There’s a strange thing about me. Time slows down when I am in trouble; the more trouble, the slower it goes. I know that sounds like something people say and when I tell people they nod and agree. Some even give me scientific explanations. Adrenaline gets your heart racing, and when you’re used to sixty beats a minute, jumping up to one twenty can makes things seem twice as long. And sure, I get that. I understand the internal workings of that. With me it’s external. It happens before the adrenaline rush, before I know anything is going on.
That’s the best I can explain it and I don’t know if anyone else has this happen to them. Most people just think it sounds crazy. I’ve been called that enough times in my life to not talk about it too much. Part of me always hoped I would grow out of it like childhood buck-teeth or something, but alas, no such luck for me. I don’t even usually go this far in explanation except today, today is too weird.
Just now, I woke up and it seems like I am the only thing moving. It’s almost too much to even think about. I have no idea what I should be worried about. Usually the danger is kind of obvious. I mean, I can see if I’m standing on a street corner at a busy intersection or on some rickety bridge. But I’m just here, in my apartment, waking up after a good night’s sleep.
I look around my room for a clue. It’s 8:37 a.m. and the world is so frozen that the two dots on the digital clock face stands steady. I can feel the panic rising from worry. The unknown is enough to set it off I guess. I lean over my window to look at the street below. The cars look like set pieces. Even the exhaust fumes hover behind them like clouds in a Bob Ross painting. The window creaks and I jump back. The sound is low and slow. Will it break? Will it give out under the pressure of my hand? The building is old but not that old. No, it’s not the window.
I move out into the large open room that serves as living space as well as dining room and kitchen. I don’t smell gas. No blockbuster movie explosion. Then I see it. The door is open. Just slightly, as if someone meant to close it but didn’t know that the latch is sticky and the hinges are crooked so if you don’t turn the handle back it won’t actually stay closed.
I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s never been like this. I must be in true danger: life-threatening danger. Is someone here to kill me? Why would they be? That’s not their job, after all. Right. I forgot to mention, I may or may not be an assassin for hire. The time thing opened up a few doors for me. This one is the best paying. You can’t avoid a bit of danger in this line of work and that danger only makes the job easier. This though, is different.
Another creak, louder than the one from the window, makes me spin around. I catch sight of the man in dark clothes in the corner. I let out a snort. Now that I know the threat I can avoid it. My advantage is almost unfair – a few quick steps and he hardly has the time to blink. I grab for a knife from the block. It will be messy but clean up doesn’t faze me. I am in his space and it seems like he hasn’t even moved.
I raise the knife and look into his eyes. He winks and I feel the sting of a bullet in my stomach. I fall to the ground and he bends over me.I hear the ticking of my kitchen clock- the danger is over. I am almost relieved. I am not the only one after all.