When Time Stands Still

Submitted into Contest #125 in response to: All clocks suddenly stop. Write about what happens next.... view prompt


Drama Mystery

When Time Stands Still

“What time is it?” Kossiwa asked.

“It’s 1:15.” Lisa said as she closed the trunk of her car with the load of books that her friend Kossiwa just bought.

They climbed into Lisa’s car and started driving.

“What time is it?” Kossiwa asked.

“Ten minutes after the last time you asked.” Lisa answered, without even looking at the clock in her car.

“Good, we’ll make it back in time for my three o’clock shift.” Kossiwa said.

They were returning back from a trip to the vintage bookstore.  Both of them loved to read.

Lisa was going to drop Kossiwa off at her apartment, but Kossiwa needed help with her load of books.

Lisa left Kossiwa’s apartment and looked at her phone.  ‘1:15’ it read.

“That’s impossible.” Lisa said to herself.  It was 1:15 when they left the bookstore and it had been at least a half hour since then.  

Lisa climbed into her car and looked at the clock on her dashboard, it too read ‘1:15’.

Lisa climbed back out of her car and headed back to Kossiwa’s apartment.

“What time do you have on your phone?” Lisa asked.  

Kossiwa had a confused look on her face as she showed Lisa her phone.  It read, ‘1:15’. 

“Do you have clocks other than your phone?’  Lisa asked.  

“My computer and my cable box.” Kossiwa said.

“What do they say?” Lisa asked following her in the apartment.

“They all read the same. 1:15.” Kossiwa said.  What is going on here?”

Neither Kossiwa nor Lisa could figure out what was going on.  Why is it that all clocks were reading the same time no matter how much time has gone by?

Neither Kossiwa nor Lisa could figure out what was going on. Why is it that all clocks were reading 1:15?

Kossiwa decided to knock on her neighbor’s door to see what time they had. 

“1:15” the neighbor said, slamming the door in their faces.

They went to the next door.  That neighbor said the same thing, “1;15”

They looked around the parking lot and saw a man heading to his car.

“Excuse me,” Lisa asked.  “But can you tell me what time you have?”

“1:15” the man said, climbing into his car.

Now both Kossiwa and Lisa were so confused.  They were getting a little freaked out.  They started thinking they were stuck in a time warp.  

Kossiwa called the store where she worked.  Even though she knew she started her shift at three, she wanted to see what they said.

“Hey Kossiwa,” Josh said.  “How can I help you?”

“I just wanted to know what shift I was working today.” Kossiwa said.

“1:15.” Josh said.

“I thought I started at three.” Kossiwa said.

“No,” Josh said.  “It says 1:15 to 1:15. It’s 1:15 so you have plenty of time.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Kossiwa said.

“Listen, it’s busy here,” Josh said.  “I see you at 1:15.” He hung up.

“That’s really weird.” Kossiwa said.  “He didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with what he was telling me.”  

“How can my shift be 1:15 to 1:15?” Kossiwa added.  “And he didn’t think it was weird that now it’s 1:15. Maybe we really are stuck in a time warp.”

“Let’s go to the store and see for ourselves.” Lisa said.  “I want to see what the schedule says myself.”

They climbed into Lisa’s car.  The clock on her dashboard still read ‘1:15’.

On the way to the store from Kossiwa’s apartment they saw three clocks.  All three read ‘1:15.’

They arrived at the store.  Lisa parked her car.  They looked at their phones and of course they still read ‘1:15’.

They entered the store.  The clock on the wall read ‘1:15’. 

Kossiwa grabbed the clipboard the schedule was on.  As if the day wasn’t strange enough, everyone on the schedule was working the same shift.  ‘1:15 to 1:15’.

Kossiwa saw the manager and asked him if he thought there was anything wrong with the schedule.

“No,” he said. “It looks fine to me.  Are you going to be working today?”

“Yeah,” Kossiwa said.  “I just need to go home and change into my uniform.”

Lisa and Kossiwa left the store and climbed back into Lisa’s car.  Of course, the dashboard and their phones still read ‘1:15’.

That’s when Lisa noticed the book she purchased at the vintage bookstore sitting on the dashboard.

That’s when shivers ran down her spine.  The title of the book was, “When Time Stands Still.”

The receipt was sticking out of the book.  Lisa pulled it out.  That's when she knew they had to return to the bookstore.

“Look what time I paid for this book.”  Lisa said, handing Kossiwa the receipt.  “Exactly 1:15.”

As Lisa was driving, Kossiwa opened the cover of the book.  Someone had written “When time stands still, time never moves.”

On the inside back cover the same person had written, “When time marches on, time continues to pass.”

