The Clock Tower Series — Part 2
Caught in Time
This week: Mary travels back in time… Visiting the catacombs… Reliving the past… Traces of memories from the future… New beginnings…
An old peddler shaking a pair of bells. Chattering tourists. Growling automobiles. Fluttering pigeons. Nearby, the bells of a church. Mary gradually awoke to the atmosphere of Lima, Peru’s capital city. Standing in a cobblestone courtyard, she was surrounded by classmates from her elementary school, all talking excitedly about heaven and whether people could come back from the dead—What if one of the skeletons grabs you? What if you get lost? What if the adults accidentally lock you inside the monastery?
As she and her classmates walked across the courtyard, Mary’s thoughts sharpened and her vision gradually came into focus. She remembered: That’s right, I’m on a class field to the catacombs—but didn’t that happen 9 years ago…? It’d been the first time she’d ever seen human bones. Looming in front of her was the yellow bricked Monastery of San Francisco, one of the oldest buildings in the city, famous for the soundless world beneath it where hundreds were buried in unmarked mass graves.
Lourdes, who was walking beside Mary, said, “Do you think you can talk to the bones? What if the people aren’t really dead… just sleeping?”
Mary thought for a moment. “Maybe they can hear you in heaven. Me and abuelito go to the graveyard to see mami and papi sometimes… We leave flowers and say the Our Father… I think they can hear me.”
By now the memories of the clock tower and the creature who helped her had begun slipping away. Mary remembered the events as a dream at first, but before long they’d disappeared from her mind. As their teacher, Señora Martín, led them through the large, wooden doors into the monastery, Mary, only 10, felt a tinge of gratitude and happiness beyond her years…
She closed her eyes to silently say a prayer. She thought of her parents, who she knew only through photographs, and of asking her grandfather more about the dead. And as soon as she began formulating a question, the world again suddenly fell out from underneath her.
by Ricky Morales