Precious Time

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2003

By Ryan Kinnavy, Illustrated by Devon Cole

John McCarty was warming up his arm. “Whip it in there!” yelled his friend, Stuart Johnson. He and Stuart played for the Rockets. The Rockets were the best baseball team in the league, all because of John, their pitcher. Or at least that’s what Stuart thought!

John was great at baseball, but he also loved school and got A’s in almost every subject. He loved history the most. Stuart, on the other hand, hated school and especially hated history.

The one thing the boys had in common was that they both loved baseball! They both rocked at it too! John was the pitcher for the Rockets and could pitch 60 mph. Stuart played shortstop and was the fastest runner on the team. They were both drafted to the Rockets last year when they were only ten years old. Before they joined the team, the Rockets were in last place. The Rockets easily picked up the two friends in the first draft. As soon as John and Stuart joined the team, the whole team seemed to burst with skill. The Rockets started winning again. Last season they were undefeated all the way to the championship, which they ended up losing to the Devils.

Today, John was going to pitch the whole game for the Rockets’ second championship attempt. John was warming up his arm with Stuart. They played catch until Mrs. McCarty came.

“Are you sure your parents know we’re taking you to the game?” questioned Mrs. McCarty.

“I’m sure,” replied Stuart. “They said they would be late to the game.”

Precious Time two kids playing catch

The one thing the boys had in common was that they both loved baseball!

“OK then, pile in boys,” said Mrs. McCarty.

Stuart felt energetic and excitedly ran to the car. John felt like running, but he didn’t want to tire himself out before the game.

As John walked to the car, he noticed a sparkle on the ground. He bent down to study it when he heard his mom calling him from the car. “C’mon, John, or else you’re going to be late to the big game!”

“One minute,” John yelled back.

John looked back down at the ground. He could barely make out the shape of a ball as big as his palm. He dug at it with his fingers until he pulled it out of the dirt. The bottom side of the sphere was clean and shiny like a crystal. He would have examined it more if his mom didn’t grow impatient. “John! Now!” He couldn’t wait any longer without getting in trouble, so he stuffed the ball into his pocket and walked to the car.

Soon they were en route to Callahan Park, named after the city’s founder. As they turned at an intersection, all that was on John’s mind was the game. John didn’t give a second thought to the mysterious, shiny sphere. John was so caught up in thinking of the game that he never saw the car speeding toward them from the opposite direction. Mrs. McCarty had reached for the Chapstick she had dropped on the floor and didn’t see the car. When John looked up and saw the speeding car, he knew something bad was going to happen. Before he could tell his mom to watch out, the car impacted Stuart’s side of the car with enormous force. Stuart was thrown forward and then backward. John heard a crack and then everything went black.

When John woke up, he was still in the car, trapped in his seat. When he looked over at his friend, he was shocked. He saw his friend hunched over, but the thing that scared him the most was that Stuart’s neck was in a weird position. John saw that Stuart wasn’t breathing. He is just holding his breath, John thought hopefully. But five minutes passed and Stuart still hadn’t taken a breath.

John had been feeling an uncomfortable sensation by his right pocket. When he reached down, he felt the sphere bulging into his leg. He carefully took it out and rubbed off some of the dirt. He had noticed an inscription on the sphere before he got in the car, but he hadn’t had time to examine it. He could barely make out the inscription, “Precious Time.”

As John kept rubbing the sphere, he noticed it started to glow. The ball jumped out of his hands and started spinning, making a kind of a force field around him that lifted him up out of his seat and out of the car.

After the force field stopped, a screen popped up in front of him. It had “year, month, day, and time,” with blanks after each word. Right next to all of that there was a button that said GO.

A thought came to John. Could this be a time machine? Could he bring Stuart back to life? John quickly typed the information on the keyboard. “There!” exclaimed John, “I’m all finished!” He wasn’t too sure about hitting the GO button. He thought of Stuart and knew that helping his friend was all that was important.

John pushed the button. Nothing happened! He tried it again. Then he realized that he had typed in the present time and not the time of the accident. He looked at his watch and noticed that the second hand wasn’t moving. He estimated the time of the crash and typed in the information. Then he hit GO.

At first, nothing happened. Then suddenly, he saw everything go into rewind. He saw his car go backwards and go back around the corner. Then it stopped and he was teleported to his car. The car went forward around the corner and approached the intersection. His mom dropped her Chapstick. “Stop!” yelled John, and his mom slammed on the brakes just in time to stop from being hit by the car.

“That was close,” said Mrs. McCarty as she breathed a sigh of relief.

John reached into his pocket and noticed the sphere was gone. Had all this been a dream? John wondered. All he knew was an incredible sense of relief that everyone was safe. He couldn’t question what had happened. It was just too much to handle. He would have to spend some time trying to figure it out later. Instead, for now, John decided to set his sights on the championship game ahead.

Precious Time Ryan Kinnavy

Ryan Kinnavy, 11
Naperville, Illinois

Precious Time Devon Cole

Devon Cole, 11
Monroe, Maine

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