[WP]: Time slows down when you are in danger. The more serious the danger is, the more time you have to save yourself. During one terrible car accident you had almost a minute to react. And now, time has almost completely stopped for a whole month, and you don't know why.
This story is pretty rough but I like the idea of eventually being able to shit-out a writing prompt of the fly. We're combining concepts from both version of this story. In this version, we're dropping the concept of the journals (he's narrating this all in his head) and the idea of his experiencing ego death. We're keeping the addictive and peaceful quality of his 'stand-stills' and the ending where there's a bullet coming at him.
It's a little awkward for this story to end on "Can I dodge a bullet?" Maybe we have this be a reference to something someone told him about being a superhero and how he wasn't one.
We begin the story with the protagonist explaining that he's had stand-stills for so long he doesn't remember his first one. He just remembers when he realized it wasn't normal. As a child he didn't realize he was different, this was just his life, time slowed down when scary things happened. He thought it was normal.
Our protagonist recalls a time as a little boy when he fell out of his tree house, no older than six or seven. His friend pushed him jokingly, and he ended up falling out backwards. He recalls as his friend slowed down, how he saw the expression of shock manifest on the other boy's face, then terror as he began to mouth a shout, but the shout seems to become more and more elongated and distorted. He recalls sliding in zero gravity, watching the autumn leaves slip around him as the sky filled his vision, the rustle making a bird fly away in slow motion. Most of all he recalls how absolutely at peace he was as he fell, how beautiful it was. Then he recalls the horrible pain of landing on the ground in slow motion, feeling his bones fracture section by section. However, he would have cracked his skull open had he not repositioned his arms in time.
In the hospital after time has gone back to normal and he's hopped up on whatever pain medications they prescribe children, he tries to explain to his mom what happened. She just dismisses him (kindly) as she browses through her phone. "That's perfectly normal honey, it's called adrenaline. It always makes time feel slower." But as our protagonist explains to the audience, this had nothing to do with roller coasters or scary movies or some kind of prepubescent near-death experience. This was something far more extraordinary.
Our protagonist notes that he stopped talking about it after this experience with his mother, keeping it a secret. It still happened from time to time, but not with that kind of intensity, at least not until the car drive with his father. He was eleven years old, coming back from a weekend with his father (parents are divorced) in the rain. In the middle of telling him a story his dad started making a strange noise. The protagonist turned to look but felt difficulty moving his head, he felt like he was submerged in molasses. He instantly realizes what's going on, another stand-still, and he suddenly realized how much he misses the feeling (it is always incredibly serene). He sees his father is reacting to something in slow motion, eyes bulging, jaws opening in a low rumbling scream. Our protagonist is surprisingly calm and lucid, he feels a sudden weight and realizes his dad is hitting the breaks. There's a car barreling towards them in the wrong lane, a head-on collision it is obvious they won't survive. But oddly, our calm protagonist just thinks about how silly his dad is being, trying to hit the breaks instead of speeding up to turn. Our protagonist can see that his father has cranked the steering wheel as far as it will go. But it's too late, the car is hydroplaning, they won't make it. So the protagonist instead grabs his father, unbuckles their seat belts, and tumbles out of the moving vehicle at 60 miles per hour. Once again, he feels completely at peace. Even as he hears the two cars slam into each other, the low groan of metal scraping again metal. Out of the corner of his eye he can see the cars collide and he thinks it's the most beautiful thing he's ever laid eyes on. As he slowly falls towards the pavement, clutching his terrified father, some thoughts go through his mind. Will they survive? What kind of injuries will they have? Will he ever wake up from this? But it doesn't matter, nothing really matters anymore, even falling to his imminent death feels like it's happening to someone else. Finally he thinks: Am I a superhero? Is what what being a superhero feels like?
He hits the asphalt and the world goes black. He wakes up in a hospital again. Every bone in his body aches. But he survived. His father, however, did not.
Note: Originally we had this concept of him actually moving faster than everything else. When he touches things, like his father, it burns them. So he ends up putting specks of his blood on things, in order to bring them into the same 'speed' as him. "Blood. Blood everywhere." He mentions that he even has to put blood in his food, otherwise he's just eating ash. I thought this was an interesting idea, but it leave some inconsistencies and ultimately I like this more limited superpower.
At this point our protagonist really realizes what's happening. Time is slowing down, not physically, but mentally. His thoughts continue to run at the same speed, or, paradoxically, perhaps they are running much faster and it only seems like time is slowing down. Our protagonist decides to do some research on the Internet, trying to understand if this has ever happened to anyone else. And as he enters High School, he decides he's going to become a superhero. The first step is to find a way to trigger the effect on purpose. He decides to poison himself temporarily. He don't really know how, so he decides to sample every pill in his mother's medicine cabinet for good measure. Once again he is plunged into the peaceful status of standstill. It's so peaceful he hardly cares at all when his mom finds him and starts screaming.
He's treated for depression, but really he has an addiction. He starts poisoning himself regularly, under the excuse that he needs more time to study. But in reality he just loves the feeling, it gets to the point where he spends more time in his stand-still states than waking consciousness. He overdoses every lunch, and just relaxes in the bathroom stall. When the dull groan of the bell begins ringing he has to make himself vomit, and he hates it, the only thing he can think about all day is when he can have his next standstill.
Eventually he has a standstill without any drugs, it just happens in the middle of class. He wonders if maybe he broke something. And it doesn't stop. Eventually, after months from his perspective, he's seen enough doctors to realize based on what's happening around him (even though he can't understand anyone or speak) that he needs a liver transplant. The price he has to pay for chronically poisoning himself. It takes about a 8 months for him to get the transplant, but from his point of view 50 years have passed. The saddest part was his mom, who would often stay with him, he saw her crying like a statute for days on end by his side. But if he's honest with himself it bothered him less and less. His mom is so relieved when he finally gets the transplant and is able to speak. She didn't know what was wrong with him. But he's not the same person anymore.
He eventually decides he's going to finally become a superhero or super-villain or something. Maybe he stops crimes, maybe he robs banks, maybe he just boxes and is able to dodge any blow. But he eventually pisses someone off, and time nearly stops completely. A more intense standstill than he's ever had before, and the most serene. It takes him a month to turn enough to see the muzzle flash. A bullet is barreling towards him. The question is: can he dodge it? It's okay. He has time. He has all the time in the world.