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The Last of the Magi

Robby Sparks is an electrical engineer, writer, and filmmaker. His short fiction has appeared in Apex Magazine and can currently be found in the Harlan County Horrors, Dark Futures, and Harvest Hill anthologies. Robby would like to thank his wife, Misty, for dreaming with him and, most of all, inspiring him.
With steady hands, the watchmaker inserted the tiny cog into the back of the timepiece. Clocks of various shapes and sizes occupied the workshop around him. Outside, the winter storm blew.
Amidst the cacophony of ticks and tocks, the occasional chime and bell, came a knock at the cottage door. The watchmaker paid it no mind, but continued to work with unyielding concentration on his most intricate design. Meanwhile, a cold draft gusted in as the door opened and a tall, heavy stranger, wrapped in burlap and furs, hunched down to enter. Snow dusted his clothes. Ice clung to his lashes and beard.
"Are you not the Mage?" the stranger asked. "The Wise Man from yore?"
Without glance or concern, the watchmaker spoke. "If that were so, I would be ancient and older than Christ himself."
"Some beings do not age," the bearded stranger replied. "Some have mastered the secrets of time."
Behind concentric lenses of magnified spectacles, the watchmaker's eyes glistened. His pointy ears perked. Winding the spring to his new piece, he grinned. "Then perhaps I am."
As the hands of the watch roused to life, the snow falling outside slowed until it did not fall at all, but hung as individual flakes suspended in flight. Likewise, every ticking clock in the shop ceased to a soundless halt, frozen at the very second the new timepiece had begun.
The stranger laughed heartily, his belly shaking in wondrous delight. "Then we shall do it--all in one night!"
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

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