“Chapter 3: A Stubborn Watch”

Emilia finished reading the letter. She sat on the chair, breathing heavily. Tears were running down her eyes, yet it was not sadness that she felt. It was something inexplicable, something unknown to her. Hugh and Max Petersteel knew each other. They had discovered something together. And she never knew.

He kept secrets from her. What else was she unaware of? What else did he take to the grave with him? Max wrote that she would find out, once she put on whatever was in that black box. She turned and faced Aru, who was staring at her with a strange look, as though he was expecting her to do something.

“Well, here we go, Aru” she whispered and opened the small box.

A jet-black digital watch was inside, resting on a small velvet pillow of the same color. It had four tiny silver buttons, placed on each corner of the rectangular screen. She took it and raised it up, half expecting something to be revealed by the light that came from the window. Nothing happened. The only thing the screen was displaying, was the time: 11:34.

“OK… a watch. Huh!” she murmured sarcastically. Yet, something inside her was urging Emilia to put it on. She decided to follow her instincts, as she had always done. And then, something really odd happened.

The screen turned red, and instead of the time, it was now displaying a series of seemingly random numbers. After a few seconds, the following appeared on-screen:

“User: Emilia Rena Day.

Age: 28. Status: Alive. Number of Uses: 0”

“What the…?” she gasped, as the screen changed again, this time taking a light-blue color. A small, round ‘button’ appeared on the screen, and a robotic voice came from the watch, making Emilia jump.

“Welcome, user Emilia. Press this button to unlock your options” the watch said.

Emilia panicked.  How the hell did the watch know who she was? What ‘uses’? What ‘options’? Was Petersteel leading her to a trap? Was he using her as a scapegoat? She tried to take the watch off, but much to her horror, it would not be unfastened.

“Son of a bitch!” Emilia cried as she kept pulling on the strap. It stubbornly refused to be removed. Emilia let out a sigh. Still angry and fearful, she pressed on the button.

“This better be over soon, Petersteel” she said.

“Welcome, Emilia Day. In order to move back, speak ‘Back’ and the desired date and time. To move forward, speak ‘Forward’ and the desired date and time. To save a checkpoint, speak ‘Checkpoint’. To delete all information, speak ‘Delete All’.”

If she was puzzled before, now she was outright dumbstruck. What was this wretched watch talking about? ‘Back’ and ‘Forward’… to where? What in the name of God was going on?

“How about you go to Hell?” she said, moving the watch closer to her mouth.

The screen turned green and the words ‘NOW LOADING’ appeared over a fast-moving bar. A few seconds passed and the screen turned light-blue again.

“Command not processed. Reason: failed to input date and time” the robotic voice said.

“Screw you, in five minutes” she said, enraged. She looked up, only to see Aru scratching his ears with his hind legs. The dog was not paying attention. Suddenly, a ring resonated inside her head. Petersteel said she should use it to find answers. And she knew he was there yesterday… and the watch’s options were ‘Back’, ‘Forward’…

“Holy shit! This thing is a time machine!”

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