Kronos Got Drunk – Part Six
We didn’t go to Prague.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. We were standing at the foot of Big Ben and Prometheus grabbed my arm while holding the stopwatch just as before. Instantly, everything changed again. But instead of the streets of London giving way to the streets of Prague, they gave way to a thick, dark forest.
The deafening sounds of the city crumpled under the stillness of the Acadian woodland.
For a little while neither of us said anything; if it hadn’t been for the steady breath in my lungs, I would have thought us frozen.
After some time, Prometheus loosened his grip on my arm to fiddle with the watch. He grunted softly to himself.
“Is it broken?” I asked.
“Don’t think so,” was all he said.
A rustle of leaves drew my attention to the left. I strained my eyes to find the source. A twig cracked. Something flitted between trees. Despite it being a fair distance away, I took a step back — toward Prometheus and the watch.
“Where are we?” I asked quietly.
A shadow flitted again. This time I was able to pick out arms and legs — a human.
“The watch says Prague,” grunted Prometheus. The human shadow flitted again, closer.
“Shouldn’t the watch say the time?” I asked sharply.
“Why are you whispering?” asked Prometheus. I pointed.
The Greek god of forethought squinted through the trees. The silhouette was close enough to take form now. It appeared to be a young man clothed in furs. He stopped to return our stares.
“Aw, hell!” shouted Prometheus suddenly. He returned to fidgeting with the watch, frantically this time.
“What?” I asked, trying to remain calm. The boy moved closer. He seemed to be covered in something like war paint.
“Got it!” said Prometheus. “Grab my arm!” I reached blindly.
What followed was a sickening onslaught of locations. We hopped from place to place, time to time. Now a city, now a forest, now mountains. Several areas I recognized. We passed through New York, Tokyo, and an African village. Once, I was fairly certain I saw the face of the fur-covered boy again.
Then, just as suddenly as they started, the changes stopped.
“Bloody humans,” Said Prometheus.
“I would be fine if you knew how to use that thing!” I gasped between convulsions.
My body finished its work and I collapsed onto my back. Prometheus was once again fiddling with the watch.
“You know, for a God who specializes in forethought, you seem to be persistently caught off-guard,” I said.
“Shut up,” said Prometheus, again.
I propped myself onto my elbows. We were in a desert, surrounded by cacti and sand.
I asked a tired question: “Where are we?” No answer came.
“How does it work, anyway?” I pressed. “Your forethought, I mean. Is it arbitrary? Do you see what must happen? Or do you see all possibilities?”
There was a pause and more tinkering with the watch.
“I see the most likely outcome.”
I thought for a moment.
“So you’re just clever?”
Something hit me very hard on the head. I fell to my back, holding my hands up in anticipation of another blow. Prometheus loomed over me with his fist clenched and his face red.
He said it calmly this time; without emotion. He held his position over me for several moments before turning back to the pocket watch.
I lay in the sun and nursed my skull. There was some blood, but not enough to cause concern. I watched Prometheus adjust cogs and springs. I thought it very strange for someone (let alone a god) to have so much trouble with their own — apparently well-used — device. The watch was scuffed and scratched in many places. Perhaps it was malfunctioning from wear and tear? I frowned; something still seemed odd.
“I’m going for a walk,” I announced. Prometheus grunted.
I don’t remember how long I walked, but I remember it feeling like a very long time. I didn’t bother to mark my path as I went; I had no intention of going back. Partly because I was sick of Prometheus’ increasing agitation, and partly because I fully expected him to find me when he so chose.
After some time I came across a paved road. There was a sign not far away.
‘Carefree — 5 miles.’
“Odd name for a place,” I thought. I was becoming incredibly hot and thirsty, and so decided to head toward the town.
I arrived in Carefree under the canvas of a pink, purple and orange sky. It was around this time I realized I had no money or identification with me. Prometheus had taken us from my apartment without warning; leaving my wallet and phone safely tucked away at home.
I walked aimlessly through the streets of the small town, asking the odd person if they knew of a place I could stay for free. Everyone said no.
Presently, I discovered a small plaza with a restaurant called The Sundial Cafe. It was aptly named: a gigantic sundial stood in the center of the plaza, casting an incredible shadow.
I had no money, but I was growing unbearably hungry and thirsty. I knew restaurants gave water for free so long as you ordered something, so I walked in and sat myself by a window looking toward the extraneously large sundial. The waitress took my order, and I relaxed back into my chair. I hadn’t noticed the building fatigue in my legs until just then. I squirmed around until finally settling into a position that rendered some relief for my tired limbs. I gazed out the window at the sundial. It was only then that it occurred to me a giant sundial might qualify as “something which glorifies time.”
I laughed — and then I froze.
At the base of the sundial, covered in furs and war paint and walking straight for the restaurant, was a young man.
“Of course,” I said.
previous: Kronos Got Drunk — Part Five
more by ISAAC GOLLE
photograph by Georgia Dixon