Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

Accelerate - Part 6

To read the first part of this series, click here.

Confirmed in his belief that his days were now brief moments in a normal day, Lucky swallowed another tablet. Then he pocketed the bottle and, with one last look in the mirror and a pat at his twice-combed hair, he stepped out into the new world awaiting him.

In the street, the morning rush to work was transformed into a glutinous mass of people, their movement barely discernible, and the traffic inched along as though straining against some invisible force. Lucky threaded his way through it all, enjoying the hope and anticipation that flowed through him, the excitement of embarking upon an adventure never before contemplated.

He had chosen the bank with some care, reasoning that the larger the building, the more money it should contain, and he timed his arrival to be shortly after its opening, when the staff would still be preparing for the day ahead. The vault would be closed, he thought, but he should be able to gather enough just from a few opened drawers and any that was being counted.

His timing was perfect and all was just as he had imagined. The doors were open and clear, a few early customers dispersing towards the counters, so that it was easy for him to find a way through them. An employee had arrived late and was in the act of opening the door to the staff area. Lucky pushed the door wide and squeezed past.

A tableau of people locked in attitudes of work greeted him. Here a hand was frozen in the act of depositing a wad of notes into a drawer, there a mouth gaped open in soundless laughter, an immobile body bent in the moment of sitting down, a foot hovered inches from the floor as a step was about to be completed. Lucky moved amongst them, collecting notes from drawers and hands, taking a few coins merely because they were there, emptying a counting machine as it flipped with agonizing slowness from one note to the next.

Very quickly he had as much as he could hold in one hand and his pocket jingled with coins. He threaded his way through the still and silent people, back the way he had come and around the figure in the doorway. In a moment of amused fancy, he moved the door back until it touched the pushing hand once more. Then, as he turned to leave, the pointlessness of his lightning raid came rushing in at him.

What use was money to Lucky now? In a world where he could take whatever he wanted and was barred from nowhere, what purpose could these paper notes possibly serve? How was he even to pay for anything, when he would die of boredom while waiting for a hand to reach out and take the offered payment?

Lucky looked down at the notes in his hand, shrugged, and threw them into the air above his head. They froze there as they left his hand, like a still photograph taken from a movie. He smiled as he looked up at them, imagining the consternation that must ensue when the staff saw money disappear from their hands, only to find it cascading down upon the customers. Then he circled through the throng and left, without another thought of the chaos he had just created.

There was more to his new existence than Lucky had understood, he knew that now. The world lay open before him, yes, but it was a different world with new constraints and limitations. He wandered through the streets, pondering how he might adjust, until he found himself outside L'Escargot, perhaps the most exclusive restaurant in town. Realizing that he was hungry, he pushed the door and entered.

Breakfast was being served and Lucky moved between the tables, picking some bacon from a plate about to be delivered to a waiting customer, taking a piece of toast here and a spoonful of cereal there. He tried to pour himself a cup of coffee but the dark liquid rested in the jug and refused to move. After a moment's thought, he went through to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and took a bottle of milk. He would drink that later at his leisure, he thought, when he had time to await its slow trickle into his mouth.

Leaving the restaurant, Lucky headed for the park, where he sat down on a bench to think things through. A cloud of pigeons was in the act of taking off before him and, watching them for a while, he saw that he could still detect some movement in their wings. Passers by were immobile however. A chill of fear settled upon Lucky's heart as he realized that he might have gone too far. There was power in this speed but also a debt to pay.

Never again would he be able to converse with anyone; even had he the patience to wait for a reply, they would not hear his slowest speech and their words were transformed into inaudible rumblings in his ears. He had always considered himself a loner, with no need for human companionship, but now the full extent of his separation opened before him like an abyss. There was writing, of course. Perhaps he could leave a note with someone, suggesting they take the tablets and join him in this frozen world.

But could he do that to anyone? What right had he to bring someone into this existence that he hardly knew himself? There were those who would leap at the chance, he was sure of that, but already Lucky was finding that he stumbled upon serious disadvantages every day. Before he could consider spreading his affliction, he must first find a way to make it bearable.

So for the time being, Lucky must find his way alone. It would be hard but not impossible; after all, he had managed before without needing anyone so even this enforced isolation should not be too great a hardship. He might even find a purpose in the strange gift he had been given. He could become a silent benefactor, a superhero rescuing children from speeding cars and thwarting villains before they could commit their crimes.

A moment's thought disposed of that idea: in a world where movement was frozen, who could tell what was about to happen, how would he see an impending accident? All appeared as a motionless scene to him, without direction or ultimate effect.

But the idea was interesting. There must be a way in which he could use his speed to do something worthwhile. He would think about it, he resolved, but not right now. The events of the morning had drained his energy and he knew that he should sleep. The days were coming thick and fast for him now.

He stood up and headed for home.


To go directly to the last part of this series, click here.


Well done, another good episode. I can see several possibilities with this tale but im keeping them to myself in case im right and i spoil it for others.....now im wishing my days away!
Date Added: 25/07/2005

Gone Away
I think I see the end in sight now, Keef. But it may surprise you even now...
Date Added: 25/07/2005

Im sure it will be good whatever it is Gone, and the more surprising the better
Date Added: 25/07/2005

Gone Away
We shall see, we shall see...
Date Added: 25/07/2005

I like this. :)
Date Added: 25/07/2005

Gone Away
Thank you, Jodie. :)
Date Added: 25/07/2005

A real nightmare, like all special talents are in the end. It's an interesting philosophical thinking point. And very well presented and written. I'm really looking forward to the continuation ...
Date Added: 25/07/2005

Gone Away
Thank you, John. It's good to be appreciated!
Date Added: 25/07/2005

This is an interesting episode, Gone Away. The ideas of transience, the pointlessness of repetition and the tragedy of human loneliness are all really foregrounded by the notion of a life speeded up, as Lucky's is, so that the description of incident and the ever-presence of Lucky's internal monologue create a philosophical dimension alongside the incidentals of the action. I enjoyed this piece.
Date Added: 26/07/2005

Gone Away
You see with a poet's eye, Ken. I'd best say no more or I will ruin the ending!
Date Added: 26/07/2005

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