The tinkling of a rusted shopkeepers bell breaks the comfortable silence of the night.
Maybe the door was cracked slightly by the wind. Or maybe it was blown open by the shadow of the spice vendor who had left the square hours previous. Or possibly it was the quilt Mrs. Thompson was making on the third floor of the venetian building across the way. And maybe it was the laughter of her children. But most likely the last three.
There were only three lights on in the square. The first of which belonged to the century old ink colored streetlamp, the silent watchmen with kind eyes and a bright smile. The second resided in the window on the third floor across the way, created by a lantern from a garage sale that was draped in a pink Indian scarf. The third, which was the dimmest of them all, came through a peephole in an old, chipped burgundy door made from rough oak with a bell on the other side.
If one were to look in through the bowed glass, they would see nothing, as the one who lived inside had bargained with it, asking it to only work one way; it agreed of course. The reasoning behind the shopkeepers agreement was that he enjoyed visitors quite a bit. You would haveto come inside to see what was behind the contracted glass bubble.
The brass doorknob gives way to the bell, which greets you with small talk and then invites you into a room with a small light merrily buzzing away, pointing out the paintings on the walls and the small desk with fruit that had long since realized it was fake. Another, smaller door stood at the back of the room with a small sign tacked that said, "Welcome!" in bright, curly letters. But the door was not alone. Two oak sentinels stood stone faced, ever watching, ever ticking. Two sentinels that never slept, never ate, and never rested, protecting their friend who was so open, so trusting; too trusting in their opinion. So their cogs and gears spinned and wizzed, all in perfect harmony.
Earlier that day, the woman from the third floor window across the way had came into the workshop for a dire emergency. The poor thing had been missing an arm, and was rusted to an ugly umber.
It almost brought tears to the kind, wrinkled eyes of the shop owner, his pale, thin arms shaking slightly as he took back his child—his friend. Now, hours later, in the white light of a lamppost and the pink glow of an Indian scarf, he beamed as his hands dexterously replaced the final screw on the arm, put a last varnish on the wooden face, and oiled the freshly made hands. He pulled out a pocket watch, which told him a story and gave him a secret—while also usefully telling him it was past half past eleven.
He twisted the winder and the small creature burst to life.
The wheels laughed and the spokes cheered and the gears rejoiced.
Hundreds, maybe even thousands of voices all around him did the same. In fact, the man had just saved one of their friends.
Everyone called him the Clockmaker.
But liked to call himself a man who cared about his friends.
And if you listened in, maybe you could hear them singing too...
tick, tock, tick