Less than five minutes after Horace opened his Time After Time shop, a young woman entered. She looked different from most of his early morning customers, her bloodshot eyes bore evidence of crying. “How may I help you?” Horace tried to make his voice kind.
“I hear you can send people back in time?”
“Choose a clock. You will return to the time shown on the face.”
The woman, Trisha, I later learned, picked each clock up checking the time it showed. Her choice would allow her anything up to twelve hours in past. Horace had always meant to modernize his clocks to allow for twenty four hours, it would give his customers more time to plan.
“More time,” he mused. As if you could run out of an infinite thing. Though, he supposed his finite customers had a different view.
“How much for this one?” Trisha held out a clock. Ten PM.
“What happened last night?”
Trisha’s eyes became distant. My dog… the coyote…” She couldn’t finish. She didn’t need to. “Please. How much?”
“We don’t use money here. Something of equal value must be paid.”
“How much?” Her voice was whisper soft and on the edge of a beg.
Horace sighed. Eleven hours back would usually be three years of her soul energy and he hadn’t had breakfast yet. He looked into Trisha’s begging eyes. “No charge.”
Trisha grabbed at the clock and ran out the door. He was starving, but pet owners had always been his weakness.