BEEEEEP. My hand makes contact with the car horn. My finger starts to drum along the side of it, impatient for the so-called, “fast-food”. If it’s called fast food, then I want it fast. The car in front of me is taking their lovely time arguing with the muffled voice coming out of the speaker, yelling again and again that they were buying three happy meals, not two. Finally, my foot presses down on the pedal and my car slowly inches forward, the menu appearing on a large red and yellow sign. I hit the brakes, lean out the window, and shout out my order.
“Comin’ right up, just drive ta the window ahead ta gettit” the scratchy voice hollers, sounding unhappy, and rightfully so for the job they have. Who could enjoy sitting and taking people’s orders all day at a drive-through?
My day had already started off bad: I woke up at the shouts of my parents, their voices rising over the chirping of birds outside and putting off any hope I had for a normal day. It was getting worse, the arguing. Not that it should bother me, as neither of them paid attention to me any day of their life, so why should I care about them? It’s almost a good thing too. If they’re yelling at each other, the less it’s directed at me. So I’m fine with it, but nonetheless I want to get as far away from it. And that’s how I ended up at a McDonalds, a stop on my way to anywhere but home.
My bag is handed out the window, and I reach for it; my silver bracelets jingling. I put the bag down next to me, and drive away. Escaping at last.
Looking at the meter on the dashboard, I swing into the beat up gas station around the corner. The tank gets filled and I push myself back into the driver’s seat and reach to grab my bag. Truthfully, I really don’t like the oily food, but I wasn’t in the mood to try and get something half decent today, and I’m not exactly rolling in money.
The bag feels way too light, considering the fries and chicken fingers that should be in there. Why I didn’t realize this when I picked it up earlier, I have no clue. I open it up, and find out why.
Nothing but a white slip of white paper is in it. My first reaction is anger—what did they think they were doing? I paid for a meal! But then my heart beats faster. What in the world is it? Why is it there?
My hand, skin dark from the sun, reaches in and grasps it. My fingers feel like they are glued to it, like no matter what I’m going to find out what it means, if it’s the last thing I do. I pull it out to find a note. Addressed to me.
We are giving you the choice, but if you turn this down, know that no one will protect you if you come to a time when it’s needed. We have grown bigger, our population growing as recruits come in. You will be added among us as equals, your abilities a gift we will welcome gladly. Right now you don’t know what you’re capable of, what you were born to do. But we do. And if you join us, you can help us. Because we are fighting in a war against Time. And only some can stop it.
You are one of them.
You will have to risk leaving your life behind, all of us have. We know you don’t have much to leave, but the choice is still yours.
Unfortunately, on the chance this ends up in the wrong hands, I can’t tell you anymore. To accept our offer, draw a clock on the back of this paper, and after you will know what to do.
We are the last hope.
What. The. Hell. That’s all I can think of. I just found a note in my McDonalds bag, addressed to me by name, telling me to join them in war against time? Who’s them? What’s going on? I take a deep breath, pulling my dark brown hair up into a ponytail and out of my face. Although this is beyond crazy, and I barely believe any of it, I know what I’m going to do. Because this is what I’ve been looking for—a way out. Most likely whoever wrote me this note knew that. Glancing around my beat up car, feeling completely insane for actually doing what I think I’m about to do, I find a blue pen.
I pick it up.
Suddenly I become very aware of a breeze coming through the window, the sounds of cars speeding along next to me on the road, and my heartbeat thumping ever so fast.
The note is clutched in one hand, the pen in the other, and before I can change my mind, I start to draw. Weirdly enough my hand is steady, and I start to sketch out a fairly round circle, and then the numbers lining the inside of it. A clock? Why? But no more thinking, I tell myself, just do it. And as my pen draws the straight ones creating the last number, eleven, the world falls silent. My breath catches, as I notice the breeze disappeared, not a single car on the road is moving, and the digital clock in my car is frozen.
The note was real.
I look down at it, finding the one other thing that is moving.
The clock I drew, with a pen, is moving. The hands on it are slowly making their way every minute and second that pass. I drew a clock on paper. And somehow, it works.
My round blue eyes lift upward, onto another sight even more surprising. Five people appeared out of nowhere around my car, and one of them, a man in his thirties with very dark brown hair and eyes beckons me out.
Cautiously, not wanting to go against the man’s orders, I step out.
A smile appears on the man’s face, making his haughty appearance look much kinder. He speaks.
“Welcome Nadia, you are now one of us. A Time Collapser.”