Sky the ClockMaster

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Clockmaster is a mysterious figure who takes care of hte clock tower, and builds the atches everyone in the Great City so cherishes. No one has ever seen his face, and the only ones that go in and out of the tower are him and his apprentice.
Rumors fly about him; he is a murderer hiding from the law. He is the brother of Father Time himself. He is a spirit of the man who built the clock tower.... No one truly knows....
Until now...

Submitted: January 05, 2017

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Submitted: January 05, 2017

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Sun filtered through the haze of smog that hung over the city. Looking down, I watched as the steam powered carriages carried people about, as smoke floating up out of the smoke stacks on the distant factory, the distant sound of a rail-car’s whistle. I smiled to myself, breathing in deeply, looking over the city. My city. In essence, it wasn’t mine,but I liked to think that without me, without my clock tower, my intricate, never stopping watches that I sold, then the city wouldn’t nearly be as prosperous as is. Without me, the city would be worthless.

BOOOONG! “What in the name of--” I yelled and grabbing, hold of the window.  I watched in horror as the minute hand on the clock tower whizzed past, sticking my head out to watch it traveling backwards around the face. “Oh no…” I moaned, spinning around, running down the set of metal stairs, grabbing my top hat on the way. Running past spinning gears, pumping pistons, I started yelling for my assistant. “Kara!” My clock tower answered me. BOOOONG!
Skidding to a stop, I put on my hat, tilting it enough so the shadow hid my face. “Kara!” I roared, my steps more controlled, yet still furious. “KARA, WHERE ARE YOU? WHAT ON EARTH HAVE YOU DONE TO MY PRECIOUS CLOCK TOWER!” Ducking under a moving gear, I saw an array of tools on the ground, a roll of blueprints. “Kara!” I Yelled, looking around the metal platform. Suddenly, a huge groan echoed as another clang of the tower shook me, and I saw a metal piston moving up. Clinging to it with one hand, banging on it with a hammer, was Kara.

“There you are!” I groaned, Running to the railing. She ignored me, hooking her hammer into one of the loops on her leather belt before wiping a grease covered hand on her brown pants. Scaling the moving piston as if it were a tree, she reached into a mess of gears that looked like they were stuck and wrenched free a piece of what looked like smoking metal. The gears groaned again, and with a groan, the tower resumed its normal amount of noise.

I sighed in relief, watching Kara as she scampered back down, jumping off and landing by the pile of tools. “What on earth did you do?” “Sorry. I was worried the temporary wooden gear wouldn't’ hold, so i didn't bother letting the broken one cool. It must have been too hot.”

“How many times must I tell you? This clock connects to all of the ones I make; without it, I would have no profit, and you, no home!” Kara looked at me and then shrugged, snapping her goggles off so they held her hair back. “I know I know. Should we reset it?” “Well of course we need to reset it! Come on…” I grumbled leading her farther down to the boiler room.
“Coal” I said. Instantly, she was by the boiler, shoveling in dark, dusty rocks into it, increasing the heat. I went over to a set of levels on the wall; they screeched as I slowly pulled and pushed them adjusting it. I nodded at Kara, and she nearly dropped the shovel in the flames as she ran over to to a button. Holding a huge lever, I pulled out my pocket watch, looked at it, and shouted “NOW!” I yanked the final lever as she hit the button, my other hand pressing a small button on my watch.

With a great groan, I heard the gears stop momentarily, then start spinning the other way, and the sound of the huge chimes. Kara dusted her hands off of eachother and smiled at me. “There we go.”
She started back up the stairs but I grabbed her arm. “Kara, you cannot screw up like that again. The clock tower is of vital importance to this city.” “I know that.” “Then do not fail me again” “Of course, sir.” She said nodding her head, gently pulling out of my grasp.

As I watched her go, i pondered on how it was strange that she called me sir. I knew it was because she has never truly seen my face without the shadow of my top hat; I had designed it to have a wide brim that angled down slightly over my face to hide it. I wore it whenever I was around people. They would just assume that a 21 year old couldn’t make the watches that helped them run their life with such accuracy.

Kara was two years older than me, and I had taken her on about six months prior. I would have never needed an assistant but I was glad I chose to take her on as one. Despite her occasional screwups, she kept the clock tower in near perfect order. When she wasn’t doing that, she was inventing things left and right to try to improve life. However, these most often left her in a pile of smoke and scrap, and me laughing. Without being told, you would never have known how close she had come to ruin...

