The Watch Face

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

In response to a picture prompt on the imaginarium house.



 

“What do you have there that‘s so precious?“ He’d seen her looking at her pocket watch before. He had waited all summer to ask her this question fearing her answer.

The pocket watch hung by a chain wrapped round her neck and she clutched it to her breast, an area of her body he had trouble ignoring, as they walked along the hilly sea path. Below them the waves crashed and the ocean breeze held a salty sting as it ruffled the white lace of her dress.

"My love gave it to me," she said.

His heart sank.

She looked out over the water for a moment pausing in her steps. He paused too watching her face and wondering if any chance yet remained. He did not know much about these country girls. His life had been all city streets accompanying girls who exposed stockinged legs, flirted abandoningly, moved from one partner to another like they were at a ball. Did country girls change dance partners too?

"Your love will return?" He tried to sound calm, disinterested like someone making idle conversation but he wasn’t sure he’d succeeded.

She glanced at him in a curious way, examining him from under lush lashes before letting the watch fall to her chest and beginning to walk again. "Who knows what the waves will bring?“

Interesting answer there, not the one he expected. But what did it mean? He decided to keep on. For several weeks now he had forged his way with her. The conversations, the village picnics and now these intimate walks along the coast. Had all his planning been for nothing? In the morning he‘d be on a train bound for the city. His summer stay with his uncle had come to an end. What a droll and boring summer it had been, stretched out in length like the surface of the sea and like the sea endless, common, all the same over and over. Until he had found Imaldine. She‘d been a squall hitting the water and sending up twisters.

"Your train leaves tomorrow."

Had there been a hint of remorse in the timbre of her voice?

Her eyes finally opened in full and fell upon him with all their intensity. She was a pretty girl but those eyes… Remarkably violet and filled with passion. He had never seen eyes quite like hers. They somehow did not seem to fit her body, so beyond anything else in their perfection.

He tried to read the story behind her eyes.

"Yes, in the morning."

She moved closer to him. Her arm brushed his own.

"I will miss Seascape," he lied. There was nothing about this place he would miss except a chance to lie with her. She smiled coyly as if she’d read his thoughts.

"Tell me of the city."

He spoke, they walked together, and the August air grew warmer as afternoon inched toward evening. She listened with her head down examining the grass or the thin sandy path between the green blades never uttering a word but seeming to be intent on his speech. He told her not of the city’s history, the battles fought, the grayed crumbling stone buildings, but of the younger city. The lights and music, the pubs on corners where laughter echoed into dark streets. He tried to explain the rush of energy in the city’s veins, the intensity, the wiley waxing future they could all detect waiting just beyond the next corner, or over the bridge, or through that archway. He tried to fascinate her with his descriptions, catch her in a whirlwind of his own.

"It sounds so exciting," she said. "I’d like to see it." And she grabbed his hand.

"Would you," he said and nothing more because her hand heated his. Her softness tickled his palm and his blood raced beneath newly-sensitive skin. She increased her pace pulling him along with her, a sudden surge, a squall over a tepid sea.

 

?-------------------------

 

"My love and I came here."

It was the place on the beach she had wanted to show him, a little cove with a small abandoned lighthouse and several sea birds screaming.

He followed her trying not to invision her here with another. The sun approached the horizen. It would be a long walk back. A defeated retreat?

She spun in the sand and laughed. He watched, incredulously while her dark hair flipped round in the wind and her pale skin shone brighter than the sunlit sand. The pocket watch spun with her, a golden fairy in orbit round her white neck. When she stopped she looked back at him. Her smile turned to a frown.

"I know it’s not much when compared to your great city, But you could at least pretend."

He blinked and shook his head. "No," he answered. And then in a sudden rush, "No, not at all!"

Her eyes darkened into an even deeper violet hue. She kept a judging gaze upon him which only made him strive harder to convince her.

"I am astounded by your beauty. No secluded beach no matter how blue the sea, warm the sun, haunting the call of the birds could hope to take my breath from me as the woman you are does." There, he’d said the words and now he would find whether his efforts had been in vain.

Her smile returned and a wave crashed. Slowly she began to back away from him toward the water. He watched her unable to move until she raised a hand and gestured to him with a come hither wiggle of her index finger. He followed increasing his pace until he was chasing her down the beach and to the water’s edge.

