MidReal Story

Time's Betrayal

Apr 23
Scenario: In a world where time can be stolen, a young time thief named Aria discovers she has the ability to control time. However, her arch-nemesis turns out to be the person she loves the most, who also possesses the same power.
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In a world where time can be stolen, a young time thief named Aria discovers she has the ability to control time. However, her arch-nemesis turns out to be the person she loves the most, who also possesses the same power.
The first time I met the time guardians I realized it wasn’t.
There are three basic truths about time.
Everything changed when I was fifteen and I met Ethan Williams for the first time.
I was just trying to help.
I know we don’t generally go after people who don’t have much time left anyway, but this guy was different.
The marketplace was a sea of faces, a thousand different people all crammed together, haggling and talking over one another.
They weren’t anything like I thought they would be.
Everyone is born with a set amount of time.
I was stealing time from his father when he caught me in the act.
I stood in the center of it all, my eyes wide as I looked around at all the different stalls, my stomach churning with nerves.
No one knows how much they have or when it will run out until it’s too late.
They were more.
I don’t know why I didn’t hear him coming—I must have been getting sloppy—but all of a sudden he was standing right there, watching as I reached out to touch his father’s face.
This guy was really bad.
I could tell from all those leering looks he was giving me that he wanted to do more than take my time from me.
His brown eyes were wide and round as he stared at me.
They were free and strong and wild and I wanted to be like them all.
And once it’s gone there’s no getting it back.
I couldn’t believe that I was really here.
And I realized that I could be if I wanted to be too.
He was tall and lean with dark hair and chiseled features, and he was almost as beautiful as his father… except for the fact that he was smiling and his father wasn’t.
My grandmother had brought me along, telling me that it was time for me to start learning the ways of the world, and I’d been more than happy to go with her.
The world we live in isn’t fair.
And I was willing to bet that I wasn’t the first woman he’d ever looked at like that either.
I didn’t want him to do something like what happened to me to someone else, even if they were just going to die a few hours later anyway.
The first time I met my best friend, Sophia, at the academy I realized just how lucky I was to have found her.
I yanked my hand away from his father’s face as I swallowed nervously.
Some people are born with plenty of time while others are born with barely any at all.
Now that I was here, I wasn’t so sure that it was such a good idea.
“Are you going to buy it or not?”
Some people die before they get the chance to grow up while others live to be more than a hundred years old.
“Who are you?”
Even though we were only roommates by chance it felt like we were always meant to be friends.
I know it’s stupid, but I hate guys like him more than anything else because they always seem like they’re going to be able to get away with whatever they want because they’re rich and powerful, but they’re not better than anyone else and it’s not fair for them to think they are.
“And how much time are we talking?”
It isn’t fair, but it’s just the way it is.
My grandmother snapped, her voice stern as she glared at the man who held the stall.
We had the same birthday, the same color eyes, and just enough differences to make things interesting without being overwhelming.
I don’t think I should have asked.
The less time you have the more likely you are to die young while the more time you have the longer you’re going to live.
We had each other’s backs from day one.
Her eyes were dark and unyielding as she looked him up and down, and I could see the man visibly shaking under her gaze.
I don’t think I should have said anything at all.
Sophia asked as she tapped away on her tablet, her eyes still locked on the man in front of us as she tried to work out his schedule for the day.
He’s got about two weeks left,” the man said with a shrug and an oily smile, his gaze lingering on the way Sophia’s thin white blouse clung to her chest.
I think I should’ve turned and ran as fast as I could in the other direction while I still had the chance.
It’s simple math really: if you’re born with two hundred years of time then you’re going to live longer than someone who’s born with twenty or even ten.
We were there for each other through thick and thin and it was never even a question.
“I’ll take it, I’ll take it!”
I didn’t do any of those things.
It’s also not quite as simple as that because time can be taken from one person and given to another.
He said quickly, his hands shaking as he scooped up the silver coins my grandmother had left on his table.
She was my other half and I was hers.
“Maybe even more if he plays his cards right.”
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Sophia shuddered as she glanced up from her tablet and met my eyes before she nodded several times in quick succession and smiled sweetly at the man in front of us.
The first time we completed our training session without any mistakes and finished first in our class I realized how much I loved her.
Instead I stood there frozen in place, waiting for his father to tell him to go get help.
Time can be stolen… but there’s a catch.
My grandmother smiled smugly, taking the thing she’d just bought and tucking it safely away in her bag.
I watched her with a frown on my face, feeling almost like I was on the outside looking in.
Even when she made me want to strangle her for making me laugh when I should have been concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing.
He didn’t do that either.
When you steal time from someone else you also have to take their age.
“Good,” she said in her best professional voice as she placed her tablet back into her bag and zipped it shut again before turning her attention back to the man in front of us.
“We should be able to do this relatively quickly then.”
Even though I was standing right beside her, it felt like there was a huge gap between us that neither of us could ever hope to bridge.
Even when she made me want to throw things at her for not listening to the rules like she was supposed to.
Instead he smiled and winked at Ethan.
