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The Turn of Time

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  • The Turn of Time

    Paul sat on a cot in his cell while the shadows of iron bars striped his wall.

    “Your family is originally from town here, aren’t they?” Geary asked.

    Paul nodded. “My father moved my mother and I out to the farm when I was still a baby. My sister was born a few years later.”

    “And this is your first trip to town?”

    “Yes, and now I know why mom and dad were so serious about me not coming back.”

    “Tell me again what happened,” said Geary after a pause. He was leaning back on a wooden stool outside the cell.

    “Again?” Paul asked. “Weren’t the first three times enough?”

    Geary watched him impassively for several seconds then offered a compassionate smile.

    “I want to make sure that when I speak at the trial, I speak for you,” he said. “You’re seen as an outsider here. As your attorney it’s my job to make you seem like one of us.”

    “One of you? You make it sound like I’m from another country,” Paul said. “My family farm isn’t three miles away.”

    Geary listened quietly as the torchlights flickered in the hallway.

    “Small towns can be very close knit,” he said abruptly. “We’re known for drawing lines sometimes for reasons that outsiders might not understand.”

    He stared at Paul with the same smile as before.

    “Fine,” Paul said. “Fine. But what’s to tell? She stepped into the road as I came around the corner and by the time I was able to get the horse under control…it was over.”

    “Stop there,” Geary said. “Did you actually see her step into the road?”

    “Yes, of course I did,” Paul said. “I was making good time on the horse but I was 50 yards away at least when I saw her.”

    Geary watched him with the same slight smile. “But you didn’t slow down?” he asked a few seconds later.

    “She had plenty of time to move!” Paul said. “She was looking right at me.” He dropped his head and closed his eyes. “She was looking right at me the entire time but she never moved. She just…stood there…”

    The jail was very still and each second seemed to tick past like its own little pocket eternity. Paul heard the crackle of the torches and, somewhere down the hall, the echo of a dripping ceiling.

    “You never slowed?”

    Paul flinched at the words. “By the time I saw that she wasn’t going to get out of the way…it was too late,” he said. “Then we were all on the ground.”

    The distant drip echoed again as Geary watched Paul.

    “And it took so long for the guards to arrive,” Paul continued. “And the people standing by the road were so still, like they were in shock.”

    He ran a hand through his hair. “I was pretty shaken up myself. They had already put me irons before I knew what was happening.”

    Geary sat on the stool and listened. “But you and the horse were fine while the girl died?” he said.

    Paul looked up. “I said she had plenty of time to step aside!” he snapped. “Aren’t there any witnesses?”

    Geary sat with his arms folded after several seconds. “Actually there are,” he said. “Only none of them agree with your version.”

    “What? But how can that happen?” Paul said, jumping up. “What are they saying?”

    Geary was slow to react but leaned backward as Paul stood. “That kind of aggressive behavior won’t help your case!” he said.

    “What are you talking about?” Paul said, gripping the iron bars. “What the hell is going on here?”

    Geary stood stone faced before reeling backward. “There will be no trial! The evidence is clear!”

    “What? You’re my attorney!” Paul yelled.

    “I serve justice!” Geary said after a pause. “And it is clear to me why you and your family were run out of town!”

    Paul stopped. The torches drew long shadows across his face. “What are you talking about?” he said quietly.

    Geary watched him in the gloom of the cells. Another drip fell from somewhere deeper in the jail.

    “Aberrations, the lot of you,” he said suddenly. “An entire family of monsters! Creatures skulking about the countryside…in real time!”

    He stopped midway up the hall leading to the upstairs, the torches giving him a bright orange aura.

    “The Alderman said that when your father was born they were going to cast him into the lake. But then your mother arrived and people started talking about evolution.”

    The torchlight arced around Geary, casting him in harsh silhouette.

    “There were still good people who said it went against the turn based-doctrines but they went unheard. Your parents were allowed to grow up, and marry, and conceive!” he said.

    Paul’s nausea rose and his palms felt wet against the iron bars. Geary stared at him unblinking, then reached for a torch.

    “Fire,” he said. “Yes. I think fire will cleanse that old farmhouse.” He looked back at Paul. “There’s still enough of the night for us to get there in time, even at our own pace.”

    “Please…no…” Paul said weakly.

    “And you, young man, Geary said as time passed. “You have an appointment at first light with the axe.”

    Geary paused at the top of the stairs and now Paul could see how long it took him to get there.

    “But don’t worry,” Geary said. “I’m sure the Executioner will make it quick.”
    My Civ Stories:
    Oil...and Sponges,Great Big Death Story of MRkorth, My Dinner With Xerxes, E.V.I.L., The Bijou - which I swear I will finish someday!, The Man Who Would Be King,, Will it Go ‘Round in Circles?, Man on the Street, Myron VS. the Volcano, Chairmen of the Border, The Turn of Time.

  • #2
    Thank you sir! May I have another!

    Another great job from the M. Night Shamalyn of very very short stories.
    Do you believe in Evil? The Nefarious Mr. Butts
    The continuing saga of The Five Nations
    A seductress, an evil priest, a young woman and The Barbarian King


    • #3
      Good stuff! I like your stories, the payoff is always worth the wait, and i love your style of writing.


      • #4
        The funny thing is, I was thinking of "The Village" when I wrote this even though I've never actually seen it. Don't know why.

        /cue Twilight Zone theme.
        My Civ Stories:
        Oil...and Sponges,Great Big Death Story of MRkorth, My Dinner With Xerxes, E.V.I.L., The Bijou - which I swear I will finish someday!, The Man Who Would Be King,, Will it Go ‘Round in Circles?, Man on the Street, Myron VS. the Volcano, Chairmen of the Border, The Turn of Time.


        • #5
          heh. TBS vs. RTS.

          I've never been a fan of Real Time myself, but this is interesting. I like it, keep it going man.
          Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


          • #6
            ...which is why RTSes are more violent than TBSes
            -->Visit CGN!
            -->"Production! More Production! Production creates Wealth! Production creates more Jobs!"-Wendell Willkie -1944


            • #7
              Yes Jeremy, you have a gift
              Gurka 17, People of the Valley
              I am of the Horde.


              • #8
                A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.