Laying in the bath, her face submerged, the world was quiet. Rosie held her breath for a while, enjoyed the sensation. Hearing but not hearing the world outside. Rising from the water, her face prickled, hot and fresh. She should get out, see to the little ones, she was in charge after all. Stepping from the tub, droplets followed her across the room. With a towel wrapped around her, she made her way downstairs. An unnatural silence loomed, there should be chatter, laughter, instead nothing.

Entering the front room she was greeted with absence, no children, just toys strewn across the floor. Looking into the kitchen the back door was open, she must have forgotten to lock it. They had got out and her parents should be home soon. This meant trouble for sure, especially after last time. She stepped into the garden, the grass cold on her bare feet. There was nobody there, the door swung in a breeze, they couldn’t just disappear. Not two of them, not at the same time. She headed back inside, a wrenching in her gut. Rushing through the house she stumbled on a scooter, fell her head flat on the floor. Tears began to form, where were they?

A heaving in her chest and a rasp in her throat she sat and screamed their names. Screamed until her voice was horse. Tearing through the toy box, hoping for a sign, a clue to where they might be. She scrambled up the stairs, two, three at a time. They must be somewhere. Back in the bathroom she slipped on the floor, sitting in a soggy towel she felt the fool she looked. Slowly getting up again she headed down the hall, pushed open the door to their room. Stifling a laugh she sighed, they were here after all. Crashed out in their bed, still fully clothed.

She gently got them changed, tucked them back in and then collapsed on their floor. Too much strain, too much worry for a fourteen year old. She didn’t know if she could keep doing this. Her parents had to come home at some point, they just had to.

Cogs of Time

The cogs turned, each one moving in motion with the other, a well-worn rhythm treaded out in time. They had been there for years, turning the great wheel, the wheel that controlled all of time. The old cog man had been let go from his position, obsolete from the world. This would be his last movement, he stood on the platform above the cogs, heard the grinding, the heavy whirring of machinery. Climbing over the rail, he let go with his hands and fell through the air. The metal broke his fall, broke him, broke everything. Time stood still.