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Out of Time

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Lost time is never found again.
—Benjamin Franklin
Broken Clock

Time is a fragile thing. Many think nothing more of it than a simple part of their lives... Perhaps even taking it for granted. What would you do without time? How would you live without it? Nobody knows just how fragile time really is... and how deadly.

This is the story told from the mind of a young man who discovered how deadly time can really be.

From the mind of Billy Bateson


"Boy, what a crazy day at work"

I was driving home from work. Gee, when they said that being in the workforce would be difficult, I never imagined it would be that bad. Then again, I did choose to be a construction worker... I suppose that's a bit more strenuous then other jobs.

And why did it have to be so far away from home... ugh...

Regardless, I’m home. And I’m glad of it. I think I'll hit the hay early. I'd just gotten out of high school and I was hoping to catch a break. I guess my parents didn't want me to be a rock gathering moss and told me I'd need to find a job before next year. It stinks, but then again, it was a good point. I'd need to be making money if I’m ever going to be out on my own.

"Billy? Is that you?" I heard my mother calling from upstairs.

"Yeah mom, it's me."

"Could you get the mail for me?"

"Already did mom." It was a routine at this point.

"There's our Billy, always on top of things."

I reached into my coat pocket and retrieved the mail I had stored there. I’m usually not nosy, but I decided to look through it. Bills... Solicitation... Letter from Barb (My mom's assistant at work.) and... hmm...

"Hey mom, do you know an Edgar Willow?"

"...I’m not familiar with the name... Why?"

Something made me hide the letter to myself. "I heard the name recently. I thought he was some new guy around town."

I decided to store the letter in my coat for later. My dad walked in from the office room and smiled.

"So son, how was work?"

"It was alright. Hard work is good work I suppose."

"Hah! That's my son, never taking the easy way out!"

My dad is one of those go-getter motivational types. Ironically enough he's a speaker for several different companies. Fitting really.

"I think I’m gonna go to bed early."

"Alright son, just make sure you get up early! You don't want to be late for work!"

From dusk till dawn. Eh, whatever makes money I guess. I walked upstairs and entered my room. My sister was out with a friend at a late night movie, so thankfully I won't have to deal with her "Late night chat sprees" with her friends.

You know... life is good above all its flaws. I've got supportive parents, a good paying job, my sister, annoying as she is, does care for me. It's good to be loved. I happily entered my pajamas and drifted to sleep.

Is this a dream? Hmm... yes I believe so. All white. I’m in a white room. How... boring. It's like I’m floating... drifting... stopping... slowing...

And then there was a light. A bright blue light. The only sound I heard was a loud ticking noise, like that of a clock. I noticed the ticks began to slow... and slow... and slow... until I swore that it stopped.

And then I awoke.

I felt... dizzy. I fell off of my bed and attempted to get up, but I couldn't get to my feet. I puked all over the floor, it felt like someone had just bashed me over the head. I looked up at my clock. It was 5:30 A.M, thirty minutes before my alarm usually gets me up. I finally got up and hobbled over to my door.

Nobody was around. I checked the door... but it was locked, so nobody got into our house. It honestly felt like I was hit over the head by... something.

I headed into my parents room. I peeked inside. My mother was lying down, asleep, and my father was sitting up, facing the window.

"Hey dad?"

...No response.

"Dad"

Still nothing... I... dreaded my next action... but I walked over to see my dad. He was just... staring. A blank stare directed towards the window.

"Dad? Hello? Dad?"

He didn't even notice me. I yelled at him, waved my hand in front of him... but nothing. So i decided to shake him. It seemed like I had... shaken him loose of something, as he fell to the floor. I helped him back up. Was he... frozen? I ran over to the other side of my bed and attempted to wake my mother. No response. Frozen, they were both... frozen. I needed to get a doctor, and fast.

I called 9-1-1. For some reason our phones weren't working. I'll just have to drive to the hospital, luckily it is just a few miles away. I ran outside, hurrying to my car. I looked up to the sky and saw a plane moving very slowly... but something was odd. That wasn't a plane. It was a bird. It was... was it? Frozen? I jumped into my car and attempted to start the engine... but something was wrong. The engine wouldn't ignite. It was almost as if the reaction wouldn't start. I guess I had to bike my way there. I rode as fast as I could, speeding my way down the road. I saw a car up ahead, and had no choice but to pull over. They stopped as well. I waved for them to keep driving... but they seemed to be determined to let me go ahead. I rode up to the car but... oh god.

My heart stopped.

They were just... sitting there. Motionless. The man driving had his hand on the radio, the woman looked as if she was saying... something. The boy in the back was stuck in the midst of waving his legs back and forth.

Stuck. Frozen. God dangit! As if it mattered! I need to get help!

As I rode down to the hospital... more cars. More people. All stuck. Nobody was moving. Everyone... everything... was stuck. Stuck. This is madness... what happened! Why is everyone just... stopped!

I arrived at the hospital and ran inside. Oh, what a surprise. Everyone is frozen. Nobody was moving. I activated the intercom and yelled into it:

"Hello! Hello, can anyone hear me? HELLO?"

