Short Story: When You Need Me

She looks at him with blank green eyes. “You’re going to get yourself killed.”

Which is a weird thing to say, considering he just saved the lady from three robbers. Her next move is even more baffling. She leans in and brushes a kiss against his right cheek, inky black hair flowing like a sheer curtain. “When you need me, tap your cheek.”

Then she walks away without another word, leaving him alone at the park.

The strange encounter lingers at the back of his mind for weeks, but his days flow by as normal, and the worry is eventually worn away.

Until now, at another park, in another fight. This time, it’s domestic violence instead of a robbery, and the aggressor isn’t so easily scared off. He has to look up to meet the other man’s eyes, but he veils his apprehension behind a hopefully friendly smile.

“Why don’t we talk this out? You don’t need to beat people up to make a point.”

Unfortunately, the other guy is a man of action.

“Mind your own business.”

The angry snarl is the last thing he hears before a brick smashes into his face and turns his world black.

He snaps awake to an angry man.

“Mind your own business.”

Wait, didn’t this just…

A brick slams into his face.

He snaps awake to an angry man.

“Mind your own business.”

He snaps awake to the same guy again and again, face on fire from a brick that hasn’t-but-already hit him. His mind spins from the pain and confusion, and his body’s survival instincts have to kick in and pull him out of the endless loop. He ducks back and crosses his arms before his face.

The hit doesn’t land.

When he looks up, he finds a curtain of black hair.

“Both of you will leave and forget what happened here,” the green-eyed lady says and snaps her fingers.

The arguing couple pivots woodenly and walk away, leaving him alone with the lady, just like the day weeks ago. Again, she considers him with a blank gaze.

“Your heart’s in the right place, but you don’t have the skills to back it up,” she says, and there’s nothing he can say to counter her blunt assessment. So he changes the topic instead.

“What just happened?” He definitely got hit, multiple times, but when he touches his face, his fingers find unmarred skin instead of blood and brick bits. Combine that how the couple left like marionettes and this lady appeared out of nowhere, something’s definitely up.

The corner of the lady’s mouth twitches in a near smile. “Figure it out yourself and tell me next time. Remember, when you need me, tap your cheek.”

She throws her hand at his face, and he flinches back, eyes screwed shut from the memory of the brick’s impact. But all he feels is the wind, and when he looks up, he’s alone.


Genre: fantasy

Time loop story: 2/8

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