So, I entered this contest over on deviantART a while back. While working on my entry I ended up creating a whole world and have since started yet another story. This one is about Liam McBane: Finder of Mystical Stuff, Helper of Magical Things, Protector of Those Who Pay Him, Destroyer of Those Who Piss Him Off, Practically-Slave of the Old Man (otherwise known as Ruler of the Old World), and pencil pusher by day. Oh, and he has a pet dragon. And hangs out with an angel (though not by choice). So, um, yeah. That's what came out of one picture (more specifically, the picture that I made my icon out of).
Anyway, in addition to the blog group thing, I also joined a creative writing blog group thing. Our first challenge was to write a piece involving
- a blue car
- a clock
- a man named Zach
- the time of 2:00 - am or pm, you decide
And thus, the first part of my new story was written. So, here it is. It might not make a whole lot of sense since it will eventually be a section of a much larger piece. Because of that, I've put some notes at the end to clarify some things. Anyway, here it is.
Title: The Clock
Wold: Liam McBane
Characters/couples: Liam, Zach, the Clock
Liam looked down at the paper in his hand. Zach. Oak and Pine. 2:00am. He sighed and looked at his watch. 1:50. Ten minutes. He sighed, looked to the left, looked to the right, cradled his head in his hands, and crumpled the paper.
A chirp beside him called his attention. He glanced through his fingers at the thing sitting on the passenger seat of the car. Oh, God. It was awake.
The tiny bird cocked its head to the side, emerald eyes glittering in the light of the streetlamp. The small diamond feathers plumped up and the bird let out another trill. Laughter. The damn bird was laughing.
Liam wrinkled his nose and glared at the bird. “So glad I can amuse.” He ran hands down his face and sighed again. “What am I doing here?”
“Waiting for me, I presume.” The voice from the backseat sent Liam jolting forward, whacking his forehead on the window.
The chirping beside him floated through the ringing in his ears and Liam glared at the bird again before turning to look behind him. The man there looked mostly human. He had silky straight black hair, bright green eyes, olive skin. Five fingers, two ears, two eyes, one mouth. His nose was a bit hooked, but still normal enough. The large feathered wings that were somehow crammed into the back of the old blue Volvo, however, were not.
“Who the hell are you?” Liam let his hand rest on the gun at his side. Not that the bullets would do anything to the creature (Angel, a part of his mind said), but they might provide enough of a distraction for an escape.
The creature (angel) raised one perfectly arched eyebrow. “Can’t you read your little paper there? You’re waiting for Zach, aren’t you?”
“You’re Zach?” Liam stared in shock. Sure, he hadn’t expected someone normal to meet him, but he sure as hell wasn’t expecting a fucking angel. Didn’t they have better things to do than run errands?
“My schedule’s actually quite free right now.” The angel smiled. Liam started and it tapped the side of its head. “You do project rather loudly Mr McBane.”
Liam glared and snapped his head away from the angel’s gaze. “You never answered the question. Are you Zach?”
A laugh. “I’ve been known to go by that name. Now, are you going to give me the clock?”
“And why would I just hand it over?” Liam looked down at the bird. The small clock embedded in its chest ticked slowly, matching the dull throb in his head. The bird let out another laugh-trill and twitched its head between Liam and Zach. A flutter of diamonds brought it up to Liam’s shoulder. It nipped at his ear and settled into the crook of his neck.
Zach smiled (and were those fangs he saw?). “It does seem to like you. However, the Clock cannot stay out here. It must be returned to the Keeper.” He nodded to the slowly ticking hands. “It’s already winding down. Do you really want to be responsible for the destruction of the universe?”
“Yeah,” Liam glanced sideways at the clock. “You know, the whole ‘let the clock run down and destroy the world’ thing would have been nice to know before the old man gave it to me. Could have avoided a lot of trouble that way.”
“You should have taken it to the Keeper right away.” Zach’s smile started to slip. “Had you done as you were supposed to, your house would still be in one piece.”
