Field of Time
Heavy fog crept into a park, swirling around rusty swings and picnic tables made of rotting wood. Though dark clouds loomed over the landscape, an old man sat on a bench as he always did at this time of day, his cane leaning against his leg.
Once upon a time, he had come here with another. Equipped with a bag of seeds and berries, they would lovingly feed the local murder of crows together. But now, he was utterly alone. He had nothing but the crows, hopping through the fog to keep him company.
Their flapping wings sent billows of fog into the air as the younger of the bunch squabbled over who got the food first.
“I remember when your parents would do the same thing,” the man said with a smile, his tired voice barely reaching over their caws. “Oh, where has the time gone…”
He leaned back against the bench and let his eyes droop shut. He dreamt of a golden pocket watch, swinging in a fog filled void. It pushed the fog this way and that, just like the crows in the park. But it wasn’t long before it lost momentum. The swinging stopped, yet the fog still swirled.
Time spilled out of the watch, the color of summer leaves in the sunlight. It and the fog melded together, and flew away from the void.
They found the field of used time, guarded by a vigilant flock of crows. Countless other clouds of fog showed the past.
A teacher, rushing to submit grades before the quarter ended.
A young student, sprinting in vain to catch their departing bus.
And an old man, surrounded by crows. His cane had been pushed to the ground, and an old crow had taken its place resting on his leg.
The guardians watched this memory with care, and soon came to a decision.
With great gusts of wind from their shining wings, they sent the fog away from their field. Back to the watch it went, and the swinging began again.
And the old man woke up, surrounded by his crows.