FICTION: The Girl and the Gold Watch

This short piece sprang from a title an online acquaintance threw at me, one I thought he had made up. The title was so evocative, I immediately got a vision in my head of a little girl and … well, you can read it below. The problem? He hadn’t made it up. That was a poor assumption on my part. The title was The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, and it belongs to a book I did not know existed. Regardless, it inspired this short piece of fiction that will maybe one day turn into a full-blown book. With a new title, of course…

The Girl and the Gold Watch

By Eric San Juan

“You know I haven’t the money for that, Sissy. Put it back!”

Mum was displeased, and that did not make Sissy happy. It did not make her happy at all. Still, she put aside her unhappiness, shoving it into the compartment in which she kept all her misfortune, that tiny place only she knew about, and insisted again.

“But mum,” Sissy pleaded, “I must have it. Really I must. Take a look and you’ll see.”

“What you ‘must’ have is a smack if you talk to me like that again, young lady. Now put it back and come on, we’ve still two chickens to buy. Besides, I can’t carry all these things myself!”

Sissy frowned. She didn’t care about stupid chickens or stupid goat’s milk or any of the other stupid, stupid things her mum wanted to buy. What she cared about was the gold watch. She had never seen anything of its sort. Old Mr. Coppernose smiled condescendingly when she asked to see it, but he took it from behind the counter and her let her handle it all the same. The watch was small, just the size of her palm. It was cool to the touch despite the summer heat. Its face had 14 numbers and three hands. The timepiece was affixed to a thin chain of gold. An inscription on the back read, “14 On The Hour, Three Days Of Sun. 13 On The Hour, Run, Girl, Run.” Sissy did not know what it meant.

“Come on, Sissy!”

Sissy mumbled her thanks to Mr. Coppernose, handed the watch back and shuffled along behind her mother. The watch would have to wait. She knew she’d be back. She knew because the watch told her she’d be back.

And coming back was a very important thing. It was the most important thing. Sissy had to come back or terrible, terrible things would happen. The watch had told her that, too. And Sissy knew it was true.