I awoke to the sound of the clock chimes; I was puzzled, as I had grown used to them having lived in the clock tower for a year by then. I tried to figure out if it had truly been that that had disturbed me or something else; then I realized I heard footsteps on the metal platform below. I jumped out of my bed and grabbed a candle, lighting it quickly. “Who's there?” I yelled, trying to make my voice project over the noise of the gears. I heard the steps pause,then the opening of the door right below the clock face onto the small deck.

I didn’t put shoes on as I ran down the metal stairs, hastily putting my hat on my head, trying not to fall. The door to the deck was open only a crack, and a single beam of moonlight escaped through it.

I slammed open the door, ready to chase what i thought a would be thief off. Instead I froze when I saw her.

A young woman, right around my age, was leaning heavily on the railing looking down. Even in the moonlight, I could see the tears tracks on her face; wind blew her skirt and hair behind her. “Who are you”

She gasped and spun around. “Clockmaster! I’m…. I’m sorry… I meant no harm to you.” “Then state your name and your business.” “My name is Kara…. And my business is none of yours…” She sniffed and glanced back over the railing. “I… shall be taking my leave soon.” Looking into her eyes, I realized what she meant. “Don’t.” “Don’t what?” “Jump. I will not have it.” “Who says I was going to jump? I came here for some fresh air.” “You climbed up a clock tower that's twelve stories high for a breath of fresh air” She faltered, then suddenly climbed up on the railing, looking down over the edge.

“Don’t do it.” “Why shouldn’t I?” “Because all life is sacred.” “Not mine. Mine has been hell. My family is gone, my home is the streets, and I’ve made my decision.”
“If you made your decision, you would have jumped by now. If you were hard set on it, you wouldn’t be arguing with me.” “But--” “No arguing. Now come over the railing and lets discuss this.” Glancing at me fearfully, she nodding and began to try coming back over. Suddenly, her foot slipped. Crying out she start to fall but I lunged forward, my arms wrapping around her waist.

“I got you…” I grunted, leaning backwards, pulling her over. She dropped to the ground like a dead weight, sobbing heavily. “You should have let me fall….” “No I did what I should have. You may feel like you have nothing to live for, but I will give you something to.”
Pulling her up by her arm, word escaped my lips without thinking. “Your life doesn’t have to be hell anymore. I can teach you my trade. You can live in the clock tower” “What? But I-- I know nothing about Clocks…” “That matters not. I already said I would teach you”

In that time she had excelled beyond all belief. Within weeks she was maintaining the clock tower almost single handedly. Within a month, she was inventing.

After that night she never spoke about her life, but in my heart I felt something wasn’t right; her dress had been far too lavish for someone living on the streets. However, I didn’t question. And she didn’t question me.

Sighing I headed up the stairs, watching the glowing gears as they meshed, dancing in the sunlight that came through the glass paneled roof.

“Kara!” I called up into the gears. I heard a faint reply, so i just continued. “I’m going out. No one is to enter this Clock Tower! I am taking some of my clocks with me to sell!” “Yes, Clockmaster!” Came the answer.

My tail coat swung behind me as I stalked toward the door. My cane, topped with an ornamental golden clock, leaned on its frame. I snatched it up, along with a small bag containing two wall clocks and three pocket watches, each one already ticking and set.

Noise flooded over me as soon as I exited the tower. The marketplace was set up within a block of my precious tower. A path cleared in the people for me as I walked by; to them, I was the mysterious man that was dangerous, but was also helpful at the same time. WHo without hs clocks, they would be lost.

Suddenly a little boy covered in soot fearfully stepped forward; in his hand, a three solid gold coins. I smiled at him mysteriously, and said not a word but reached into my bag and pulled out one of my smallest pocket watches. His fingers brushed mine as we exchanged and when they did he yelped like I burned him and ran back into the crowd.

Just like that people were upon me, shouting, begging me to sell them to them. Within minutes, I had sold everything. I smiled to myself; I never had to be out of my clocktower long. My clocks and watches were always in demand.

It was then an abnormal shouting reached my ears. Following the noise slowly, I kept my eyes on my feet. I reached a ring of people. In the center, a woman wearing a maids uniform was handing out flyers.

“Please, Help us find her. She is short and loves purple. She is very kind hearted with green eyes and brown hair.” Something about the description sounded familiar, and I pushed through the ring of people, snatching a flyer.

