Flash Fiction: Timeline by Kay Pal

Timeline

There was a violent shift in atmosphere. Nothing in the room moved, but the sheer momentum of it woke Andrew from a dead sleep. It felt as if he had been flung across the room by his belly button. And yet, everything was the same. Nothing had moved and he remained tucked into his bed. He turned to glance at his bed-side clock. 2:12AM. Even though it was the middle of the night, he knew he was never going to get back to sleep. Not when his skin felt like it was vibrating. A sense of impending doom made Andrew decided he would get online. He opened his laptop and navigated to check and see if there was anything new going on in the world. He felt as if something bad had happened.

At first, he couldn’t quite pinpoint what was wrong with the web page. There was nothing new, but the page looked different. It was off somehow. After a while, his eyes landed on the ticker at the bottom of the screen that was usually moving. It remained still, clipping off the end of a sentence that began with “Thousands of bees were found-” What had been found? he wondered to himself, moving the laptop to the foot of his bed and reaching for the TV remote. He turned on the television and punched in the number for CNN. Wolf Blitzer appeared on his screen, frozen mid sentence. Nothing was moving. Andrew let out a frustrated sigh and flipped through the channels. Each appeared frozen mid-stream. Something odd was going on. He had felt ‘off’ since he had been violently woken by that strange swing of centrifugal force. It had felt as if his guts had been swung around and placed back into his midsection backwards.

Andrew padded barefoot down the cold hallway, headed for his room-mate’s bedroom. He knocked softly at the door and waited a few beats. No answer. Timidly, Andrew pushed open the door. His room-mate Steven was asleep in bed. Andrew walked over to him and gave his friend’s shoulder a shake, or at least, he tried to. It was as if Steven was made of stone. There was nothing Andrew could do to move him. More worrisome still, Steven wasn’t breathing. At least, not really. There was a steady stream of air coming from Steven’s nose, going on and on without end. There was no inhale, just air, like a leaky tire with infinite supply.

With his heart in his throat, Andrew ran down the hallway and burst out the front door of his home. He tried to scream but no sound came out. In fact, he hadn’t heard a sound since the moment he had woken up. Not a cricket, not a car alarm, not even the sound of wind blowing through the trees. It was like a crypt. He tried knocking on his neighbor’s doors and windows. No dogs barked, not a one. He tried running down to the busy street at the end of his cul-de-sac. Cars were at a stand-still in the middle of the road with open-eyed drivers that were completely un-moving. They took no notice to him pounding on their doors and windows. After what felt like hours, Andrew wandered back into his home.

He sauntered back into his room defeated and flopped down on his bed. He hit his head against his cell phone that had been buried in the covers. He attempted to dial 9-1-1, but he wasn’t expecting it to work. Just like he thought, the call wouldn’t even connect. Andrew navigated to his email, but there was nothing new on it. His last email was just a notification from Facebook confirming with him the decision he had made before he went to bed. Absentmindedly he re-opened it. It read “Your decision to deactivate your profile will go into effect in five hours. We have frozen your time-line, so if you ever want to come back, you may always reactivate and stay connected!” Realization came over Andrew like a tidal wave.

With trembling hands, he navigated to Facebook. He tried to re-activate his account, but no matter what he did, he was unable to effect change. He glanced at his bed-side clock again. 2:12AM. The time-line was stopped. Frozen. The phone fell from Andrew’s hands to the ground, and he took a few deep breaths. ‘Calm down’ he thought to himself. ‘You just need to calm down. You will figure this out eventually.’ After a few steadying gasps, Andrew reached down and picked his phone back up and navigated to his email. He noticed a google document he didn’t remember making next to the message from Facebook. He opened it. Inside were three lines.

2:12AM+3 Days: I will figure this out. -Andrew

2:12AM+8 years, 42 days: So alone in the frozen world. Will anyone know I was here? – Andrew

2:12AM+ 900+ years: There is no end. -Andrew

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