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Tick Tock

Chapter 6

I laid awake, staring up at the ceiling as the RV rumbled and shook as it traveled through the night. The lights in the backroom were off, though light did pour in through the cracks underneath and beside the curtain drawn to separate the main area from the bedroom. Soft, feminine voices murmured plans almost non-stop. They spoke of what they might encounter at the next stop, what weapons to prepare, what allies to contact. It was all rather boring so I tuned out and continued to stare at the ceiling. The remnants of my dream played out in front of my eyes as if the ceiling were a screen for the movie within my head. I managed to grasp the evaporating tendrils of my dream when I had awoken, but the pounding in my hand caused my grasp to loosen and all that remained was the very vivid image of a girl with blond hair and stormy gray eyes looking at me with her book on Greek Mythology propped open in her lap. There was no doubt that it was Annabeth, but why did I have such a dream? Maybe next, I'll have a dream about Percy and then Grover... Grover... A bolt of guilt shot through me, and I felt nauseous. We left Grover behind... I left Grover behind. I didn't know him very well, but he was still a friend. How could I just do that?

The sound of the curtains swept aside caused me to snap out of my guilt and sit up as light flooded the room. "You're up." It was a statement, but there was a note of surprise in it. I merely nodded and watched as the girl of my dreams, literally, walked to the side of my bed and sat down. "How are you feeling?" Oh you know... a huge headache, battered and bruised body, probably messed up a bone or two, the usual.

"Fine." I croaked and was shocked by my own voice. Annabeth poured me a glass of water and handed it to me, which I gratefully accepted and guzzled down. Water dribbled down my chin and when I finished with the glass, I wiped my mouth with the back of my hands.


"Sorry." I grinned and felt a splitting headache come on. Quickly, I closed my eyes and waited until it faded away. With a sigh of relief, I opened my eyes again to look up at a strange sight. Annabeth looked exhausted, dark half moons were forming under her eyes, and her hair was a mess, as if she had run her fingers through them many times in frustration. "You don't look so good." A strange look flashed in her eyes, but it was gone as soon as it appeared.

"I'm just a little tired. Percy hasn't woken up yet, I guess I'm worried too." Right, Percy... he took a pretty nasty beating too. I glanced to my left and found the dark shape of the other boy lying there, his chest was steadily moving up and down. At least he was still alive... can't say the same for Grover. Again, the guilt felt like a white hot poker branding my heart. Annabeth must have seen the pain flash in my eyes since I felt her touch my shoulder briefly. I glanced up at her, and there was a certain... warmth in her usually cold eyes.
"It wasn't your fault." She spoke in a reassuring tone,


"It's not your fault, Jackson. You tried your best, there's nothing we could have done in that situation." Are her words supposed to comfort me?

"I just can't help thinking... if I hadn't appeared and messed everything up... then... Grover might still be alive."

"You don't know if he's dead yet."

"Who can survive in a labyrinth with a minotaur without a weapon or any sort of way to defend himself?!" I nearly shouted at her, and she seemed a little taken aback by my strangled tone. I felt suffocated by the guilt, and her words weren't helping. Nothing would help, I might as well have killed Grover. He was Percy's friend, and he must have been a son and brother to someone. Grover was someone's baby, and because of me... because of me... someone waiting for Grover to return will have to wait an eternity or until their bones wither into ashes. I wanted to scream out the agony of my guilt, I wanted to lash out at someone, anyone, but not if it's Annabeth. I can't do that to her, I can see the pain in her eyes every single time she glances at the unconscious Percy. If I hadn't come along, there would be no pain in her eyes. Percy would be fine, Grover would be fine, Annabeth would be fine, my family would be fine... it's all my fault. I watched as shocked gray eyes lowered until dark golden lashes hid them from me. She had no answer... I thought as much.

A groan came from the bed beside me, and Annabeth immediately spun around, "Percy?!"

"Ugh... yeah?" Percy struggled to sit up and Annabeth helped him immediately. "What happened? Where are we?"

"We're in an RV right now, there are people here to help us. They're former campers from Camp Half-Blood."


"Yeah..." I thought I heard a sniffle from Annabeth as she reassured Percy.

"Where's Grover?" I thought I saw Annabeth's back go rigid. Percy glanced around, and his eyes found me. He repeated the question again, and I looked down.