In big print it had the words “Missing! Five Hundred Coin Reward!” And in smaller print under it there were descriptions. THe more I read, the more familiar she sounded, and then I saw the still-shot.

Her hair was up in an elegant bun, and she was wearing a dress with a rather large skirt, and instead of oil and grease her face was covered in makeup. Despite that, I could tell instantly it was my assistant, Kara.

Underneath the shot was her full name; Kara Elise Sager. I had heard of the Sagers…. They were part of the upper class in my city. They were rich and well off. And they certainly weren’t gone!

Crumpling it up and shoving it in my bag, i spun around. People screamed as I ran toward my tower, their fear evident on their faces.

My cane clattered to the floor, my bag a loud thump as I threw them aside. Once more, I went on the search for my assistant.

“Kara?! Kara!” I Screamed, moving up and down the metal stairs, but to no avail. Going down to the boiler room, I saw her tool bag by the door. “Kara!” I Yelled again. Suddenly, a figure swung down from above wearing a welding mask. Startled, I fell backwards and tripped over the tool bag falling. “What’s the matter?” Kara’s muffled voice sounded from behind the mask. Breathing heavily, I clutched my chest and then growled “Get down from there. This instant!”

Flipping off the pipe she hung from, she helped me up before crouching by her bag. “I went to the market today.” “I know.” She muttered, rolling her eyes as she shoved her mask into the bag. “And I heard something odd.” “what” “A girl from a local prominent family has been missing for some time…” She froze before speaking. “I-is that so?”

Producing the flyer, I shoved it in her face, which paled significantly. “Oh… um..” “Well?” Crumpling it in her hand she threw it to the side. “Fine you want to know the truth? I ran away. I ran away and I’m never going back. Simple as that.” “Are. you. STUPID?!” I yelled “It's NEVER that simple!”By now I was  Resisting the urge to smack her.

“Do you have ANY idea what that would do if they found out you were here? I could be accused of kidnapping you! I could loose my clocktower, my city!” “So? That isn’t that big of a deal.” “Isn’t that big of a deal!?” I roared. Something inside broke and I lashed out, punching a pipe. Kara yelped as steam poured out of it; I had knocked it loose off the wall.

Steam surrounded me as I growled “How dare you… I took you in, fed you, gave you shelter, warmth, I taught you…. I thought you were in need of help when in fact, your family has enough money to buy half of the county’s land! You LIED to me!”

She bit her lip tears welling up in her eyes. Standing up sharply she ran out, sobbing. I breathed heavily before striking out again this time at the wall. I was furious. How could I have believe her?
By now i could barely see the door, and I could hear bits of the clock malfunctioning from lack of steam. Grabbing a wrench off the floor that had fallen out of her bag, I pushed the pipe back into place and tightened it. My hands got covered in oil just doing that simple task.

Groaning softly, I pulled out a handkerchief and proceeded to wipe off my hands as I headed up the stairs to my ‘room’.

My room was actually a huge metal platform right behind the five and seven on the clockface. Parts of the clock face opened as windows, and I was close enough to the top of the tower I could see the stars.

A desk and coat stand were on one side, close to the stairs. My bed and a dresser were tucked in a corner of the platform, right against a window. A small couch was pushed up against the railing on the other end. Along with a book shelf.

I hung my hat up on the stand, plopping down at my desk. I began to pull out cogs and springs, screws and casings, pins and wheels. I did my best work under stress, and within hours I had completed a very intricate pocket watch with gold leafing and a ivory case.

Looking up, I saw that the sky was darkening. Pulling out more supplies, I slipped the intricate watch into my pocket. Suddenly, lamps all over the inside of the clocktower walls sprung to life, the fire flickering. The lamps didn’t quite come all the way up to my room, but I had enough light I could see.

My fingers intermeshed cogs, turning them this way and that, inserting springs and pins. A huge, jaw cracking yawn escaped me, and I stretched. It was getting later still, and yet I worked on.

“I have to finish this one…. Just… this one…” I murmured to myself, still trying to finish it. Suddenly, a spring escaped my tired grasp, and flew over the platform railing. “Damn…” I whispered. Yawning again, I ran a hand through my light brown hair. “I’ll shut my eyes for just a few minutes…just a few...” I whispered, crossing my arms and putting my head down slowly, falling into sleep almost instantly.

* * *

My sleep was deep and dreamless. I didn’t hear the light footsteps. I didn’t hear the light gasp of shock when she saw my face for the first time. My mind didn’t register the sensation of her hand running lightly through my hair, or the soft lips brushing on my cheek.

