Daily Prompt – Short story: Standstill

I’m a day late with my Monday writing prompt story/poem etc… mainly because I didn’t like yesterday’s prompt from Daily Post. I know I should probably have tried harder.. written out of my comfort zone. But instead I waited until today.. This one’s nicer.

Daily Prompt: Standstill – For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?

“Excuse me… Hello? Excuse me.”

The man stared blankly at me.

“What a weirdo.” I mumbled to myself, storming off. I only wanted to know the time, because once again, my watch had stopped.

I tapped a young woman who was waiting to cross the road. She ignored me.

“Excuse me? Am I invisible?” I said, stepping to the side of her, “Why are you waiting? The cars have stopped.”

I stood in front of her, and she gave me the same blank stare the man from earlier had given me. She was frozen. The cars were frozen. Everyone in the street was frozen.

Had I left my house in such a hurry this morning that I hadn’t noticed that the whole world was frozen?

“Yes, yes you did,” came a voice from behind the lamppost.

“What? Did I say that out loud?” I turned around confused. I couldn’t see anyone.

“Nope!”

Out from behind the lamppost jumped a funny-looking man. He was short, but with thin, gangly legs, and a purple Trilby hat.

“Hi I’m the time-keeper.” he said, leaning on the lamppost, “Here’s the deal, you’ve been rushing around so much lately that you haven’t really been paying attention. So…”

“Well I have a busy life! I’ve built my company up from the ground. I’m doing a million jobs at once to keep it going. I’m a successful business woman for god’s sake!” I interrupted.

“You didn’t even notice that I’d paused time,” he shouted waving his arms around to illustrate his handy work, “Anyway I decided, as the nice person, I’m going to give you a chance to stop and think.”

“This isn’t going to be like the whole Scrooge thing is it?” I moaned, “I don’t do well with ghosts and flying or really anything to do with my past.”

“No no no. I can’t be bothered with all that,” he laughed, walking towards me.

“So, I’m stuck in this frozen land until when?” I asked.

“Until you learn to relax,” he whispered, leaning right in my face.

“How am I supposed to relax when you froze time?” I yelled, pacing the street. “I’ve got things to do, meetings to arrange, shopping, tidying…”

Suddenly I felt really tired. “I need a nap.”  I sighed, “Then you can decide to turn the world back on again… or fix whatever the hell you’ve done.”

“That’s the spirit! Give yourself a breather… you’ve got time.” He added with a chuckle.

Then he stepped back behind the lamppost and disappeared.

“Ok, this is going to be ok,” I told myself, still pacing, “I really do need a nap. When was the last time I stopped? Or even slept longer than a couple of hours since the business started making money?”

I took my phone out of my pocket to call a taxi, then realised that I was being stupid. It was so quiet, so still. I started to walk. There were so many thoughts rushing through my head as I watched the still world.

I started to look at people’s faces as I passed them – a happy couple in the park, an old man smiling to himself eating his sandwiches on a bench, and a kid playing frisbee with his dog. I never had time for a boyfriend, let alone a whole family.

I walked for hours, but not really because time had no meaning anymore.

“I never just stop do I?” I asked myself finally standing still.

“No you don’t.”

“Where the hell did you come from? You scared the crap out of me!” I jumped from my resting place as the time-keeper reappeared.

“It doesn’t matter. But I think you know what you need to do,” he smiled at me wriggling his eyebrows, “finally.”

“What?” I was confused.

“Come on, I know we’ve got forever technically. But I’m not allowed to keep stuff frozen forever,” he groaned, “Catch up.”

I tried to get back to my last thought. What was I doing? I had finally stopped.

“I know what I need to do,” I smiled, “It’s time to sell the company and start living again.”

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8 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – Short story: Standstill

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Standstill | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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