Liam scowled. Like he needed to be reminded that he had a fucking canyon running through his kitchen. “And if the Keeper had been home I would have passed it over. But he wasn’t. So don’t blame me for your screw up!”
Zach raised his hands in surrender (does he have claws?) and pouted. “Now, now. No need to get excited. The Keeper does have other duties. You can’t expect him to just sit around waiting for you.”
“Of course I can! I was told to take it to him, I took it. He wasn’t there. Was I supposed to just leave it there? I did the best I could. If that meant taking the bird home, so be it!” Liam grabbed (gently) the bird from his shoulder. “Now take this thing back where it belongs and wind it up before it tries to destroy the world. Again.”
Zach reached out for the bird, snatching his hand back when it snapped at him. A hurt look crossed his face as the bird twittered angrily at him. “It seems it would rather stay with you.” He smiled and withdrew his hand.
Liam closed his eyes in frustration and growled. “Just take. The damn. Bird.”
Zach shook his head. “The Clock cannot be removed from its chosen protector.”
“What?” Liam stared at the bird in his hand. “What ‘chosen protector’? I’m no ‘chosen protector’. Just take damn thing and let’s be done with it.”
Another shake of the angel’s head. “Were I to force it away, the Clock would stop.”
Liam forced himself to not drop the bird. “Look, what am I supposed to do with it? I can’t wind it and if I can’t wind it it’ll stop and if it stops the world ends. I’d really rather avoid that outcome. So take the bird back and let me go home to bed. I have a real job that I have to be at in,” he checked his watch. “Three hours.”
“You’re in luck then.” Zach reached a (clawed) hand into his coat pocket. “I happen to have the Key right here.” He drew out an ornate winding key made of diamond. The bird twittered happily and reached out to grab it in its beak.
Liam eyed the key sceptically. “You can’t really expect me-”
“Of course I do. I wouldn’t have brought it if I otherwise.”
“And I suppose trying to take the thing was just a joke.”
“Well, I couldn’t know for sure that the Clock wished to stay here. For all I knew you were actually planning on destroying the world. Now here,” Zach plucked out a strand of black hair and strung it through the head of the key, still in the bird’s mouth. Liam just sat in shock as the angel leaned in and tied the hair around his neck.
The bird’s curious chirp shook Liam out of his daze. “The hell?” He tugged on the key, but the hair held strong. “Get this thing off me!”
Zach laughed. “I’m afraid you won’t get out of your duties that easily. Don’t worry. I’ll come check up on you soon.” His body vanished without a sound. Not even a flash of light or shadow or anything to single a proper teleportation.
Liam looked at the three white feathers left on his back seat. He looked at the bird still in his hand. The bird looked at him, wiggled out of his fist, and scurried up his arm, settling back into the crook of his neck. It pecked playfully at the key hanging in the hollow of his throat.
Liam turned back around to face the road. He sighed and glanced at the bird out of the corner of his eye. “What’re you so happy about?” It let out yet another chirp and nudged his cheek. “Yeah, yeah.” He turned the key in the ignition and the old Volvo grumbled awake. He pulled away from the curb and pointed the car towards home.
Halfway down the street his phone rang. He unclipped it from his belt and, careful to not disturb the bird, answered. “Yeah?”
“Liam?” The old man’s voice crackled over the phone. “I have a box here that you need to take to the Keeper.”
Liam sighed, stopped the car, closed his eyes, and hit his head against the wheel.
And now, for the notes.
1. The bird is indeed a clock. If it stops, the world ends. Simple as that. One of the Keeper's jobs is to wind the Clock so that it doesn't stop. Liam having the Key means that that's his job now.
2. The old man is basically Liam's boss (for magical stuff at least). He sends poor Liam out to save people (and creatures), make deliveries and pick-ups, meet people (and creatures), and generally do whatever he says. The old man's also a god. Yeah.
3.Magic isn't normal in this world. Liam accidentally stumbled onto it when he was a kid and has been called on to help ever since. Why he's so special is something that I can't say right now.
4. Zach would be that angel I mentioned above. He likes Liam. Liam doesn't always like him.