The Rainy Repeat [Flash Fiction]
“Lacey, if you do not leave the house within 1.5 minutes, you will be late for your first appointment.”
VERONIKA’s synthetic voice was all smooth honey and helpfulness draped over a barely perceptible hint of patronising, and if Lacey had to hear it one more time, she might just punch the damn android.
Instead of giving in to her destructive desires, she slipped on the brand new court shoes she’d treated herself to after her job promotion and fixed a patient smile on her face. “It doesn’t matter when I leave; I’m going to be late anyway.”
“Positive thoughts beget positive outcomes,” VERONIKA intoned. “Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.”
“Yeah, whatever.” The android couldn’t help but spout off whatever platitudes its programmers had put into it. There had been been several occasions, over the past day, when Lacey would dearly loved to have punched VERONIKA’s programmer, too. “Have something unhealthy prepared for dinner tonight. Something involving cheese. Who knows; maybe today will be the day that I’ll finally get home to eat it.”
She slammed the front door closed on VERONIKA’s impending question, and immediately regretted it when she realised she’d left her umbrella in her wardrobe upstairs. Four times. That was four times today she’d forgotten the damn thing. The rain beat mercilessly against her curls, rendering her early-morning battle with the frizz redundant. Part of her wished she hadn’t bothered. Part of her knew she had to bother, because today might be the day that it stopped raining. When her actions might actually matter.
Out in the apartment’s parking lot, her neighbour, Dan, was waiting. Leaning casually against her car, he seemed uncaring of the rain that bounced off the top of his clean-shaven head. For a moment, Lacey hated him. And as she approached, he offered a familiar frown of condolence, and gestured to her car. “You left your window open.”
It was too much to bear. The open window. The drive to the office on a seat so wet that it soaked through to every. single. layer. The meeting with that new client, who would be oh so unimpressed with her wet skirt, frizzy hair and panda mascara eyes. The reprimand from her manager. The near-miss she experienced on the way home at the end of the day. The flash of white light as the day reset.
A primal scream bubbled in her throat, burning raw as it erupted from some angry place deep inside her. With a wordless snarl, she bent down, pulled off her her brand new shoe, and smashed it again and again against the windscreen of her car. God, it felt good to give in to the rage! To take this crappy day out on something. Anything.
Panting, her chest heaving, she turned to Dan. The speed at which he took several wide steps back told her she looked as wild and crazy as she felt inside.
“What the heck, Lacey?!”
The anger was still there, but she managed to slip a leash on it. At the same time, she slipped her now-scuffed shoe back on her foot. No chance of her beating Dan to death with it, at least.
“Later today, there’ll be a chroniton leak from the Redscar Power Plant. And, as a card-carrying member of the one percent of the population missing the chronus gene, I’m sadly aware of the fact that this stupid day is stuck in a time-loop. Last time this happened, at least I was in the Seychelles. Now? It’s like I’m stuck in my own private Purgatory.”
Dan winced. “Yikes. Just how many iterations of today have you been through?”
“Too many. Far, far too many.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have done that.” He gestured to the damage she’d wrought to her car’s windscreen. It was fractured like a spider-web, and rivulets of water tracked unerringly down the cracks. “Maybe today is when the chronitons lose their potency, and the day doesn’t reset.”
“Maybe. But y’know what? I don’t care. I’ve been through this crappy day more times than I can count. I’m entitled to be angry.”
“Why don’t you just take a sick day?”
She snorted, and brushed one of her stupid wet curls out of her face. “And tell them what?”
“That you’re suffering from Chronitonitus, of course.”
It was such a stupid idea that a laugh burst out of her mouth before she could even stop it. “Chronitonitus? Why not. I like the sound of that.”
[ E n d ? ]
Today’s story was inspired by the WriteNow prompt:
She walked out to discover that she had left her car’s window down in the rain.
And also written for the Absolute Write Forums flash-fiction prompt, “Misadventurous”