Coconut Shy
Date: First of June 2127 This is the day I finally see him, at the local games festival. I know I am just a face in a crowd watching a very handsome man throwing a ball into some bottles. You know, one of those games in which you win fluffy, useless toys and you have the chance to show off in front of your crush. But this guy is alone, a surprise given his blonde hair and sparkling light blue eyes that can probably win any girl in town. "Ladies and gentleman, watch and learn!" He grins while targeting the last remaining bottle, then takes a deep breath. The ball leaves his hand towards the target, swirling in the air. I watch it without blinking, just like everyone else around, then a loud 'Bang!' is followed by applause. "Thank you, thank you. Now of course a real gentleman can't keep any of these fluffy useless toys... Maybe a fine lady would accept them as a gift? Say you, over there! I've been watching you all day and I dare say, I can't keep my eyes off you..." He points towards my direction, and I turn around to see who is the lucky winner. Everyone is staring at me though, smiling. I sigh, rolling my eyes. It strikes me to tell him I don't need these stupid toys, I can win them myself, I'm an expert in games... But instead I blush and walk next to him, receiving the fluffy pink unicorn, almost as big as me. Then, to entertain the crowd even more, I give him a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, my hero!" It's amazing how easy it is to drive a crowd mad. And that's how it's all about to start. Talking to him was never my plan. I am supposed to observe him from the distance, take notes and disappear behind a tree, or in a crowd. The way I was just doing at the festival. What went wrong, though? Did he know me? I doubt it. And I know he just wanted to flirt when he said he couldn't take his eyes off me, as my own eyes were on him the whole day, and they never intersected his. I was just another pretty face, he has no idea... But now, just as I smudge my lipstick on his cheek, his mouth comes closer to my ear, and a whisper widens my eyes. "Save me." I walk back a step, with mute questions crossing my face. How much does he know? Is everything in vain? What does he want from me? He chooses to answer just the last one though, loud enough for the crowd to hear. "I get so lonely sometimes, mind if I ask you out to celebrate my... victory?" Disgust, relief and excitement cross my face in a split second, but only the last one stays there. The crowd is applauding even harder than before, and the moment he kisses my hand is the peak of their explosive reaction. I can't stand it anymore, so I smile. "I'd be honoured, we can actually go right now unless you have anything else to win?" I immediately regret the question though, as I anticipate the answer just before he replies, piercing me with piercing eyes. "Just your heart, darling". We find a restaurant nearby to serve dinner, a little too crowded for my taste. Despite him trying to be flirty, I start realising - to my surprise - that he is a charming person, even with his cringing remarks. I try to focus the conversation on him, since this is what interested me most, but somehow he manages to turn away all the questions. I decide it's time for a blunt question. 'What exactly did you mean by what you said in the park?' I'm watching his reaction closely: he seems uncomfortable, looking subtly at people around us."'I'll explain everything later... Now enough about me, tell me more about you". I raise an eyebrow at his request, but I don't complain. Instead I tell him about my everyday job and how I research for my new psychological novel. "So that's what you were doing at the festival then? Observing people?" I hesitate half a second, not sure how much I want to reveal. But as soon as I open my mouth, something distracts my attention. A pair of eyes watching me from the other corner of the room, and a smile that I've seen so many times beforehand, sending me the same message as always: be very careful, you don't want to fail, do you? Indeed I don't. I respect my master as much as I'm afraid of him, but with his eyes on me, it's hard to think straight. If only I could- "What's the matter? You look like you saw a ghost!" He laughs and I realise I've been silent for a while, so I giggle and blame the wine. I know I need to get out of here as soon as possible. "How about going for a walk? I think I had enough food." The truth is my plate is half full but no one mentions it, instead he just nods quickly and gets up. Something about this makes me wonder, again, how much does he know... The sunset looks spectacular, and everything around is so calm and relaxing compared to the crowded restaurant. But this isn't the only thing that has changed: now that we are alone, he seems more open and relaxed. Maybe I can finally find out what I was searching for. I casually ask for his occupation. He frowns and looks behind his shoulder, but nobody is around. "Listen, I know everything about you. I know why you were spying me and I know what you want to find out. I also know your... secret." I gasp. No one could know that apart from the master, and the fact that he was following me earlier at the restaurant means that he wanted to make sure I won't tell anyone. It is forbidden, I know that. And I am too afraid of my master to even think of spilling out my secret to anyone. No one cares, anyway. But this guy is different. How can he know? What if the master suspects I told him? "You have to believe in me, we can get out of here. You see, I also have a secret..." I freeze. That's exactly what I need. It doesn't matter if he knows my secret, as long as I am able to find his own, and then I will be free, forever. Just like the master promised. I somehow manage to look calm, but inside I am buzzing with anticipation. My eyelashes are fluttering and I give him my sweetest smile. "So... what is it? Since you claim to know mine, it would be fair for me to know yours, right?" He seems a little nervous, looking around again, then he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, his mouth close to my ear. I am mentally prepared to send data over as soon as possible. "I'm a robot." Click. MISSION: COMPLETED. PREPARING TO SEND DATA. What? No, I can't send that! Not when it's my last chance now to talk to him, and... I hear a loud Bang! behind me, and a sharp pain follows straight in my memory disk, the centre of my existence.
Written on: 8 May 2016
Note: This story was submitted for an international competition on the theme: "Games".