Click, click, click. The gears in the mahogany grandfather clock whirred and gurgled with each twist of the second hand. It was silent but loud in the empty corridor. Even with the fine, beautiful Persian and Turkish rugs scattered across the antique maple wood floors, the clicking sound was not dampened.
In a room down the corridor, in a small feather bed, lay a wizened old man. His eyes no longer saw as good as they used to. His brown hair had turned a cream white decades ago, but he could still hear the click and chime of the old mahogany grandfather clock.
“Grandpa! Grandpa!” a young, curly brunette haired, blue eyed girl ran into the room.
“Hello, Rosmerta! How … ar are you … to’today?” the grandfather stuttered.
“Rose! I go by Rose, but I’m great, Grandfather! Mommy said that you wanted to see me before my ballet recital!” The little girl joyfully twirled around in her tutu, the rhinestones on the dress throwing sparkles across the ceiling.
“I wanted to give you something for good luck, Rosie. You’ll do magnificently,” he beamed at her. She was his only grandchild, and he knew his time was short. He wanted to make sure, before his greedy bachelor of a son and his airhead of a daughter’s husband could ransack his house while he rotted on his deathbed, that she had some small part to remember of him.
“What is it?” she asked eagerly. Her eyes danced around the room and across his hands. He motioned to his bed side table. She flitted over to it to find a single silver pendant watch on a long chain. He watched her, his young grandchild, not even yet 15. She studied the engravings on the front and back lid. He had memorized it so well, after years of watching his great grandmother wear it, and his grandmother, and his mother. His wife had never been given the chance to wear it, for she had perished from the Spanish sickness before his mother died. His daughter…careless as she was, he did not trust with such an heirloom. He had played his hand well, in being granted the honor to name his granddaughter after his great-grandmother. They were the same in many ways. He imagined that they probably would have looked like sisters, if not like twins in their young years.
The watch glimmered. On the lid was engraved the head of a ram, and on the back a single feather. In the lid was an inscription, Dibe e debu nertos uediumi. “What does it mean?” Rose asked her grandfather. “It is a litany, to be uttered only when you are in the most dire of needs,” he croaked. “Great – grandma had this in her photo. I remember now. She always wore it. I thought…” she choked, “I thought she was buried with it.”
“No, it was not her will to take it with her to the afterlife, Rosie. This has been with our family for generations, longer than we dare to remember,” he told her. “It can’t be that old. They’ve only been making watches for what, two maybe three hundred years?” She was disbelieving.
“My child, they have been documented since at least the fifteenth century, though there may have been some developed before that. It is said that this was given to the progenitor of our family line many generations back as a gift of safe travel from Italy to England. The matriarch of the family was always in possession of the watch, and always told never to utter the words inscribed within unless dire need persists,” he entrusted her with the information, though he could see clouded confusion pass across her eyes like a storm about to begin. “Has anyone said it?” she asked, intrigued, though still in disbelief. “I don’t know,” he told her honestly. He laid back against his pillows, exhausted already from such a short conversation.
He passed away that night, while she played the princess on stage, the necklace tucked into the bodice of her uniform. It rained the day of the funeral, a cold autumn day when the leaves had almost completely fallen and a ting of ice hung in the air.