Twenty-Five Seconds

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When someone pulls a gun on you, your brain has half a second to recognize what it is. Normally, it'd take three fourths of a second, but when the opposing force goes to remove it from whatever holster they have it in, your brain notices something is awry and kicks into gear. I was an older man, so my brain's reaction time was slowed slightly. WE'll say it would take four fiths of a second for me to identify a gun someone has just pulled, but with added adrenaline, it's probably much faster.

I was in a laundromat. Fifty years of age and I still couldn't afford my own washer. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you feel death coming on. I know this to be true because it was this night I experienced my entire life in twenty-five seconds.

Second one:I heard a bang. The door to the landromat was kicked out of its frame. I was currently one of five other people. A man wielding a pistol and wearing a ski mask ran in. Recalling the statistics from before, I had already recognized it as a gun, but had yet to do anything. When I was six, my parents brought me to their shoe shop and let me sit on the bench, watching what they did. That day, a man robbed the place. He took every dime and my father's life. I told my mom how horrible it felt not being able to do anything. She told me I was too young anyways. It's funny how I desperately wanted to do something now, but they'd tell me I was too old. Three seconds later and he was face to face with me.

“Give me your money, now!” He yelled.

“Give me your lunch money, now!” I yelled. Fourth grade was a rough time for me. Still haunted by the memory of my father's death, I found comfort in stealing for myself. It felt like I was Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to myself. The victim of my crime didn't seem to pleased. He pushed me to the ground.

I dropped the gun and it slid across the tile, colliding with a washing machine. It had been three seconds. The robber went for it, picking it up and turning to the person behind me. The person was a short, blonde lady who had her hands straight up in the air. It angered me to see people harass such lovely people, especially when it was my crush. I mustered up all my courage, drank some more of my punch and strutted through the crowds of dancing students. High school was a very emotional period of my life. This woman, who stole my heart, had to deal with this brute at homecoming and I couldn't let that happen. I tapped him on the shoulder and he spun around, receiving a face full of punch.

The robber stumbled backwards, clutching his face. Second twelve. I was in a daze, lost in memory, lost on what to do. Without much thought, I got on my knee, pulling out a ring box and opening it up.

“Will you marry me?” I asked. She put her hands against her cheeks and gasped with delight.

“Yes! Yes of course!” She said, swinging a punch over my head, but just missing. The robber spun around, dizzied by the pain from his broken nose. It was second fifteen and I had a clear shot at his back. Instinctively, I jumped, arms wrapped around his neck as the sunset spilled over the beach. My wife leaned her head against my arm. We watched the horizon intently. It was a picture perfect moment.

“I love you,” she said. I almost choked up with tears.

“I love you too,” I whispered. She turned to face me.

“It's second eighteen,” she added, elbowing me in the face. I regained my balance and shook off the daze. Time slowed down to a crawl, allowing me to evaluate the situation. The robber was in front of me, arm extended about three quarters of the way. In his hand was a revolver with five out of six of the bullets. His coat was a darker shade of brown most likely hand sewn. From the looks of the other victims, they seemed panic and scared. All of them were staring at me. My stomach felt cold with nervousness.


“Honey, call the police!” I shouted, slapping the gun out of the purse-snatcher's hand. The gun skidded across the concrete, rain covering it. I went down to grab the gun out of its puddle. My wife screamed. I was convinced it was on account of the situation. I spun around. The robber was stunned, gun removed from his hand and now in mine. Time slowed down again. Second twenty. This man's life was now just a few tiny muscle contractions away from ending. My brain had already made it's decision and messages had been sent through my nerves. They were making their way to my hand, telling me whether or not to let him go. I wasn't paying attention. My mind was still at the purse-snatcher memory.

I turned around to face the thief. He pulled a knife out of my wife's chest and sped off down the road, puddles splashing with every footstep. I yelled in fury, pulling the trigger in a wild frenzy, allowing bullets to whistle down the street. Not a single one hit him. I never got a chance to bring that man to justice. He was never punished for murdering my wife.

Second twenty-one. Smoke billowed from the gun's barrel. I dropped my arm by my side. Onlookers were silently stunned. The robbed dropped from his knees onto his stomach. I dropped the gun and spun around, my ocean of memories finally at an end.


But it didn't make sense. There were still four seconds left. Four seconds of energy surging through my veins. No, there had to be something else. There was.

Second twenty-two: I look down.


Second twenty-three: I notice my gunshot wound.

Second twenty-four: I feel a sharp sting.

Second twenty-five: I collapse to the floor.





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