On the Nature of Time

Running away he dodged into a doorway to catch his breath and listened to the slap of feet going by. He’d torn a hole in his right shoe and water had leaked in; his toes were one solid block of wood. He flexed them, trying to get some feeling back. At the end of the street, the lamp flickered and went dark.

Police cruiser growling past, headlights sweeping the storefronts. He pressed further back into the doorway and closed his eyes.

When the car had been swallowed up by the city again, he slipped into the street and sprinted for the end of the block. Counting in his head, one thousand one, one thousand two… there wasn’t time enough, but if he was fast enough, maybe…

They let him get two long strides from the dubious safety of the square before they took him. O, very gently. He would have struggled, but there wasn’t time; they carried him off as he shifted his weight from right to left.

In the desert his clothes steamed.