My grandpa always seemed to get more out of his day than anyone else I knew. If a project took 10 hours, it would take him 7 hours, even 5 hours to get it done. He would hole away in his workshop, or wait til no one was in the house, and get numerous tasks done in record time. I used to ask him what the secret was, for I always ran out of time, and he would say “Hay now Grandpup, Gramps has gotta have some myst’ry ‘bout him!” I asked many times over the years and received variations of the same answer.
Then the day came when my Grandpa was dying, and I was devastated that my zippy Grandpa, who always had time for me, was going to be gone for good. He asked to talk to me alone, and of course I obliged him. I walk into the room and sit down by his bed. He smiles, grips my hand and pulls me close, “I want ta tell you ‘bout my secret now, but you gotta promise to breath this to no man.” Stunned, I listen as he whispers in my ear; listening to the one thing I’ve wanted to know my entire life.
“How is this possible?” I ask, sitting back in disbelief, but knowing that this was the only explanation for my Grandpa’s ability to manipulate time.
He shrugs, “Found it one day on a hike wit’ an ole friend.” He pulls a thick manila envelope from underneath his pillow, and hands it to me. It is thick, and light as a feather, with my nickname written on the front, “Grandpup”. “There’s a compass, a map, and a set of instructions, make sure ya follow everythin’ to the letter, you hear me Pup?”
I nod, not really understanding what I was agreeing to, but agreeing nonetheless.
“I’ll tell you one thing straight,” he said with sadness in his voice. “Remember my ole bud Chuck?”
I nod, urging him to go on.
“Well, let’s jus’ say we shared this secret, til he got greedy, and took more than he shoulda. I don’t know what happened ta him, but he just disappeared and didn’t come back. So when I say follow it ta the letter, I meant it.”
I start to ask him a question, when Grandma comes banging through the door, demanding that Grandpa needed some rest. “I need some time with ma man before the Good Lawrd takes him back,” she said, resting her hand on my shoulder and staring lovingly at her husband with tears in her eyes.
I swallow hard and nod. I lean forward to hug my Grandpa, and he whispers in my ear, “Remember to read everythin’ careful like. I love you Pup.” I tell him I love him too, and give my Grandma a quick hug, and walk out the room clutching the envelope with a heavy rock of sadness sitting in my chest.
Two hours later, the Good Lord took my Grandpa back home. The man, who made enough time for everyone, was gone.
After the funeral, I carried that sad rock in my chest for days, weeks, months and completely forgot about my Gramps’ secret and the envelope. One afternoon, I was sifting through some paperwork, attempting to finally shake the cobwebs out of my brain and move my life along until it felt normal again, when I come across that envelope. I sit down at my desk, rip it open and dump out the contents onto my desk. A wad of crisp, folded papers slide out, along with a battered compass and an old worn map. The front of the papers read Instructions and the map was of the huge wooded area that exists behind my Grandparents’ house, complete with coordinates marking a spot pretty far into the woods.
I read through the Instructions first. Ten pages of instructions that read like a list of rules and lessons learned, each marked by a number and the the date created. Grandpa had gone through many years to make such an in depth list.
The very next day, I put all the secret items in an old leather knapsack and start my trek for the spot on the map. After walking for a couple hours in the hot sun, I finally find the spot, with the coordinates dropping me right off at a natural made entrance into a huge copse of trees. It was so densely grown together that you couldn’t see through the trees at all. I pull out the Instructions, and reread some of it just so I wouldn’t forget what to do. Then, I take a deep breath, push aside the hanging vines and branches, and step into the darkness.
It is dark, the type of dark that comes out after the sun just disappears over the horizon, and I can barely see anything after being out in the bright sunlight. Waiting a moment to let my eyes adjust, I say “Tempus Continuum” as according to the Instructions, close my eyes, and wait a few minutes. When I open them, the grove had changed. Instead of being dark, the trees started to glow in different spots, and the spots almost look like eyes, glaring down at me in disapproval. All around the forest floor are pulsing spherical Orbs, with the faces of clocks counting off a myriad of hours, minutes and seconds. All of the Orbs were on their own timetables and had their own unique ticks and tocks.
A loud ringing goes off right at my feet, startling me out of my reverie. I look down at the noise and see an orb ringing and shaking like an alarm clock. After a moment, it makes a fizzling noise and seemed to die and dissolve into the ground. Not quite understanding, I hastily read the first 2 rules: #1, Handle with care; #2, Take only what you absolutely need, and no more. I open up my sack, and look around for the right Time-Orbs to take. There is an important work project that I had brought home yesterday morning and the due date is tonight, and I determined that 4 extra hours are required to finish it, meaning (according to the very helpful Instructions) that I would need to find 4 time orbs with 1 hour set on each of them. I find 4 one hour orbs, carefully load them into my sack, say “Tempus Continuum” backwards and watch the glowing and the ticking cease to a eerie silence. I start my journey home, eagerly wanting to test out my extra Time.
I get home and lock myself into the study, with apologies to my wife about having to work all night (just in case this didn’t work), and follow the Instructions: #3: Set all 4 Time-Orbs to the exact same time you want them to start, then place one in each of the four corners of the room you’re working in. Example, you work from 1-3pm, but need another 4 hours, you would set all the Orbs to start at exactly 3pm, and when 3pm starts, the Orbs will counting down one at a time, temporarily releasing you out of the Space-Time Grid (STG). #4, Be warned: DO NOT leave until your time is up. You could cause a rift, and let Unknown Entities (UEs) onto the STG.
I do everything as instructed, and then get to work.
Couple hours later, I join my wife on the couch for our favorite show.
She looks up at me with a smile, “You finished already? I thought you would be working all night?”
I lean forward and kiss her tenderly, pushing back the hair from her face. Looking into her eyes, I say “Babe, from this point on, I won’t let work get into the way of what’s really important, no matter what the reason.”
She smiles and snuggles up under my arm and we both settle in to watch the show. I send up a silent thanks to my dearly departed Grandpa, he could not have given me a better gift, than the Gift of more Time.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the happy Pup, he had ripped a small slit in the Grid. What Grandpa and the Instructions didn’t take into account, was that all the clocks in the Pup’s house ran 5 minutes fast, whereas no matter what, the Time-Orbs had to run on Atomic Time. So when he set the Orbs, he set them wrong. The bigger the time difference, the bigger the size of the rift: who ever causes the rift is responsible. Also, no matter what the size, releasing an Entity into the wrong Grid could be catastrophic.
A dog-sized creature, covered in fur and scales, silently pads out of the study, and creeps into the living room. It sees the back of the big soft mound, with two tall things sitting on it, staring at a glowing box on the wall and making funny noises towards each other. It doesn’t like the noises, and really doesn’t like the taller thing for some reason, so it quietly glides over to the couch and slides underneath it, abiding its time.