When I awoke, sunlight was streaming through the roof and the clock face. “What happened to a few minutes?” I muttered, stretching. Pulling out my watch, I read the time, the careful wound it before checking the time once more. It was nearly ten in the morning! The small calendar on my desk said it was Wednesday...  No wonder Kara didn’t wake me. Every Wednesday, she went to the market, buying provisions and supplies, not to mention selling my clocks and watches.

I stretched, grimacing as my neck cracked. Yawning, I pushed back from my desk and proceeded to go down to the boiler room, shoveling in more coal. I didn’t bother putting on my hat; Kara wouldn’t be back yet for hours.

The day went on with my checking different troublesome gears, replacing on huge spring that had become rusted. It was tiring, but by three o’clock I was confident I could do all I could on my own without Kara’s help.

I was still furious that she had lied but I decided with a shake of my head not to question her. But yet…. I Was still curious. “Should I…” I whispered, passing the door to her room, which was located near the boiler room. My hand reached for the knob; I had not been in there since she had come to live there. I felt like it was wrong, but I had to know what would have caused a rich, happy woman to leave her family for a workman’s life.

The door was completely silent as it opened. It was dark in there; there were no windows. My hand went out, and I found the string hanging from the gas lantern. I twisted a small knob next to it, and then yanked the string. Light flooded the room.

I gasped. The dingy old storage room was completely different. A large, piece of fabric hung over the head of her bed like a canopy. She had whitewashed the walls, and on the floor was a soft rug, slightly threadbare, obviously used. The bed had a large, feather comforter on it, and a matching pillow.

I sat on the bed, looking around; she had made it look nice, but she didn’t seem to mind that none of it was expensive. I knew she would have been used to the best. I then noticed a box, sticking out bare from under her bed.

Pulling it out, I opened it to find a bunch of newspaper articles from the upper ring of the city. Each one was about the Sager family. The one buried at the bottom of the box shocked me the most. A still shot headed the article that said “Engagement Announcement”. Kara’s eyes stared back at me, and a man our age had her arm around her waist. Despite the sassy smile on her lips, I recognized pure sadness in her eyes.

The article went on to describe the marriage would take place in eight months, that it would unite the Sager’s and the Pijahn’s, another one of the upper ring families. It mentioned it was an arranged marriage, but that both parties were ‘rather joyful’. However I knew Kara. She would put on a brave face when everyone was looking, then break down. Looking back, I realized she learned that living in the High Society.

I sighed, packing the articles back up, carefully trying to hide my snooping. I left her room quickly, shocked to see the sun setting; I had been in her room for nearly two hours just reading all the articles.

“Kara?” I called out. No answer. Thinking she just wasn’t back, I shoveled more coal into the boiler before trekking up to my room to finish the watch and make another. When I sat at my desk, that's when I saw the envelope.

In careful, curly letters, the word “Clock Master” was written on it. It was sealed with red candle wax, and the seal had the Kara’s initials on it. I scooped it up and ripped it open with a small screwdriver.

Dear ClockMaster,

 I’m sorry I never shared the truth about my past. As you know by now, my parent’s aren’t gone. They are healthy and whole, and rich. So rich. I grew up pampered, but I also grew up restricted. Before I could even speak, I was told what to do, what to say, what to think. I couldn't be myself; all I wanted was to be myself.

Not only that, but… when I turned twenty three, my parents arranged a marriage between me and my father’s business partner’s son. I grew up knowing them, and I loved him. But as a brother. Apparently, I was the only one in the deal that was against it.

Not long after our engagement announcement, I had an argument with my parents. THey would not listen to me; I didn’t want to marry a man I didn’t love. Then I found out the true reason for the marriage. Money. They would trade their daughter’s happiness for a few more coin in the bank..

That night I left. I had no one to go to, and  my parents didn’t care about me or my feelings. They only cared about money and material objects. I decided to end my pain. That is when we met.

You saved me, and gave me a new purpose. I could be myself; I could create. I could get dirty without having to worry about being yelled at for ruining my outfit. I could talk out of turn, wear trousers and boots instead of those infernal skirts. And I could find someone to love… And I found him. You.

But You were mysterious; Every day I yearned you would take off that infernal hat, to sit me down and tell me about yourself. I know you wear it to hide you face and age. But i’ve been working long enough with you to recognize your voice is that of a young man.

