At first you wonder what’s going on, standing there, living within the utter silence, with everything and everyone static for 12 minutes. At first you just stop, looking in disbelief, then, after the second time it happens, that disbelief starts to turn into whatever you like.
It started six months ago, while walking through the streets of this great big metropolis, minding my own business when everything around me, literally, stopped. Cars, buses, dogs, cats, even pigeons, everything and everyone just froze. I recall eating popcorn, when it first happened, as I watched a couple of them fall only to stop a few inches away from the floor. It took me awhile to realise but I might just be the only person that this doesn't happen to.
After the fear fell away, descending into playful mischief, I’d started to re-arrange scenes but that was before someone died due to my meddling. Life has a force, a speed, which cannot be stopped. Or so I believed. Wind up a toy car, set it in place, then let go to see a great big thrust of life speed things back into action. Each change that I made had consequences, so after that death, I decided not to change anything unless it seemed reasonable.
In each of the 12 minutes I’d managed to gather as much money as possible, any possessions I liked, leading to life becoming a little bit stale. Imagine having the opportunity to own whatever you liked. Sure, it was stealing, but in the great scheme of things, the way things worked, we were all being short changed anyway. Anything and everything, for those 12 minutes within a day, were available and readily within reach.
Once, on my daily travels, I actually decided to stop a bank robbery. It was easy. Just wait, then on the dot, as the time approached, I’d just nip in and remove all of the weapons and drag each of them outside. Quite a bit of work depending on the size of the person but it was fun seeing their faces once the time elapsed.
12 minutes. Madness. Fun. Sometimes exciting, often strikingly cold and empty, but it carried on happening day after day. I recall visiting my family, the ‘olds’ as they liked to refer to themselves. They were still so young but, once the time arrived, I’d sit there just looking at them, burning their image into my mind as I knew that, one day, they’d leave this place. 12 whole minutes of calm and remembrance. Anything they wanted, they had, without question, but with limits. Although 12 minutes wasn't the longest time, I made sure that each item wouldn't be missed. It was one thing to be able to do whatever I liked but, eventually, someone, somewhere, might just notice.
I’d listen, wait, and then travel to a location where crime ran free. They wouldn't miss their cash, or guns, and they wouldn't come looking that far in fear of questions. They usually turned on each other but that was away from any conscience I had.
I realised, after a while, that if I walked up to an item, once everything stood still, I could usually get it to continue. It took concentration and effort, but eventually I’d get there. I knew, however, not to drive a car until after the time elapsed. That could get tricky smashing straight into a stopped car.
Everything became normal, very normal, as with many things in life. I’d see devastation in some of the buildings I’d visit, looked into the eyes of stone vapid killers, then take every single scrap of cash they’d taken from others. I’d leave gifts for people that didn't seem to have much in life, but with many things it was the individual day that decided what I’d do.
Many would think that I'm being calm but, you would be to, because losing my mind just wouldn't work with the situation I'm in. I want to stay alive, I need to keep on living and although I'm on my own in all of this, I’d going to find help on this very day. There’s a couple of people that I think can help so the time is now. After all, although I've come to terms with things, although I know that this may never stop, I'm okay with the way things are, or were, until the day that I saw them everywhere. Then, as the 12 minutes arrived, they moved.