Written Word

The Standstill

by Daniel McGregor


Hunter Anderson looked around himself in complete disorientation. The remaining three of their group they called the missing stood beside him. Themselves also unaware where Blake had displaced them. He hated to call it teleporting because it didn’t feel like something that should be physically possible when he did it.
They stood at a coast they did not know but in the distant horizon stood a Building they all recognized. No sooner had they turned their Attention to it, the building exploded then followed by the sound of the massive detonation.
It had become even clearer to them what Blake had done and why they had to get as far away from there as fast as they could. As they fled Hunter noticed how the World around them that they had grown used to for what must have been an eternity had been changed yet again. He started to think back how it all began…

Chapter one: A world changed

Nathan Blake woke up dizzy confused and clinching his head. He looked up only to notice that the airbag that had prevented his head from receiving more than just bruising was still fully inflated. He clenched his head and felt only a little pain but nothing serious as he looked in the rear view mirror. No sooner had he realized that he had been in a car accident his rationality too kicked in and he thought “Aren’t airbags supposed to deflate after they fully inflate?”

After that realization his glance went beyond the steering wheel and what he saw both captivated and scared him. Nothing was moving. People on the sidewalk were frozen in various poses. Even the cars on the other side of the street were still. Everything seemed muted. In his rear view mirror he could see the red Ford Taurus that had hit his car in the traffic jam. It had still contact with his car. But given the way it was damaged and the force that it had applied, his car should have been pushed into the Truck in front of him. Nathan got out of his car taking his keys out of the ignition as he stepped out into this alien world that not ten minutes ago had been a busy New York City crossing. The only rational thought he could make after seeing how massive this effect was, was to head home. He started walking from Bowery towards the Brooklyn Bridge avoiding the Statues that were once people who would have walked past him. Still in a bit of a shock he tried to cope with the surrealism as good as he could.

Meanwhile Hunter was sitting at his desk in his Flat in Munich working on a piece of software code he was developing for a firm that had commissioned him to secure gaps in their own network. Being the perfectionist that he was he couldn’t stop until either his Girlfriend Jenny stopped with a cup of Chai Latte coffee or he just was too tired to continue. Unusually it was the latter event that stopped him from typing more code.

After looking at the Clock in the corner of the screen and realizing how long he had been at work he felt a little eerie about not hearing from her in such a long period of time. “Everything all right Jenny?” No answer. Now the eerie feeling changed into uncertainty as he stepped out of his office into the hallway. Knowing her she was in the Living room listening to Subway to Sally or Lacrimosa. But it was so still that you could have literally hear a pin drop. He stepped into the living room, in the back of his head all kinds of scenarios were playing out but this he would have never guessed. Jenny was in the middle of the living room and had been playing on x box kinect. The game seemed to have crashed with the character frozen in mid-air. But the console was silent as if turned off. As he stepped into the room to turned his head to where she would be standing he could not believe his eyes. There she was frozen in exactly the same pose as the avatar on-screen. The sight overwhelmed Karl so badly that he nearly stumbled over his own feet. He cried out to her with no effect.

Then not knowing what else to try he decided to grab her and pull her out of this suspended animation back in to the real world. He laid his arm around her but no sooner had he done that was thrust away from her body with a tremendous force into the nearby bookshelf knocking him unconscious and making him painfully realize that there was a tangible force separating him from her.
Blake meanwhile had crossed the Bridge and entered his home on Middagh Street.
It had surprised hin that the people on the street hadn’t been as much a hinderance as he thought they would getting home. The only exception was a pair of guys lifting a couch out the front door. Or was it in? Some poses on people really left you mystified as to what their action had been. This made the whole scenario Blake was in feel even more alien. Blake squeezed past the two being cautious not to touch them because on the bridge had tried to carefully touch one of the stills as he thought to call them just to have some sort of logical definition. The recoil his finger received was so strong that it hurt like accidentally hitting your finger with a hammer. If he hadn’t touched the still with his fingernail rather than his fingertip like most people did, he would have probably dislocated his finger. Finally in his apartment he picked up the phone only to think straight away while the phone was sounding “I can’t call anyone… Wait a minute the phone works ???”. He put the phone down without hanging up. No sooner was he not touching it, the humming stopped. He picked it up and the Phone came back to life so to speak.
“So touching stills bad, touching tech good…” he thought. This knowledge gave hin only a little comfort as from what he saw, he was certain to be the only one not effected.


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