25 minutes ago
Friday, November 9, 2012
The Midnight Hour
The Midnight Hour is a stolen fragment of time: 60 illicit minutes secreted away in an antique pocket watch with a "man in the moon" hunter case. The captured hour is from eleven to midnight, hence the name.
The watch doesn't keep regular time. Instead, when the watch is wound, it uses up the stolen minutes. The user does so by winding the watch, closing it's lid, then re-opening it. Until the lid is closed again, the watch ticks down the captured hour. Though the hour proceeds normally for the possessor the world beyond is at a standstill, frozen in time. Frozen except for one thing: The sky turns to night for the duration of the watch's operation.
If the stories are to be believed, it pays to be cautious and only use a minute or two at the time. Weird things from the Astral Plane seep in between the moments as the Midnight Hour slips by. They're drawn to the watch like moths to a flame. They have strange names: the Velveteen Horror, the Creeping Doomster, the Loneliness That Grins, Something Ugly, The Hole in the All, the Pain that Remembers, the Silence Between Sobs, She Loves Not--and others, found in obscure texts. No one has ever seen one and been able to describe it beyond vague, fear-informed impressions. Those owners of the watch they get a hold of are never seen again in living human form.
The other caution given regarding the Midnight Hour is that every minute used is an hour taken off the possessor's life. These are not just shaved from one's last days; they are sometimes pivotal moments, perhaps, taken from random points in a person's life. To use the watch is to gamble the time it grants against what might be lost.