Friday, August 14, 2015

Can You Stop a Speeding Bullet? He can.

An Excerpt from The 25th Hour (Book One in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):

 “My friend’s going to ring the fire alarm as soon as I start shooting. When the halls fill with students, they’re going to turn into a shooting gallery. We’ll score a higher body count than Columbine and Virginia Tech combined.”

“If you start shooting, you won’t get out of this alive,” Vanessa said. “There’ll be SWAT teams surrounding the school in minutes.”

The boy laughed. “We ain’t planning to make it out alive. I was born covered in someone else’s blood and that’s how I’m going out. But we’ll be famous. People will be talking about us long after we’re dead.”

“You’re crazy!” Marlene said.

The boy whirled his rifle barrel toward her. “And you’re dead.”

Mackenzie grasped the pocket watch. “Don’t shoot her!” he cried.

The gunman turned in his direction. “You want to volunteer to be the first target? Fine by me. This baby shoots sixty rounds per minute. I bet I can hit both of you and everyone in between in the first minute. Then, I’ll finish off the rest of you losers and join my friend in the hall for the real fun. Eat lead, sucker.”

Mackenzie watched the boy’s finger depress the trigger on the AR-15. He pushed down the watch stem and turned it clockwise, projecting himself into the world of Q-Time. He blinked, adjusting to his altered perception of reality. He stared cross-eyed at the cylindrical projectile six inches from his nose. It’s the bullet! Stopped in mid-air. The sight of the suspended bullet fascinated Mackenzie. If it hadn’t been for the pocket watch, I’d be dead. Then, a shocking realization struck him. What the—? It’s coming closer! But that’s not supposed to happen. Mackenzie swatted the bullet, knocking it to the floor. He saw two more bullets, one heading toward Marlene and the second toward Vanessa. Of course. The watch doesn’t stop time; it slows it down. In physics class, we learned a bullet travels 2,800 feet per second. Even in the space between seconds, those bullets are moving. Mackenzie jumped over a desk and caught the bullet aimed at Marlene, and then raced to snatch the bullet headed toward Vanessa. He looked at his scorched palm. “Ow! Friction burns. I forgot they’re moving objects, even if that movement is nearly imperceptible.” He pocketed the bullets and looked at the watch. “I don’t have much time left. If only I could take back the minutes I used fooling around with the watch earlier.”

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Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!

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