Running out of Time
by Jeff Baker
Roy stood there in the near dark listening to the ticking.
Which way? Which way?
He could hear his breathing, feel his tensed muscles and hear the relentless soft ticking. He still had time. Probably not much.
Roy stepped forward a few paces. He wasn’t supposed to stand in one place for any amount of time. He tried to remember how he got here.
He didn’t remember much except for the rules. He was supposed to keep moving.
Roy looked up. Darkness. He looked down. He could see himself, but not the ground or floor or whatever he was standing on.
Was he dead? Alive? Had he angered a wizard? Angered God? Angered a god of some kind?
He shook his head. The ticking was still there. He took another few steps forward and stared into the darkness around him. He felt as if he could almost see something, but he couldn’t see anything but the darkness, unless he stretched his arm out.
He could see himself. Somehow. There was light, but it only lit him. He hadn’t realized that. He couldn’t tell where the light was coming from.
A spaceship. Was he on a spaceship? Had aliens picked him up?
Was it his spaceship?
Was this a test? Punishment? A dream?
The ticking got louder. Sounding more jagged.
Roy remembered something else. He was supposed to find something before the ticking stopped.
Or before the alarm went off. He was sure there was an alarm, there had to be.
Roy shook his head. He needed to keep moving. He turned right and walked that way.
What happens if I find a door? Roy thought.
“What happens if I hit a wall?”
He remembered something he’d heard years before, maybe Shakespeare.
“I wasted time and now time doth waste me.”
He took a deep breath and then Roy ran.
(The Shakespeare quote is from “Richard II.”)