I’m sure I heard a noise.
No, it’s nothing. There’s nobody here but me. It’s late, I’m forcing ideas into my own head.
No, shit, that’s definitely a noise.
Fine. Let’s check it out.
I edged my way out from beneath the safety of the blanket. Every part of me was screaming that this was a mistake, but I did it anyway. What, did I want me to think I was a coward? Not a chance in hell. I grabbed the baseball bat that rested against the cupboard, relaxing a little as I felt the solid handle in my hands. I took a moment to grab the torch as well.
It was definitely a noise, a rustling sound coming from upstairs. What the bloody hell could it be? I looked over at my front door, latch and chain both still firmly affixed. But there was somebody in my flat.
I rested my foot on the first step, about to begin making my way up to my room, when I paused. The first step has creaked ever since I moved into this place. I should probably avoid alerting anyone to the fact that I wasn’t snoring my head off on the sofa now. I moved to the second step, feeling like a ninja as I prowled upstairs. Step two, step three, step six (two creakers in a row there. I should really get this place fixed up.) I reached the top and saw the light seeping around my door. I took a deep breath then let it out as silently as possible. I counted to three in my head.
Take a firm grip on the bat, both hands now that I’ve put the torch on the floor.
Big deep breath ready and waiting for…
I burst through the door and saw someone rifling through my desk drawers. He lifted a hand towards me and said “Stop.”
I did. I lowered the bat and asked, “What the fuck are you doing here?”
That broke his attention from the papers he was looking at. He looked up, looked at his hand, looked back at me, back at his hand then back to me and said “Stop.”
“You tried that bit. What the hell is going on? Who the fuck are you?”
“Hold on, this usually works.” He put the papers onto the desk, shaking his hand as if he was trying to clear pins and needles. “Stop. Stop? Stop! God dammit!” He paused, looking up to the ceiling. “Sorry.” He mumbled before looking back at me.
I looked right back. Stared, boggled… I’m still working out the best thing to describe how I was feeling at that moment. The guy at the desk did nothing, just stood there in a long coat. It may have just been me, but it didn’t look like he was casting a shadow. “Are you… What are… Who exactly are you?”
“Sorry. The name’s Garianda. Most people just call me Gary. By that I mean the people I usually talk to, not you mortals. How are you fighting the time stop?” He spoke quickly, forcing the words out as if he were on the clock to speak them.
This, understandably, had me really confused. I figured there was only one thing for it. You can’t deny it, you’d have done the same thing.
I hit him with the bat.
Oops. I’m not sure who Garianda is yet, but I imagine he’s going to be a little upset when he wakes up. Stopping time, mysterious figures… Strange times lie ahead for this protagonist.
The Idiot in Tin Foil