Write a story that ends with “...the clocks were striking thirteen.”


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Kelly Fung |

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Every Wednesday we ask our Brain Game contestants one interesting, thought-provoking or just plain quirky question. Their answers will be published anonymously in Young Post. Then readers vote for their FAVOURITE answer. We will eliminate the contestant with the LEAST votes every week until we have a winner. The ultimate Brain Game winner will win a Mobile Pixel Duex duo monitor, which has been sponsored by searchingc.com, one of Asia’s leading online shopping platforms.

Votes close at midnight on Sunday.

The contestants

Contestant 1

When Robert and Jack returned home to Pixievale, weary from their long travels, they were expecting a warm welcome.

Instead, the wise old pixie stared at them with haunted eyes. 

“It has been terrible here. Skid, the bad elf, has taken over. He has taken all our magic powers. We wanted to overthrow him but he is holding little Milly for ransom. You are the only two left with magic. You must rescue her from Skid’s manor.”

“Don’t worry. We can change our appearances to get inside,” said Robert.

Clicking their fingers in unison, Robert and Jack grew taller. Their noses became crooked.

The wise pixie took them to the gate of the manor and bid them good luck.

Thanks to their disguises, they passed through the gate without trouble.

In the courtyard, Jack found a trapdoor leading downwards. They went in and descended the stairs. They had found the dungeons.

Meanwhile, a loud voice boomed from the manor. Even through the trapdoor, Robert and Jack could hear it clearly.

“I sense magic in Pixievale. If the culprit isn’t handed over by midnight, little Milly’s life will be ended.”

“We must hurry,” muttered Robert.

Jack found an old lamp on the floor. He tried to light it with magic, but after the camouflage spell, his magic reserves were too low.

“Jack, don’t get carried away. We don’t have time!” hissed Robert.

Out came a genie from the lamp. “You wish for more time. Wish granted,” said the genie calmly.

In haste, Robert didn’t notice the genie. He ran down the narrow corridor. Jack followed, dropping the lamp on the way.

Jack and Robert went into the depths of the dungeons and found Milly lying on the ground, unconscious. Jack lifted her in his arms and they ran back through the dungeons. For an hour, they ran without stopping.

“Look!’ cried Jack. Dim light shone into the dungeons. A hooded figure emerged from steps of the trapdoor. It was Skid.

“Quickly!” whispered Robert, and they hurriedly hid behind a wall. Skid went past without seeing them.

Jack and Robert ran out of the trapdoor, then out of the manor gates. Their mission was completed. They looked at the clock tower of the manor. They realised what the genie had done. The clocks were striking thirteen.

Contestant 2

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The old grandfather clock continued to chime, day and night, a gentle reminder that time marches on. But it wouldn’t march on for long; it was almost 9pm on December 21, 2012. A meteor was to strike the Earth in less than two hours, killing everything on it. 

Everyone around me had said their goodbyes; I hadn’t. I still had one person in mind. I hadn’t mustered the courage to tell her yet, but hey, the world would be ending soon; what could go wrong if she rejected me?

“Yes?” a tired voice came from the other side of the phone. 

“You seem quite calm given the world in ending.”

“You too,” she replied. “I was about to spend the rest of my time on Earth sleeping.” 

“What if we went for  something to eat instead?” 

The chaos had set in and the minutes were ticking on, yet time seemed to slow down when I was with her. 

“So, um, how’s the end of the world going?”

“Quite well, actually, for the end of the world, anyways.” She took a long sip of her drink. 

All of a sudden, a flash and a bang – something must have blown up. Debris was flying everywhere. She looked distraught.

“Perhaps not that well.” 

“Listen,” I began, swallowing the lump in my throat. “Wanna stay with me for the rest of your life?” 

She chuckled. “Anything to get away from the apocalypse.”

“”Stay with me for just a while longer.”” 

She locked her arms around my neck. 

Then, the clock struck twelve. Life as we knew it, was over. 

She had covered herself with a blanket, but I could hear her heavy breathing.

“Stay with me. Please don’t leave,” she muttered. 

I embraced her. For a moment, we were free from the apocalypse. Everything was fine.

Tick, tock. 

I was awoken by the ticking of the old grandfather clock. How much time had passed? 

The face of the grandfather clock seemed familiar, yet something about it was different. I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

“Are we dead yet?”” said a voice in the blanket. 

“No. The clock ... it’s striking thirteen.”

*In case of disputes, Young Post reserves the right to make a final decision on the winner.

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