out of the van. “Don’t be negative.”

Delayed Gratification

Archimedes Menner was that kid who spent the whole of the end of gym period watching the other guys change and openly stared at the guy next to him at the urinal. And sure, everyone did those things sometimes, but he did it like perving was his religion. Cal wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he peeked in his neighbours’ windows, too.

He was not the guy Cal would have chosen to hang out with, especially after he’d walked in on Cal sucking Joey off the other day in between classes, but they were stuck with him, because he was Mathilda Marlowe’s…secretary? Slave? Cal wasn’t sure. But he was annoying, and now he was following them around when she didn’t feel like it as they investigated secrets on various of the properties that she’d suddenly acquired.

There were a lot of them, and they all seemed to have secrets. The map that Cal had found in that building before the class trip had pointed toward several of them, and now they were investigating them all.

Private Property

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Cal muttered, tapping a wall as he walked along it.

“What doesn’t?” asked Sully, looking under a pile of scrap metal in the corner.

“This wall. It’s wrong.” Cal wasn’t looking at the wall.

“Looks normal to me.”

“Maybe it’s because he can only reach halfway up it.”

“Shh…” Cal said, waving Joey’s brothers to shut up. He wasn’t sure why they’d decided to tag along today, but they had. Probably just to bother Joey, though they were also bothering him a lot.

“Hey, he can hear us all the way down there.”

“Quiet,” Wes rumbled at them. “Cal’s working. What’s wrong, Cal?”

Family Support

Joey’s weight class was both a blessing and a curse for Cal and the rest of them.

Even though they’d been told they didn’t have to many, many times, they’d all come to Joey’s tournament, because it was obvious that he’d been telling them they didn’t have to come even though he wanted an audience. So they’d all made sure to take time off, even Sully, and were spending a Saturday sitting in a hot gym watching wrestling.

Joey being shorter than Cal and only just a bit heavier meant that he was in the lowest possible weight class that could exist, so they didn’t have to watch other guys wrestle for hours (not that Cal had a problem watching guys wrestle, especially not dressed in tight clothes). But it did mean that Joey would be done pretty early and since he couldn’t leave, they shouldn’t really leave either. So that was a bit boring.

Maybe the other wrestlers would be hot.