"Percy... Grover's-"

"He's dead." I stated bluntly, and I didn't lift my gaze to look at him. I know what I'll find... shock, pain, probably hate.

"He's dead?" I nodded,


"We left him behind... not on purpose... but we left him behind."

"Why?" Percy's voice was starting to raise, shock was evident, but he sounded extremely hurt. They were best friends, of course he was hurt. I remained silent, "Why?!" He shouted and I heard something shatter before a mixture of water and glass sprayed me. A ragged piece of glass cut me across the cheek, but I still remained silent,

"Percy, we had no choice. The minotaur was rising, and there was no time to grab both you and Grover."

"No, we have to go back and get him. Grover's probably still alive, he's probably counting on us to go back! He's-"

"We don't have anymore time, Percy! You heard the prophecy too! Tick tock, tick tock. The clock's counting down, and while we may not know how much time we have, every single second we waste is a precious second gone!" I yelled at him, and a deadly silence followed. Annabeth was looking at me as if I was some foreign object, and Percy was glaring at me as if everything was my fault. Right... my fault.

Alexia burst into the room, "What's all this commotion about?!" She demanded and set her dark brown eyes on each and every one of us. I scowled and crossed my arms, leaning into the backboard of the bed.

"It's nothing."

"Well it's obviously not nothing if everyone was screaming and giving both me and Max a headache." Her dark eyes smoldered with anger and annoyance. "Anyway, we're stopping at a gas station. Buy food, some water, and then we'll hit the road in 20 minutes." The girl stalked away, and that left me alone with Annabeth and Percy. The rumble of the RV suddenly cut out, leaving an eerie silence. I could feel the weight of their gazes on me. It's okay, I'm used to it by now. I'm always the odd one out. That's the way it was in my family, that's the way it will be among my comrades. There's no difference.

Getting out of the bed, I hurriedly got out of the RV and was met with a blast of frigid night air. We're probably in a land-locked state right now, I can't smell the salty brine of the ocean anymore. My heart contracted painfully at the thought of the ocean and the cruise. My family was only enjoying our vacation and that thing had to happen. I found myself starting to wonder, what if I was normal? What if none of this ever happened? Of course, it's no use thinking about it now. A shiver shot down my spine and goosebumps raised along my skin as a gust of wind blew over me, sapping my body heat. Suddenly, something touched my back, and I whipped around. "Calm down, Jackson, it's just me." Alexia held up a jacket, "You looked cold." Her gaze held mine, and I couldn't help noting the colour of her eyes. They were dark... but they looked almost silver in the moonlight.

"Thanks." I accepted the jacket and found to my astonishment, as I shrugged it on, it fit perfectly. It smelled like sunshine, like what clothes smell like after they've been hung outside to soak in the sun and dry.

"You're welcome." She nodded and then went into the convenience store. I was about to follow when a flash of colour caught my attention. I glanced toward the direction that the colour had come from and I saw the last wisps of colourful plumage. A bird? I looked at the RV, then at the convenience store. They wouldn't mind if I just slipped away for a few minutes, right? Curiosity gnawed at my mind as I finally hurried in the direction that I had last seen the bird. I found a peacock wobbling away, and I decided to follow it. What was a peacock doing here? I followed it to the treeline and stopped just outside. Stories of werewolves and bogeymen invaded my mind and I shivered, this time, it wasn't from the cold.

In that instant a baby's cry sounded from within the forest and I threw all caution to the wind as I tore through the trees. What was a baby doing here? Pushing past thick brush, I stumbled out into a clearing. There was no baby, just the peacock calling... and a woman standing there. She looked like a soccer mom in a nice dress, though there was something off about her. Her eyes were hazel, but burned with power. A small corner of her lips was tilted upward as she stretched a hand out, and in it was a bronze pocket watch. An eagle was embroidered on its cover. "Take what is yours, Son of Time."

"What's with all this Son of Time nonsense? Moreover, who the hell are you?" I demanded, and the woman looked slightly amused.

"You shall not speak so disrespectfully to me, Jackson." She had the tone of an angry mother, the one that any child couldn't help but obey. I frowned, but didn't say anything. "I am Hera, the Goddess of Families and Marriage." Oh crap... a goddess? Oops. "Do not try my patience, boy, take the watch and go." It's probably better to grab it before she turns me into a frog or something. Hurriedly, I snatched the watch from her hand. Involuntarily, I let out a gasp as the watch throbbed and pulsed in my hand. The metal was warm to the touch. It was like holding a heart... I shuddered at the mental image.

