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  • Writer's pictureAmr Abbas

Turn Back the Clock

Night had fallen all of a sudden, and all around me, the world had dimmed out. There was no logic to what had just happened. One moment, it was just half an hour past midday, the other, it was half an hour past midnight. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck bristle as did those on my arms. It was cold and quiet, perhaps too much of both.

How curious!

In my hand lay the pocket watch I had just found at the second-hand store. I was sitting by the bus stop as I fiddled with the antique and adjusted the arms of the watch. When I looked behind me, I saw the old man who had sold me the gold-lined pocket watch. He saw me and a smile crept on his lips. I can only assume that he was closing shop by that time. He walked to me and placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Among all the other antiques, that one chose you for a reason.” He said in a deep voice before patting my shoulder and walking away.

I had no idea!

The words rang in my ear as I watched the old man walk down the street. I glanced at the pocket watch once again then, I looked back to where he was and he was no longer there. Like a ghost of the past he disappeared into the night. At that moment, I began to fiddle again with the pocket watch. This time I continued to fiddle with the arms of the watch but I focused around. As they moved clockwise, the sun seemed to hastily rise up, but what was most curious was the movement of the birds in the twilight. Flocks of birds seemed to race up in the sky in uncanny manners; fluttering their wings so fast that I could barely capture them with my naked eye. However, as soon as I began to move the arms anti-clockwise the most curious thing happened. The birds began moving backwards. I immediately released the small knob and kept an eye on the birds that began flying naturally in the sky.

My curiosity had reached its peak. I turned the time backwards to the moment I had sat on the bench. As I had reached the moment when I sat on the bench, I realized that the possibilities were vast. My mind raced a hundred miles per hour and the things I thought about started from preventing World War II to saving the Titanic. I sat on the bench for hours until nightfall.

The day had ended.

Suddenly, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder. I looked up and it was the shopkeeper who greeted me with a smile, “I told you, this one chose you for a reason.” He spoke with a warm smile curving his lips, but as I looked into his eyes, I knew that they reminded me of another’s. They reminded me of my own eyes. He nodded and walked off into the night. From his pocket, I saw a silver chain hanging, it was not unlike the one attached to the pocket watch I had in hand.

Perhaps, even if I could turn back time, the outcome would always be the same.


Written by Amr Abbas.

Cover photo by Andrik Langfield.


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