By Robert Lynch
There was a silence I had never known before. The only noise was the firing pin moving as he pulled the trigger. The explosion of the bullet firing filled my ears. The bullet came at me in slow motion, I couldn’t move, but my eyes focused on the bullet as it came at me. It felt like years watching as the bullet approached. I couldn’t escape it. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die, but I lived a whole lifetime as that bullet journeyed six feet.
When the bullet was an inch away, everything stopped completely. I fell to the ground and breathed —panic gripping me. When I turned, I saw the bullet still hovering there as I wiped anguished tears from my face. I looked around. Nothing was moving; only I was breathing.
“They’re frozen.” A voice from behind me said.
I turned to see a man who looked like he’d just walked out of the 1800s. He wore a suit complete with patterned vest and string bow tie; with a gun belt and pistol hanging at his waist.
I tried to say something coherent but found myself unable; instead, I mumbled out a sting of grunting noises.
“It takes a minute to acclimatise,” He said. “I’m here because the Time Bureau has chosen you as a potential Agent.”
“What?” I asked.
“When time travel was first developed,” he said, “In your future, there were no rules. A lot of unscrupulous cowboys ran around changing things and muckin’ the place up. The Bureau was founded to catch these littl’ buggers and set time back on the straight and narrow. You’ve been identified as someone who can blend into the local timeframe and track evildoers, so we pulled you out of your time stream just before the end.”
“You saved me?” I asked.
“Nope.” He said, “You die there.” He pointed to where I had been standing when the bullet fired. “You will always die there. The only question is: do you want to work for us in the meantime? And before you get it into your head that you might change all this, you can’t. If you do someone like me will be sent to right it.”
“So die now, or travel in time now and die later?” I asked.
“Yep.” He said.
“I chose the time travel, please,” I said.