If you like this story, subscribe to Unlikely Realm for more exclusive content from the author.
Hope was glad to finally get out of her crummy apartment. Too much time feeling sorry for yourself is not good for anyone, even if you do deserve it. She hadn’t had the chance to go shopping and the diner was in ruins, so she wandered around until she found a little bistro. It was still warm outside so she decided to sit on the patio. She ordered soup and a sandwich and found she was more hungry than she realized. It had been almost a full day, she realized, since she had eaten anything solid.
She sat there just enjoying the tastes and smells of her meal, glad to think about anything besides her own problems for a change. She was just starting to relax when a shadow crossed her table. She looked up to see the cop from yesterday. He had an odd look on his face that she couldn’t quite place.
“Excuse me, miss. I hope I’m not bothering you.”
“No. I was just getting something to eat. What can I do for you?”
“This might take a little explaining,” said Dregg. “I’m not sure you’ll believe me but I’ve got a story to tell you. Do you mind if I sit down.”
“All right. I’m a little intrigued. Please, join me, Detective.”
“Thank you,” he said and took a seat. “But I’m not here as a detective. Call me Sam.”
“It’s about that man I mentioned earlier, Jacob Cutter. It seems he’s been trying to meet you for some time now.”
“Yes,” she said, leaning forward in her chair. “You mentioned something about that before.”
“It turns out that he’s rather sweet on you. But he’s having trouble meeting you to tell you himself.”
“Why, is he really shy or something?”
“It’s more complicated than that. This is the part that’s a little hard to believe. But I’ve read your file. I think if anyone can understand it’s you.”
Hope was instantly worried. Whenever cops started talking about her past, things never went well from there. “What do you mean I’m the only one who can understand. There’s nothing special about me.”
“I think we both know that’s not true. There are certain people in this world with unexplainable abilities.”
“I don’t even…”
“Don’t worry,” he interrupted. “I’m not here to bust you. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’m just here because I made a promise and, whatever people think of me, I always keep my word. But I think we both know what you’ve had is more than just bad luck.”
Hope was silent. She didn’t know where he was going with this and she knew you never give a cop more than what he asks for.
“Do you want proof. I’ve got it. I’ve seen a gun pointed at his head not go off. I’ve seen him run headlong into traffic and not get hurt. You were at the explosion at the diner, neither of you so much as broke a nail. And now he stopped a bank robbery because the explosives wouldn’t go off.”
“That’s my bank. I saw it on the news. I was just there right before it happened.”
“Yes. I’m not surprised. Wait. You were at the bank, the diner, when he crossed the street. You were always there except the first time.”
“Where was that?”
“Mr. Wu’s grocery over on Maple Street.”
“I work at the bookstore next door.”
“Well that explains why these things are happening to him now. It’s you.”
Hope began to sob. “Yes, it’s true. I know it sounds strange but I believe you. I’ve seen too many impossible things in my life, things that just shouldn’t have happened. I don’t have an explanation, maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s fate playing tricks. I’ve lost everything I’ve ever loved to it. I don’t think I could go through that again. Even though it’s the one thing I want more than anything. That’s the universe’s cruel joke on me.”
“But don’t you understand, you’re like the same species. Well, he’s like you but not the same. He’s immune to your bad luck. Maybe the universe is trying to balance itself out again. I can’t say for sure.”
“Even if that’s true, how are we supposed to even meet. If bad things happen to me and he avoids anything bad, how can we make that work? It’s like two magnets with the same pole facing each other. They can never get together no matter how hard you try.”
“I don’t claim to have all the answers but it seems to me you can’t do anything but keep trying. If you’re not living your life, you might as well give up and die. And at least you know who you’re supposed to be with. That puts you ahead of ninety percent of us.”
“But what do I do now?”
“I’ll tell you what. Come back here tomorrow at around six o’clock. I’ll tell him to meet you here. If it’s meant to be then you two can have a nice dinner together. And if it’s not, well…I’ll tell the fire department to be on stand-by.”
Thank you, Detective,” she said, “I mean, Sam. This means more to me than you could possibly know.”