Fantasy Fiction posted November 19, 2022

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An evil man acquires a deadly power

The man who stopped time

by Patrick Astre

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

      “I’m telling you, detective, he made time stop.”

      “And you actually saw this?”

      “Yes, yes, I did.”

      “How do you see time stopping? What, you look at your watch, and it quits, is that it?”

      “I don’t know, I suppose if I actually stopped and looked at my watch, it would have stopped like everything else around me.”

      “What do you mean everything else around you?”

      “Detective, listen to me, you had me checked out, I know it. I don’t have a record, no history of mental instability or any weird incidents.”

      “Until today.”

      “Yeah, I know, until today’s weird story, but it’s the truth, so help me.”

      “All right, tell me again.”

      “It’s just like I told the patrolman, his sergeant and the other two detectives. Suddenly, it was like a movie that’s been put on hold. Everything was frozen. People in mid-stride, cars completely stopped even though seconds ago they were rushing down the street, but you know what was the strangest thing?”

      “Apart from your entire story?”

      “The silence, detective. All noises suddenly stopped. I mean, there’s always some noise, even in the quietest scene. A breeze rustling up some dirt, a bird tweeting, small animals scuttling, there’s always something, even that rushing sound in your ear when it’s real quiet, that was gone. Do you believe me, detective?”

      “We’ll see.  Tell me how you spotted our victim?”

      “Suspect, he was committing crimes, you should call him a suspect.”

      “Right now he’s dead as can be, so lets call him victim for the moment. You said he was the one who stopped time. How would you know that?”

      “Cause he was the only one moving, don’t you see? He was the only one acting alive, doing things, bad things. Everyone else was frozen, like suspended animation. One guy in the act of eating a hot dog, the food frozen a couple of inches from his open mouth.  Even a drop of mustard frozen halfway to the ground, suspended in thin air.  Everything was stopped, frozen, time was halted.”

      “Okay, now I got an obvious question.  Suppose I buy your weird story, why weren’t you frozen like everybody else? How did you come to see everything, to tell me, a police detective investigating a suspicious death with you the only eyewitness? Got any explanation for this?”

      “Look, detective, I’m a scientist, a physicist at Brookhaven National Lab. We study things we don’t understand, it’s a constant struggle. My field is quantum research.”

      “Whoa, you lost me there, I mean I read about it, the study of strange particles, right?”

      “Much more than that. We find that certain particles act different when they’re being watched.”

      “My five year old daughter does that all the time, it doesn’t make you guys geniuses.”

      “I’m not a genius, and I don’t understand it either, but I saw what I saw.”

      “Okay, lets say I believe you for a while, tell me what crimes you saw this man commit.”

      “Nothing major, but mean, really mean.  I think he was just beginning to realize the power he held, being the only one functioning when time halted for the entire world. He could do anything he wanted, nothing was off limit, and no one could catch him, detective, your worst law enforcement nightmare.”

      “Please get to it, what exactly did you see him do?”

      “Petty, mean things.  He took a grocery bag from an old woman, scattered it across the street. Poor old lady must have spent half her social security money on it and he just threw it away, didn’t have to, just meanness, know what I mean detective?”

      “Unfortunately, I do. What else?”

      “He broke a little kid’s leg. A boy, maybe ten or eleven, walking back from a ball game, carrying his bat. When time stopped the kid was mid-stride, baseball bat on his shoulder. He took the bat, whacked him hard on the leg. I could hear the bone break. He didn’t have to do that, it was just mean, sadistic, and he was simply getting started. Surely there must have been police reports of people hurt in strange events?”

      “Yeah, I heard about it, but it wasn’t enough to call out the detectives. Uniforms handled it. What happened next did you call him out, talk to him?”

      “God, no. I was scared to death. I mean if he has the power to stop time, think what he could do to someone like me.  I’m sixty years old, a scientist in poor physical shape. I was frightened, more than any time in my life.”

      “What else did you do?”

      “I followed him from a distance. He walked into a bank, came out with a big wad of bills, then he walked around the corner to the construction site and sat down in the shade, arranging and counting the money.”

      “How long did he take?”

      “The rest of his life detective.”

      “I don’t get it, what do you mean?”

      “I mean he stood up, put the money in his pocket and did something with his hand, something I couldn’t really understand but time started up again.”

      “What happened then?”

      “Tons of construction debris instantly fell on him and crushed him. You see, detective, the shade he sat under was the construction debris hurtling to the ground, halted in mid-air when he stopped time. You have to believe me, detective.”

      “Well, in my younger days, I was a big fan of science fiction. And of course there are the hard facts.  This construction company had a perfect record until this accident.  Two foremen, and five workers swore there was no one on the site. They also swore the man appeared, impossibly, at the last split-second to be instantly crushed and killed by the debris.”

      “Are you a religious man, detective?”

      “Sort of, Catholic, Easter and Christmas kind.”

      “Well, detective, be glad something saved us. That man had acquired a power such as no one ever held in the history of the world, and he wasn’t going to use it for good. Something interfered and removed him from our world.” 



Dialogue Only Writing Contest contest entry
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