Just so I don’t feel like I’m neglecting this place, a brief excerpt from some writing I did yesterday. The villains of my piece are starting to shape up a bit.
Kenneth took another look at the man. He was an older gentleman, with a nose that seemed too small for his long, wrinkled face. He had bushy, grey eyebrows. Oddest of all, he had very little hair, just patches on the sides of his head. He dressed all in black, with a high collar. In his lap he held a briefcase, on top of which he placed a bulging leather bag. He folded his bony hands across the bag. This was clearly the strange man Kelly had been so worried about yesterday.
“What’s your deal, mister?” Kenneth demanded.
The old man turned his gaze on the boy. His eyes narrowed and Kenneth immediately regretted speaking up. Then the man relaxed suddenly.
“What have you got there?” The man’s voice was deep, with a hint of a strange guttural accent that Kenneth had never heard. The stranger snatched the watch out of Kenneth’s hands. Kenneth almost fought him, but there was a dark glint in the stranger’s eyes that cowed him into submission.
The stranger turned the watch over in his hands. His fingers traced the intricate, stained etchings. He pried open the cover and squinted at the face. He muttered beneath his breath, but Kenneth couldn’t make out the words. The stranger rummaged in his bag a moment and withdrew a small screwdriver. The boy found his courage.
“Hey, what are you doing?” he asked. “That was my dad’s! He was a hero!”
“Of that I’ve no doubt, boy,” the stranger said. “This is his blood, hmm?” Kenneth’s gut clenched, and he fought back tears. The stranger popped open the back of the watch and peered within.
“You see, boy,” the stranger said, “human beings are not so different from this watch. Everything in our lives is not really so different from this watch. We tick. We tock. We have little gears that must turn with perfect precision to keep us working.” He prodded the mysterious inner workings of the clock with his screwdriver for a moment, then turned it so that Kenneth could look within. A pair of gears, discolored by dark stains, had been jarred out of place. The stranger scraped at them with his screwdriver, and the stain flaked off. “And the blood of heroes can hold us all back.” Once the gears were mostly clean, he pushed them back into their proper position. He closed up the back panel and handed the watch over to Kenneth.
Kenneth glared at the stranger a moment, then cautiously wound the watch. It began to tick, and the hands on the face lurched into motion. Kenneth scraped at the stain with his thumbnail.