Monday, February 22, 2010

Chapter Seventy-Four


Pieces of the pirate ship - what little remains after the heart-wrenching fireball - crashes into the water. The splash is barely audible in the aftermath of the explosion.

“Well,” says the Lion. “So much for that.” Head held high, he pads away from the beach.

The Clock stammers and looks back and forth between the destruction and the disappearing form of the Lion.

“Maybe... maybe they’ve survived?” the Clock shouts, but the Lion doesn’t respond, doesn’t even slow down. Within moments, he’s disappeared into the foliage.

The Clock takes a tentative step toward the shore, but it does not enter the waters. Even as a human, it never learned how to swim.

Instead, it scans the gentle waves. Could Pinocchio survive so much fire? And the Candelabra, even if it hadn’t been melted by the blast, at best would have sunk to the bottom of the bay.

“Pinocchio!” Its voice is meek and tinny, a pathetic sound against the playful vastness of the water.


Farther out, the burning wood is quickly extinguished. Mostly planks, by the look of it. Too big to be the boy. The mast still floats, perhaps made buoyant by the sails. But no sign of Pinocchio.

Still, the fact that some things remain gives the Clock hope. Small as it is, it’s still there.

But the eerie silence of the beach is troubling. The Clock becomes aware, as it always does when alone, that it’s ticking quite loudly. Steadily. Out of place and jarring on the beaches of Neverland.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” it murmurs, worried. “Nothing can harm me.” Even the dead pirates, should they come crawling from the water, would pay no mind to a ticking clock. It’s the Lion who has to worry now.

But isn’t there a story about a crocodile that eats clocks?

The ticking is quite loud. Almost echoing.

“Lion!” shouts the Clock, but the foliage merely sighs and dips in the breeze.

“Pinocchio!” The water laps against the shore.


The Clock had never been one for being alone. And it can’t go out into the wide waters to search for its friends. But it can’t abandon them, either.

Several hours later – several exhausting hours later – the Clock steps back to survey its work.

Lying on the shore is a sign, placed carefully above what is hopefully the high-water mark. Black stones, round and heavy, have been set in the shape of an arrow. It points into the foliage and will be ignored by crocodiles or dead men, but invaluable to Pinocchio and the Candelabra.

“Almost done,” says the Clock, its voice full of false cheer. “That didn’t take quite so long.” It looks at its face to mark the time, then frowns. It’s certainly taken longer than that.

And the ticking, still quite loud, still quite echoing, has slowed noticeably.

“Oh, dear,” says the Clock. “I need winding.”

The duty has always fallen to Pinocchio, as the boy is the only one who had hands, but perhaps the Lion can use his claws…