However… I found you are just like them. You care only about the city you think is yours and the clocks. Its seems your heart is like the clocks you make; purely mechanical.

Your Assistant Kara

The letter slipped out of my hand falling to the floor. I choked, before calling out her name again. The gears and pistons she managed and crafted answered my call. How could I have been so foolish not to notice that? My assistant… my companion for the last six months…. Was in love with me. That is why she stayed, why she put up with my temper flares. Why she kept trying no matter how many times she messed up and I blew up. I shook my head like a water logged dog. This was all so much to take in… but I knew one thing. I had to find her.

Suddenly, the sound of the maid's voice wafted up through the clock face window. “My mistress has been found!” I stood up, shocked. Running down the stairs, I grabbed my top hat off of the rack, not even bothering to tilt it this time. I ran down the stairs taking three at a time, my shoes clanking loudly against them.

Running into the street, I looked around for the maid. As the crowd parted I saw her. I ran forward, stumbling slightly on the cobblestones. I hears the cries and gasps as people saw my face, realizing that the mysterious clockmaster was young enough to be someone's apprentice.

Finally I reached her. “Madam!” I cried out, breathing heavily. “Your mistress! I must... find her.” The maid turned and looked at me. “I’m sorry sir, but she has already been found. There is a great party tonight to celebrate this.” “I know... that! I want the address to... Sager Manor; it is of... the utmost... emergency.”

“I can’t just going giving my master’s address. He would be furious if I let in the random riff-raff.” “Please… My name…” I gasped holding a stitch in my side. THe maid looked at me like I was insane. “Sir, let go of my arm.” FInally catching my breath I said “My name is Sky, Clockmaster and serviceman of the clocktower!”

“You? Clockmaster?!” The maid giggled. “Don’t make me laugh. You are dressed like he does, I will give you that, but he isn’t you, and you aren’t him!” my hand reached into my pocket, and I pulled out the ivory cased pocket watch with the gold leafing. “Please. If you give me the address, I will give you this.” The maid gasped reaching out to take it. But I snatched it back. “The address first.”
Looking pained, the maid sighed and whispered “626 Chestnut Ring.” I laughed. “626 Chestnut Ring! Thank you, kind lady!” I hugged her to me, shocking her to the point of squealing before dropping the watch in her hand and running full speed down the street to the steam-carriage road, calling out for one.

I managed to get one, but i had to ride on the very back. I didn't mind; I was to eager to find Kara and tell her something. Holding my hat on my head, I looked at the road a head. Soon I could see the huge houses and manors as we went to the outskirts of the city to the rings. Suddenly, the carriage stopped. “Chestnut Ring. We aren’t allowed to take you directly up to the house.” “What? WHy not?” “The steam.” Grunted the driver. Climbing off, I speedily paid him before jogging off.

“624…. 625…” But instead of a large house, there was a gate. Puzzled I examined it until suddenly, a small audio-phone box came out of the ground. “State you name.” Came a rough voice. I paused, looking around, puzzled, before stuttering “Clockmaster.” There was hushed voices, and then the same voice said “Enter.”

The gate creaked open, and I saw a huge pathway lined with trees. “Woah” I whispered before quickly recovering and starting down the drive at a brisk pace.
After a while, I began to think that the maid was lying to me about the address. This drive was more of a road; I couldn’t believe that within a fifteen minute ride I could be at my clocktower. I noticed a sharp bend in the road ahead, and as I rounded it I gasped.

A huge manor, four stories tall, was set on a hill, surrounded by trees. The drive wrapped around a fountain, and I saw that a few horse drawn carriages were around it. I moved out of the way of a carriage that thundered down the drive. “Wow.” I whispered. So this was the house of the Sager’s.

I headed down the lane, hastily brushing off my tail coat and slacks, adjusting the chain of my pocketwatch. I brushed off my top hat, shining the goggles on it with a quick rub of my sleeve.

My hat I instinctively tilted downward once more, wanting to keep my identity a secret until I saw her. My footsteps clicked slightly on the brick, and I could hear delicate music and laughter inside. Smoke poured out of a few of the chimneys.

The double doors of the building were huge; A single rope hung by the door, and I tugged it down listening to the sound of bells that vaguely resembled my clock tower chimes. A few moments wait later, a small, round man opened the door. His eyes shut, he proceeded to say “Welcome to Sager Manor. Please, hand me your invitation, and I shall announce you.” “Oh I don’t have an invitation. I highly doubt I need one.” I said quietly.