You grow older while they grow younger and unless you’re careful about where you get your time from you can end up dying long before your days are really up.
I’d never felt like I fit in with the rest of the world, and it seemed like things were only going to get worse as time went on.
“Hello,” he said.
Most people don’t even bother trying.
Even when she made me want to strangle her for making me laugh when she did it too.
After we got back outside, Sophia made a phone call then turned towards me with a smile as she leaned against the wall and crossed her arms over her chest.
“So what are you going to do with it?”
They know the risks and they don’t think the rewards are worth it.
A sudden wave of dizziness came over me, and I swayed on my feet, my eyes flicking around wildly as I looked for something to hold onto.
The first time we went on a mission together and stole time from an evil dictator and freed his people from his tyranny I realized that this was what I was meant to do.
“Why do you suppose she’s doing this?”
My grandmother’s voice sounded very far away as she called out to me, but I could barely pay attention to what she was saying as my vision swam in front of my eyes.
This was where I belonged.
Most people are willing to do anything and everything to extend their lives except give away their own precious seconds.
“I’m not sure,” Ethan said.
she asked as she looked up at me through her long lashes, knowing full well what the answer was going to be before I even opened my mouth.
“What else?”
Some people are different.
“But it looks like she knows what she’s doing.”
I don’t want to be here anymore.” My voice came out as a whisper, and I reached out to grab onto one of the tables in front of me.
And even though it wasn’t always easy and even though it wasn’t always fun it was always worth it.
“Please let me go home.”
My parents were different.
The first time I met Ethan Williams, my love and my arch-nemesis, and saw him fight back against all odds and refuse to give in no matter what happened to him I realized that he wasn’t like anyone else.
“Do you want her to stop?”
I asked as I raised an eyebrow.
She smirked at me as she shrugged her shoulders but didn’t say anything else.
His father laughed.
He wasn’t like anyone else in the academy and he wasn’t like anyone else in the world.
My parents didn’t have enough time to conceive on their own.
Before she could say anything, I closed my eyes and wished with all my might that I could just disappear, that time would stop so that no one could see me leave and nothing would change in my absence.
Then, to my shock, it did.
They didn’t have enough time to raise a child on their own either.
“Not particularly,” he said.
He wasn’t like anyone else in my world.
“Why else would I bother with any of this?”
I had to admit that she had a good point.
And he wasn’t what I thought he would be either, but he was so much more.
Time was frozen, the crowd of people around me all stuck in place as if they were nothing more than statues in a museum, and I let out a gasp of surprise as my eyes snapped wide open once again.
“Just don’t let her take too much.”
But instead of waiting for the impossible to happen they made the choice to adopt instead.
The best way to describe Ethan is to say that he’s charismatic.
Ethan nodded and watched as I reached out to touch his father’s face again.
I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew that this was my chance to get away from this place, and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by.
Instead of taking the safe route and doing what was expected they took the risk and did what they thought was right because they believed that everyone deserved the chance to be loved by someone who cared about them.
There was a reason why I had been the one to take the time in the first place, after all.
“So are we all set then?”
Instead of living long lives on their own they gave away every moment they had so that I could have one.
Ethan found me later that night.
He’s charming and dangerous and manipulative and so very bad for you all at once.
Quickly, before it was too late, I started to move through the crowd, dodging and weaving between all of the different people that surrounded me.
It wasn’t hard.
It was almost as if they were moving in slow motion, and that was more than fine with me.
So that I could be with them while I still had the chance.
Spending time with him is like playing with fire and you know that you’re going to get burned but you don’t care because you’re cold and you need him so very badly.
Ethan asked as he made his way towards us, a smile on his lips and his hands tucked into his pockets.
Sophia sighed as she shook her head but didn’t say anything as she gathered up her things and stood up straight again.
Even though you know that he’s taking advantage of you and using you for his own ends.
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I’d been living on the streets for months by that point, and I’d been sleeping in the same place for more than a week.
So that I wouldn’t be alone.
They were good people in a world filled with bad and I’ll never understand why they were taken from me when there were so many others who deserved it more.
Even though you know that he’s lying to you and manipulating you into doing whatever he wants so that he can get whatever it is that he needs from you.
I don’t know why I did it.
“You know he’s only here because his father made the call for him, right?”
she said as she rolled her eyes.
My parents might not have had enough time to begin with, but by the time they died they had even less.
I don’t know why I agreed to go with him instead of running away like I should’ve.
Because somehow you know that he feels the same way too so you let him do it even though you could stop him if you wanted to because you don’t really want him to.
The world sped up again once I was safely away from the crowd, and it took everything inside of me not to let out a gasp of surprise at what I’d just done.
My grandmother had never said anything about me being able to do something like this… but then again, she’d never really said anything about anything at all.
Somehow I knew that it was going to be the biggest mistake of my life… but I didn’t care.
Because deep down inside you know that if you take away his power and control him then he won’t love you anymore either.
And I was left with none at all.
“I don’t think he’s actually going to do anything except get in the way.”