"So what do I do with it?" Hera smiled wryly,

"That is up to you, child. I was only instructed to give it to you and nothing else. Perhaps there is a clue inside."

"Inside?" I echoed before looking down at the watch. The eagle on it was so lifelike with its talons extended and its wings outstretched. Gulping, I felt the metal warm up in my hand and the pulse grew faster and faster as I brought my finger to the button. The watch shuddered violently in my hand and it took everything to press down to unleash the clasp. The cover flew open and all of a sudden the pulse stopped. Greek symbols were scrawled inside the cover. It appeared to just be one word, but I can't read Greek. "So what do I-?" I looked up, and Hera was gone. Even the peacock was gone, and I found myself clutching the watch, alone. Looking back down at it, I noticed it was stuck at 3:14 and I tapped the glass, but the needles wouldn't budge. Great, a crap watch. In that instant, a scream reached my ears, and my eyes widened. Closing the watch, I shoved it into my pocket and sprinted back toward the gas station.

When I reached it, my eyes widened in horror at the sight. Behind our RV was a normal family car, it was a silver Honda, and the driver's window was splattered with blood. There was the statue of a woman running, her face was turned toward me... and it was frozen in terror. My breath caught in my throat and I took a step back. Fear was like ice in my veins, keeping me frozen from taking action. Where's Annabeth? Where is everyone? I glanced to the side and found Alexia hiding behind the RV, her bow in hand. Her dark eyes found me, and she acknowledged me with a single nod of her head. The watch in my pocket started to pulse crazily again... maybe it was my own heart, I'm not sure. She held a hand up, signaling me to wait and to not move from my position. I nodded and she waited until the coast was clear to dash to my side. I felt her hand against my chest, and she pressed me against the wall while leaning against the wall beside me. "Where is everyone?" I whispered,

"Max is trapped in the bathroom, Percy and Annabeth are safe in the RV though."

"What's going on?" Alexia gave me a grave look,

"Monsters. The Gorgon sisters to be exact." Who? "Medusa and her sisters. One lusts for blood, the other two turn people into stone when they're gazed upon." Oh. Them. "Do you have a weapon?" Yeah, I could just swing my watch around and bash them in the head.

"No." She cursed silently under her breath before drawing a short dagger out of her belt.

"Then you stay here. I'll be back. No matter what you do, don't look into their eyes."

"Scout's honour." I smiled, and I thought for a moment, a ghost of a smile graced her lips before she was gone. Sighing softly, I glanced toward the RV only to feel my heart drop. The door was open and bent at an odd angle. Something's in there now. All I could think about was an injured Percy in there with Annabeth. Max wasn't in there, he's trapped in the bathroom. "God be with me." I murmured as I dashed toward the RV and made my footsteps light and soft. I heard the hisses before I saw the monster lingering in the main area. The watch in my pocket was beating erratically, and I was afraid the monster would hear it. The creature placed its hand on the curtain,

"Oh Son of Poseidon, I can smell you. Did you ever think I would forget your scent?" Can she not smell Annabeth? "And I have a score to settle with you, Daughter of Athena." Guess she can. The curtain was torn off its rings and I saw Annabeth and Percy hiding in the corner. The bright gleam of her celestial bronze dagger could be seen, but it didn't help that she couldn't open her eyes. The creature took a step forward,

"Stay away from us, Medusa!" Annabeth shouted and swung her dagger blindly. I crept to the couch and reached my hand under. Anything would do at the moment, a sword, a dagger, even a sharp stick would do. Come on... come on... The watch's pulse was getting stronger and stronger, it felt like a mockingbird was trapped inside my pocket. C'mon... c'mon!!! There was a metallic clatter and I suddenly found Annabeth's bronze dagger lying only a few feet away. The Gorgon had kicked Annabeth's weapon away and picked her up by the neck. Annabeth screamed and kicked while clawing at the hand which was suffocating her now.

"I should have killed you when I had the chance, Daughter of Athena! Now look into my eyes!" Medusa hissed, the snakes that crowned her head did the same. Annabeth only spat at her and tried to avoid the snakes as they struck at her and bit her cheeks. Blood ran down her cheeks where the snakes bit. Then she screamed something I didn't expect.