The man opened his eyes so wide in surprise his monocle popped out. “Oh! Oh!” He took a step back for me to enter and said “Please, Clockmaster. You must forgive me; tonight, my master and his wife are celebrating the return of their daughter who has been missing for half a year. Give me a moment, and I shall fetch them.” “No need. It is their daughter I must speak to.” The man’s eyes widened a bit more if possible.

“I don’t know if I can allow that, sir…. Please, allow me to take you to my master, and he shall receive you and you can talk about whatever you need to with him.” I bit my lip, then drawled “Fine…. But let it be known that I am not happy about this.” He nodded and promptly led me down the hall toward the sounds of laughter. As we walked, I noticed a huge grandfather clock that I had made nearly two years prior; It was set against the wall next to a grand staircase.

Another set of large doors opened as we approached, and I followed him into a room filled with people smiling and laughing. I saw steam powered instruments, still a rarity even in the homes of the rich, in the corner, hissing softly as they played.

In the corner of the room stood a middle aged couple and a young man a little older than Kara. I recognized him as the man in the still shot from the engagement announcement; Kara’s fiance. He was wearing a dark puce suit with a green vest underneath. A revolver hung wide open on his belt, and a playing card was tucked in the band of the hat that covered his blonde hair.

“.... after the wedding when you invest in my company, I’m sure you will never regret it.” “Of course Warren. We are quite impressed as to what you did with your inheritance.” “Excuse me, Master Sager. I present to you The Clockmaster.” I stepped forward bowing to Kara’s parents, decided to completely ignore the man called Warren.

Kara’s mother smiled a fake smile, saying “Clockmaster, to what do we owe this wonderful visit to?” Her father stayed silent, his eyes seeming to pierce me. “I wish to speak with your daughter.” “Kara? Why on earth do you need to speak to her?” came the reply. “Quite simple. I wish to take her hand in marriage.” While her mother's face paled in fear and confusion, her father’s reddened.

“Are you daft? She is already engaged.” “To a man she does not love.” “To a man that she will learn to love.” Warren responded smiling. Despite the warmth in the smile it didn't reach his icey, cold eyes as he looked at me. “She can’t learn to love. It's not a matter of option. Even if it wasn’t, she couldn’t learn to love someone as cold as you obviously are.” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. “How dare you…” growled Warren.

Suddenly her mother stepped in again. “Clockmaster even if that were the case, we still couldn’t call off the wedding. To many of our assets would be affected; we are investing in Warren’s company, Cloks.” “You can still invest in a company without wedding a daughter away.” “We have a contract however.”

“Contracts were meant to be broken, kind sir.” I hissed icily. “Do you even care about Kara? What she feels, what she thinks?” “Kara agrees wholeheartedly with this.” her dad said gruffly. Her mother nodded and said “Yes, yes she does.”

“Oh is that why she ran away?” “She ran away to clear her head.” snapped Warren. I turned to him, my temper flaring. I couldn’t play the game of the aristocrats any longer. “Has anyone ever told you how painfully mediocre you are? Because if they haven't, somone needs to.” He spluttered angrily for a second before putting his hand on his gun. “Get out.” “This is not your home. You have no room to tell me to leave. The only way I will is if I have Kara with me once more.”

“Once more….?” I froze when I heard her father say that. I knew what was coming a split second before it did. “You kidnapped her, didn’t you?” He whispered. “You kidnapped her and she escaped! That's why you're here, to take her back!” “No I--” “How dare you come back here? Get him out of here, take him to the police!” Two men grabbed my arms behind me. “Let me go you got it all wrong.” I yelled, now losing my cool manners.

Warren smiled evilly at me from behind her parents. I fought to break free, my hatred growing. Now I saw why Kara had left this world behind. How corrupt it was.

“Let him go this instant.” Instantly Warren’s evil smile disappeared. “Kara, darling.” He purred looking past the men holding me and I. Twisting my neck awkwardly, I was momentarily shocked. Despite seeing her made up in the still shot it was still a surprise to see her dressed up.

A pearled comb held her hair up in an elegant bun, and her dress was cream colored with frills going around the skirt. Her makeup was on thick, pink lipstick with black eyeliner, not to mention god knows what else. As she moved over, Warren tried to slip his arm around her waist, but she deftly avoided it.