They arrived at the bookstore.  Lisa grabbed the book and headed straight inside.

The only person there was the clerk behind the counter.

“May I help you,” she asked.

“Yes,” Lisa said, handing the clerk the book.  “Why is it that ever since I bought this book, I’m stuck in some kind of time warp.  Time doesn’t move past 1:15 which is when I purchased the book.”

“Dave,” the clerk yelled, pulling the curtain apart behind her.  “It's happened again.” 

A man came out from behind to curtain.

“Peggy,” he said.  “What are you yelling about?  What happened…?”

The man stopped in his tracks when he saw the book in Lisa’s hand.

“I thought I told you to get rid of all the copies of that book.”

“Who are you?” Lisa asked.  “And what does she mean it happened again?  What happened again?”

“Relax,” Dave said.  “I can explain.  Well, sort of explain.  Please come sit down.”

Lisa, Kossiwa and Dave sat down at a table in the middle of the store.

“I don’t understand what is going on.” Lisa said.  “Ever since I bought this book, we've been stuck in some kind of time warp at 1:15.”

“No matter where we go.” Lisa went on.  “Every clock is stuck at 1:15 and no one seems to realize it’s not possible.”

“Well, we can’t explain why,” Dave said.  “But whenever someone buys this book, they get stuck in a time warp.  They must return and purchase another book.  It’s called ‘When Time Marches On’.”

“Why don’t you tell people that?” Lisa asked, “Or better yet. Why not stop selling this book.”

“We don’t have this book in our inventory.” Dave said.  “Every time we think we either sold or destroyed the last copy another one turns up.  But no one can figure out where it came from.”

“Okay,” Lisa said.  “Where can we get this book?  I’d like to get out of this time warp.”

Dave got up and went in the back behind the counter.  Lisa and Kossiwa looked at their phones.  They still read 1:15.

Dave returned with a book and handed it to Lisa.

Lisa ran her fingers over the title.  ‘When Time Marches On.”

“So purchasing this book,” Lisa said, “Will get us out of this time warp we’re stuck in?” 

“Yes,” Dave said.  “But I’m sorry.  I would give you the book for free, but in order to get out of the time warp, you must purchase the book.”

“But” Dave continued. “I’ll tell you what.  I’ll sell it to you for one dollar.”

“Sounds good,” Lisa said.  They went up to the counter where Lisa paid for the book.

“What time is it?” Lisa asked.  “I’m not leaving here until I’m sure we are out of the time warp.”

“It’s 1:17.” Peggy said.

Lisa and Kossiwa walked around the bookstore for a few minutes.  

“What time is it now?” Kossiwa asked.

Everyone looked at their phones.  ‘1:25’.

“Finally,” Lisa said.  “So, I guess time marches on after all.”

Lisa and Kossiwa both left the bookstore holding the door for a customer that was coming in.

When Lisa and Kossiwa arrived at Lisa’s car they both looked at their phones.

They both read 1:30.

“Well,” Lisa said.  “I guess it’s time to get you home and off to work.

They looked at every clock and laughed to see that yes indeed, time was marching on.

December 21, 2021 00:12

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06:35 Dec 30, 2021

I enjoyed your story, Lisa. It’s a little short, and you could have drawn it out further. However, it is relatively unique and drew me in, so I needed to read to the end. There are several punctuation issues that you can efficiently address by using “Grammarly”, which I am using right now to check on my punctuation. I won't comment on spelling because I use the Australian dictionary, assuming you use the American form. Consider using hyphens for words such as “half-hour.” To be grammatically correct, the sentence “They were returning back fr...


Lisa Neuvelt
08:58 Dec 30, 2021

Thank you. I use google.docs and it corrects my errors. But when I cut and paste to Reedsy it corrects more. Thank you for your help though. Please do check out more of my stories.


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Charlotte Lewis
22:10 Dec 29, 2021

A little loose but marvelous concept to stop time for every one. And interesting resolution. A fun, quick read.


Lisa Neuvelt
00:54 Dec 30, 2021

Thank you. I enjoyed writing this. I actually have a friend named Kossiwa. It was written for her.


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Boutat Driss
10:18 Dec 27, 2021

Well done! I love it. please read mine "3% -minute missing " thank you in advance.


Lisa Neuvelt
00:58 Dec 28, 2021

Thanks. Just read your story. Good Job


Boutat Driss
10:56 Dec 30, 2021

a lot of thanks and happy new year! 2022 to you and and your loves ones.


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Kossiwa Logan
01:19 Dec 21, 2021

That's crazy and unique. I liked it. I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. It was weird reading a story with my name in it, but great story.


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