I was twelve, I discovered my ability to stop time. Somehow, it never occurred
to me that a certain other person in the family would have those powers,
I’d watched my
parents for a long while -- it didn’t seem like they had powers like I did.
Even my cousins, who visited once in a while, displayed no signs of it. So, I figured I was alone.
I kept the powers a
secret, and used it only when necessary. Whether it was to freeze time so I
wouldn’t be late to school, or to have infinite time to search for…whatever my
parents had lost, minutes before we had to go out and use it.
I knew I had to control my magic responsibly. It was difficult, but I’d managed to. ...Well, for the most part.
One morning, after I
turned fifteen, I strolled through the city and froze time. There was no real purpose behind it; I just did it for fun.
Everything had a
special look to it when I stole away the influence of time. The crowds all
stopped in their tracks. Their faces were still, and those who were in the
midst of running or jumping stayed there, silent laughter radiating from happy
As I moved past
them, it felt like I was walking through a magical, underwater museum. Shop signs,
motionless and propped against the stores along the street. Automobiles visible
amongst the mayhem that had stopped.
And weirdest of
all, the entire world was shaded in nostalgic, sepia undertones. The color
reminded me of old, yellowed photos from my family album.
I wove seamlessly
through the crowd. No one else was moving – it was just me, alone and taking my
Or at least, until I
reached an intersection and looked across the street.
That was when I
noticed movement. A flash of magenta cloth, like the sleeve of someone’s shirt.
What was that? I
glanced back and forth, surveying the world around me. It was still frozen.
Nothing had as much color and saturation as the pink I’d just saw.
I blinked, looking
back in the movement’s direction, then broke into a run. I didn’t even dare to
blink again; my curiosity was too great for me to close my eyes.
Had someone broken
free from my spell?
I’d never seen
anyone do that before – was it really possible?
Just when I thought
I’d lost them, my feet propelled me around the next corner and I almost
collided into someone else. My heart leapt. I jerked back at the last moment,
half-expecting it to be another person frozen in time.
But instead, I
came face-to-face with a familiar, young lady. She was wearing the same pink
I’d witnessed earlier.
Her hair was a
shade of chestnut brown, rippling down her back in waves. She almost
looked like me, except her clothes were fancier. A silver purse hung from her
shoulder, and she wore a denim
jacket over her magenta shirt. The jacket was a deep navy, embroidered
with red and blue flowers.
everything else, it was like she wore a whole spectrum of color.
And now, she was
looking at me, her eyes wide with shock.
A wave of memories
swallowed me whole as I recognized who she was.
I didn’t feel
empty, or lost, or detached from my body. Instead, I almost felt fuller and
more aware than I was before – my mind an inadequate shell to keep the emotions
Just like how this
one person in front of me – a tiny speck compared to the rest of the
time-frozen world – had the most color and impact of all.
I distantly heard
her cry of surprise as she lifted one hand to cover her mouth.
Lina… it can’t be. Is this all a dream?
Many years ago, my family was more complete; Lina
had been there.
We were close
sisters growing up. Racing over our grassy yard, playing hide-and-seek in our
house’s many rooms – and sometimes arguing, forcing one sister to stand outside
a shut door and shout into the room where the other sibling hid, pettily, refusing
to come out. There were ups-and-downs, but we were always there for each other.
All was well, until
she entered 8th grade. Our aunt and uncle spoke about their plans of
moving to Singapore – and Lina decided to come along.
I never understood
why, but she’d wanted to. She said she could take care of herself and wanted to
study in Singapore.
We thought it was
temporary, so upon her insistence, my parents let her go. But the years passed,
and after a while, she cut contact with us. She didn’t want to return to
France, and the last time we checked, Lina had moved out of our aunt and
uncle’s house, too. She wouldn’t listen to anybody.
So why, after so
many years, is she right here in front of me?
My mouth was open,
yet I couldn’t speak. I felt time-frozen like everyone else.
A selfish thought
resonated through my head: “Don’t I have every right to be angry at her?
After all, she was the one who decided she didn’t need us. There’s no need to
Yet before I knew it, words had slipped from
my mouth. They sounded excited and hopeful, even though the name they said
hadn’t been spoken in years –
“Lina! Is that
really you?!” Taking a step forward, I tentatively held on to her sleeve. The
material was solid beneath my fingers. She was real. Not a dream.
expression, which had flickered with surprise and disbelief, was worried as I
approached. Almost as if she wanted to run.
But I didn’t think
much of it.
“Sis, where have
you been all this time?” A happiness swelled inside me, even though I was
fighting back tears.
Lina stammered for
words, then replied, “I-I came back with aunt and uncle. Just a couple days
“A couple days
ago?” My parents were busy, so maybe they hadn’t called aunt and uncle. “Oh…”
Then I remembered
the time spell. With a gasp, I tried to explain.
“I know it’s hard
to believe, but right now, the world is-”
“Is it frozen under
your powers, Sarah?” she interrupted, dread in her voice. “Is the spell yours?”
I was taken aback.
“How do you know?” And how was she able to move?
The anxiety in her
eyes scared me. Eventually, though, all she said next was a calm confession: “I
have similar powers, too. Only, instead of freezing time, I can slow or speed
“Y-you have powers,
too?” While I stared at her in astonishment, she suddenly half-turned away.
“I’m sorry, Sarah. I
shouldn’t be here.” A final sentence loitered on the tip of her tongue: “I
“No, wait!” I clung
to her purse before she could say it, holding her back. “Listen to me! You
can’t just get up and disappear again – not after you've been gone all these years. Just stay
and tell me everything. It’s the least you could do!”
My anger was
beginning to catch up. Lina seemed hesitant, but I knew my words were winning
She would have to be
heartless to leave again.