“Let him go.” She repeated stepping forward toward her parents. “Kara, please. We are trying to protect you from this man!” “Protect me? Protect me? You honestly have no idea.” Kara moved over to me, pulled off my hat, and kissed me. Her mother gasped and her father’s face was now so red it was purple.

“Move away from him.” Kara turned to Warren, her eyes flaring with the familiar glint of fire. “No.” “Darling, move away from him. This man has obviously brainwashed you.” “You call it brainwashing, I call with wooing.” “Kara, I said move away.” “Who do you think you are telling me what to do?” she snapped.

“I am your fiance and you will listen to me!” Kara laughed slightly and said “No. I won’t.” “Yes you will!” He growled, grabbing her wrist roughly, he tried to pull her away from me. When she resisted, he slapped her upside the face.

Something inside broke; The men holding me weren’t expecting it, and apparently neither was Warren. In one fluid motion I had broken free of their grasp and had launched myself at him. All I saw was red, and the blood pumping in my ears deafened any other noise.

Fist connected with face as we both toppled to the floor. “Don’t. You. Touch. HER!” I punctuated each word with another hit to the face. I didn’t notice him struggling to put his hand in his pocket, and pulling it out with a set of brass knuckles.

One punch to the head, and I was off. Another blow to my head, and the room was spinning, and I could see double. I tried to leap forward and punch one of the Warren’s but instead stumbled and hit air. As I fell, I watched as Warren whipped out his gun and aim it at me. “Your time has come, clock master.” He said, grinning.

I shut my eyes, preparing for the shot. INstead, I heard a scream of some sort, and choking. Opening them, I was shocked to see Kara on Warren’s back, her arm around his neck choking him. The look on her face was one of pure hatred and anger. I heard her screaming curse words as she held on for dear life, not loosening her grip.

Warren stumbled about, trying to pry her arm loose as he gasped for breath. “Kara, let go of him! You are going to kill him!” I heard her mother’s horrified screams. Warren turned and slammed into the wall, squishing Kara between it and him. She squeaked, but held on tight.

My vision finally righted itself enough for me to dive at Warren; I took him and Kara down in a tackle. Kara’s head hit the marble flooring so hard I heard it. However, I was momentarily distracted by Warren reaching up and wrapping his hands around my neck. Warren rolled on top of me, squeezing and squeezing a look of manic fury on his face. I became aware of the noise of people panicking and rushing to get out, and of Kara’s mother and father shouting, telling people to calm down while a servant tried to move Kara out of the way. But people poured out the doors so quickly, we were soon alone.

Starts danced across my vision, and my whole body burned. “You idiot. You won’t ruin my plans!” He growled. My eyes rolled back and my body went limp. Warren must have thought i was dead because he let go, standing up. “Well, now that that is done with.” I heard footsteps, then the click of a gun chamber. “Warren… did you just… did you just kill him?” I heard Kara’s mother say weakly.

I opened my eyes barely a sliver trying to keep my breath subtle despite wanting to take a big gulp of air. I saw him flicking through the chamber, making sure it was full. “Yes I did kill him.” He said quietly.

He then slammed the chamber shut and said “I hadn’t intended it to go like this you see. I meant purely to marry your daughter, stage an accident for you two and the girl, and continue with my life. However,” he said turning to them “Since this idiot decided to but in, this will be messier than I anticipated….” Kara’s father stepped in front of her mother. “Warren…. Please…. Let’s talk about this.” He said calmly. “You are like a son, we’ve known you for years….”

Warren aimed a shot at the ground near his feet, the sound echoing through the room. “That's why I’m confident when you are gone, the money will come to me.” He said, cracking that evil smile. “You…. stupid bastard…” I heard Kara moan from where the servant had left her, barely three feet from where she fell.

Warren examined the barrel of his gun “No. I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m far smarter than you all….” He then aimed the gun and fired. In that moment, nothing mattered to me more than protecting Kara. As his finger touched the trigger I leaped upward, my head still swimming from lack of oxygen. I threw myself overtop of her, feeling the bullet’s bite in my lung.

A horrified, blood curdling scream filled the air, but this time it came from Kara, and at the same time I heard the shouts of the police announcing themselves in the front hall. Warren cursed, throwing his gun down and taking off toward two glass doors leading to a garden. I couldn’t move; the pain was to much. I wanted to cry out, to shout but nothing came out. Kara’s mother was sobbing, her father shouting for the police pointing which way he had run. Only Kara was focused on me.