That was what I thought too, but I didn’t say anything as I made my way towards them, not sure what else to do when Ethan was the one who was giving me that same look he always did whenever I saw him.
I was too young at the time for anyone to believe me when I told them what happened and I wasn’t able to do anything about it on my own so I gave up trying.
With a frustrated sigh, I tried not to think about my grandmother too much as I moved through the crowd, trying to find my way back home again.
And you need him to love you.
He’d watched as I stole time from his father, but he hadn’t tried to stop me.
The sun was high in the sky by the time I finally made it back home again, and my parents were already waiting for me when I came through the door.
He hadn’t said anything or done anything at all.
I didn’t have any other choice.
Even if he’s using it as an excuse for him to do whatever he wants.
“Hey, darling,” he said with a smile as he took a step closer to Sophia, holding out his hand for her to shake.
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They both looked worried sick, and they both pulled me into a hug as soon as they saw me standing there.
His eyes were still wide and round as he reached out to take my hand in his, but they weren’t scared.
All I could do was hold onto everything they taught me and do my best to make them proud by following in their footsteps and doing whatever I could for others in need.
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They weren’t angry either.
“Where have you been?”
For a while that felt like enough.
i want to kill someone
My mother asked, her voice thick with emotion as she held onto me tightly.
They were curious, and hopeful.
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He smiled at me as if he knew exactly what I’d been feeling, as if he knew exactly what I was thinking.
“We’ve been so worried about you!”
Sophia sighed as she shook her head, not even bothering to look at Ethan as she took his hand in her own.
“Cut it out, will you?”
“You can control time,” he said.
“I’m sorry.” I said, my voice muffled by her shoulder as she pressed her face against mine.
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“I didn’t mean to be gone for so long.”
she asked with a roll of her eyes.
“Come on, let’s go over the plan again so that we can get this over with already.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay.” My father said seriously.
He leaned back from where he’d been crouched beside us, smiling warmly down at me as he reached out to ruffle my hair.
Ethan pouted for a moment before he shrugged his shoulders, tucking his hands back into his pockets as he followed us out onto the street.
“So how do you want to do this?”
I’ll always be glad that you’re okay.”
I’m a time thief.
Sophia asked as she turned towards me, waiting for my answer before she continued.
“I figure you’re going to want to keep it as clean as possible, right?”
I bend time to my will, stealing seconds, minutes, hours, even days away as easily as other people take breaths.
But time isn’t free, and every second that I take has a price.
“Of course,” I said with a smile as I nodded my head.
“Who were you thinking would be best to go after the time?So far all we know is that he’s a wealthy businessman, so it could really be anyone.”
I don’t know what that price is, or how it’s paid, but the people who used to hunt me do.
At least, they used to.
“Yeah, about that,” Ethan said with a smirk as he took a step closer to me—I could hear Sophia rolling her eyes behind me at the gesture—as he continued.
“I was thinking that maybe we should use a portal instead.
Now, everything’s changed.
Maybe it was the way that I disappeared in the crowd that first time, or maybe it was the way that no one seemed to notice that anything had changed when I stole time from them.
“That way we don’t have to worry about anything except getting in and out of his house without getting caught.”
Sophia made a face as she shook her head but didn’t say anything else as she looked up at me, waiting to see how I would respond.
Whatever the reason, the Time Enforcement Agency never came for me after that, and the only people who did were the three guardians who’d been sent to kill me in the first place.
They’d told me that they could keep the TEA off my back, that they could help to keep my secret hidden… but only if I worked for them.
It was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure what else to do when it was Ethan who was standing in front of me with that smile on his lips and that look in his eyes.
Not when it was him who was standing in front of me with his hands tucked into his pockets and his eyes on me like he knew all of my secrets.
I started young, only eight years old when I first started learning how to steal time and give it to other people.
It wasn’t easy at first, and there were plenty of times when things went wrong, when I messed up, and someone got hurt.
“How sure are you that you can actually pull it off?”
Sophia asked as she crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow.
But no matter what happened, the guardians never gave up on me, and over time, things started to get better.
Or at least, they seemed to get better.
“We only have one shot at this, you know.
We’re not going to get a second chance if something goes wrong.”
The truth was that things never really got better for me at all.
No matter how hard I worked or how much time stole, it was never enough for the people who were in charge.
Ethan shrugged his shoulders but didn’t say anything as he turned towards me with a knowing look in his eyes that made me want to squirm.
He knew what he was doing to me just by being there, and there wasn’t a damn thing that I could do about it either when he was the one who was closest to me, waiting for my response like he knew what my answer was already going to be.
My targets kept getting harder and harder to deal with, and the more time that I took from them, the more time they tried to take back from me.
Time is power after all… and power corrupts absolutely.
Despite everything, I couldn’t help but smile at him as I nodded my head before I turned towards Sophia again, determined not to let Ethan get under my skin this time.
I couldn’t let him win, not when he was the one who had won every other time before this.
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“We can do it,” I said with a shrug before I turned back towards Ethan again, hoping that he wouldn’t see through me like he always did.
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