Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: A Day To Remember
By James Dixon
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He gained great satisfaction by keeping the family affairs in order. Ages were simple enough. Stone followed by bronze and iron in turn. The industrial age was one of rapid advancement when clockwork was perfected. It could be argued that the silicon age was something of a backward step as it used flint as a raw material but the computer chip kept good time.
Making sense of historical periods was much more difficult, especially when humanity was added to the equation. The rise and fall of empires complicated things because humans kept changing and interfering with the flow of events. Ideas were less fixed and dependable than materials. Unfortunately people had conflicting opinions about what was a good or bad time and this seemed to rub off on individual days.
Good Old Days constantly grumbled about modern times whilst the most recent days accused the Glory Days of being old fashioned. Ironically it only took a few decades before they took their place with the elders to chide the latest fads. Most periods had their fair share of high days, low days, red-letter days, washing days, birthdays and anniversaries. There were duvet days that wouldn’t get out of bed, snow days that weren’t going anywhere and Saturdays that wouldn’t get off the sofa. But there was progress by and large; that progress assisted with the marshalling of the expanding Time family. Nothing represented progress better than Chronos’ vast collection of timepieces ranging from the hour glass (which was reliable as long as it was turned over regularly), to the atomic clock (an impressively accurate piece of engineering but too cumbersome to fit on a wrist).
There came a time when Chronos noted a sea change. It was hard as the Halcyon Days to pin down exactly when this was. It could have been when seven successive feeble days arrived that made one weak or when a month of Sundays rushed by screaming “Never!”
There was a definite increase in gloomy days, ominous days and days that shook the world. These days became characterised by disaster, strife and conflict as though the barrel was being drained. These days increased in frequency until they became an unrelenting procession. They were accompanied by wars, famine, disease, death and general suffering. There was absolutely no contribution to the art of horology at all. Chronos felt like ripping his beard out with frustration and resorted to shutting them in a hall in the far end of the most modern wing of the house, all by themselves. They formed a gang, fighting, writing graffiti on the walls and generally disturbing the accustomed chronological order of the house. Whatever could be happening? What was the trend?
Finally, there came a day even worse than the others, so dark that the sun was blotted out and the stars blacked from the sky. Chronos found himself relying on an illuminated digital watch, of all things, to keep his bearings. The day was so evil that the humans were at a loss and rued the day that they were born. The day chaffed at its place, spat with resentment, resisted entry into the House of Passed Time. Chronos fought to restrain it, to temper it to settle it but to no avail. It was all he could do to barricade it with the other disruptive days in newest corridor. “What could possibly follow this?” he asked himself.
Chronos glanced at the digital chronometer; it still said 12:00, as did the stately line of grandfather clocks along the corridor and his radio alarm clock. Nothing ticked or tocked. Even the atomic clock had stopped. Time stood still. There was no sign of the sun or the moon and not a star to be seen.
“I should have known” he muttered to himself “the Last Day”. For the first time ever Chronos had time on his hands, or rather nothing to do.
Chronos waited…Until a glorious host of angels and the greatest and least of people- even the ones that time forgot- approached. There could be no doubt about who the host accompanied. He bowed his knee. The Ancient of Days had arrived.
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