“Clockmaster? Clockmaster!” She moved me onto my back, making the pain worse for a moment. I stared up at the ornate ceiling, afraid. Not of dying, but of leaving Kara unprotected. Kara put her wildly shaking hands over the wound, pressing hard on it, her tears running down her face, smearing the makeup. “Clockmaster please….. Oh god…”  

My eyes met hers, and i tried to put everything I never told her into the look. My vision faded to black, the last thing I saw being her green eyes.

* * *

Pain. Pounding, burning, agonizing pain. That's all I felt, all my senses took in. But even that faded soon. The next thing I knew, I was awoken by the sound of clock chimes. BONG! My consciousness registered throbbing in my chest. BONG! A blanket and the warmth of sunlight on my lap. BONG! Pistons and cogs pounding away, and through it all, the sound of laughter and steam carriages filtering through it.

I opened my eyes slowly, wincing at the bright light. At first I didn’t know what happened, then it came flooding back. Kara, the Sagers, Warren, the fight…. I shot up in bed instantly regretting it. My chest felt like it was going to blow up.

“Careful, Clockmaster.” It was then I noticed a doctor working at my desk, mixing medicines in a beaker. “What…. Who…?” “Lie back down before you hurt yourself. I won’t be paid if my patient dies.” Despite feeling disgruntled by his uncaring response, I laid back down against the pillow, breathing deeply.

The doctor moved over, mixing the beaker before handing it to me. “Drink it all.” I took one sip and gagged. It tasted like alcohol. “Drink it or the pain won’t leave.” Glaring at him, I tried my best to take it all before retching loudly, dropping the beaker on the floor. The doctor sighed hugely, gingerly picking up the broken pieces of it.

Walking over to the desk, he began packing everything back into a huge bag. “How long have I been…” “You were unconscious for six days.” He replied without looking up. Turning he bowed to me. “Now if you excuse me, Clockmaster. I must return to the upper ring.” I leaned farther back into the pillow as I listened to him moving down the stairs. I could vaguely hear the murmur of voices a few landings below me, and suddenly a small squeak.

Before I could even try to make out what was said, Kara was up the stairs, across the platform, her arms around my neck. “OW!” i yelped, grabbing my chest in pain. “Oh…” she said, releasing me from the hug. “I’m sorry Clockmaster.”

I grumbled, slowly removing my hand from my bandaged chest. I looked at her; she was back in her laborers clothes, her goggles holding her hair back as usual. “Sorry….” she muttered, gently fixing my blanket then sitting on the edge of the bed. “How are you feeling.” “Like I was hit with a rail car….”

She smiled slightly staring at her lap. “I wouldn’t expect less, really. I’m just glad you’re alive.” “Who was that man? I haven’t ever seen him before.” She blushed slightly. “He is my family’s personal physician…. I paid him double his salary to come take care of you.”

“Pleasant fellow, isn’t he?” “No, he isn’t.” She replied, blatantly ignoring my sarcasm. “I’m so sorry, sir… If I would have known you would have gotten hurt…. I never meant for this to happen.” “Did you know about his plans?” “I had a hunch. After his parents passed, Warren changed. He…. darkened in a way. That's part of the reason I was so set against marrying him; he wasn’t right anymore.”

“I see…. And why are you here?” As soon as I saw her face, I realized that sounded like I didn’t want her here. “I…. i was maintaining the Clock Tower by myself until you heal….” She stood up brushing off her pants. “As soon as you are well enough , I will leave once more. I shall continue to pay the doctor on your behalf.” She bowed slightly, trying to hide her tears.

“Kara, wait.” I said sitting up. “What is it, sir?” I motioned for her to move closer. “First off, stop calling me sir.” I said quietly. “You and I both know that I am too young to be referred to as ‘sir’ by you anymore.” “But…. Clockmaster….” “Please…. Please Kara, call me Sky.” I whispered, sitting up as best as I could. I reached forward and grabbing her by her shirt, and pulled her face to me.

Our lips met softly, but it still shocked her. I felt her tense up for a moment, but then she relaxed, her arms gently looping up around my neck as mine encircled her waist. When our kiss broke, I pressed my forehead against hers and whispered “My heart may be purely mechanical but it only has time for you….” Kara bit her lip then suddenly threw herself onto me, knocking the breath out of me as she started crying. Despite being in intense pain, I just managed to stroke her head gently, thinking that the Clockmaster still had a lot to learn.

 



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