A Coin Toss, Retracted

This one is the is the final (I promise) entry in the series that began with My Lucky Coin Toss. Please read the earlier parts before this one. I’ve linked them below.

Part 1,   Part 2,   Part 3

The clock strikes 12:17 and I think I’m finally ready. The shadows still haven’t got me. Turns out, she couldn’t affect this world as much as I thought she could. Only the dick-god can really affect it. I smile. I know now how things work here.

I walk down the street and the shadows follow me. Underneath the chiming of the clocks, I can hear their rustling. There really are too many clocks here. I look straight ahead, they like to stay in the corners of my vision and I don’t want to spook them. They creep along with me as I come up to an open area. I stop. They creep a little closer, bit by bit. They reach out to me and I can almost feel them. Almost, but I can’t let them get too close

My hand shoots out, faster than they can react. My hand wraps around one and I can feel it pull itself back, surprised. And why wouldn’t it be? They have trouble touching me, after all, so why should I be able to touch them? But things don’t always work the way you think they should. This is the same no matter who, or what, you are. I pull with everything I’ve got. It feels like pulling a car through an ocean made of Jello. The resistance stops, and it tumbles over me, leaving me spread out on the street.

I push the thing off me and rose to my knees and look upon the terrifying face of… A woman?

No.

Not a woman, the woman. The same woman who visited me several months ago. The one who set this new hell on me.

She looks different than last time. Her face is the same, but now there’s something different in her eyes. Could it be fear? She scrambles up and pulls away from me.

“How did you do that?” she asks. I realize it wasn’t fear I saw in her eyes, it was curiosity, maybe awe.

“I don’t know,” I admit. Truth is, while I had suspected it, I had no idea it could be done until the moment I actually did it.

She smirks. “Oh, so it was an accident?” Now she looks more like I expect her to.

“Not exactly,” I say. I can already feel my anger rising.

She’s looking at me now, her mouth slightly agape. Does the idea that I could’ve done it on purpose really scare her that much? She won’t meet my eyes though. Is she? Looking behind me? Slowly, I turn around to see what she’s looking at.

At first, I don’t see anything odd. But as I keep looking, I do. There’s a spot, about the size of the woman, that’s a little different. Things don’t line up right, and some things are going in the wrong directions. Like someones holding a mirror up in that spot.

I turn to the woman. “Is that what I think it is?” I ask.

“Absolutely not!” she shouts at me. She sounds angry, but I can still hear a little fear in her voice.

“It is, isn’t it?” I say and rush off to it. I try to touch it, but I hit just air. No borders, no nothing. Just air. I pick up a rock and throw it at it. The rock clatters harmlessly to the street. Damn. Just some visual weirdness. Probably just the woman messing with me again.

Wait.

Looking down the street, I can’t see the rock anymore. I look back at the spot. The rock is there, clear as can be. On the other side of the spot? Gone. I turn back to the woman and grin.

“It is,” I say to her.

She gets angry for real this time. “Don’t you even think about it!” She shouts at me. “You broke the universe! This is very, very, bad.”

“No, it’s very good,” I reply and walk into the spot.

I feel no change. No whoosh, no being pulled apart, the place doesn’t even look different. No indication whatsoever that I might be in a different universe. Oh well. What did I expect? It didn’t feel like anything the first time either. Why would it this time?

I look back. The spot is exactly where I left it, but the woman is gone. Another instant and she’s standing in front of me, like she just popped into reality, which, in a way, she did.

“Go back,” she says. It’s more of a demand than anything, but I can feel her wavering underneath it.

“No,” I say and walk away from her. She follows.

“You have to go back, now.” I can hear the fear creep back into her voice. It puts a little fear in me too, but I can’t go back. This is my only chance.

“Why, is he here?” I ask with false bravado as I continue walking.

“Yes, that’s why you need to leave,” she says.

I stop and turn to her. This is the best news I’ve heard in literally years. “Bring me to him.” I’m grinning now. I probably look like a madman. That’s okay, I probably am one.

She shakes her head. “No,” she says and takes me by the arms. “You don’t understand. You broke reality.”

I’m still grinning. “You guys did it first.”

I don’t know if she thinks the dick god can handle me or if she saw something in my grin, but her shoulders slump. Just a little. “Fine. Come on.”

I follow her down the surprisingly still empty streets and a thought occurs to me.

“Wait,” I say. “There was more than one shadow following me.”

“Yes there was,” she says flatly.

“Well, aren’t you going to explain that to me?”

“No, I’m not.”

She doesn’t say another word after that and I decide not to push my luck on this one. We arrive at something that looks like a a small apartment building. She opens the front door and motions me in.

“Well, here we are,” she mumbles. “Head down the hall. Third door on your right.”

I narrow my eyes. “How do I know-”

“Just go in,” she interrupts while waving me through. “Before I come to my senses.”

I walk down the hallway without another word. It feels familiar to me somehow, but I’ve been in nearly every building in this city in the five, or ten, years I’ve been stuck in this place, so I can’t quite place it.

I reach the door and take the deepest breath of my life. It’s now or never. I push open the door. He’s standing there, looking out the window. He doesn’t look a day older than when he flipped that coin. I enter and he turns around.

He spreads his arms. “David! How’s it going buddy-” he manages to get out before my fist connects with his face. He goes crashing to the floor.

Sprawled out like that, he doesn’t look so powerful. “You got me good there, bud.” His voice is slightly muffled by the floor. “Didn’t see that one coming.” Now he’s standing. I don’t recall seeing him get up.

He’s got that irritating little smirk on that makes me want to hit him again, so I do. Or, at least, I try to. He’s actually standing slightly to the left of where I thought he was, that smirk still on his face.

“Yeah, you’re not gonna get me like that again,” he says. “Now, what do you want?”

“You know exactly what I want, asshole.” I’m considering taking another swipe.

He cocks his head. “I do? Humor me then.”

I take a steadying breath. “Send me home,” I demand.

He laughs, like I just told the best joke he’s ever heard. He stops as suddenly as he started. “Oh, you’re serious?” I nod. He smirks. “You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that.”

I wait. He doesn’t say anything else. I give in and break the silence. “So, are you going to do it or not?” I ask. If he doesn’t, I am definitely going to punch him again.

“You know what? I’ll do it.”

After picking my jaw off the floor, I say, “you will?”

He shrugs. “Yeah, why not? I mean, you’re the only human who’s ever surprised me. You should get a reward for that.” With that, he’s gone.

The room around me has changed. It’s no longer an empty room in some forgotten apartment building, but a bedroom in a house. It looks like what I imagine I remember of the room where that damn coin-toss happened. There’s a lightness to me, like I’ve just lost twenty pounds. Cautiously, I feel my face. The beard I’ve had for the last several years is gone, and it’s taken the lines on my face with it. I can hear somebody talking outside the door. There’s a penny laying in front of me. I bend down to pick it up.

The clock strikes 12:00, and I look at the penny.

Tails.

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