Raining Exposition (1-11-18)

You have the ability to freeze time, you use this unlimited time to do whatever you want, but one day something else is moving even though time is currently frozen. [Link to post.]

“Geeeeez, I left it at work again,” I sighed to myself. It was pouring outside, and I left my umbrella hanging off one of my cubicle walls the previous day. I glanced at my watch. 7:59:10. Being able to stop time fostered some very lazy habits. I stepped out of my house and stopped the rain in mid-air. Getting to work without getting wet would be simple, but tedious. After walking for two blocks, being careful to walk around every rain drop, I realized I probably could have brought a change of clothes. I stopped and look back toward my house, then I turned and looked at the direction of work.

“Eh, I’m already halfway there.” I shrugged and continued toward work. On the next block I turned a corner and saw Susan from the Accounting department. Frozen in time, but obviously in a rush. Somehow she caught her umbrella on a low hanging sign, and didn’t seem to notice it yet. Her gaze stared forward and her gait was wide, in the midst of taking large steps. I looked at the snag. Either the umbrella was going to tear, or the sign was going to fall and crack her head open. I liked Susan, though I never built the courage to ask her out. I smiled and felt glad I could at least be a guardian angel of sorts. I needed to climb the brickwork a bit to undo the snag, and there was no way to avoid getting wet. But, better me than her. After I freed her umbrella I continued the path to work. On the next block I saw a police officer with his hands cuffed behind his back and his pants down around his ankles. 

“That’s gotta be an interesting story,” I chuckled to myself and kept walking. After a few feet I saw a woman completely naked, with crude stick figures drawn on her body doing lewd things. She seemed oblivious, and completely dry. There was no way she was naked when I stopped the rain. “Huh.” I said. I paused for a second trying to guess at the explanation. Then I heard it. A child’s giggle. “Fuck.” I cursed. I didn’t know whether to run toward it or away from it. The child laughed again and I decided I needed to know what was going on. I ran toward it. Instead of continuing to the next block I turned the corner and saw two naked men holding each other’s penises, in the middle of the street. Between them a small figure was laughing as he pulled the pants off one of the men. “Hello?” I said. I spoke aloud, but I didn’t want to yell.

The figure looked up. He was a young pale boy, about 9 years old. He had straight black hair slicked back, and a widow’s peak. He wore all black clothes. He smiled when he saw me.

“HI! Wanna play with me?” He asked. He forgot about the man’s pants and walked toward me, eyeing me up and down.

“Who are you?” I looked down at him, then knelt. I’d read somewhere that it helps to ‘get on their level.’

“I’m Oren. Who’re you?” He said with a smirk, as if it was something that should’ve been obvious.

“I’m Jake. Nice to meet you Oren, but…  how are you… you know.  Uh moving around?” I asked him, then gestured to a group of frozen strangers. He smiled and a red crown glowed in the center of his forehead.

” ‘Cause I can. Did you do this?” he asked. He walked over to a stranger bringing a cup of steaming hot coffee to his mouth and tipped the cup over completely. When time started again he would probably need to be hospitalized.

“Stop that!” I said. I walked over to the stranger and set the cup right.

“Why? It’s funny!” he giggled.

“It’s MEAN!” I reprimanded him. He shrugged.

“So? I don’t know him, I don’t care. What number are you?” He asked. He walked a circle around me looking me up and down.

“What do you mean what number? I’m not a number, my name is Jake, remember?” I saw his eyes roll in response.

“DUH. I’m not an idiot. But you stopped time, right? So, you’ve gotta be a Unique.”

“Unique what?”

“Unique Soul!” He was losing patience quickly. “Quick, don’t even think about it. Ready?” He stared at me and we locked eyes. I saw a faint red glow behind his pale grey eyes. I gave a slight nod. “What’s your favorite number?” he asked rapidly.

“14” I said. He smiled sharply, and I caught a glimpse of fangs at the edges of his mouth. “Niiiiice. So, do you have a tattoo with the number 14?” he asked. I nodded, confused.

“How’d you know? I just got it like a month ago.” I rolled up my sleeve to show him the tattoo on my forearm. It was a scythe with the number 14 in golden letters on the blade. “Hey…” the realization dawned on me. “That’s when I got my powers.” He nodded.

“Now you’re getting it! 14 is La Muerte. Congratulations, that’s you!”

“What? You’re saying I’m … Death?”

“Yes.” He said with a firm nod. Then, shook his head. “No.” He walked over to a nearby bench and patted the wet seat next to him. I joined him and felt the moisture soak through my pants and underwear. It wasn’t pleasant, but this kid had answers.

“Not ‘DEATH'” he said with big air quotes.  “You’re just the Death. La Muerte. You’re a top tier Unique Soul. You’re like super lucky because you’re mega powerful.” He pointed at the frozen crowd “Seriously, do you know how hard it is to stop time like that? I can’t do it, I’m number 47. La Corona, the Crown.” I held a hand up to stop him from talking for a second.

“You’re telling me a lot of things I have no idea about, and acting like I should know. What are these names and numbers you keep using?” He looked at me and shrug. For the first time since I met him, I saw a flash of insecurity darken his face for a second.

“It’s a game. EVERYTHING is a game, and if you have a number that means you can play.”

“And them?” I asked about the people going nowhere fast.

“They’re not Unique, they’re Zeroes.”

“I don’t think I’m anything unique. Before I got this power I was nothing,” I said. Oren shook his head.

“No, you’ve been a Unique Soul since birth. Powers don’t get activated until there’s a representation of your number on you. 14 has always been your favorite number, right?” I nodded, and he continued his explanation. “Unique Souls, like you and me are called Unique, because we’re the only ones like us.” He pointed to the crowd. “See that guy with the green umbrella? There’s one of him in every universe.”

“Wait. Every universe, like alternate universes?” Oren nodded at me.

“Yeah. There may be some differences here and there. He might be a girl, or a different ethnicity entirely in a different universe, but the soul is the same. Our souls are the only souls like them, in all the universes.”

“So, I’m the only La Muerte?” I asked. It was a lot to take in, and I started wondering whether I believed him or not. Sure, I could stop time, but this was something else entirely. Then, Oren shook his head.

“Nope. Every universe has a chance to produce its own numbers, so there’s probably other 14s out there. But you are the only YOU. The only Jake whatever,” He waved at me dismissively.

“Jake Wilson,” I said.

“Alright Jake Wilson, I’m bored now. I’m going to a different universe, wanna come play with me?” He asked. He stood and a black dot appeared floating in mid-air behind him. The dot grew bigger, until it looked like a hole in reality.

“That’s how you get across universes?” I asked while I tried to find any sign of light in the darkness behind him. He nodded.

“C’mon, it’ll be fun. You can meet my mom.”

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