A mysterious magician comes to the sleepy New England town of Latham. He’s looking for a new assistant for his stage act and he’s set his sights on Penny, a beautiful young redhead who works at the local paper. Is the Astonishing Asmirac all he seems? What secrets lie in his travelling magic show? Why is Penny so drawn to the gleam of his lovely pocket watch?
Asmirac took a pocket watch out of his vest pocket and clicked it open. He examined the time and looked up at the wall clock to check it. He then smiled and proceeded to wind the watch as he looked over at Penelope, who stared at his timepiece with curiosity.
The watch was old, the sort of soft dull color gold got when it was touched over and over again. Still, it did shine. It reflected the light from the setting sun coming in through the window. It was quite lovely.
“Do you like my watch, Penny?” he asked without looking up.
She gazed at it, almost unaware of his words.
“I told you, Mister Ambrose, it’s Penelope,” she corrected, her voice slightly dreamy.
“I am sorry. It just slips off my tongue so, I can’t help it. Penny. Pretty Penny. Pretty pretty Penny Penny. Watch watch. Tick tock.” With a tiny flick of his wrist, the watch fell from his hand and dangled on its chain, eye level with both of them. With another flick of his wrist it swung back and forth in time with his little repetitive phrases.
“Pretty watch, pretty Penny, watch and see, listen close, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock goes the gold watch. Can you hear it in your head? Tick tock, tick tock?”
Her mouth was slack, her eyes following the golden circle on a chain.
“Tick tock, tick tock…” she whispered.