Time StopbyCharles Petersunn©
This story was inspired by Japanese movies of the same name. The story is also a common theme within science fiction and was inspired by episodes of The Twilight Zone (e.g., "A kind of a stopwatch," and "Time enough at last") as well as The New Twilight Zone (e.g., "A little peace and quiet"). It was therefore place within the science fiction section. However, being inspired primarily by the Japanese movies it concerns reluctance, submission, and exploitation (i.e., taking advantage of the stopping of time), and so if this type of material is of no interest to you, and certainly if you find it offensive, you should definitely not read this story. The story is long but it can be read in sections. And, please do note, all of the characters in this story are at least eighteen years old.
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Time was approaching eight o'clock in the evening. Henry Demis was, once again, at the library.
Henry was a nineteen year-old undergraduate at Livingston College (all of the students at Livingston were at least 18 years old). He could be a very good student as he loved to read. In fact, he spent most of his time reading. He would at times be so tired in his classes because he had spent half the night reading, which was in part why he was not a particularly good student. He would never devote enough time to studying. He was admonished time after time by professors for reading in class when he should have been paying attention to the lecture.
He so much enjoyed a good book, and he had thick glasses to prove it. The glasses though didn't trouble him much. As long as there would be a prescription powerful enough to compensate he would continue to read. His only regret was that he did not seem to have enough time to read everything.
He looked around him. The library contained so many books. How could he ever get through them all? He wondered if someday he would die having failed to have read everything that he had wanted to read. That just seemed so tragic. What might he have missed? It was really unnerving to imagine.
At one point he made a rule that he could never read anything twice as long as there was something else he had not yet read. That way he wouldn't waste any time by going over familiar ground when there was in fact new territories to explore.
He quickly recognized though that it was a dumb rule. It was just simply a sad fact of life that there would always be something he had not yet read, and some books were so, so good that he just had to read them again, and again, and again. Each time he read a book an additional time he discovered new revelations about a character, or the depth and significance of a particular scene, or simply discovered something that he had previously missed.
There was just so much to read yet so little time.
He sighed with deep frustration as he noticed the current time. It was now 8 o'clock, and he was barely halfway through Middlemarch. When would he find the time to finish all the works of Eliot?
"You look a little discouraged, young man. Can I be of any assistance?"
Henry looked up from his book to see an old man, a very old man, sitting down across from him. He was clearly getting well into his years. Still, he was quite distinguished looking, and very well dressed. "Excuse me?"
"Can I be of some assistance?"
Henry realized that he had seen this man before. In fact, a number of times. He seemed to be at the library more often than him, or at least lately he had seemed to be there pretty much every time Henry was there, and Henry was there most every night. "No, no, I'm fine," Henry replied.
"Well, you certainly didn't look fine."
Henry looked at him. What does this guy want? What Henry wanted was to get back to his reading. It was bad enough that he was behind schedule. He certainly didn't want to waste additional time talking to some old man. "I just need to get this reading done, and I don't have that much time left." That should make it clear to him that he wanted to be left alone.
"You like to read?"
"Yeah, I do," he said, the impatience evident in his voice. He felt like adding that he would like to do some reading right now, if he wasn't being disturbed.
"Is this a book for some course you're taking?"
Henry sighed again. "No, no. I'm just curious about it."
"You're curious about the work of George Eliot? You don't intend to read all of her novels, do you? Adam Bede, for instance?"
"I've already read that."
"The Mill on the Floss?"
The man did not ask about Silas Marner. The young man would clearly have read that. Mr. Potts was impressed, but he had been impressed for some time. "Do you intend to read Romola? I think it's one of her finer works myself."
"In fact, yes. If I can find the time."
"Time is very difficult to find, isn't it."
That was a somewhat odd way to put it, but Henry nodded.
"You're here in this library quite a bit, aren't you, young man."
Henry cautiously answered, "Yes, yes I s'pose I am." What is this guy's point?
"What kind of books do you like to read?"
"Pretty much all kinds."
