My sneakers tapped gently against the pavement as l walked briskly down the street. squeezed my way through the peak-hour human traffic, catching whiffs of overly strong perfume and worse, overly-strong body odor. don’t like people much. mean that in the nicest way possible. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, anything more than that is a nightmare. Trying to ignore the occasional sweaty body that rubbed too close against mine as wormed through the crowd, I wished that everyone would just stop moving. And then, all of a sudden, they did. The sounds of shoes pattering against the pavement and car horns blaring as frustrated drivers crawled through stand-still traffic disappeared into thin air, as if they’d never been there. A perfect, fragile silence descended upon the world. Every single person, object and animal was frozen. The fat man in a shirt clearly too small for him had stopped, his pudgy leg stretched out mid-stride. A teenage girl with highlights in her hair swept aside her fringe with one hand, the other raised in mid-air in an attempt to adjust her earphones. A flock of pigeons hung artificially in the air, like some sort of elaborate piece of abstract art dangling from the ceiling of a museum. Yet even as the world froze around me I continued moving. In that heartbeat when everything else was locked in time, my left foot landed solidly on the ground, and unconsciously, my right foot had moved forwards, about to take another step. Then I stopped. Nothing compelled me to, not like something seemed to compel everything and everyone else to stop no. I just stood there, in shock and awe. Had my wish I caused this to happen? What was going on? And yet, even as my thoughts became a jumbled mess, l couldn’t help but smile. Moving around was so much easier with everyone stopped in place.As it turns out, no, who caused that to happen. Time abruptly resumed a short while later, as if nothing at all had transpired. By then, was out of the crowd, tucked away in the corner of a quiet café. Ionly noticed when the barista started to move again, the sound of beans being crushed in a grinder giving me the shock of my life. The freezes happened over and over again, at random intervals. They never lasted very long, but I definitely wasn’t the one doing it. In fact, as the phenomenon occurred more and more, I knew for sure that someone else was stopping time. There’s no good way to explain it, but I could feel their presence, somewhere, not too close, but not too far away. didn’t know if they could sense me too, the way could sense them, but I knew that they were out there. So far, hadn’t seen anything or anyone else move during those freezes. It may sound stupid now, but I was content to enjoy those little moments while they lasted. It usually wasn’t inconvenient, and it led to some really cool opportunities to prank my friends, or to escape from throngs of people in a busy mall. I knew that my ‘partner-in-crime was out there, but I had no desire to find them. In hindsight, that was a mistake My sneakers tapped gently against the pavement as l walked briskly against the street. It was a day much like the one when I had first experienced the peculiar sensation of being the only sentient person in a world of frozen time. Once again, I squeezed through the peak-hour human traffic. Once again, my senses were bombarded by a host of things I hated dealing with. And once again, not unlike many of the other times, quietly wished that my time-stopping partner might decide to freeze time once more, to allow me to slip out from this nightmare.Surprisingly enough, time stopped. It wasn’t often that time stopped at a convenient juncture, so took the opportunity to dash out of the sticky- literally- situation that I’d found myself enclosed in. And yet, as I took in a gulp of fresh air, something felt wrong. It took me a moment to realize what it was was having trouble sensing the time stopper. It wasn’t like the first time, when I just wasn’t aware of them, no. It was as if they were… fading away. Like the dying flame of a candle, about to wink out of existence Belatedly, wondered what’d happen to me if they vanished while the world was frozen We always think of the important things just a little too late. I felt that pulse from the time-stopper grow weaker and weaker, slowly dissipating like a fine dust floating into the atmosphere. I prayed that time would resume, that everything would go back to normal. And yet, that perfect, fragile silence remained intact. Every single person, object and animal was still frozen. The random passers-by were all stuck in time, locked in place, halfway through their last action before the world had decided to stop. A flock of crows hung artificially in the air, like some sort of elaborate piece of abstract art dangling from the ceiling of a museum. I screamed, my voice ricocheting and echoing off the tall buildings that surrounded me. But no response came.