I dressed and proceeded out the door of my apartment. It was drizzling, and the air was full of the cold condensation. I took a few steps towards my car, and then thought about the likelihood of it starting today. I didn’t feel like going through that gamble actually, and as I remembered that I wouldn’t have to take the bus today, I felt it was a good day to try my other transportation method. But the parking lot of my apartment felt rather exposed to kick up a tail wind and go off flying, even if no one could see me. Awkwardly, I kicked through the wet grass and hid myself behind the communal dumpster.
It was not really a surprise to find that it smelled like wet garbage back here. There was a bit of some smashed fruit crusted to the closed metal door of the dumpster, and I focused on this as something to stare at as I gathered the will to lift myself into the air. I put a hand to the wet, chilled metal and closed my eyes. I can fly, I told myself. I will fly, I said. I am a being of light, and an agent of Death, and I call upon the laws of nature to bend for my purposes. As I screamed these words as loud as I could, albeit inside myself, I could feel a pull on the fabric of my jacket at the shoulders, as though a giant set of finger was pinching the fabric along there and pulling me slowly upward. I was pulled up straight, and then I was on tip toes, and then my black converse had completely left the ground, the gap between the rubber soles and the ground growing wider and wider still. The leaves that had blown against the dumpster and trapped themselves there against its weight began to swirl and push upward at me, allowing me to rise higher still. As I rose to the level of the apartment rooftops, the leaves stopped tailing me and settled to swirl back to earth. “Let’s go find Dee,” I thought, and the wind seemed to agree, propelling me forward over the rooftops of suburbia and towards the direction of town.
After a few moments of gathering speed, the features below me were indistinguishable. With such speed, I had reached the town limits within ten pleasant, although chilly, minutes. My speed decreased and once the blurred features came into focus once again, I saw that I was on the block where our coffee shop was. Not bad for a first timer, I thought, directing myself to float downward towards the cafe. I managed a somewhat graceful landing in front of the hair salon that was right next to the cafe that Dee and I had claimed as our own.
As I went for the door, and it wouldn’t budge, I realized it was locked, and the cafe sign was turned to closed. I peered inside and saw a barista working to make coffee, and another hovering by the oven as she waited for the fresh baked pastries to come out. But, surely the cafe was open now? Were they running behind today? I pulled out my phone and saw that it still read 6:45. The sign on the cafe said they opened at 7a.m. That’s when I realized that the baristas I was looking at through the class were too still, frozen in their morning duties. For the first time since I’d landed, I turned and scanned the almost empty street behind me.
What I had taken for parked cars on the street, was actually traffic that had been halted by the same force that had stopped my cell phone clock. The people inside them were halted in whatever they’d been doing at the true strike of 6:45. One lady, stopped for a green light, had her finger poised over a key on her cell phone, mid text, and then there was a guy in a car behind her that was not so casually picking at his nose. Someone had stopped the clock on things.
“Good morning,” said a deep voice behind me at the cafe door.
I turned, and saw Dee there, the only moving thing in the whole of town besides me. He was wearing a forest green sweater today, and his hair actually seemed a touch less black it seemed. Compared to the grey, frozen world around us, he seemed almost sunny in comparison.
My phone’s broken?” I asked, gesturing to the locked door of the cafe.
“Not quite,” he said. “Since there are more deaths than any one, or even two, agents would possibly be able to get to in a 24 hour period, we also have the ability to stop time for certain periods to extend the hours that we do have. I was able to reap quite a few this morning in this manner, and put us on a good schedule for the day. It’s probably best not to pay too much attention to the clock face anyway. Time is really a made up concept anyway when you think about it.,” he said, trying to reassure the stricken look on my face as I imagined a day of seemingly and literally endless hours or working.
“Let’s see if the ladies will let us in early,” he said, peering through the glass and waving.
As he did, the cars on the street behind us began to move once more, and the noise of movement and the morning commute dropped upon us all at once. Only a minute later, one of the baristas came to the door and gently showed Dee her watch that read 10 minutes until 7a.m. Dee smiled and nodded at her, and then turned pleasantly to me.
“Even when bending time, it’s important to be polite and conscious of businesses working hours,” he gently admonished me.