"Yes, yes I've noticed."
That sounded a little creepy. Henry didn't say anything. He glanced around, looking to see if there was anybody nearly in case he needed help.
"My name is Potts, Patrick Potts. What, may I ask, is yours?" He actually already knew Henry's name, but he didn't want to upset the boy with that knowledge.
Henry wondered if he should give him a phony name, just in case he was some sort of identity thief or something. But, what danger could really be posed by such an old man? "Henry," he replied. "Henry Demis."
The old man smiled. "Henry, what would you say if I could give you all the time you wanted."
"Henry, as you can see. I'm an old man. I don't have much time left, but I'm not complaining, now. I have lived well beyond my years. And, before I go, I need to leave to someone something very special."
Henry could feel a chill run down his spine. This could be pretty neat or pretty bad, or at least just plain weird. "What is it?"
The old man carefully pulled from his pocket a watch, a very old watch. In fact, it was a watch that looked older than him, which was saying a lot. "My watch," he said, holding it within the palms of both hands, as if it was some treasure.
"Oh," Henry blandly replied. Well, that wasn't anything particularly special, or weird. Lots of old men leave their watches to their sons. "Nice watch." Of what interest this should be to him was unclear.
"It's a very special watch, Henry. Very special indeed."
"Um, yeah, sure, I can see that."
"No, Henry. You don't see it's specialness. You experience it. Henry, I have been visiting a number of colleges, looking for the right young man, and I think I've found him."
Henry looked confused and befuddled. "You want to give me your watch?"
"Yes, Henry. I do. You see, I don't have any children. I never married." He had also, by necessity, lost touch with his siblings and everyone else he used to know.
Henry wondered how old this guy must be.
"And, besides, I want to leave this watch to someone who will truly value it, as I have valued it for so long, ever since it was first left to me."
Well, okay, why not, Henry thought. There was no harm in amusing this old man. If it would make him feel better, then why not. The watch was clearly an antique. It could fetch a good price. But, still, he didn't want to take advantage of an old man. Perhaps he was demented or something. "Why me?"
"Henry, this watch was given to me because I valued time so much, and was always in need for more, so much more."
Well, that certainly rang a bell. "Yeah, I can definitely understand that."
"Precisely," he replied, a contented and relieved smile on his face. He knew that this time would someday come, when he would have to give up the watch, but he had been having so much difficulty finding the right person, or at least difficulty actually letting go of it. He had noticed Henry quite some time ago. Longer than Henry would understand. He felt this young man was indeed the one, as the boy reminded him so much of when he was Henry's age, not so very long ago. As he had observed him over time, the old man felt like Henry was the son he had never had, never could have had.
"You see, Henry, this is no ordinary watch. It doesn't just tell you the time. It stops time."
Henry furrowed his brow. Yes, this man was indeed demented. "Sure, of course," he replied. He again glanced around.
"No, really, see here. It's a watch, but it doesn't just keep track of time. It has an additional switch, like you find on a stopwatch, on the top, with which you can stop the time as well."
Henry glanced at it again. It was unusual looking. He would have to give him that.
"Henry, I know you don't believe me. How could you? I will though leave it with you. You just click the switch, and you will see." He placed the watch on the table, but found that it was very difficult to let go of it. This watch had meant so much to him for so very long. It was indeed his treasure, his precious. With tremendous reluctance he withdrew his hands. He felt like crying. It's so difficult growing old, and letting go. But, this is what a man must do at his age. His time had indeed finally arrived.
"I ask just one thing, and that is not to try it until I've left the building. I don't know. I just don't feel right being here, when you first use it." He felt it would be like being present at his own funeral, experiencing the end firsthand. Many persons say that would be pretty interesting, and informative, but it would also be very sad, to be there when you are gone.
"Sure, no problem," Henry replied. He was very relieved to hear that the old guy was apparently leaving pretty soon.
"And, yes, I guess I should warn you about one thing. It's important to keep in mind that the things you do can affect those around you. Time will have stopped but you can still impact the world around you. If you move a chair, for instance." He gestured to the empty chair sitting next to him, "it will appear in its new location when time is once again started."
