It was New Year’s Eve. Barry Jackson was sweeping the wrappers of candy bars and lollipops. He had a New Year party in his house and all of his friends were dancing and eating. When they were gone, he threw the rubbish in the bin and started cleaning the dishes. After he had done that, he changed into his pajamas and went up to his room.
Barry set his alarm clock to 8 a.m. and tried to get some sleep. The bangs and booms of the fireworks made it impossible to sleep. Somehow he still managed to get into a deep sleep within five minutes.
The alarm clock rang. Barry’s face was drenched with sleep. He felt as if he only slept for ten minutes. That was because he was sleeping for ten minutes. He stared at his alarm clock. Maybe it was broken? He crept downstairs and looked at the huge wall clock. It showed the same time on the alarm clock, 12:10 p.m. He remembered that he set the time to 8 a.m.
Barry opened the refrigerator door and took out a glass of chilled milk and put two chocolate-chip cookies on a plate and brought them to his room. He sat on the edge of the bedcover and looked out of the window as he bit into his cookie. Barry scarfed down the cookies and gulped down the milk.
He looked out of his bedroom window and watched the fireworks. Suddenly, someone threw a stone at his window. He saw a girl throwing another stone at the window and a man sitting in a jeep. He opened the window and the girl yelled to him,
“Meet me down here!”
Barry didn’t know what all that was about. He saw that the girl and the man were wearing outdoor clothes and didn’t want to be seen wearing his pajamas so he pulled on some jeans and a T-shirt. He quickly packed a shirt and some food into his backpack just in case and ran to the gates.
“Did you tell anyone?”, asked the girl. Barry shook his head.
“What’s this all about?” questioned Barry.
“We‘ll tell you on the way. Come on.”
“We better be back before the sun rises or I’ll be in big trouble”, said Barry as he climbed into the jeep.
“Okay”, began the man. “There’s something wrong with time. The New Year is actually tomorrow. Time is going too fast.”
“What? But the New Year was yesterday. I had a New Year party just an hour ago.”
“That wasn’t the New Year. Like I said there is something wrong with time.”
Barry couldn’t believe it. It had to be true. The alarm clock and everything just made sense.
“Oh,” was all he managed to say.
“I’m Ralph by the way,” said the man.
“And I’m Kara,” said the girl. She looked about Barry’s age.
“I’m Barry. By the way, where are we going?” he asked.
“We’re going to see the Time Monster. Time monsters like messing up time,” said Ralph.
It was a long drive. As Ralph drove on the bumpy road, Barry and Kara were eating some chips and cookies Barry packed in his backpack. Finally, they reached a tall building. Barry and Kara got out of the car and went into the building with Ralph. Barry noticed the area around the building was quite sandy.
“Don’t step on the sand,” warned Ralph.
Barry didn’t know why but he was careful not to step on it all the same. When he entered, Barry saw a door at the end of a long hallway. In the middle of the hallway was a little river too deep to cross. Plus, it was full of crocodiles.
“We have to go through the door”, said Ralph.
“In case you haven’t noticed, there is a river full of crocodiles in the middle of the room”, said Kara.
“It might seem like it but…,” he picked a pebble and threw it into the river. The pebble went through a crocodile.
“It’s a hologram!” said Barry.
“Yep! Now let’s get through the doors”, said Ralph.
Ralph walked confidently through the hologram with Barry and Kara following him. The doors opened and Barry saw another long hallway with a door at the end but this time the floor tiles were made out of stone and each one had a letter.
“Oh no! How do we know which tile to step on? If we step on the wrong tile something bad might happen.” said Kara.
Ralph put a foot on the letter “R” and immediately removed it. The tile sank down and down into black nothingness. Then he put his foot on the letter “H”. Nothing happened.
“Follow my lead”, said Ralph.
Everyone made it safely across by spelling “HOUR” on the tiles. They went through the door and there was another hallway with a door.
“How many hallways are there?”, asked Barry.
“I’m sure this is the last”, said Ralph.
There was a deep pit in the middle of the hallway and some thin ropes hanging from the ceiling.
“It doesn’t look too safe to swing on. The ropes look like they could break any moment”, said Kara.
“We still have to get to the Time Monster”, said Ralph. “I’ll go first.”
