30 Days of Short Stories

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Short story #1 of 30

Prompt by u/TheArchivist314/: You’ve always had the power to pause time whenever you want for however long you want. Today you’ve run into someone who does not pause and they’re pissed because they’ve never paused when you’ve paused time and they finally found you.

Photo by McKenzie

I can stop time. Everything stops but me. I’ve often wondered what the mechanism for this power was… and if other people had it. I figured, everyone must? I must be getting paused and not know it. The world is just filled with better people than me. I started pausing the world selfishly when I was a baby. My mother had the best milk, who wants it from the bottle? Not baby me.

            That’s kind of gross in hindsight, but – I was a baby who could pause time. How does everyone not just pause time, to get what they want? I’d come to the conclusion they had more willpower than me.

            That said, for this particular anecdote, I’ve paused it now because I’m losing a fight with my girlfriend. We are standing outside the forever 21 which – like let’s be real, why are we at the mall, gross, right? Who goes to the mall anymore? I’ve paused it for a long time because I’ve forgotten what she last said.

            Thinking about the perfect comeback I got lost in her eyes. The nape of her neck, she’s got this just… fascinating bone structure. I pause time to just look at her hands. Slender, no rings, but they are perfect ring hands. Each knuckle, each… when you can pause time, you can really take in the fine details of life… and so you do. Or at least I do.

            At least I did…

            “Are you fucking KIDDING ME! I’m so sick of this shit! BLAAHRHAGHG!” A voice belted out from the distance.

            “What the fuck?” I didn’t say it loud enough to be heard. I think the voice came from the food court. I changed my mind, I wanted to be heard. “What the fuck!” I started running in the direction of the Expressing Happy Panda. (Which – who would name their restaurant that?)“Who’s there! Is someone else unpaused!” On the way there I banged my knee on a metal chair. I was just going too fast, I hit it, and flipped myself head over heels.

            “Damn, dude. Can I help you up?” The voice came from big boned Bob. He was a hulking kind of man. I think he was some kind of Asian mix, but I didn’t ask. I just got that impression from the way he spiked his hair. His wallet chain said French to me. So maybe like, half Chinese, half French? I should have asked him, because I knew I was going to try and write this story down. Anyway.

            There he is, this hulking dude, probably six foot two. And he’s just got over being super pissed, and he’s replaced it with shock. “Oh My God.” He runs over and helps me up.

            “Hey, thanks. Ummm, are there others like you?”

            “No. Just you.”

            “Oh, Damn.” And we just get into it, what his life is like, I’m asking him all the questions. And a couple times I ask him the same question twice because my memory is weirdly shot. I had a concussion and have this inner ear balance issue… it’s annoying. My girlfriend hates it. And then I ask him, “What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done after you stopped time?”

            That’s when it dawns on him, and he’s literally at my throat, those two big boned hands just choking me like a Simpson’s character. I’m all AHAAHAHAHAglrhnghahhhh!>!>!


            “You do this? What the fuck is wrong with you? You Fuck.”

My eyes are bugging out and I can’t even get enough air to gurgle, so he let’s go.

            “Do you have any guess as to how many times you’ve paused time when I was in the middle of a wank?”


            “Do you know how many times you paused me with my wife?”

            “… I pause a lot…”

            “I’m going to kill you. Jesus. Are there other people like you?” He asked.

Honestly, I try not to think about it too much. But when I do, I just assume, “Can’t everyone do it, and they just like… choose not to?” I gave him this halfhearted shrug, because now that I was talking to Bob about it, now that I was saying it out loud, it sounded pretty fucking stupid.

            “No.” His eyes started to water a bit. “Why don’t I stop when everyone else does? When I was a kid, they put me in an institution for a week. They thought I was crazy. So I never told anyone ever again. I just sit through it. Wait for it to be over. Sometimes you pause for days? Maybe months, I lose track, what are you doing?”

            Instinctively, I knew not to bring it up to any adult. I basically never talked about it to anyone… it didn’t seem appropriate. It’d lead to conversations like this… people’d ask me questions, “Have you seen me naked?” And the answer would always be, of course. Or what if I had been write and they had this super-ish power too. Then they’d tell me they’ve seen me naked. Where does that conversation go? We’d be to a question like this one where big bone bob asked, ‘What were you doing?’ I don’t want any of that.

            So it’s at this point that he gets that choking look in his eyes again. The one I’d just seen a minute before, so  I just turn and run. He’s chasing me. He’s got this look in his eyes, like just crazed, like – he is going to straight up kill me. So I pause time. Defense mode.

            Only, I’d already paused time, so it doesn’t work, I actually unpaused time, and everyone starts walking and the noises of breathing and the hum of the fluorescent lights and all that obnoxiousness of the world flicks on. I get nauseous. I told you, I’ve got bad balance. So he catches me, starts beating me. Fist to my face. I try to pause time, but he doesn’t pause. So I’m screaming for help and he’s beating the living piss out of me, and I’m going to die. This is a life or death situation I’ve gotten myself in, so I take a gamble and leave time unpaused as I lose consciousness.

            When I come to… he’s in jail and… can you imagine being in jail, and having time paused, only you don’t pause? So… I’ve basically stopped pausing things. It’s just not fair. I think he deserved the 20 years he got… but he doesn’t deserve 40, he doesn’t deserve, 100. So… I just try to never do it. It’s got to be super important.

            No more looking at the knuckles of my girlfriend, no more pretty sunsets, no more full moons, where you just soak it in, no more… but in a way, not being able to hold it, has made it… I don’t know — in a way, there’s an importance to the passage of time.

            My girlfriend wins more arguments, and we kinda get along better.

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