Time Stops. Short Story.

Ok. So the annoucement I’m making is kinda a suprise to me, as in I didn’t really expect this. I got an email from UCD telling me my application status has changed and to check my account.

So it turns out I’ve been offered a place in the Creative Writng MA programme I applied to, I of course accepted it! It’s pretty crazy to think about! So that’s me sorted for what I’m doing for the next year anyway! I’m super excited and happy about it!

In other news, I’ve been published in my colleges Literary Society Magazine, The Bell. This short story is the one that was published, it’s a yearly magazine, that isn’t really available anywhere, but still, first official publication that I’m aware of! Yay! I don’t have a copy of the magazine yet, but I will be getting a copy of it tomorrow, so double yay!

That’s all the news for the moment! Friday will be another installment of Guess What? As I said previously, A lot of things are about to happen, so I wanted to group it together, so this fridays one will be longer than the last few!

On with the show!


Time Stops.

Time moves in fits and starts. Not that you’d notice though. I seem to be the only one able to see it. Sometimes the pauses are brief, a slight hiccup. Other times they last hours, days and on one occasion, almost a month. Time fixes everything though, forcing me back to my original position before the pause. Everything is reset to how to was. But there’s a little loophole. If it isn’t a living person, it won’t go back. I can crash a car and time will go back to normal, the car will look fine, but the owner will soon crash it, the damage identical to the damage I might have caused. I’ve robbed thousands of people. Never that much. A five here, a ten there, a twenty, sometimes more. I’ve done the same in a few shops too, never took more than a ten from a till. People who gained their money through nefarious means lose more and I’ve made an OK living out of it. I say ok because I cannot predict those little pauses. There may be a hundred one year, then none the next. I can never tell how long they’ll last either, whether it will be long or short. There appears to be no pattern to them, there could be a group of long ones, then ones that only last seconds, or any mixture in between. It isn’t too difficult to rob people, as long as you are quick. I never take enough that they’d notice, mostly enough that they can pass off as having dropped it at some point in the day. You might think I’m a bad person for it, but I don’t. I try not to take money from those that need it. You probably ask yourself how I know who needs it and who doesn’t, I’ve become a very good judge of character just by what people wear and how they act. It’s easy when you know what to look for. I try to keep myself around people who are quite well off as often as possible for when those little skips occur.

I don’t really know what happens to me during them. I don’t know if I age normally, or if that gets wiped away too. I didn’t really notice them when I was younger, they mostly started happening around my seventeenth birthday. It was really freaky too. Everyone was at the party, balloons and confetti dropping from the ceiling when everything just froze. I didn’t know what the hell to do. I tried getting a few people to respond but nothing was happening. I found that I could move things though, if I walked through a cloud of confetti it parted to let me through, leaving a gap in the shape of me. I looked out the window and it seemed to be happening to everyone else. I wandered into the street, shouting hoping that someone would hear me and answer, but no one did. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t call the police or something, I tried that. I really did. The phone wasn’t working. It’s one of the annoying things about the skips. Electronics cease functioning. If I have a phone on me at the time, I can play around with it until the battery dies, listen to music on it, watch videos, but once it’s dead that’s it. I can’t recharge it. I can’t sit around in the cinema watching movies, or any of that stuff. I make due with books if I’m stuck for that long. Another strange thing about it, is that time itself keeps going. I spent two days frozen. I know it was two days because there were two nights. The Earth and Moon kept rotating. Maybe the revolutions of the Moon and the Earth had slowed or something, but they kept chugging on. Maybe they’re too big to stop. I don’t know. When everything went back to normal again, so did time, the daylight hadn’t changed, it was a complete reversal. I don’t know how that works either, I just know it was possibly the worst and greatest birthday present I had ever gotten. I figured I had freedom to do almost anything I wanted and I was right to an extent. I made fifteen grand that birthday, wandering through shops, taking a little bit of money here and there from people. Of course, the bank was helpful. The vault froze mid opening. I had access to it, so I helped myself. There was never any reports of money being stolen, I don’t know how I got away with it really. They just didn’t seem to notice they were down a few grand. I suppose I only did it to see what would happen, if I would be caught. There would be no camera footage of me doing anything, it’s not like anyone saw me take the money from people. Though I will admit I was greedy. I hid the money around my house, most of it was in small bills, I couldn’t really put it into a bank account, how would I explain getting all that money? Now I have a nice little business going. It does ok, well enough to pay my employees and keep itself afloat, but I launder money through it. It’s simple enough, fudge the inventory sheets a little, mark in extra sales here and there, no ones the wiser.

I don’t have to eat during these skips either, which is quite handy, I can eat, but I just don’t get hungry. I don’t really understand why I don’t, because I’m moving around the place and using energy, surely that should use something, but it doesn’t seem to. It makes things a little easier, I don’t even know how I would cook food, or what would happen to the food I had eaten. When the skips happen, I try to act quickly, I don’t really know how long it will last so I try to get as much done as fast as possible. I don’t have to worry about being caught, as soon as time starts back up again, I’m exactly where I was when it stopped. It’s convenient but it can be annoying too, especially when I’m in the middle of a conversation and I’ve forgotten what the person just said, or what I was in the middle of saying. Usually it isn’t too bad, but I hate it when I’m in work or on the phone.

It can be a little unnerving, walking through a street full of people who are all frozen, most staring at nothing. I’ve never encountered another living creature during these pauses, every animal and person I’ve seen have been completely still. I tried researching it on the internet, but if there is anyone else out there like me, they’re keeping quiet about it. Understandably. The first few times it happened I seriously questioned my sanity. If I hadn’t taken money from people I don’t know how I would have reacted. There would have been no proof it happened at all. It can be peaceful sometimes though. Knowing that there is no one to disturb or annoy me. I can relax, read a bit of a book, just sit and think. It can get a little lonely at times, but I’ve never had to wait too long for everything to snap back into place. I’ve sometimes wondered what I’d do if it didn’t. What would happen if years went by, hundreds, thousands, before everything went back to normal. Would I live all that time? Would I remember? What could I do for thousands of years, alone. I try not to think about it too often. The thought is too horrifying. The longest it’s happened for is almost a month, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been longer pauses at some time in history. Maybe some people that go suddenly crazy haven’t gone suddenly crazy. They’ve been alone for decades, by themselves with no one to talk too, nothing to do.

I like to think I’m not the only person in the world this happens too. Hell, maybe it happens to everyone at some stage, and for me it just happens more frequently. Maybe only one person can move around at a time and there’s a group of us, but we can never meet. I wonder what it’s like for those who are frozen. Do they know what’s happening, only to have their memories erased when it snaps back, are they aware at all? Do they just stop completely until everything goes back to normal? I don’t know. I probably never will. Maybe I’ll find out when I die, someone will be standing there to explain it all to me. I didn’t really believe in the after life before this all started. But then stranger things are happening to me, so who am I to judge? I hope that one day I’ll be able to figure it out or that someone will be able to explain it to me, though I know that probably won’t be the case. Either way, I’ll just continue what I’m doing. After all, I make an ok living, and it’s not really stealing or cheating, it’s simply using my natural talents to get ahead.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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2 Responses to Time Stops. Short Story.

  1. ahamin says:

    Bravo… this is a very good story… original idea, a character who you can relate to. Keep it up, with more determination, your work will find its way to my shelves one day
    Best of wishes 🙂

  2. Thank you,
    I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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