Kara and Barry watched as Ralph swung on the rope across the pit to the other side. Kara went after Ralph and Barry went last. The moment his legs touched the ground, the rope snapped. Barry was glad he got to the other side before the rope snapped. Barry, Ralph, and Kara went through the door.
There sat a huge Time Monster on a throne.
“Stop messing with time!” yelled Ralph.
“MAKE ME!”, boomed the Time Monster.
Ralph knew it was pointless to argue with the Time Monster but they didn’t come here for nothing. He saw the Time Monster’s staff. He immediately made a dash for it.
“NOO!”, screamed the Time Monster. “GIVE IT BACK OR I’LL TURN YOU INTO DUST!”
The Time Monster turned Ralph into dust.
“Noo!” What happened to him”, cried Kara.
“IF YOU WANT HIM BACK YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE TIME DESERT, I WILL GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO GET HIM BUT YOU CANNOT RETURN HERE!”
“Okay”, said Kara and Barry.
The Time Monster gave them a small coin with clock hands on it.
“SET THE TIME TO 6 O’CLOCK TO GO TO THE TIME DESERT!” said the Time Monster.
Barry and Kara held hands as Barry set the tiny hands on the coin to 6:00 and closed their eyes.
When they opened their eyes, they were in the time desert and Ralph was standing in front of them not believing his eyes.
“How did you get here? Did the Time Monster send you here? How are we going to get out?!” panicked Ralph.
“It gave us a coin,” said Barry holding it out.
“I don’t believe it. It’s a Time Coin,” said Ralph taking it. “We could use it to get out. But first, we have to go back to the Time Monster. We aren’t leaving until it restores time!”
“Don’t you think he might do something worse to us if we go back? I mean it’s just one day?” said Barry.
“No,” said Ralph. “If we don’t restore time Kara and I will have failed our mission.
“What mission?” asked Barry.
Ralph chose to ignore what he said.
“Our mission was to restore time," began Kara. "You see, we work in a top-secret society called the Time Trackers-”
“Kara! We aren’t supposed to tell anyone! That’s the rules!”
“He needed to know!” argued Kara. “Why did we bring him then?”
“Fine. We work in a secret society called the Time Trackers. We know when something is wrong with time and we set out to put it right.”
“Why did you bring me along then?” asked Barry.
“Long time ago...there were two creatures that could control time. The Time Monster and the Time God. At that time, the Time Monster was more wicked than now. It was really hard to stop him. The Time God managed to put him in a prison for rogue creatures, but in doing so the Time God destroyed itself. Before it was completely gone, it chose some people to watch the Time Monster if it ever broke out. And, the Time Trackers were formed. The reason we brought you along was because we saw you had Time Tracker blood.”
“You’re one of us, Barry,” said Kara.
Barry couldn’t quite process this. How did he have Time Tracker blood? Did he get it from his parents? If they did, how come they didn’t tell him anything?
“So,” said Ralph interrupting his thoughts. “We have to restore time. Now are you with us Barry?”
Barry felt as if a huge lump had formed in his throat. He swallowed and nodded.
Ralph set the time to 12 o’clock. Barry closed his eyes and when he opened them he saw himself facing the Time Monster.
“HOW DARE YOU COME BACK!” roared the raging Time Monster.
“We’re not leaving until you restore time!” yelled Ralph.
“I TOLD YOU NOT TO COME BACK! NOW YOU’LL BE SORRY!”
The Time Monster waved his hands and Barry felt a weird sensation. He found himself with Ralph and Kara in an old street. ‘Tartar Town’ read a signpost.
“Hang on, I remember this town. This was the town I lived in when I was five.”
He frowned. What was going on? Suddenly, Ralph sat down on the hard pavement. His hands gripping his hair.
“We failed our mission,” he whispered. “The Time Monster sent us back 10 years in time.”
Barry gaped at him, couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"There has to be something we could do to get back!" exclaimed Barry.
“I’m sorry Barry. If only I had listened to you when you said that it doesn’t matter when only a day is changed. Now I’ve changed 10 years.”
There were voices nearby. A woman’s and a man’s. Mr. and Mrs.Jackson came out of the house clutching a baby.
Somewhere in the trees, an owl hooted nearby...