Kronos Got Drunk — Part Nine
They seemed to fuse into a giant ball of fur and feathers; clawing and biting and emitting deafening sounds from their maws. In the chaos, I saw the pocket watch rip from the neck of Prometheus and land a short distance away on the floor. Remembering Epimetheus’ words, I mustered up what courage I had in my bones and darted for it.
The watch was surprisingly heavy for its size. When I was far enough away from the beasts, I struggled frantically to find out what Epimetheus had meant.
‘It’s all in the watch.’
I turned the thing over in my hands. There seemed to be nothing extraordinary about it; it was a pocket watch with a chain and a dial for adjusting at the top. I tried pulling and turning the dial; nothing happened.
I cursed and glanced nervously back at the clashing sphinxes. The watch was supposed to be able to teleport the carrier — I knew this; I had experienced it.
I flipped open the lid. Instead of a watch face, my eyes were greeted with a simple, engraved copper plate. It read as follows:
If seeking stolen
memory, please assume
contact with subject and
press and hold dial at top
(Caution: return journey
‘It’s all in the watch.’
The words darted in and out of my head. I thought of the times Prometheus and I had teleported. In every occasion, he had required physical contact, whether by grabbing my arm or instructing me to take hold of his. If Epimetheus was right about Prometheus being evil, the god of forethought had probably been using me to find Kronos for his own purposes. But for whatever reason, the watch kept failing — why?
I thought about pressing the dial and hesitated, remembering the disastrous attempts from Prometheus to use the watch before; I had no desire to end up stranded in another desert or forest.
The sphinxes roared behind me. I turned to look at them, and my mind was made up for me. Prometheus had broken free of his brother’s grip and was sprinting in my direction. He let out a spine-shattering howl.
I took a deep breath and pressed the dial.
The teleportation was not a quick, painless experience as before. From the moment I pressed the button, I felt stretched, pulled and squished all at once, as though I was a large square block being forced through a series of small, circular holes. I squeezed my eyes shut and clenched my jaw; I clutched the watch. The pain lasted for centuries, or decades, or perhaps very little time at all. I screamed in terror, yelled in anger and cried in fear. I felt my energy slip and slide through me like water in a drain.
When I awoke I knew far more than I had ever known.
I was lying on my back in a field of tall, tall grass. Wind was brushing the lengthy stalks across my face and a gleaming sun was bathing me in warmth. Large, silky clouds were listing across a vibrant, blue sky.
I was in Elysium. I knew this perfectly. I knew going there had awakened a part of me which had been asleep all of my human life. I knew everything about Prometheus and Epimetheus and their brethren — who they really were, how they came to be, why they were so interested in humanity. I knew about the stars and their histories. I knew my true name.
I still didn’t know why Kronos had stolen my memories.
Time passed. I found it interesting that even Elysium was susceptible to this. At length, I stood up and walked aimlessly, letting the long stalks of grass run through my fingers. As far as the eye could see in every direction were rolling hills of more long, flowing grass that rose and fell like waves in an ocean breeze.
“Here now, how’d you get my watch?”
Without seeing the face, I knew the voice. I turned to greet him.
He was taller than I imagined, and bulkier. Not fat; most of the bulk was muscle. He stood straight with set shoulders and a firm brow. By all appearances, he was a young warrior — only his eyes betrayed the ages he had overseen.
“Kronos,” I said, smiling, “we meet again.”
previous: Kronos Got Drunk – Part Eight
first chapter: Kronos Got Drunk – Part One
more by ISAAC GOLLE
photograph by Johann Siemens