The decay came suddenly, as if years were passing in seconds, as if time had made some terrible mistake. Metal rusted; wood rotted; everything fell apart.

Cassie ran, but an invisible barrier threw her back. It felt solid as steel.

Everything froze, as if she was in a paused video.

A groaning sound filled the air and a man in black and white robes appeared, floating in midair.

I’m dreaming, Cassie thought, but she knew she wasn’t.

“I am afraid,” he said, “you won’t be able to leave.”


“Temporal quarantine,” he replied. “I understand it’s inconvenient, but I’m afraid we can’t risk infecting the rest of the universe.”

“So what?” she asked. “I have to stay here for my entire life?”

“I’m afraid so. I suggest you find a way to entertain yourself.”

Cassie stood just behind the barrier, looking out a world she could see but never touch.

Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Barb CT for providing the prompt photo!

  1. A very good short story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] via Quarantining Time — livingauthorssociety […]


  3. Interesting story and very creative! Poor Cassie is doomed to a life of seeing but not touching. That would suck. Great story, J.A!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mandibelle16 says:

    Reminds me of a show that was cancelled after three-seasons, the dome. But being frozen all your entire life is pretty terrible. Even if it saves countless people or races, there is something terribly cruel about it. Almost like being buried alive but worse as the world beyond you, you can see it go on. Creative piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael says:

    The future would sem very bleak wouldn’t it…excellent place you took your tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Iain Kelly says:

    A life in purgatory – I wonder if Cassie had done anything to deserve this. Nice take on the prompt, I could feel her despair at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mike says:

    I enjoyed where you took this. Great piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shivangi says:

    Nice take on the prompt. Liked it very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jade M. Wong says:

    Whoa! Clever and intriguing. Temporal quarantine seems like a horrible and cruel punishment. Can you just imagine seeing the world move on and life happening around you but you can never join it? Amazing story!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Intriguing story – but “find a way to entertain yourself”…really? He’s not very helpful, is he?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. sailajaP14 says:

    Bleak but beautiful. I love how you managed to portray so much beauty and regret in few words.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. athling2001 says:

    Poor girl and well-done story. Now I want to know why she can’t leave – beyond infecting the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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