When the Clock Chimes

Prompt: Living is simple when love isn't broke You can fix anything with a kiss If it gets any sweeter than this, I don't wanna know ~ Katie Herzig, "Sweeter than This" ~ Hmm, how about him going back when he still remembers her? by pygmymuse. Who Me? Out of Prompts?

So I wasn’t expecting this experiment that he does so often to show up until after the next story (also prompted by pygmymuse), but it did. Hope you like it!

Liana Mir

Liana Mir reads, writes, and wrangles the muses from her mundane home in the Colorado Rockies and, occasionally, from the other side of the Barrier.

Series Listing

-02 yr. 02 mo.

Of Memory and Making

00 yr. 03 mo.

Remembering Lena

00 yr. 05 mo.

Winter Rose

00 yr. 06 mo.

Late Return

00 yr. 06 mo.

When the Clock Chimes


Once Upon a Time

When the Clock Chimes

Forty-eight hours but it wasn't time to sleep.

It was Wednesday, the day after forgetting day, but Wesley wanted to remember and see if what he thought he saw was real.

00 yr. 06 mo.
Seven Days Fantasy Romance
Flash Fiction Short Story

48 Hours

The workday was finally over at seven in the evening when it was normally Wesley Bryn’s day off. He walked in, still blinking from the fast-fading sunlight that still seemed overbright. He had taken off Monday and slept during most of the day, waking up before that ephemeral cut-off time, that moment when all was lost and all was changed, then stayed up since.

Wesley blinked at the answering machine on his kitchen counter just inside the door. It was blinking back at him. One wink, two winks, three winks. A long pause, then the pattern repeated. Three messages.

He took a deep breath. He remembered. Forty-eight hours and weariness had etched itself deep into his limbs. His eyelids begged to droop. His feet almost began the path toward his bedroom unbidden, but Wesley glanced about his living room, his small apartment, the lifetime worth of mementos and memories hung about the walls and framed on tabletops and worked into the smallest and largest aspects of his environment. He was master of himself, his fate, his life. Despite his family who loved him, his twin who treated him as close as any twin could ever be, Wesley chose to live alone. He would not give up this trial now.

He reached over and pressed the button on the machine, listened, and idly picked up a nearby object from the countertop, stopping only once he realized what it was.

A fine hardcover—hand-sewn, full-bound—lay open in his hand, his thumb stopped over the address stamped at the bottom of a blue floral bookplate, under the handwritten name, ‘Lena.’ A classic book. She liked classics, Wesley thought to himself, considering back over the titles in his journal. She liked it when he came back to see her and smiled with that bright smile that said, ‘I almost thought you would forget me.’ And he did forget her. Every. single. time.

He sighed and turned off the machine—having not heard a word of the messages it played—and forced his weary feet to move back again the way he had come, out instead of in, and took his jacket as he went.

It was walking distance to Pretty Things, perhaps the reason he had first been drawn to walk in the glass door under the tinkling bell, listen to the chime of it and the chime of Lena’s laughter when she spoke to another customer or hummed gently to the tea in the kettle. Reading over his journal occupied him through the long Tuesday night spent trying to staying awake, and reminded him of meetings he still had no recollection of, the significance of a pressed red rose framed over poetry on the wall.

It should bother him that he did not remember the rose, but somehow it seemed enough that she did.

Evening crowded along the busy streets and the last bright shades of sunlight winked brighter promise than they could afford to deliver on. Wesley let the crowd of walkers down sidewalks—families out with their strollers, couples walking together, a street singer crooning her lullaby to the city and the passersby who listened—engulf him until it released him again before the little bookshop with its knicknacks and pictures and prints and crumpets and pretty things.

He took a deeper breath than a returned book ought to warrant and walked in.

The woman behind the counter wasn’t Lena. She looked up, she smiled, but the smile wasn’t sweet and shy like Lena’s. “You’re Wesley, aren’t you?” she asked, and he stood confounded in the door.

He cocked his head and answered very, very slowly, “Do I know you?” It bothered him, this unexpected dilemma.

The girl shook her head and she laughed. “No, no. I’m Angelita. Let me get Lena for you.” She stepped away from the small register and slipped into the back area he could not see.

Wesley took the opportunity to breathe again, hope that he wasn’t so wrong with his one memory of last Wednesday, with thoughts and impressions borrowed from journals and her penciled thoughts in the margins of his book.

Lena appeared out of the back, a petite little thing, shorter than his shoulder, with waist-length honey-brown hair and the sweet, shy smile he remembered. “I thought you wouldn’t make it,” she breathed, reproachful but reserved, trying to be playful when she sounded worried like his mother.

He came forward apologetically and handed her the book. “I had work today.” She was beautiful as he remembered and he wondered why this life of his couldn’t be simple, why he couldn’t come in tomorrow and see her and remember and ask her out like his brother could or home to meet his parents.

“Oh.” She took the book and looked up at him for a long moment, standing a little on her tiptoes. That quizzical look, perhaps trying to read some significance into the statement. “We’re closing soon, but did you want to stay a little, pick another book?” Her heels came down and she glanced down to work out the bookplate and add it to the file.

He stared at her, tried to find the words to say, this will never work, I shouldn’t have tried to see if it would, it will never be fair to you.

“Say yes already!” Angelita’s voice called from the back. “Don’t make me endure another day like today!”

“Shush!” Lena blushed rose-red, mortified expression. She hurried to put the book back on the shelf, embarrassment in every gesture.

Wesley watched her and wanted to tell her everything, that every Monday he went to sleep remembering, that every Tuesday he woke in a brand new world. Instead, he answered quietly, slowly, helplessly, “Yes.”

He needed to get home to journal his day before he slept but there was next week, always next week.


Seven Days Fantasy Romance

If you liked this story, you may also like Remembering Lena. Please consider sharing this story or tipping the author at left.

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5 Responses to When the Clock Chimes

  1. Rabia says:

    So sad and sweet. Loving these stories. Wishing it would work out for Wesley and Lena.

    • Liana says:

      It will, but I'm trying pretty hard not to skip ahead too far. I'm glad you're liking them. I do need to get around to writing the next story, the one where she finally finds out about all this.

  2. Pingback: The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 4 Number 37 | Friday Flash

  3. This chokes me up.

    Thankyou for sharing


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