Helpless, I stared at him. He pointed his firearm at me and pulled the trigger. I had failed. Time to try again.
I went back in time 24 hours. This time, I’d have to try harder to survive. This wasn’t my first attempt. I’ve lost count on how many times I went through this very day.
Ever since I’m able to relive days as I see fit, I’ve become obsessive. Everything must carry out the way I deem appropriate. Otherwise, I trigger a loop, regardless of any consequences that may incur. I’ve swatted that butterfly a long time ago, its effects don’t matter to me.
The day went by as usual. I got up then turned the stove off. I opened the windows to avoid dying of poison. Afterwards, took a shower, making sure to avoid slipping and cracking my skull open. I took care in taking out my clothes from my wardrobe. I had to avoid gouging out my right eye from a coat hanger accident. Right after, I made myself breakfast, taking care not to eat crackers. Crumbs would get lodged into my throat and I’d die asphixiated.
Done with the daily ordeal, I set out to go my workplace. I walked, rather than driving. My car had a malfunction that’d cause it to explode, killing me on the spot. I made sure to wait an extra semaphore cycle, so that I didn’t get run over by a truck. Of course, I waited a bit for someone else to walk ahead of me, so they could get mugged. I ran away unscathed. “So far, so good”, I thought to myself.
For what it seemed an eternity, I reached my destination. I had to go to the bathroom, but decided against it. I didn’t want to get roped into a sexual harassment incident that’d occur in a few minutes. Instead, I went to the restroom on the second floor. I let someone else go in first, so that they could slip and suffer a lethal head trauma. The ambulance arrived, as expected. I was unable to go to the bathroom. I’ll have to hold it on for a while longer.
Resigned to my fate, I walked towards my cubicle. I took care to take the longer route towards it. Otherwise, a colleague would’ve stabbed me with a boxcutter by mistake. It would have caused a death by blood loss. My spot was in sight, but it was not over yet.
There he was. My unhinged workmate. His erratic gaze and nervous demeanor said it all. He’s armed and dangerous. Throughout my loops, I discovered he planned shooting us all for quite a while. Something about a savior complex or somesuch. Nutcases are always like that.
In my many attempts to survive this scenario, something always backfired. By the time I stopped dying on the way to the office, I fell into a false sense of security. Boy, was I wrong! Dealing with the mind of an assassin is different from avoiding unfortunate situations.
First, I tried to straight up kill him. Turns out, I’m not good at self-defense.
Then, I tried to reason with him. He took me in as an apprentice the moment I proved myself to him. I had to shoot one of my workmates. I did, but couldn’t live with the guilt, so I shot myself and started all over again.
I attempted to call the police in advance, but that only expedited his killing spree. Sure, I survived, but no one else in my office did. That wasn’t good enough, so I looped things back, once more.
Several other scenarios not worth mentioning transpired. None succeeded. Either too many deaths, or a grim future where I become the shooter instead. I started to think that it wasn’t worth trying to change fate.
So I didn’t. I let it play out to it’s bitter end. What was I hoping for? I thought for quite a while, as the same scene repeated itself in a monotonous manner. Every time I got shot and died, some new hypothesis came up in my mind. One that struck like light in pitch darkness kept me hopeful.
What if someone else in this world was also able to loop time? How could I communicate to them? It was my main concern.
But then, on this very loop, it happened. I found out another person capable of performing the same feat as myself. It was the office shooter. At length, he explained how he arranged this day to exact his revenge is the most reviled way possible. He also commented on how my many unfortunate deaths weren’t a coincidence. He knew I was also able to loop time, and tried to get rid of me.
His confession surprised me. I wasn’t upset, but rather glad. I wasn’t alone. I found someone else to play with.
As he pulled the trigger, we both smiled. We knew what was going to happen.
Until we meet again, friend.