...I waited for a response. I observed the room around me. Everyone was stuck. A man was turning a page of a magazine... the woman at the desk was pressing the shift button, beginning to write an email to someone.

Nothing. No noise. This silence was infuriating. There was no wind... no speech... nothing. Electronics wouldn't work, the elevator was not responding. It was as if anything that had previously been able to send out a signal was no longer functioning, as if the signals were frozen along with... everything else in the whole damn world!

What is this? Is this a dream? I tried hitting myself a few times, pinching myself, trying to wake up, but I was fully cognitive. This was no dream. Then what? What happened? Why is everyone frozen? It's as if ti-

Time. It was as if time had frozen. Frozen. Time....

I screamed. I became hysteric. Everything in the entire world was frozen in time. Or at least... I thought that was the case.

I wandered through the town. Yelling and hollering for.... anyone. Wait... my sister! Maybe she is ok! I ran back to my bike and rode as fast as I could to her friends house. I rushed through the door. No. God no. Please no.

She was walking towards the door. Was. Was walking to the door. But she... along with everyone else in this time frozen world was stuck. I ran to her... tried to get her to respond. I tried shaking her as well... but she simply just fell to the floor as if she had been released from some encasing of ice... but she was still motionless. I cried.

I biked to my place of work. People were pulling into the parking lot... and my boss was walking out of his truck. All with that blank, motionless face.

But why. WHY ME! WHY AM I STILL MOVING! Why am I still moving!

...No... no wait maybe...

Maybe the world isn't frozen in time... what if...

I’m... outside of time... no! The dream! The flash of blue... the TICKING! It sounded like a clock! Time! Did I somehow leave the timestream? Did I defy the very flow of time itself? Maybe there is a way back! Maybe if I go to sleep again I can go back! I rode back to my house. I was exhausted... it took me much longer to get home than before. But... then again... did it take longer if time itself no longer affected me?

I ran back into my house. My parents were still stuck. I ran to my bed and fell in the sheets. It seemed like a decade... or... merely seconds before i was finally tired enough to fall asleep. I didn't dream. Nothing. I woke up and looked at my clock.

5:30AM

The same time as I had woken up. My parents were still frozen. I cried. I cried for a long... short... oh whatever. I cried. I’m stuck. No more... anyone. Everyone is frozen. Everything is stuck. Anything that required a timed reaction or a flow of energy did not work. The sun didn't set... night never came. Liquids were solid... as if the atomic structure itself was stuck ( And as my chemistry classes taught me, this would make them the equivalent of a solid ). I was able to walk on water. It was almost... amusing. Amusing in that sick sort of way.

So I wandered. I walked the oceans. I visited different countries. I saw the world. Temperature never affected me... not a day passed. I went insane. Hysteric. I began to talk to myself. Boy... aren't I a nice person to talk to? Heheheh....hahaha....heh....oh god why...

It felt like years. At least... I hoped it was. I only hoped it was.

I...I couldn't take it anymore. I...I found a gun. I placed a bullet in the chamber... turned off the safety... cocked back the gun... and pulled the trigger.

Oh...right... time is stopped. The gun can't ignite the chamber.

...A knife. Not how I would have liked to die but... heh, what choice do I have?

I walked into a large plaza. There were people around, so someone would find my body, take out my wallet... oh mom and dad I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I pulled the knife up to my neck...

"Hello? Hello is anyone there? Oh please is anyone there?"

It took me a moment to acknowledge the sound. That wasn't my echo. It was a woman's voice.

...What!

I ran towards the sound of the noise yelling.

"Hello? Hello! Where are you?"

"My God I’m so glad someone can hear me! I’m here! I’m over here!"

I saw her. She was about average height... dirtied blonde hair... and dark brown eyes. And she was moving. Moving! I ran in her direction.

"Hello? I’m not going insane am I? Are you actually... well... not frozen?"

"Yes, and I’m so glad there is someone else moving. My name is Ellie, Ellie Winter."

"I’m Billy. Billy..." I had to actually think about my last name... How long had it been? "...Bateson"

"What's happened Billy? Why is nobody else moving?"

"Well... I'll try to explain it as best as I can..."

So I explained the story. From start to finish. To my surprise she too had the strange dream. It had seemed as though she suffered the same fate as me... stuck outside of time.

"But... my friends... my family..." She began to cry. I put my hand on her shoulder.

"We'll find a way to set things right... I promise."

And so we traveled. We shared our lives with each other. She was from England. I was thankful to find someone else in this horrible world. Funny... I never thought that there could be something more horrifying than bloody, dead people... and monsters... and screams. Just... being stuck forever with nobody else. I was blessed to have someone to talk to other than myself.

Years... or so it seemed... passed. We became good friends. We shared jokes, explored, made the best of our fated lives. I was at peace... in a sense. We had actually forgotten that we were looking for a way to enter the flow of time again... but what would it be like? Would years have passed? Would it only be a second of difference? Would we be changed? Would we be old? I had no idea.

We walked up to a hill, underneath the shade of some trees.

"Do you think we will ever find a way Billy? Find a way to go back?"

