Photo by Claudia Schmalz
She stood on the edge of the headlands, the roaring waves crashed against the base of the cliffs to be replaced with the hiss of salty foam. The salty droplets sprayed up the cliff face in the wind and caressed her cheeks.
She shivered, wiping the cool spray from her face . . . only to find that it was warm . . . With a sigh she looked at her hand to find crimson blood.
It was happening again.
She touched the pendant around her neck—a little hourglass hung from it with the sands all but drained. She flipped the pendant and the sea foam retreated from her face as the blood slipped back up into her eyes. The roaring wave reversed, a strange, unnatural sound.
But she had a few more moments at least.
She wasn’t sure how long she had done this for, repeating the same moment over and over again in infinity. She just wanted to feel the spray on her cheeks one last time, to hear the roaring crash of the waves . . . but it was always, one, last, time.
And then with a deafening absence, there was nothing.
The wave froze before it crashed upon the rocks, the salty spray did not carry upon the nonexistent breeze to caress her face. The world was a still image, featureless in all but sight.
He was here.
“Amy,” he said, he had a voice like the unrolling of parchment.
She suppressed a shiver and turned to face her reckoning, “How did you find me?”
The figure was tall even though he was hunched, silhouetted by the pale sky under his heavy cloak.
He cocked his head, creaking like gnarled branches in a strong wind, “My child, in the end, time catches up with everyone.” He reached out with long limbs, spindly fingers like mangrove roots emerged from the depths of his cloak and encircled the hourglass pendant around her neck.
“I just wanted more time,” she whimpered.
He hesitated, “I know.” His voice was sad, but changed as he spoke, “But there is no time,” he wrenched the hourglass from her neck and crushed it. “You were given your moments just like all the rest in this world, the most precious thing in the universe. But you robbed it from others to have your endless moment here . . . you knew better. Those sensations you valued only held their wonder because they were fleeting, and now how many of those moments have you robbed from others in your selfish need to relive them? Life was not meant to stagnate as you made it, my poor child.”
Amy sniffled, “Then what is to happen to me?”
“You will give penance. You robbed countless moments from this world. So you will be stuck here in that moment—frozen for all time. You will never hear the crash of the waves nor feel the kiss of the sea’s spray. You sought to experience the world’s motion yet refused to move with it, now it will refuse to move with you.”
He turned from her and marched into the pale light that would never change.
“Please,” Amy said.
“Time has spoken.” He stopped mid stride, “I would hope that one day you understand your sins . . . but one day will never come, for you. You are out of time. I do not begrudge you your motivation, but you of all people should know better than to steal moments from others.”
“Father . . .”
He sighed, “You are no longer a daughter of time.”
He vanished, leaving her suspended in the moment, able to see the things she craved but unable to experience them. To say that this was forever would be un true, as forever was a drop in the ocean compared to the unending moment Amy was left to wallow in.
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