Mr Tick Tock’s Clock Shop is full of curious timepieces. Many come from far and wide to view his exquisite collection, but few succeed in their endeavours. It is said that this is because his shop only exists at half past the second. It flickers in and out of existence to the ticking of a special clock, and only those who can successfully adjust their perception of time are able to determine the location of his establishment. This, in a way, is how Mr Tick Tock screens his clients.

On the day that Mr Truvieue walked through the door of Mr Tick Tock’s Clock Shop, Mr Tick Tock was busy polishing his recent acquisitions with a series of colourful cloths. A blue cloth for the straps, so as to to absorb any residual sadness the timepieces may have picked up from the pulse of their previous owners; a green cloth for the winders, so as to eliminate the envy of youth imparted by their former owners as they wound them through the years; and an orange cloth for the faces, which covered them in an invisible film that evoked pleasant associations with the finest of sunrises, and instilled a sense of optimism for the future. Yes, indeed, Mr Tick Tock liked to ensure that his clients had only the very best service.

The business with Mr Truvieue was conducted smoothly, a certificate of authenticity was produced as requested, and a demonstration of the timepiece’s special workings left Mr Truvieue in no doubt that this was indeed a genuine article. As Mr Truvieue left Mr Tick Tock’s establishment with his goods, Mr Tick Tock flipped the sign on the inside of the door to quarter past closed.

Upon arriving home, Mr Truvieue adjusted the level of window tint to create the ideal conditions to inspect his new timepiece. It had a round face, as black as obsidian, and was totally seamless, as though it had been carved from a single piece of some unknown substance. It had no hands to speak of, rather a series of ghostly luminescent circles, ranging in intensity, which slowly pulsed at varying speeds adorned its dial. According to Mr Tick Tock, when the pulsing of the circles reached perfect synchronicity, the time would be correct. Mr Truvieue, with trembling fingers, wound the timepiece and watched as the circles rippled outwards towards the edge of its face, like a pebble being thrown into a pond, before settling into an erratic rhythm. Mr Truvieue took a seat in the corner of the room and silently watched the circles pulse.

As the afternoon wore on towards evening, it began. In the centre of the room, as the circles of the timepiece began to pulse in unison, the outline of a young woman flickered into view. Barely visible at first, she stood smiling peacefully and staring deep into Mr Truvieue’s eyes. With each passing second she became more opaque until he was completely engulfed in the reality of her presence. A tear trickled down his cheek as feelings of bliss overcame him. She blew him a single kiss and then, in an instant, she was gone.

Every day, to the pulsing of a special watch, Mr Truvieue’s true love is visible for precisely one minute. Currently the time reads ten to glimpse. Mr Tick Tock’s Clock Shop is full of curious timepieces.

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