The Day I Stopped Time
I burned all the clocks. Stripped the night of its day. Tossed the candles into the sea. In anticipation, Memory fortified its castle and lifted its drawbridge. Holding my breath, I dived into treacherous waters. Fought off sea monsters. Broke free from snakes coiling around my ankles. I swam and swam till I reached the other side of the moat. Walls as tall as giants stood in front of me. I thundered. The rain came. It corroded the enemy’s defence. The walls started crumbling. I leapt over. Unshackled the door.
The castle was empty, except for a bronze mirror lying on the ground. This was not what I’d expected. I had imagined Regret to be bound to a chair, with a cloth stuffed in his mouth, guarded by fire-spitting dragons too eager to devour him. I would be slaying those beasts with swords crafted by Peace, her royal highness who lived in The Present. She’d entrusted me with the mission of rescuing Regret. I told her that she was magnanimous to save her enemy. She said that Regret was in his twilight years. It was time to forgive and take him home to his family.
As I turned to go, I heard Intuition’s voice. Intuition lived in my pocket. She was rarely awake but when she was, she could be trusted to sense traps and spot red flags.
The mirror! She cried. The mirror!
I walked to the centre of the room. Bent over to pick up the mirror. It was much heavier than it looked. The glass was caked with dust that I blew away in one breath. I gazed into it.
I saw a face worn with creases, unshaven, with bloodshot eyes. He looked a lot like Regret with his downturned mouth and bushy eyebrows. I frowned, trying to remember who he was, where I had last seen him. The face in the mirror frowned too. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. The man in the mirror rubbed his eyes too. I gasped. The mouth in the mirror opened too. It was then that I realised who I was. I was Regret’s twin brother – Guilt.