A Security guard frowns at his watch. He was late. He needed his stuff, and the bastard was late. Leaning against the pillar of the Food Court, he couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. Here he was, a security guard, the one the little kids looked up to, because they didn't know he wasn't a real cop, and he was the one buying the drugs. He shakes his head, and chuckles again. Eventually, the security guard spots his dealer, and nods. The man nods back, and begins to walk toward him.
At the same time, another man frowns at his watch, as well. All too close to Christmas, and no shopping done yet. He drives around the parking lot closest to the store he wishes to visit, but cannot find a spot. Instead, he chooses to park at the Food Court--a central location, and he could grab a bite before he left. He steps out of his car, briefcase still in hand, and walks through the doors, passing behind a pillar that a security guard was leaning against...
It was all because of a little kid. As the dealer crossed in front of one of the tables, a young boy ran directly into the man. The child was small enough not to knock the man down, but was large enough to force the man's jacket askew. That's all it took. The holster was visible enough--
--and so was the .357 Magnum pistol protruding from it.
Another security guard happened to be in that area of the food court, and began to run toward the dealer. When the dealer pulled the weapon and fired, the second security guard went down, though he appeared to only be hit in the arm. The dealer-turned-gunman then aimed at his buyer, for in the end, he was still a security guard. The guard managed to duck as the gunman fired, but a shocked man holding a briefcase was too surprised to do any such thing.
Time stopped. Not in the way the movies portrayed it. The man holding the briefcase was aware that Time was not passing...for he wasn't breathing, and couldn't in any case. Nor could he move. However, this did not seem to bother him in the least. He was merely looking straight ahead. At the bullet. From this distance, it was possible the bullet would merely graze him...but it also looked as if it would strike him through his heart. Not being a trajectory analyst, the man could only think about all those people and things left behind as he waited for something to happen. After a timeless interval, he began to think that even death would be preferred over this waiting--
A figure cloaked in white appears before the man, and speaks without any sound coming from under the hood...it was just as if it had changed reality so that it had spoken, without actually performing the action.
"I know what you think...what has consumed your mind for so long. You wonder if you will die."
The man found that he could nod his head, and even speak, though he seemed to never need to take a breath. "Yes...I wonder that. Who are you? God?"
The figure in white laughed, and the man could tell that it was male. He comtinued to chuckle as he answered. "You think God has time for you? Of the billions of people in the world, he would choose you? This is nought but a training mission for me...to see if I make the right decision...to earn the right to be a Higher."
The man found himself slightly confused by this, but did not press his luck. He asked in a weak voice. "...and if you choose wrong, does God fix it?"
"No. What you call World War II was an example of that. Azra could have killed Hitler in the crib, thereby preventing the war, but he would have also prevented the igenuity and inventions that came from the duration of that war. Thus, the war was allowed to happen...even if God did not...agree."
This surprised the man. Everything he had read had spoken of God as omnipotent. But that was not to be debated now. Having digressed for a moment, he pulled himself back to the problem at hand. "Am I going to die?"
The figure in white chuckled. "If I told you yes, would you dispute it? Would you have your way and tell God that His plans are not good enough?"
The man stammered. "I-s-s-s-suppose not..." He was getting a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"But then, what if I told you that the bullet was going to graze you, but hit a woman behind you, and kill her. Would you then ask me to make the bullet hit you, in order to save her?"
The man was silent for a long time. He lowered his head, and answered honestly. "No."
The figure in white nodded. He picked up the bullet and began to toss it around. "Even though I am moving it, it still has the same momentum should Time flow for you again. I could even have it aim for the one who shot it. I would love to see the ballistic report for that one..."
The man frowned. "If you are an Angel of sorts, then why are you toying with me? Do you not have Mercy?"
The Angel stopped. "You have...a point." He smiles. You couldn't tell under the cowl of the hood, but the man simply knew. "I will tell you God's plan, mortal. You will be one of very few mortals to know even this little inkling of the Web. God plans for this bullet to strike you dead. When you die, you will ascend into Heaven, where you will live in bliss for all eternity. Would you trade that for a chance to live more, risking that by Sinning?"
The man barely hesitated. Calling up the image of his wife and children made up his mind. "I wish to live."
This seemed to outrage the Angel, and he placed the bullet back where it was. "You will die!"
The Angel raised his arm, apparently to restart Time, when a whirling circle of lightning bolts about four feet in diameter appeared less than ten feet from the Angel. The voice that came out of it was a voice that had, in the past, demolished this world. A voice that had led Moses out of Egypt. It was the voice of God.
"You will stop." The Angel froze, and the man also found that he could no longer speak or move. God continued. "The future has been rewritten before. The most often it is rewritten for love. Love is a force that is not completely under even My control. When one person truly loves another, they can change destinies, empires...love will make Me pause." God did, indeed pause for a time. "This man loves his family dearly. I will see him in Heaven even if he does not come now, as I have written. Let it be thus."
There was a thunderclap, and before Time began moving, the man heard the wail of the Angel, as if he were in great pain. Then, he heard the gunshot. The man grabbed at his shoulder, at the small patch of flesh gone from the bullet's passing, and watched in horror as the woman behind him doubled over. His mind, he admitted to himself later, was not on the woman. He was thinking only one thing.
"Love can do THAT?"