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Vincent

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It was one of the nicest ways to wake up. It was no sudden jolt into reality, nor was it having to fight for consciousness in the early morning when sleep is still wanted. It was waking up as if no time had elapsed between falling asleep and now, like a sudden blink forward in time.

Yet even though the circumstances did seem nice, Nolan quickly found that he was not comfortable between the sheets of his bed. Instead, he lay stretched out on the floor, in the hallway. He sat up, acknowledging this strange reality, but quickly decided it was sleep walking or something very similar. He stood up, now wondering the time.

Nolan walked over to his room, now fully awake. Everything seemed normal, with everything in its rightful place. Strangely enough, his bed was made quite neatly, as if he had not slept in it for days. He glanced at the small alarm clock on his night-stand, which read 7:30; the normal wake-up time. He turned and walked down to the first floor.

The first thing that greeted him was a figure, who he assumed was his mom. She stood at the end of the hall through a doorway, with her back turned. Not much thought went into how still she stood, for Nolan was preoccupied with his strange situation and starting to become hungry as well. He shuffled into the kitchen.

Breakfast included toast with jelly and cheap cereal in a bowl. Orange juice was added while the toast toasted. Once it was all finished, Nolan carefully placed the bowl between his arm and his chest, then grabbed the plate with his toast and orange juice. A very cautious walk to the couch followed. Breakfast was placed on the coffee table, and the tv was switched on. Nolan began eating. The tv took its time turning on, and when it finally did display an image, it was only white noise and a blank screen. Nolan attempted switching between channels, but they were all the same. The tv was switched off, following a sigh from Nolan.

So he sat, eating in the silence of his own home. Something was off though. His house, while usually a protective entity, sat motionless and dead. Something was missing. Nolan thought for a moment, then looked to his left. There his mom stood, not having moved an inch. This held his attention.

“Mom” he called softly, hoping she would turn around and solve all his problems. She remained still. “Mom” he repeated. Nothing. Now he was on his feet, and advancing toward his mom. Fear now made itself present. Now he was wondering if this was some sort of nightmare. Maybe if he grabbed her shoulder, she would turn to him, revealing itself as some kind of beast hiding in the disguise of his mother.

Yet, when he reached her and tapped on her shoulder, she remained perfectly frozen. He walked around so that he now stood in front of her. She wore an utterly relaxed look, her eyes past him, at something far away.

“Mom?” he said one last time, this time not even expecting a response. Nothing. It’s a dream, that’s all. Its just a dream. This is just an extremely realistic dream. His mind settled on an irrational solution for his irrational situation. He simply had to go upstairs into his room, and fall asleep in his room. He would then wake up in his bed, out of this nightmare and happily in reality. So that’s what he did.

Five minutes passed. Nolan, under his covers with the lights off, was wide awake. No amount of time would change that. Seven minutes. The silence had become maddening, his brain desperately trying to fill it. Ten minutes. With no patience left, he threw off his sheets and went down stairs.

The old ‘its all a dream’ was no longer in the explanation pile, which lowered Nolan’s theories to zero. Even after fully thinking over the situation, it still made no sense. His mom was frozen in time, standing in the middle of the living room.

Then an idea came. This problem he had was unusual, and therefore unsolvable by simply his fifteen-year old mind. He needed help, which he could easily get. Nolan went back upstairs for his cell phone. After finding it on the floor beside his bed, he powered it up and dialed 911.

Nolan had it all worked out. He wouldn’t get into detail about his predicament. No, that would sound crazy, like a prank call. He would have to be vague, stating that his mom wasn’t moving or wasn’t breathing. Then, once they arrived, he could present them with the real problem.

No one picked up. The phone rang and rang and rang. No answer. Frustrated, Nolan re-dialed the number. Still no answer.

This time, Nolan ran down the stairs now with fear in his stomach. He glanced at his mom, who was still frozen, and decided to run out the front door into the street.

It was a sunny day. According to Nolan, it was midsummer. The sky hung high in the sky and there only a few clouds, which were off in the distance. None of that was noticed. The most obvious and apparent fact was the utter silence. No, there was wind and the faint sound of bird chirping. But something was missing.

Traffic. There was no traffic. No engines, car horns, or tires screeching on asphalt. Then the bird chirping was that much louder and the wind was that much more chaotic, now that it had no competition. Nolan walked down the sidewalk towards the main road, where the store and the bank were.

About two blocks down, Nolan spotted a man walking his dog, which only heightened his worries. The man, who wore a brown t-shirt and shorts, stood unnaturally still. Except for his clothes, which blew rapidly in the wind.

Nolan walked up to the man and shoved him immediately out of desperation. The man didn’t budge an inch. Nolan attempted to knock him over by tackling him, but it was like trying to cut down a tree with your arms, and the man stayed firmly rooted to where he stood. Then attention was shifted to the dog, who had two feet raised in the air and two lightly placed on the ground. The two of them looked like a paused movie, and if you were to hit play, the dog would keep walking as if uninterrupted from when initially frozen. The dog, like a statue, could not be moved the slightest distance either. Nolan kept walking, now with a slightly faster pace.

At this point, he didn’t really know where he was going. He just started wandering, aimlessly. As he ventured further from his house, more frozen pedestrians began to make themselves present. First it was a woman jogging, then a man with his hands in his pockets, and finally two young girls talking. Nolan wasn’t staring at them, just noticing them. Why were they frozen? Why wasn’t he?

It couldn’t have been a dream though. It was all too real, and he had a sense of self-awareness. There was no doubting this reality, but he couldn’t stop questioning it. He kept walking, making all right turns until he was back at his house. The front door was still swung wide open from when he had left.

He returned to the couch where his breakfast still lay, untouched. He placed his hands in his pockets and discovered where his phone had been hiding. He pulled it out and turned it on only to find a little message that stated ‘NO SERVICE’. Nolan searched his phone for any redeeming qualities no that it was unable to call people, and only found a stockpile of music he had purchased. He shoved the device back into his pocket, only to see a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye.

Nolan quickly turned his head, now noticing the dog standing in the doorway to the living room. Nolan froze, noticing the dog’s tail wagging back and forth and the dogs nose rapidly sniffing. Nolan couldn’t move though, he just stared at the dog as it stared at him. Then, the dog barked so loudly that the sound echoed. Nolan jumped so far that it appeared to be an attempt to fly.

Then, there were footsteps, soft but growing. Then there was a figure, standing in the doorway. The figure stood still at first, but he was clearly alive. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and but remained where he stood. Nolan spoke first.

“What the hell is going on?!” There was a pause, then the figure responded.

“I don’t know.” The voice was much calmer than Nolan’s. It belonged to a kid about the same age, a boy with jet black hair. The kid wore a black t-shirt and jeans. He seemed tall, but really only had a couple inches on Nolan.

There was silence. The kid broke it. “Wait,” he said “You don’t know what’s going on either, do you?” Nolan nodded. The kid thought for a moment. “Did you wake up about three hours ago, and find...” he gestured a hand towards the front door “...you know...outside?”

Nolan nodded, then frowned “I just woke up, about ten minutes ago.” Nolan started to say something else, but the kid interrupted.

“What’s your name?”

“Uhh, Nolan. You?

“Vincent.



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