"I- I don't know. I... hope so."

"Well... you look tired. We should rest."

"Ok," I laid down underneath the tree. It was a comfortable tree.

"Billy?"

"Yes Ellie?"

"I’m so glad I found you."

"Me too."

"I hope... if we can find a way to reset this... perhaps we can meet!"

"Sure Ellie, so long as we remember."

"Promise me one thing Billy?"

"Yes?"

"Promise you'll find me?"

I stopped for a moment. Would I remember? Would I find this girl who gave me another chance at sanity?

"...I promise."

She smiled and hugged me. We both fell asleep.

I woke up what seemed moments later. I looked around.

"Ellie?"

She was missing.

"Ellie! Ellie where are you!"

Nothing.

I looked to the sky for a brief moment. Was... was the sun lower? No... it must have been his imagination. He looked around. Things had... moved? Moved! Everything had seemed to move a for a brief moment! It's working! But... but where was Ellie?

I ran down the hill. I had gained some speed running down and fell. I rolled down the hill... crashing into bushes and getting gashes in my arms and legs. One hit me in the face... god how that hurt. I looked all over the area before giving up. I ran back up to the top of the hill in hopes to find something... something that she may have left. To my surprise there was a note by my head that I hadn't noticed. I read the letter aloud to myself...

Billy,

I think I've found a way. Please, you need to follow me. I didn't have enough time to wait for you, I couldn't wake you up. I've given you locations in coordinates of where I am headed.

Ellie.

40.7566° N, 73.9863° W

Why... why didn't she keep trying to wake me! Why did she leave! I was so angry. I nearly tore the note in half. What did she find? Why didn't she tell me! GAH!

...No... Keep it together! We need to find her!

I followed the coordinates with a map I had picked up on my travels. At every different location I found more letters...

Billy,

I’m so close Billy! I’m nearly there!

Ellie

I will keep following. No matter what. I'll always follow... I'll always keep my promise!

Another note. How many of them are there?

Billy,

This is it. This is the place! Please you must hurry!

Ellie

90° N, 0° W

It took so long... But I finally arrived at the location. It was frigid, snowy... and... nighttime? Oh... I forgot that the arctic areas have longer nights. I had chills. This seems to be the one place where time doesn't matter.

I arrived at the exact location indicated by a specific map image included with the note. It was a cave. A... cave? Why a cave...?

I entered the cave. I heard laughter. Echoing laughter. It sounded like Ellie only... deeper. Stranger. Hysteric? Had she finally discovered it? Had what she discovered drove her mad?

"Ellie! Ellie I’m here!"

...Silence. She must have heard me right? Maybe not. I hope so. I’m crying. I finally found her. I never felt happie-

...What... What is this place... what are... My god!

Bodies. There were... bodies everywhere! Dismembered bodies, arms torn off, heads cut off... but... it looks like they've been... Eaten? Wait... what are they wearing?

One was wearing what looked like... Roman Armor? One was wearing Egyptian robes. One was wearing Victorian clothing. They all had clothing from different ti-... Time periods...

One body in particular grabbed my interest. It was what appeared to be a WWII soldier. I read the name tag.

Edgar Willow.

...That name... was... familiar... but why...

...The letter! That is the name from the letter! ...But why is he here? Why is he dead? I reached in my old, tattered coat and discovered I had forgotten about the letter. It was crumpled up and nearly destroyed. I guess I never looked at the label. It was a letter from an army barracks. A WWII army barracks. The date was 1944, a year before the war ended. Why had he never notice this before? I opened the letter frantically.

To Whom it May Concern,


I don't know if you will ever get this message, if anyone ever will. But I've found a cave. I've been stuck in time forever, endlessly chasing this strange girl. I have found this cave, a cave with dismembered bodies. It was there with me. I knew it was lying. I managed to escape, I’m here at the army barracks. I am writing this letter so that someone will find it here and mail it. I found an address in the cave... I figured it was the next victim. After all, the address above it was my own. I fear this is the end. I feel that it seeks me. I can only warn you with this simple phrase.

Don't trust her. She lies.

From, Edgar Wi-

It was unfinished. There was a blood stain on the letter. I looked back at the body. There was a blood trail partially covered by snow leading out of the cave, as if something had dragged it here. I looked at the opposite wall. There was writing.

They were addresses. and the bottom one... the only one not crossed off was...

...mine.

My heart stopped. This... this can't be... these people... from all across time... taken... frozen... displayed...

And I was next.

I heard a voice from behind me. Demented, twisted... yet... familiar.

"I knew you'd find me. You kept your promise. They always do."

To this day... Nobody knows of the fate of Billy Bateson. He mysteriously disappeared from the Bateson household one day... the same day that thousands across the world found themselves in odd positions, unfamiliar positions. Things suddenly moved, people fell, all in what seemed like a second. No trace was ever found of Billy. His father remembers getting up from his bed and suddenly falling to the floor, faster than he could remember. He though he had heard his sons voice. His daughter had been reported to also have fallen suddenly.

Nobody knows of his fate. Nobody that is, until the next person is targeted. Until the next person is taken...

Out of time.

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