‘If I remove the batteries, it will always stay today’


Bran rolled the gemstone between his fingers. He didn’t know where Niko got his facts from, but his friend had told him quite convincingly that the goldstone would give him positive energy and resourcefulness.

A yawn escaped his mouth. He could definitely use those additional powers coming period. He put the stone under his pillow, lifted the blanket and stretched his legs. The urge to put his cold feet towards Lana was an easy one to resist today; she already had enough broken nights now that her belly was getting bigger.

Bran glanced at the travel alarm on his bedside table. The red second-hand was ticking with conviction as always, but that wasn’t what got his attention. The big pointer wobbled slightly back and forth, but it did not come off 8:11 a.m. Exactly the time of the explosion.

Niko had once shown him a similar clock. It hadn’t been anything special, but for the two boys, it had felt as if they were sharing a big secret.

‘Look,’ Niko had said, ‘if I remove the batteries, it will always stay today.’

It had been a day without any bombs. A breather of which they never knew how long it would last. A few hours later, Bran’s mum had called him down for dinner, but standing at the door, his eyes had eagerly rested at the frozen time at Niko’s desk.
The clock probably hadn’t survived the attack.

Would he see Niko again? He hadn’t forgotten the fear of the first night, but his curiosity gained ground. For over twenty years, he had done everything to leave the past behind. To live for two. So why did he get drawn back to Sarajevo now?


I wrote this scene as an assignment for the Writers Academy (Schrijversacademie) to experiment with flashbacks. The instructions were: your character goes to sleep and s/he remembers something > flashback > back to the present – max 350 words, inspired by a song.

The song that inspired me was Lifehouse – Broken:

I’ll tell you more about my character Branimir (Bran) in a later post.