This guy was clearly totally nuts, but Henry didn't say a thing. It was probably best not to confront someone who was psychotic. At the moment he was really quite harmless. He should just continue to amuse him. "Yeah, absolutely."
"If you accidentally knock someone over they could awaken with a bruise, perhaps even a broken arm. It's important to be careful. You will not notice the effect you are having when time is stopped. If, for instance, for some reason, you squeeze hard on a wrist, no bruise will appear until you start time again. But, once time is started, the bruise will instantly appear, and will likely hurt a great deal."
"I'll be careful. I promise." Please leave, though, was what he was thinking.
The man looked deep into Henry's eyes. He could see that the young man did not believe him. The only way to convince him would be for him to experience it for himself, as he had once done, sometime ago. He took a deep breath and pushed away his chair. He could perhaps tell the young man more, or at least answer his questions. But, he did not want to stay any longer. The longer he stayed the more pain he would experience. He needed to just let go and move on, to his end.
He got up from his chair and extended his hand.
Henry gripped the old man's hand. It felt so weak, wrinkly, and cold.
The man smiled. "Have a good time, Henry," he said, and then turned and left.
Henry watched him go, with considerable relief.
Once he was gone he looked at the watch. It was a pretty cool looking watch. It looked like a stopwatch. He guessed it must have been one of those watches connected by a chain to a belt. His grandfather had a watch like that. The old man seemed even older than him.
He picked it up, and smiled, and clicked the switch that the old man had indicated would stop time.
Suddenly, instantly, everything was quiet. Libraries are naturally quiet, but not completely, totally, dead silent. And, even weirder, everybody had frozen in place. Nobody was moving! He looked at a clock on the wall. The second hand had stopped. Henry felt an even colder chill run down his spine. His heart raced with anxiety, fear, wonder, and shock. What the fuck is this!?
He clicked the watch again and suddenly everyone started moving again, as did the second hand on the clock.
He clicked the watch and everyone froze.
He clicked again and everyone was moving.
He picked up a book and tossed it to the floor, clicking the watch before it hit.
The book froze in midair. 'Unfucking believable,' he thought. The old man was actually right! Henry was shocked, naturally so. Who wouldn't be shocked? His heart seemed to stop as well. This was just so bizarre, so unreal...and so cool!
He clicked the watch and the book hit the floor with a bang.
Faces turned toward him. "Sorry," he quietly mumbled toward the librarian, Miss Heffernem, who was scowling at him.
Henry shoved the watch into his pocket and made his way out of the library to find the old man. He really, really needed to talk to him. But, he was gone.
He returned to his seat, pulled out the watch, and clicked it again. Everything again stopped. The room was deathly silent.
He could indeed stop time. As the old man said, he now had all the time in the world. He couldn't believe his amazing good fortune, but it was in fact actually true. Time was now stopped. It was now endlessly available to him. The evening would not end for him, if he didn't want it to. He could finish all of the works of George Eliot, or even anything else, and then start time again and it still would be... He looked at the watch. It read currently 8:26. When he started time again it would still be that time. No time would have actually expired. He really did control time.
He now had unlimited time to read virtually any and every book he wished. He could read forever, and ever, and ever. He returned his attention to Middlemarch. It was difficult at first to concentrate, as he kept saying to himself, 'All the time I need, all the time I want. Time, time, time. Time enough at last.'
As he made his way through the tome time seemed to have no meaning, no significance, no reality. He continued to make progress through the book, but had not used any time at all. He would occasionally glance around, something he had always tried to avoid, as it was only wasting time. But that was no longer a concern. Yet, it was rather odd to see everyone frozen in place, stuck at the present moment.
His eyes fixed on the breasts of Miss Heffernem, the librarian. He had noticed them quite a few times. What healthy boy would not? And, now, he could look at them for as long as he wanted. He could stare right at them and she would not care. She would not notice. That was also pretty cool! His penis swelled, and then he realized that he had been distracted from what interested him most. He turned his attention back to Middlemarch.
