he had in that moment to perch himself upon was a timeworn piano
stool. He didn't play piano. He never did. He wished he could.
The grand piano gathered dust in the main room. But this house
hardly contained any rooms at all.
There was this main living room that Ashcroft spent most of his time in. A miniscule kitchen existed beside an even smaller bedroom. Ashcroft didn't use that as his quarters. He could care less due to the fact that he lived alone and unemployed. This was a problem.
He attempted to keep that problem somewhere else in his mind, though. At the moment a single candle illuminated the spot where Ashcroft resided. A beat old desk served as someplace where he could read or write or whatever it was that he decided to do. At the moment he read a book intently as the candle waned and the firelight trembled along the holey walls.
A raven swooped down from its perch on the ceiling and loomed over the book on the desk. Ashcroft glanced up from his book momentarily. He smiled at the charcoal bird.
As Ashcroft continued his reading he stroked the bird's wing.
"This book is almost ridiculous," Ashcroft told the raven, "I'm not quite sure about it."
The bird stared at Ashcroft absently.
"What is it about, you ask?" Ashcroft queried, marking his place in the book and shutting it with delicate but calloused fingers, "It's about vampires. An informational piece of prose."
The raven flapped its wings and returned to its perch just above Ashcroft. The light roof served as a dwelling area for the ravens. Ashcroft admired them, tamed them, and let them stay.
He set the book aside and stared into the fire of the candle. Hardly any of it was left. The wax drizzled down the remaining candles' sides, mounting itself on the table.
"I need a job," Ashcroft sighed, putting his face in his two hands. The ravens proceeded to flap their wings in seeming dissonance.
Morrow had come, the sun had risen. Ashcroft awoke from his
slumber. He gazed around the room to see his ravens hopping
around the creaky wooden floorboards.
Ashcroft sat up and yawned.
He knew what he had to do that day.
So he decided to get himself ready to go to town.
Ashcroft wasn't a particularly social person. He hadn't any
friends like the other people he often watched. But they seemed
like sophisticated aristocrats. They always seemed to
have abundant amounts of friends, whether they were truly friends
Ashcroft found himself a newspaper and sat on a bench to read it. For a moment he gazed around the desolate town, blowing smoke rings from his wonderfully rank pipe.
As he flipped through the newspaper he noticed little to no jobs available. And the ones that were available weren't particularly what he was looking for. He knew he was desperate, but he almost felt that he wasn't desperate enough to be doing work on a farm.
"Damn," he cursed to himself, taking up his pipe. He left the newspaper on the bench and stood up. He turned around and looked in the window of the store again. Something caught his eye.
A flier appeared before him, a flier advertising work. A tinge of excitement spurred inside him.
Offered by Gavriel Havelock
In need of an apprentice clockmaker
Can be found in HAVELOCK'S
Please contact by the end of this month!
A clockmaker, to Ashcroft, was not a bad position at all. And he knew exactly where Havelock's was at. It wasn't far away from where he stood.
Ashcroft made his way towards Havelock's, attempting not to
dawdle around and watch the few people that were out. It was a
habit of his to wonder about others and how different each life
was. It fascinated him, and at times he would write small
descriptions about a person and then write a short story or poem
that involved them. Because of this he had no close friends
anymore. Not that he ever had close friends, but as a child it
seems that a social life is easier, as a child's logic and
innocence does not judge an individual.
Ashcroft made his way up the few steps of Havelock's. It seemed like a rather hole-in-the-wall place. The name "HAVELOCK'S" was imprinted in gold lettering on a jutting sign above the door.
He did not knock as he opened the flimsy door and was bombarded by the jingling of tiny brass bells along with the smell of stale tobacco. There was hardly any lighting in the building except for a few candles that had clearly been used too much. Nothing occupied the middle of the floor except for a dusty rug. On the sides of the room were shelves upon shelves of clocks - clocks of all sizes and styles, broken or customised. Ashcroft nodded to himself and stepped forward to the wooden desk near the back of the room. A door leading to what Ashcroft assumed was the workshop was visible behind the unoccupied desk.
A single candle stood on the desk in an elaborately crafted candlestick. Cogs and springs were piled up next to it and a series of papers were spread on the desk.
"Hello?" Ashcroft called, peering at the cracked workshop door.
Ashcroft set his hand on the desk and tapped his fingers on the wood. After a few more moments, he called out again:
"Is anybody here?"
Sundry shuffling and clanking noises emanated from the back room. Shortly after, a voice replied:
"I'll be out on a minute."
Relieved, Ashcroft analysed the back of the room a bit more. There wasn't much more to look at except for the few grandfather clocks that captivated his eye. A minute passed and the door creaked open, revealing a broad-shouldered, tall figure.
His hair, which was brown with tinges of grey, was slicked back. It was somewhat long, perhaps even the length of Ashcroft's. The man was clean-shaven with prominent cheekbones, appearing rather gaunt, especially with his deep, harsh gaze.
"Hello," he said. His sonorous voice endeared Ashcroft. It was higher-sounding, and in spite of the raspy tone, it also reverberated smoothly, "My name is Gavriel Havelock. How may I help you today, kind sir?"
Ashcroft blinked, a bit taken by the overall atmosphere of this man.
"I noticed that you were in need of work," Ashcroft began, "I would like to acquire a job here, as I am currently unemployed."
"Very good," said the clockmaker, "And your name is?"
"Ashcroft Saladin," Ashcroft replied.
Gavriel scribbled down his name, which was surprisingly spelled correctly.
"My last apprentice passed away," Gavriel explained, his voice unaffected, "Are you interested in being my new apprentice?"
"Oh, yes," Ashcroft agreed, "That would be great. Thank you."
"Of course," Gavriel said with a forced smile, "When would you like to begin?"
"As soon as I can, really," Ashcroft admitted, "Whenever is best for you, Mr Havelock."
"We can start tomorrow," Gavriel decided, "Come in at seven o' clock."
"Right. Thank you, again. I will be here at seven o' clock sharp."
"Thank you, Mr Saladin. I will see you then."