10 Seconds

A writing exercise in slowing down time.


Her hand trembled. Sweat beaded her forehead. Her blouse was soaked and clung to her back,  making her shiver. The wind picked up and blew hair into her eyes, but she didn’t dare to blink. Her gaze was glued to the figure standing before her. The man, his arm raised for a strike, the warm yellow light of a street lamp caught on the edge of the knife clutched in his hand. His eyes were manic, pupils blown wide, and white bubbles of froth surrounded his mouth. He was such a stereotypical psycho, it looked more like a parody.

The cold steel in Josie’s hand gave her a sense of comfort, but the urgency of the situation demanded action. Her fingers twitched, spasmed, clenched. The trigger went down; the hammer snapped forward; the pin struck the primer. A tiny spark that formed inside the gun ignited the gunpowder, and a bullet flew out of the barrel. It crossed ten feet that lay between Josie and Frank and hit him square in the chest, right over the large grease stain on his plaid shirt. Red blossomed on dark blue, and he stumbled. Josie kept pulling the trigger again and again. Each time, another bullet were set in motion. Each one hit the target close to the first, changing Frank’s momentum. She pulled the trigger until the clip was finally empty and the action resulted in only impotent clicks.

Frank wasn’t running anymore. His knife clattered to the ground, released by his suddenly weak fingers. Blood flowed freely out of six new holes in his torso, getting into his lungs, coming out of his throat. His innards were a shredded, gory mess, but his consciousness was not present. His glassy, far away look didn’t change at all as he hit the pavement.

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