"Jackson! Jackson!" The way she said it struck a chord deep within me. It was desperate, a strangled cry for help. An image, a memory flashed within my mind. Then the word that had been engraved on the inside of the watch. I realized what it was.

A strange emotion rose in me and I stood up and exploded toward the Gorgon, scooping the blade off of the ground in the process. How dare this Gorgon touch Annabeth? Swooping upon Medusa, I embedded the blade into the top of the monster's head all the way to the hilt. The snakes all hissed and bit at my hand, but I pulled the blade out and plunged it in again and again. Thick blood coated my hand as the Gorgon crumpled to the ground and I kept stabbing the head. Again and again until the blade struck the floor as the creature turned to ashes. I breathed heavily, adrenaline rushing through my veins. "You came." Annabeth was looking at me now, her eyes no longer filled with hate, but with something else. Recognition.

"Of course I came. How could I not when you called for me like that?" I panted, but smiled.

"Don't smile when you're covered in blood, you just look scary." I chuckled, and reached out to her. She took my hand and smiled at me, it was a look full of admiration and, dare I say, love. However, I felt like something was slowly disappearing though. The memory, the realization... ... wait, what memory? What realization?

I found myself in Annabeth's tight embrace, and I awkwardly hugged back. Why were we hugging again? She's not this kind of person, so why are we hugging? I realized with a start that the pulse of the watch was placid again, I remember the pulse being irregularly fast. "Annabeth?" I whispered softly, gently prying her off of me. At the moment, I couldn't help picturing her as a frightened child. There had been no room to maneuver, the two had only been trapped in the corner. Not even a child of Athena could have thought her way out of that one. She looked up at me, and I felt the warm brush of her fingers against my cheek.

"You're bleeding."

"Yeah, I got cut by the glass earlier, remember?"

"She wasn't able to smell you."

"I guess not." She frowned and looked into my eyes and I stared back in wonder. I watched as her eyes transformed from being a frightened child to that cold teenager again. What did I do now? Pushing me away, she grabbed her dagger and went back to Percy.


"Just go, Jackson. We can fend for ourselves in here."

"Obviously you can't, since you just-"

"Jackson! Go!" She yelled at me and I was stunned into silence. What happened to huggy, scared Annabeth? I didn't move, I just knelt there in silence and stared at her. I heard footsteps behind me, but I didn't turn around. I was too busy trying to process Annabeth's reactions.

"Son of Poseidon!" I realized too late that it was a Gorgon behind me. It was a dull thud on my back, but then I looked down and found a blade had been thrust through my chest. Crimson budded through my orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt. I tried to take a breath but I tasted metallic liquid. The same crimson which stained my shirt bubbled from between my lips and slowly spilled onto the ground. No way, this isn't supposed to be happening. I looked up to find Annabeth looking at me, her face pale. If it weren't for the blade in my chest steadying me, I'm sure I would have fallen already. My vision started to blur at the edges and I reached out to Annabeth.

"Anna... beth..." I gasped for air, but all that I got was more blood. This can't be the end of the quest... it can't be. I could hear my own heart pounding furiously and then slowing down. There was a slack and I realized the blade had been pulled from my chest. Falling to my right, I kept my gaze on Annabeth. "Sor...ry..." I felt hands on me and I was turned onto my back, Alexia's face hovered above mine. It was clear she was angry, but also worried... and a little frightened.

"Jackson? Jackson!" The sound of my heart was all I could hear.

Ba-dump... ba-dump... ba-dump.......... ba-dump.............. ba-dump................................. ba-dump......... ba........ dump........................ ba.......... dump.......... ba................... dump................................................................................................................................................


Okay, so I lied, there wasn't that much action. But there was plenty of story, hope you enjoyed it guys (and girls).

If there's any criticism, as usual, just put it in the comment's box and I'll try to improve.

As always, comment, rate, subscribe, and continue being awesome! :)


Lol first story on the site!

Chelsea_Delos Chelsea_Delos
Really sorry about not updating the story. I've been really busy, but I'll try to get a new chapter up by the end of the week! I may not update as often after that since school starts in a week (ugh...) but be patient, I know how the chapter's gonna look, I just haven't gotten it down on digital paper yet!
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It varies. Sometimes I'll update a few times a week, sometimes I'll update once a month. It depends on when inspiration hits me. I'm going to try to update at least once a week though.
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Just wondering, but how often do you update?