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Thread: The Two O'Clock Chime

  1. #1

    Post The Two O'Clock Chime

    The Two O’Clock Chime
    By
    Greg Golterman

    The clock struck eleven as I loaded my revolver for the last time. The low, ominous tone told me it would all end tonight – it had to. All the running, all the hiding, all the lies; they had finally caught up to me. It had been four months since I left my home in Empyrean, and her, Abigail. Oh, Abigail. Her beautiful brown hair flowed effortlessly as if enchanted by some magic unknown to this world. Emerald green eyes, brighter and more precious than any gem I have ever seen stared deeper into me than any eyes ever had. Abigail Dechante – a name that will forever be seared into the very fibers of my existence.
    But she was not my problem. Her father, Charles Dechante, the most successful machinist Empyrean had ever seen wanted me dead. A stocky yet frightening man with a thirst for blood and wealth accompanied by a mind comparable to the very machines he conceived. One would think that he could not possibly pose a threat to someone of my caliber, however rumors of the weapons at his disposal make him a villain unlike any the world has never seen. Steam powered automatic handguns, impenetrable armor that harnessed the power of magnets, making him invincible to conventional ammunition, electric gloves which could render a man helpless, squirming about on the cobblestone like a common rodent caught in a trap far beyond its realm of understanding – need I continue?
    Midnight. I found myself perched atop the steeple of the only church in Minerva, a small town full of hard working craftsmen and farmers, a perfect setting for the end of my hellish tale. DeChante rode into town in his lavish stagecoach, pulled by four beastly black steeds with electric blue eyes. Whispers around Minerva slightly embellished his coming, but I knew he was here, I watched him arrive.
    Having been in Minerva for days already, I knew the only suitable place for our little meeting would be the courtyard behind the Billings Inn. Quiet, secluded, well lit and most importantly, dry. If DeChante really did have weapons that ran off electricity, I could not afford him having access to water; it would only make him stronger. Besides, I had paid off the innkeeper so as not to be bothered by inquisitive guests or over eager travelers looking for a tale to drunkenly spew to their comrades upon their return home.
    One o’clock. I leapt from the steeple onto the nearest rooftop, like a gargoyle taking his first flight into the abyssal night sky. I felt the shingles crumble under my weight as I floated across the rooftops, a silhouette in the November moon against the tired backdrop of Minerva. Reaching the Billings in what seemed like a matter of seconds, I checked my revolver again and waited for DeChante. For a moment, I let my mind wander. I thought of the life Abigail and I would have together, traveling the baron countryside like two reckless spirits soaring over this cruel, physical world in our own plane of existence, devoid from the ignorance and judgment of the slumbering cities below. My pleasant dream quickly turned into a nightmare when I heard the chilling voice from below.
    “I know you’re here. I’ve come to take you home.”
    It was DeChante. His deceivingly paternal tone cut through the thick night air as if he himself commanded it. He’s trying to trick me.
    “No,” I said with four months of hatred and years worth of pain, “I will no longer serve you. This ends tonight!”
    Before my words had even reached his ear, DeChante fired upon the rooftop where I sat observing the courtyard. I dropped down to the cobblestone below, leaving a small crater upon impact, and tore through the night towards the square; it was my only hope for victory. Dodging gunshots down the alleyway, I broke through the darkness into the well-lit courtyard and took cover behind the stagecoach parked in back of the inn.
    “We both know where this is going,” laughed DeChante, “your time here is done. You failed. You’re nothing but a disappointment to me…and to Abigail.”
    I knew he was lying but the thought of Abigail caused the anger to swell up inside me. I turned, revolver in hand, and fired at DeChante but the bullets seemed to curve around him. I had never missed before.
    Laughing, now more hysterically than ever, DeChante slowly approached the stagecoach. I fired again, over and over, until my revolver was rendered useless, yet he remained unscathed. With one last burst of courage and anger I leapt over the stagecoach to meet DeChante face to face.
    I landed my first blow and DeChante was down. Given his naturally ungifted physique it took him quite a bit of effort to find his feet. Seizing the opportunity I lunged forward, striking him two more times, which were enough to wipe away his sinister grimace.
    As I threw what I hoped to be the delivering blow to my seemingly unworthy opponent, I locked up completely. Frozen in time I fell to the hard cobblestone, squirming about from electric shock. His weapons were real, just as the rumors had told.
    As I tried to regain my thoughts I heard a shriek. It was her. I had taken cover behind DeChante’s stagecoach. How could I have been so ignorant? She was right beside me!
    “You brought her here?” I spouted through my clenched jaw, “How could you bring her here?”
    “I brought Abigail so she could see what you really are, my boy.” Dechante said, now standing over me, playing with the electric current between his gloves, “You always had a knack for getting into trouble, I just never thought it would go this far.”
    DeChante knelt over my paralyzed body, smiling as if he was David after felling Goliath. I struggled to catch a glimpse of the stagecoach, a glimpse of Abigail, in the hopes of locking eyes one last time.
    “Why are you doing this? What have I done?” I shouted with distain.
    “Because, my boy, you are not one of us. You bring more trouble to this world than good. You simply don’t belong.”
    Writhing under DeChante’s electric grip I finally found the strength to wretch my head toward the stagecoach. When I saw her, everything stopped. With her handkerchief up to her mouth, Abigail’s beautiful green eyes filled with tears. Only then did I realize the gravity of my predicament; I was right – it would all end tonight.
    “I love her!” I exclaimed as loud as my body would allow, somehow hoping this would bring mercy upon me.
    “Love?” DeChante mocked, “What do you know about love? You are nothing more than metal and gears, my boy. A product of my workshop, a simple experiment, and a regrettable one at that…”
    DeChante’s final words to me were drowned by the two o’clock chime, and with one final blow, everything went black.

  2. #2
    Registered User DATo's Avatar
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    Way cool !

    I liked this a lot. I'm a "story" guy and a "delivery" guy. Your story was good and the delivery nicely paced and well-written. Oh, I forgot to include ... I'm a "twist" guy too ... *LOL* and that was a very nice twist ending ... didn't see it coming at all.

    I would change the term "successful machinist" to "engineering genius". "Successful" sort of sounds like monetarily successful rather than inventively successful. Also, a machinist is not necessarily an inventor/engineer/scientist. Though some machinists are very creative and multi-skilled I doubt that the powers of Mr. DeChante would have been obtained through the normal training and career of a machinist but rather a scientist / inventor. Also, the narrator is still talking to us at the end even after he is dead. You might have ended it with him talking to us as he was dying rather.

    The stagecoach reference dates the setting to approximately the same time Jules Verne wrote and, in fact, after reading the piece I was strongly reminded of Verne's style of writing as well as Ray Bradbury.

    Please don't take my criticisms above too much to heart. This is a very nice piece of writing: clever, and well presented. It would take just a few modifications to make it perfect in my opinion.

  3. #3
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    Loved it specially the twist.

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