A Hot Day in the City
It was a long, hot summer day in the city. The air was thick enough to cut through with a knife, and the tension leading up to the news conference was about as much. Just why did the police let that creep go anyway? He butchered all those little girls. They even have the evidence to put him away! I wouldn't know what the Commissioner can say that can make any sense out of this.
I had to turn up the volume to drown out the hum of the air conditioner. The news conference was starting. But just as that fat, bald mess of a Commissioner was about to say anything, the picture just froze. No motion. No sound. No nothing! I was just about to reach over to smack the television some to get it to work, but I suddenly felt really heavy. Even the air felt heavier than I thought it was. I thought I was having a heart attack or something.
But then I looked out of the window and saw that a pigeon was suspended in the air. In mid-flight. I wasn't having a heart attack – I was going crazy!
I had to get out of the apartment! Of course, the elevator wasn't working, so I had to take the stairs down. After what felt like an eternity, I made it down to the lobby. The sight was something that could put anyone in a mental hospital, not just me: a crowd of people just stopped into place. The sound though... that was even worse. Deafening silence.
It was a silence that was only broken by a little girl's giggle. I looked everywhere for the source of that giggle, but only found the passing shadow of... something... weaving through the crowd. I wasn't too thrilled, but it seemed like following this thing was going to be the only way out.
Following that damned shadow I found myself outside on the street. Everything was frozen in time, from people to birds, even to the plastic bags caught in a now still wind. As I continued to look around, the shadow wasn't there anymore, but rather a small girl in a dress was standing in front of a twisting pillar of blinding light.
I felt something sinister from the girl, and even more so from the light. Was this the cause of whatever stopped everything in place? In any case, I was somehow able to move when everyone else couldn't. There must be something I can do about it.
The next thing I know, I am holding a spear of some sort. There's definitely something I can do about this!
I approached the girl and the light with the spear tight in my fist. With each step, it feels like my very existence is becoming unraveled more and more. It wasn't a criminal at all who was killing the little girls – they were just defending themselves from what only looked like little girls. Their existence was at risk... not just their existence, but that of everyone else as well.
This thing was very clever. Sacrifice itself over and over again and dwindle down the numbers of those who can fight future threats. I can't just aim for the girl. But also the light. The light has to be killed too.
I lift the spear over my head and throw with all the faith I can muster. Existence itself is on the line and I'm the one who has to make this shot count!
I trembled as my hand let go of the spear, time seemingly slowing down even further as I watched the pole sail through the still air. But somehow, despite all of this, the point of the spear hit its target tried and true. With a crunch, the spear jutted into the girl's chest, the force of the blow enough to bring the spear into the light as well.
What followed the deafening silence of the moment was the equally deafening wail of the girl as the light swallowed her whole. But before the light disappeared, I heard the girl's voice.
“Thank you,” she said. Perhaps she wasn't behind this after all.
- Back to Stories in Pause