Everything stopped. Again. Tom looked up from his work to see the world perfectly frozen. A deafening silence roared in his ears. His eyes welled with tears, just like they did the last time, just like they had every time after the first. Already the loneliness was washing over him.
How long would it last?
He never knew.
Tom had no idea how long the first time had lasted. After the third, he had started recording how long it took him to grow an inch of beard, and now thought in those terms.
Last time had lasted three inches.
Three long inches of silence. Isolation. Stillness. Maddening stillness.
His greatest fear is that this time it may never end.
Tom walked home, weaving through the frozen crowds. A light rain had started falling, and he left a tunnel in it as he walked. He’d walk this way many times over the next couple of inches.
He found it as he crossed the main square.
Another passage in the rain. It went off south, towards the warehouse district.
Tom wasn’t alone.
He ran through the tunnel, following it as it wound past cars and pedestrians.
His heart was thumping fit to burst. His lungs screamed in his chest as he sprinted.
He wasn’t alone!