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Time Snatchers


Writing can be a curious activity when it’s a good day, the words are flowing, and you’re really in the groove. Just this morning I was rattling the keys and happened to check the time on my laptop. It was 10:07. This precise thought went through my mind: I’ll just finish this paragraph and then I’ll make myself a cuppa. No sooner had the thought come when I heard the front door go and my wife came

home. That was odd, because she was home much earlier than I thought she would be, but at least now we could have our mid-morning drink together. Only, when I glanced down at the time again, it now read 11.33.

I looked at it again. Blinked. Widened my eyes to improve focus. Wiped my glasses to remove any smudges. Ran a cloth over the monitor just in case. Re-examined the readout from several different angles.

But no, there was no doubt. It was 11.34 now.

I sat there for a moment trying to calm myself. I had lost very nearly an hour and a half. 86 minutes to be precise. What had had happened during that time? Where had I been?

I stood and gingerly checked my backside. Nope, it didn’t seem as if I had been probed. Probably not alien abduction, then, because I hear they are keen on that whole probing thing. Had I simply zoned out, fallen asleep, suffered a mini coma?

Then I looked at the laptop screen again, and this time I noticed that somebody had added a good few pages to what I had written earlier. I read them through. They continued the scene pretty much as I had imagined it, and it certainly looked like my style of writing. Which was the point at which I realised I had been a victim of the Time Snatchers.

I’m sure the majority of writers will know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you get your head down and your fingers fly across the keyboard, words spilling out over the page like an army of letters manning the barricades, forming words, sentences and paragraphs in order to strengthen their formation. The groove is so smooth and slippery that you disappear down your own rabbit hole, and when you emerge you are a thousand words or more further along in your story than you thought you were.

To be honest, it’s a little disconcerting at times. It’s kind of like those journeys you have sometimes when you’re driving, and you look around unable to recall exactly how you managed to get where you are on the route. It’s as if our minds are so focussed, so caught up in what we are doing, that everything else becomes subliminal and peripheral. Outwardly we continue to act and react perfectly normally, only our brains have sectioned off those actions while the Time Snatchers are busy going about their business.

It makes sense, yet still it leaves you feeling a little anxious and wary.

Now, if only I could figure out how I completed this piece 10 minutes before I even started it.