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John Gone


I.
It was the sort of glare that would have bothered most
people, shimmering and flickering against the afternoon sun
as clouds moved past, refusing to let anyone forget that it
was there. For John, it made him curious, as most things
did, but it was almost two o’clock, and his mother had said
to be ready by then. Still, something was out there in the
sand causing the light, and if he didn’t investigate it,
who would?
The teen ran across the beach behind his house to the
water’s edge and crouched down above the light he’d
followed, positioning his back to break its line to the
sun. The gleam cooled at his shadow, finally allowing him
sight of his discovery: a half-buried, metal-rimmed circle
of glass edging shyly above the flattened sand below him.
John tilted his head to the side and saw numbers
engraved on the glass along its curve. A small metal arrow
was almost pointing at a carefully etched nine from
underneath. He’d found a wristwatch. John lifted it from
the sand and shook it clean within the ocean before
bringing it to his ear. It was still ticking.
Dangling the watch by its leather band, John looked
through the glass and noticed something odd. Seated behind
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