He buried himself in the book for literally hours. Evening should have turned to night, but it didn't turn at all. It just stayed there. A considerable amount of time had seemed to pass. He had only a third of the lengthy text left to read, yet there was still the evening light. The sun had apparently not changed its position.
Was the entire world frozen in place? He wondered. That was just too bizarre to imagine. He could not be that powerful. But, it would make no sense for just this one place to be frozen in time. What if someone else, from somewhere else, entered the library? Yes, the entire world must be frozen in time. What about the solar system? The solar system had to be frozen in time as well, and the galaxy in which it existed. Everything and everywhere throughout the universe. He again felt a cold shiver run down his spine. This was kind of weird, and scary.
He suddenly felt very nervous. He returned his attention to his text, burying himself deeper in the story, distracting his mind from thoughts that were not particularly pleasing.
Time continued to pass. Well, of course it didn't, but eventually it was deep into what should have been the night and he was getting tired, or perhaps it was now morning, but nothing had yet changed. Most importantly, he had finally finished Middlemarch. He smiled with delight. It was a pretty cool story. It was a tough read with a lot of interlocking narratives, but that made it all the more interesting and stimulating. He felt so satisfied, so good.
He scratched his chin. It was prickly.
Prickly? He needed a shave? He smelled under his arm. He also needed a shower. And, he felt hungry. He also had to pee; in fact, real bad. He always had to pee real bad in the morning.
He got up from his seat, retrieved Romola from the shelf, and made his way to the exit (but not before he visited the restroom).
He came upon Melinda Dillon as he was about to leave the library. He stopped. One did have to admire Melinda's beauty, and given how much time he now had (in fact, endless time), he could spare a moment or two to gaze upon her pretty face and luscious figure.
He smiled. He had to admit that he hadn't really given her much thought before, or any girl for that matter. Girls want so much of your time, so much of your attention and, at least prior to today, or tonight, he had very little to give. Now that he had more than any person could possibly imagine, he could spare her a moment, and he had to admit it was a moment well spent.
She was really quite pretty. She had these lovely green eyes with long curved lashes. He leaned in real close. He had at times wondered if they were fake, but looking up close they did not appear to be. He slowly circled her. She had such a cute butt as well. He loved how it swayed when she walked. He wondered if she did that on purpose. It was a delight to see. He made his around to the front again. One really did have to admire the beauty of her breasts.
He set down his book. He reached out and grasped Melinda's soft round bubbies within his hands. His smile grew larger. He had never felt a girl's breasts before. He had, of course, read about such things. He particularly liked how they were described in the writings of Mr. Gilbert. They were just so nicely soft and squishy and round, with pointy little nipples. He noticed that they were a bit off center, pointing just a bit to the left and right. How odd. He now realized that the descriptions by Mr. Gilbert could not really do justice to the reality of how they actually felt, in real life. Perhaps he had indeed missed something by confining his experiences, to date, solely to what he had read. There was something to be said for experiencing the real thing.
And, the fact that he was feeling them without Melinda's awareness made it all the more sweet. Yes, it was perhaps wrong, but it was also kind of cool. Melinda would never let him do this if she was asked. And, what she didn't know wouldn't really hurt her. It was really just a harmless little misbehavior, and yet one providing him with considerable pleasure and gratification. Who ever knew that feeling a girl's boobs could be so delightful, so entertaining, so enchanting. Yes, he had indeed read about it before, but feeling is believing. His dick was swelling stiff within his slacks.
He wondered if perhaps he could, should, do more. But, it wouldn't be nice. It wouldn't be fair. He had probably already done much too much.
With considerable reluctance he removed his hands, albeit hesitating before he withdrew them entirely, poised right above her boobs, the fingers outstretched, ready to clasp again that wondrous squishy softness.
But, he stepped away. There would be time enough for that, if he so wished. At the moment he was so terribly hungry.