"You need to tell me a story."
"I'm reading. You're already asleep."
"I am not, my eyes are just closed."
"You were snoring!"
"That's how you know my eyes are just closed. It's how they sound when they are closed."
"Eyes don't snore. Sleeping poppets do."
"I'm not snoring now. Tell me a story."
Once upon a time there was a silly human who thought she could control Time, and she set out to.
She was very good at it for a while. She went to Time and showed it pretty pictures and charts and graphs. She and Time talked about how long things would take and she would go out an ask all of the people in the nearby town how long things took, then she would watch them to see if they really took that long.
Time thought that it was cute, and told her that Time would make her an expert in these things, but when she knew how to mark and measure and predict Time she would have to go to the mountain, where it was always gray and dark and none of the people inside knew Time at all. It would be her job to Keep Time for them or everything would be lost.
She loved the way one thing always followed another, she revelled in being able to slip and slide things to make sure people got what they needed when they needed it. It would be no sacrifice, she thought to Keep Time for the people of the mountain. Time had explained that if it were not kept, the mountain would disappear.
And so she learned all there was to learn and a few things on her own and journeyed to the mountain. When she got there, they all told her how happy they were to have someone to Keep the Time for them, but there was nothing in the culture that allowed them to understand her. Two of the Mastercraftsmen, understood the advantages of Time and used her to their best advantages, but then they left for other mountains, and no one else cared as much. The Leaders of the Mountains loved everything she provided them but told her that Keeping Time wasn't really that important, it was doing things that mattered. It did not matter that things had to be done in an order - it was only important to do them.
Time passed as she marked it and she saw the patterns that made it clear. She couldn't hold Time back, she could only control it's flow like a spigot, but since she was the only one who could see it she was mocked and worked in silence.
After a few more years The Leaders learned that Time slows down for no man and only wiggled a bit for her. They begged her to help them after ignoring her for years. So she spent her own Time and helped. Time told her there would be a cost. She wrote teaching stories, and painted pictures to help them, but she knew that soon, the people of the mountain were going to tell her to go. Because some of them believed that if she were gone then, Time would go with her.
She fixed things as best as she could - but she knew when she went home she would have to mark Time differently. She warned the people of the mountain that if they didn't accept Time on their own, their mountain would be gone and the first part would fall off in only two month, then the next part in four. They would have at most six more months after that. They should prepare to lose the mountain.
'Don't be silly' they said 'mountains are forever.'
'I'm not as silly as I used to be, and the only thing that is forever is Time.'
And she left when they asked her to.
Returning home, she had found that at the end, her Time with the mountain had taken a great deal of her energy to give them their extra 10 months. And when she looked for her Time at home, it lurched forward quickly, then stretched itself away from her for days that seemed like years. Time whipped around her like electrified loose power cords. First fast - then slow. It was out of control and everywhere.
She reached inside herself to find the stories and paintings and charts that helped her reign things in and attach them to Time, but she found her inside was empty - all of her Time had gone to the mountain, and during her stay there they hadn't given anything back.
She had lost Time.
So she lay down for a while as she tried to fill back up. . . ."
"How long did it take her?"
"About a month maybe two."
"What happened during that time."
"She tried to tell a story, but now it's all out of whack."
"You know sometimes when you tell stories they come true."
"Well then in my story, she finally gets her insides back and Time has stopped messing with her and tomorrow she'll tell you the story she started two months ago and I'll be able to read my book in peace."
"Good - I wanted to know about what happened at the Taunting. This will fix it. Good night."
"Are you snoring? Hey. You tricked me . . . . ."