I had once thought of time as linear, untouchable. A tireless, ancient river - never slowing down, never overflowing. Simply moving on without hesitation. Nothing could change its course. Even as everything around it – perishable, replaceable – crumbles and falls. It keeps moving. It cares nothing for the human life it takes, for the mark of decay it leaves on all things. It is impartial.

But that was before I held it in my hands for the first time. Felt the heaviness cradled into the flesh of my palm, pressing up against the scars I've collected over the long, unforgiving years. It was hard, unyielding, cold. The metal time slot didn't flow through my fingers like water. It was just material. Something that can be weighed, counted, measured. It is the last seconds that make your heart race. It is the endless centuries that slow you down (until it feels like the world has stopped moving altogether).

There's an old proverb that once said time is what you make of it.

Here, now, it is the difference between life – and death.