 

------------------------

 

"Take me with you." It was uttered in the midst of their passion as he fumbled to expose her sholders from the constriction of the lacey dress. His fingers paused on the edge of the material aching to peel it downward. She sat astride him, the darkening sky blending with her hair.

"To the city?" Those eyes looked down on him. A sudden jolt of understanding struck and his fingers curled back slightly hovering above the touch of her skin. Maybe country girls were different. "Perhaps," he stammered, "next summer you could--visit, though I’d have to ask…"

"No matter," she said as she clutched at her watch and held it close.

Shame overcame him. All his plans all his—deceptions some might call it—revealed their more nefarious sides. He had had no intention of deceiving her, had he? Only of alleviating the hot dull summer.

Still holding her pocket watch in one hand, with the other she reached down and gently stroked his cheek. "I understand."

And as if to prove to him her meaning, she reached behind her with both arms, the pocket watch swaying above his chest, and began to unzip her dress. The cloth slipped to expose her and suddenly it was not her eyes he found the most enchanting about her.

The dress fell away completely and her sudden movements atop him caused him to gasp.She looked directly at him as she vibrated her body like the tossed waves of a storm hitting the beach. She grabbed the watch with both hands, the only thing remaining on her exposed upper body and lifted it above her head. Her breasts moved with her actions and he reached up to feel their supple roundness.

"My love," she said on a breathy exhale never taking her eyes from his own as she unclasped the watch face above her head and turned it toward him. "It is time.“ It caught his eye, released him from her stare.

Inside was not a clock face but a picture. Of her love? No, not of her love but of herself. Except, her eyes. Those were not her eyes. Had the face just moved? Was it speaking? Screaming? Those not-her-eyes seemed to plead with him, beg him to—what? And suddenly the scene changed and he could see Imaldine lying on the beach, writhing on the beach thrashing and screeching until the light in her brown eyes paled and her scream became silence and her flesh melted to bone. Again his vision was flipped round and now he could see the starlit sky and the water beneath and the sand and… a face looking at him. A face he knew well, his own, except not his own. Those eyes. A finger reached out to stroke his face gently, smile at him, "My love," it said, he said to himself. "I can't wait to see this city.“

It moved its hand to close the watch’s face and darkness fell upon him like a living crypt.




Submitted: October 30, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Kevin Michael Smith. All rights reserved.

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Comments

jmm424

I think this was a well descriptive written short story. Good job on it.

Tue, October 30th, 2018 3:40pm

Author
Reply

thank you so much for reading...

Tue, October 30th, 2018 8:50am

Xialadon

Well, I think you've honoured good ol' Kurosawa pretty well with this one.

Veery nicely written. You've got a wording skill I really envy.

The ending isn't the epitome of originality, but it's pretty understandable considering you've written it in a short time.

Very well done!

Tue, October 30th, 2018 5:26pm

Author
Reply

Thank you sir... i just thought since the character hated the boredom of the summer that the worst for him would be to live in the darkness of the watch until ... the strange shapeshifter??? decides to change again.
But I hear you about the ending.

Wed, October 31st, 2018 1:34am

hullabaloo22

Glad you found the picture inspiring, Kevin. You did a great job with it!

Tue, October 30th, 2018 8:33pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading and again for the pic.

Wed, October 31st, 2018 12:50am

Jeff Bezaire

Good story! I like the feel the setting creates - feels like a place caught between time; the quiet, simpler seaside town opposed to the busy, advanced city he's used to. The beauty and peace of the seaside comes across in waves with your writing.
Clever metaphors and a great twist at the end. The trickster becomes the tricked. A fun read! Nicely done!

Thu, November 1st, 2018 6:52pm

Author
Reply

IThank you so much for your comments. It really helps to know when and why people enjoy what I write.
Thank you for taking the time to read it, and good luck in your writing.
I plan to read more of your work soon.

Thu, November 1st, 2018 12:14pm

Bobi Leutschaft Poitras

Wow - that really caught me! Your imagery is great, and your ideas intriguing. Punctuation could use a bit of going over. I really enjoyed reading this story!

Sat, November 3rd, 2018 11:23am

Author
Reply

thank you for taking the time to read and I am glad you enjoyed it.

Sat, November 3rd, 2018 4:42am

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