Two Fish...Lion

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Parker predictably found he was unable to sleep the rest of the night. He kept the strange device nearby, but far enough away to avoid any accidental contact with it. As the first rays of the rising sun splashed themselves across the faded wallpaper of his grandfather's bedroom, he reached a couple of conclusions:

One, the object, now gleaming in the morning light, buzzed three times before it teleported him.

Two, it turned dark outside on both occasions before it buzzed so maybe that would mean he could now safely touch it without being zipped away to God-knows-where. Maybe...

With a yawn, Parker stretched and swung his legs out of bed. The young man wearily eyed the gadget as it sat on the nearby nightstand. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before lifting a shaky hand toward the mysterious device. He reached over and gingerly picked it up from where it rested to hold the exquisitely crafted thing in the air and examine it.

"What in the world are you, little fella?"

Parker practically jumped from his skin as the alarm on his cellphone began to ring. The glassy device clattered noisily on the nightstand as a tiny motor hidden inside its housing activated. The shaken man quickly sat the frightful mechanical device down and took a deep breath in an attempt to calm his racing heart. "Oh, good God this is ridiculous!"

After splashing his face with cold water in the adjacent, mid-twentieth century bathroom, Parker turned off the faucet with a squeal and shuffled sleepily back toward the master bedroom. "You really need to find out what you are dealing with dummy before you hurt yourself" he said under his breath. "There has to be some sort of reference to what this thing is in grandpa's notebook."

Parker's suspicions were correct. "Ho-ro...Horo-logium," Parker stammered, attempting to pronounce the tongue-twisting word written next to a crude sketch of the thing. "Horologium...that's a mouthful," he said as he glanced over at the circular device and quickly made a decision. "Let's just call you a Horo, instead, alright?" he asked the inanimate object rhetorically. Then, from nowhere, a smile suddenly appeared on the young man's face as a thought crossed his mind. He lifted the lid of his laptop and opened a new browser window.

"...1850...Nevada City...mystery," he typed.


"Okay, fine," Parker said. "How about this?"

"1850 Doctor Oliver Bradley." This time Parker got a hit and his jaw fell open. A story from an article stored on a public domain archive of old newspapers, titled, "Doctor Claiming Visit From Vanishing Man Dead At 52." One, the story was proof that Parker's visit actually happened and it was not a dream. Two, the act evidently sent the good doctor spiraling over the proverbial edge. Apparently, Doctor Bradley was deeply scarred by the event and authorities found him dead within a year of Parker's visit. The doctor had developed a penchant for alcohol and occasionally dipped into his morphine supplies.

Parker was officially questioning his own sanity at this point and on the flip side, his grandfather's lucidity. The old man was evidently not as crazy as everyone assumed, including the man's own daughter, Parker's mother.

Rifling through the notebook with more care than he had taken before, all due to his new found perspective, Parker began recognizing marks he once considered to be nothing more than unintelligible scribbles matching up to symbols etched into the Horo. "Wait a second..." Parker cautiously lifted the circular device in front of his face and held it there between two fingers. With the index finger of his other hand, he tapped the carved image of two fish and it changed upon contact to that of a lion.


With a raised eyebrow, Parker turned the Horo over in his hand and noted the two hands he initially thought were the hands of a clock.


Setting the Horo down, Parker grabbed his grandfather's notebook, removed the rubber band, and frantically searched for the numbers he previously thought were references to time. "Where are you? Nope, nope...wait a second. There!"

In the center of the page describing the Tauren incident in Japan were the handwritten numbers 01:07 and 02:04. Parker nervously rotated one of the 'hands' around the Horo's dial to see what would happen.


It appeared there were two parts to the 'clock'. "...maybe both hands had to be adjusted," Parker considered. On the inner part of the clock's bronze face, there was a small circle at the top of the dial. The technician assumed the mark must indicate this was the top of the dial. With his pointer finger, he moved the smaller hand one click at a time until it rested on what he supposed was the mark for the number seven. With the larger hand, he repeated this same procedure until it rested above the fourth mark on the right from the top. As the hand made the final click, Parker winced.

Again, nothing.

Parker opened his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. "Apparently, you do only operate at night or I'm missing something else," he thought and then realized there was one more pair of numbers written on the page. The number, 72, marked on the edge of the ragged paper. Parker ran his eyes over the Horo, carefully flipping it side-to-side. There were no other places on the thing he could adjust. He shook his head and leaned in to scan over the notebook one more time, looking for any clues that his grandfather may have left him.

The frustrated Parker sat the Horo down on the notebook, stood, and with a stretch left the room to walk downstairs and make breakfast. Each step down the stairs generated a new curse word.

As the ancient round device settled on the paper, the action shifted one of the torn notebook pages to the side, uncovering the edge of another page beneath, exposing even more numbers written in sequence.

They read, "72...954"

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