Things often begin when the clock is first set. Well, this is //the// clock: [[Great Grandfather]]. [You've journeyed however long, however far to see it.]<missionstatement|
A placard at the base of it reads:
"The pendulum swings to [[next]] ceaselessly, as though [[the past]] held enmity."Where are you going from here, do you know?
Do you know when and where the pendulum will [[stop]]?
Or are you merely [[along for the ride->forward]]?The way you came. Funny; the road is blocked off, now. Now it's dark- too dark to see much of anything. You peer back down the way anyway. [[What can you see?->Memory lane]]
You can stay here for as long as you want, looking back and getting nowhere new. Or maybe you want to go somewhere, see something new. Onward, [[forward]].You keep down the road, straight and narrow.Double-click this passage to edit it.A one-way street. The light is strongest nearest where you stand, fading out to darkness the further back you look. [Familiar houses]<homes| line the laneside. Interspersed between them are [familiar buildings]<ohtheplacesyouknow|.
(click: ?homes)[(replace: ?homes)[The homes of your neighbors- current, old, or only half-forgotten-]]
(click: ?ohtheplacesyouknow)[(replace:?ohtheplacesyouknow)[your old office building, your old school, the park you used to visit on summer afternoons]]
You're tempted to walk back, look at them more closely. To sit on the rickety old swingset, or knock on your parents' door and tell them (what?)
...Instead, you read the roadsign: ''Do not enter. Go Back''
[[Jump the barrier->go down the lane]]
[[Stay and think]]
[[Go check the time->XII]]Screw the sign. You came up this way just a moment ago: how much could have changed in just a moment?
Looking around and forward (backward?) yet, you don't see any roadwork. The lane, in fact, is empty here tonight: just yourself, the darkened buildings, the silhouettes of memories. Maybe there's nothing else to see.
[[Go back to where you started->XII]]
[[Continue your stroll.]]You sit in the empty street, legs crossed, thinking. Reflecting, maybe. That's your call.
It's nice to hit pause and just gather your thoughts sometimes. You can spend who-knows-how-long in your own head.
But do be sure you [[mind the time.->XII]]You've seen no other cars out here tonight, but just in case, you make your way onto the sidewalk. Walk the same-old line over the same-old cracks, familiar beneath your feet.
The terrain you're walking changes several times without your notice. Your eyes look everywhere but the ground.
[[What do you see?]]Everything around you is translucent. The buildings past and on the pass are walls around your memories. You can look straight through them, now, and you can see right in.
The lobby is as grey as the outside, dimly lit and bland. And there's no ticket line: at least this theater doesn't waste your time (mouseover:"waste your time")[(~~although maybe you are~~)].
A faceless usher spots you instantly. It shows you to the only seat, which you take. The moment after, [[the show begins->what's playing]].
Or maybe not, on second thought. This sounds like a rerun, and you've got better things to see here.
You came out to see something ''new'', didn't you? [[The clock. You're here for the clock.->run back]]This moment- now; the one you're in- can only last so long. You don't want to waste your ''[[here->XII]] and now'' caught up in ''back then''.Double-click this passage to edit it.Silhouettes play out the scenes before you.
You know the scene already, but still it manages to catch you by surprise. Perhaps you expected to watch last night's adventures. Or wanted to see your triumphs and joys kept separate from your trials.
[[Memory->flashbacks]] is never that kind.Every rejection.
Ever heard word.
Every time you fell just short of perfect-
-and when you absolutely missed the mark.
[[The moment you felt most powerless...->then]]When did that moment end?
Or did it ever?
[[You don't remember.]]
//Of course it did,// you tell yourself. No matter how sharp the instant's blade, the pain subsides into the next. Time keeps passing. [[(The pendulum swings to next endlessly...)->Where am I?]]
And all its hurts will scab over eventually. You almost forget the scars are there, now. Almost.
Until the edge comes back, dull-pointed, and [[makes you bleed]] again.//I'm here to see Great Grandfather.//
[[Return to the road.]]Onstage, the actors keep replaying the final scene, like a video on loop, twisting and twisting the knife in you.
You cannot take it.
[["STOP!"]] You shout. There are clock towers, sure, but Great Grandfather is more of a clock monument. Legend says it's been keeping time for as long as there's been time to keep, never a second slow or a second fast.
It's always been a popular pilgrimage spot.
[[check the time]] Double-click this passage to edit it.It is (current-time:).With its four grey slab walls and pitch-black windows, the building recedes into the surrounding dark. It would be invisible without the glow of its two dim spotlights.
The lights reveal a likely once-grand stairway, gone to dust, leading up to the front entrance. Above it hangs a printed banner: ''The Theater of Your Life''. (//Never seen a theater look so much like a prison,// you think.)
A poster, there below, reads, ''Still showing Last Night's Show''.
[[Enter the theater]]
[[Keep going]]The faceless actors freeze midscene, and turn their heads your way. They seem to be waiting for instruction.
It takes you a while, and a lot of self-reflection, to tell them what to fix about the scene. What they're doing wrong. What you should've done right. And each new version still feels off. You feel no closer to the truth than you were back then.
But it doesn't matter.
You have eternity to get it right. Play everything out again
And [[again]]As long as it takes to get it right.You blink once, clearing away the haze of retrospect. Right now you're standing in the middle of an empty lane. No homes, no parks, no theaters: nothing but sidewalks and trees close you in. That, and a grate blocking off the road ahead.
There's a sign on the grate:''Do not enter''.
[[This time->XII]] you're taking the advice.