Kurzgeschichte: Time

Time is a short story I wrote back in school on 1996-05-15 as homework. I never thought about this story until the day I drove to Vienna with a friend of mine. Driving through a tunnel she asked me about the story with the tunnel and the time I wrote back then. I didn’t know what she was talking about but decided to search all my old school books. And voilà, I found it.

Time

When he looked up from his newspaper, he reailzed that they should have come out of the tunnel long ago. Mr.B looked at his watch and found that an hour has passed and the tunnel was not over although it is only six kilometres long.

So at first he thought that he was sleeping but when he tweaked himself and he felt the pain he knew that he was awake. And completely confused. He didn’t notice it at first but suddenly it struck him: The noise. The noise a train normally causes. Normally, it is at high pitch and quite fast. But this train’s sounds were low and slow. He looked out of the window but there was nothing to orientate himself. Then he saw one of the lights on the wall of the tunnel. It was approaching very slowly and shimmering in pale red instead of bright yellow.

Everything was strange to him. He was totally paralyzed and could not get up. As he was alone in the compartment he couldn’t talk to anybody. But then the door opened and two men entered. They seemed to have a conversation but they were acting so slowly as if a video tape is played in very slow motion. Also the frequency of their voices was very low. So Mr.B stood up and walked over to them. Suddenly — measured by the speed of the men’s movements — they got frightened and ran away very slowly.

Mr.B realized that his personal physical time arrow must have been longer than that of the others; that means that he performed and coceived faster than anybody else. That’s why all other movements appeared so slowly from his point of view. And it also explained why the two men were obviously scared to death by his quick appearance. They haven’t reached the compartment door yet although they seemed to try really hard.

The whole horror finished at that moment because the tunnel was over. Mr.B conceived time as he had always done and everything was moving around at a normal speed again. Only his watch witnessed this fast flow of time: it was one hour ahead.