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Slow Down
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Slow Down
Peter's world speeds up inexplicably while his doctor tries to figure out what's wrong, watching him slow down till he hardly moves.
[1,472 words]
Science Fiction
Jack M Brown
19, studying Mathematics at Southampton University.
[April 2005]
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Slow Down
Jack M Brown

Day 1

"Send in my next patient, would you Amy?"

"Yes doctor."

Dr. Frank James sat at his wide desk, looking down upon papers that he had to check over and sign - a tiresome task. He took a bite from a giant sandwich that he had made earlier at home and crunched through the tasty cucumber and tomatoes; then with one wipe of his sleeve, he was down to his work again.

Frank was a bearded bachelor of quite a large size in his mid forties. His last wife had divorced him five or six years before due to a lack of patience for one another. They had had a son, but he had been taken by the wife. Now Frankís life was all business.

The doctor checked the time on his watch with the time on the wind up clock on his desk and then with another clock that was hung above the doorway. Just past lunch time, but the employees nor the patients minded if eating his sandwich took a little longer than designated. In fact, it made Frank seem more human than previously anticipated of a doctor, bringing him down to their level so there was nothing to be afraid of. It was the small things like that, along with the funny objects that he had placed around the room to make it more cosy, such as little cacti for the children to ogle at and try to touch, along with some of the pictures that he had saved painted by his lost son. His son was on his mind every day.

The door was opened and a clean shaved man entered, holding his stomach and quickly collapsed into the seat opposite Frank.

"Peter Simmons?" asked Frank, looking wide eyed.


"Now, what seems to be the problem?"

"Itís my stomach, doctor. It feels terrible. I donít think itís a stitch or an ache, or even indigestion. It just feels really awful and weird."

Frank got out of his seat and walked around to Peter.

"Open your mouth and stick out your tongue."

Peter complied while Frank looked at the tongue, wondering and pondering what could be the problem.

"Hmm, stand up, would you? And lift up your shirt."

Peter got out of his seat and lifted his blue T-Shirt up, revealing his stomach. Frank ran his hand around, prodding at the flesh to see if anything felt wrong.

"Well, thereís nothing broken thank goodness. However, I would like to take an X-Ray to check if thereís anything thatís not meant to be there."

Frank clipped four X-Rays of Peterís stomach to a board with a light behind, revealing all of the bones. Peter, meanwhile, sat on a seat, looking at the pictures of his insides. The doctor looked closely at each picture and shook his head.

"There seems to be nothing inside of you that is causing the pain, Mr. Simmons. The only thing I can do is give you a bottle of these, take one every four hours. It may just clear itself up, but I want you to come into tomorrow for a check-up."

Peter looked at the pills and got out of the seat.

"Thank you, doctor."

Day 2

Frank scratched his beard and leaned back in his seat, propping his feet up on the desk. Pay was good and there seemed no lack of patients, and he was happy that there was no more paper work to do. All there was to do was treat some more patients and then he would be able to return to his lonely home and flick through the television channels.

"Doctor," said Amy, halfway through the door, "youíre 2:10 is here. Peter Simmons."
"Good, send him in."

Frank returned to his seated position and waited for the door to be opened fully by Peter, whose condition had befuddled the poor old doctor. Peter opened the door, but very slowly, and strangely, slowly walked over to the seat and sat down.

Frank tapped his fingers together very quickly, and bobbed his head up and down, saying something that sounded like a squeak. Peter couldnít understand it.

"Pardon?" asked Peter, wondering what the doctor was trying to say.

Peter had said this very slowly, and Frank was nearly unable to distinguish what he was on about.

"I said," started Frank, slowly, "how are you now? Did the pills work?"

Thankfully, Frank had spoken slower this time, and Peter could just make out what he was saying.

"I feel fine," replied Peter, "the pills have worked, but everyone is moving about and talking very quickly. Itís odd."

Frank frowned and sat back in his seat, wondering what had happened. If it was the pills that Peter had taken, it was an unusual side effect that the doctor had never heard of.

"Right," said Frank, leaning over the desk a little and saying his words very slowly so that they could be understood. "I want you to come in tomorrow, Mr. Simmons, to see if there is any development with your condition. Iím afraid I donít know what is wrong with you."

Day 3

Peter walked over to the other side of the room and opened the door. He was frowning and angry that he had yet to be cured of this problem that he was enduring as everyone was zooming about the place much quicker than the day before. In fact, he could not see people unless they stood still for quite a while. There wasnít much noise any more either and getting home had been very dangerous indeed with the traffic lights changing so quickly and so, he had had to stick with the zebra crossings, which had been highly annoying for the cars waiting to pass by.
Dr. James was standing by his desk, holding a sign up saying ĎI can no longer talk with you, nor can you talk to me. We have to communicate using writing.í

Frank, after he thought that Peter had been able to read the sign, picked up another and wrote on it, asking if he was well. It was sometime before Peter was able to reply and wrote on the paper very slowly, saying that he was fine. Frank had timed him writing it, and prepared another board asking if he would come in the next day.

"Sure," replied Peter, saying and writing it on the paper. He turned to leave and watched as the minute hand on the clock above the doorway sped around the face.

Day 4

It was now far too dangerous to go out of the house for Peter. His simple life was now in tatters. He knew nothing of what was going on which made him very angry, and was seemingly unable to do anything. The day was going very quickly now, as he watched the sun hop across the sky, which, when just halfway through the sky, Dr. James bolted into the room and sat down.

Frank wrote on a large piece of paper, asking Peter to say that he was fine, and held a stop watch in his hand, ready to time him. After half an hour of waiting, the patient started to write and it was sometime after that he finished, with Dr. James instantly stopping the watch.

With this, Frank got out his notebook and wrote a few sums.

"If I am correct, Mr. Simmons. Your life is accelerating four times faster than the day before. It is incredible. I would give anything to see what you are seeing. For you, life is normal but sped up, for me, you are slowed down. If this continues increasing, thereís no telling what youíll see in the future. In fact, you will be moved to a secure location for study."

Day 5

The next day came very quickly for Peter, and while he was looking at the sun zoom across the sky, faster than before, he was picked up and like lightening, taken out of the room and put in a car. This hurt considerably, but after a few seconds, he was moved again into a building with a large room full of toys and things that could possibly pass the time.

However, life was seeming to speed up even faster than before, and Peter watched as the objects in the room were ridden with dust and cobwebs. People were zooming around him all of the time, and all he could do was look out of the window that cracked and mended itself. From there on, he watched as the building that he was in crumbled down along with others that sometimes just disappeared and more were built.

Huge buildings appeared in the distance as the town that he was in was forgotten and overgrown with weeds and plants that soon turned into giant trees. The buildings also disappeared, however, and soon all of the plants were dead and sand swept about Peterís feet. The landscape rose and fell, weathered and then piling up again, moulding and shaping.

The world around Peter changed many times until there was no world at all.




"Interesting story - really liked the 'to the point' style of it - the last part caught me a little by surprise - I didn't expect it to end so suddenly...there is something eerie in the way he sees the world end....good work! and oh! try to review some of my work when u can! ;)" -- Afreena Rahman.


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© 2004 Jack M Brown
December 2004

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