Sunday, August 13, 2017

Paralyzed by Fear. [Creative Writing]

He froze.

He had always heard that time seems to slow in a crisis, in a life-and-death situation, but he hadn't experienced it until now.  He felt his pulse quicken, his breath become short, and noticed a shift in the lighting as his pupils dilated.

He had always loved his home city, the Festival City, Alberta's Capital City, The City of Champions.  But now instead of looking orderly and neat, the brutalist architecture seemed to be closing in on him, suffocating him, arresting his ability to move freely.

A chill fell over him as the car's once comfortable air conditioning met with his cold sweat.  At the same time, the world appeared to have frozen.  Nobody moved, cars idling, feet pressed hard on the brake pedal lest one move too quickly and become the snowflake which causes the avalanche.

They say that the difference between a mass of angry people and a riot can come down to one action.  Everyone will stand around until they hear glass shatter, until a smoke bomb hits, until a punch is thrown.  It is these tense moments which decide whether the morning will see peace, or the wake of an angry mob.

He strained his eyes, knowing that at some point he had heard of this exact scenario.  Some far off, distant memory that warps into vague flashes of recollection.  Grade school?  No.  A stern warning from his parents?  No, that couldn't be it.  A sermon told once upon a time?  Maybe.

His head cleared as adrenaline coursed through his veins, and he made his decision to act.  He edged the car forward.  Arcing slowly and deliberately to the left into what appeared to be an opening in the periphery of his vision; he didn't dare to take his eyes off of the horror that lay in front of him.

Clearing the standoff, he started to speed away, relaxing his now-noticeably white knuckles, and letting out a deep but quivering sigh.  In the back of his mind, he was wracked by the feeling he had somehow made a Faustian deal, but decided it would be worth seeing his family at least one more time.

He didn't know what demonic force had caused the traffic sign to display a green, left-pointing arrow, but he was glad it was over.  Mercifully, it was over.

Driving a lot in Edmonton recently,