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.

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    1 year ago

    So much description in this writing! From the fog creeping into the park to time spilling out of the watch, the mood created by the writer has the reader holding her breath. The watch swinging in the fog, then losing momentum, and “the field of used time” are wonderfully descriptive. The use of the collective noun “murder of crows” was a nice touch.  And by the way, the picture was amazing!

    1 year ago

    What an amazing story, Mae. Very surreal, very descriptive – haunting, strange, eerie, but somehow life-affirming. I see you love collective nouns just as I do – a murder of crows is one of my favorites! You are a very talented writer. I see that you are still in high school. I look for great things from you as you hone your skills. You’re in the right place for that!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Mae, I enjoyed your atmospheric writing and your clever use not only of the fog but the pocket watch.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Wow. I enjoy it too, Mae. Great story, and a good description. You are a very good writer at a young age. Hopefully, with the help of the Voice club, your talent will be further developed. Excellent.

    Sandra OReilly
    Sandra OReilly(@sandra-oreilly)
    1 year ago

    This is so atmospheric and a little creepy. I love the idea that the crows are such a major part of the story – well done.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    1 year ago

    The opening, accompanied by the perfect picture, is very suggestive and strong, Mae. I love the way you have painted the ambiance with the fog-filled playground, the crows, and the old man with his memories and thoughts.

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    1 year ago

    Mae, when your protagonist asked, “Oh, where has the time gone…”, I thought it was very relatable. The fog and the crows and the sudden appearance of the watch gave such an eerie feel to the story, but kept me intrigued. I would love to read more! Well done.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    Another very interesting story from you Mae, I love the idea of Guardians looking through memories and that they allowed the old man to relive his memory surrounded by his crows. Just one query, should it have been a ‘vigilant’ flock of crows rather than ‘vigilante’? Great story.

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