by Zachary Krishef
Chapter One: Reign Of The Mayor
A short teenage girl, black hair flowing in the breeze, stands on a platform. She is surrounded by armed soldiers and next to a teenage boy. They are both being forced to kneel on the ground. Nearby, another teenager nervously fumbles with a rifle. The first teenager's name is Alicia Sapphire and she's seventeen years old. As she stands before the Guard, about to be publicly executed for her alleged crimes, snapshots from her life flash before her eyes.
Click. Six years ago. The Guard, the government oppressing our world, taking away my mother and father. They scream as the armored creeps drag them across the lawn and brutally gun them down. Inside the house, clutching my stuffed rhinoceros, I weep.
Click. Five years ago. I'm in a prison camp, working my fingers to the bone. I try to ask the other prisoners about my family, but they merely shush me and continue breaking rocks. In my bed, I mope, wondering why the Guard took my parents, out of everyone in the town. What had they done to deserve it? My parents are- were the nicest people in town. And, until that traumatizing day, I had thought the same thing about The Guard.
Click. One year later, I meet him. Timothy Farell. He slipped me a note after our fifteen-minute lunch break, eating fetid cheese and bread crusted with mold, punctuated only by painfully dry sips of metallic water. 'Dear Alicia', it read, 'I am part of a resistance force. Meet me behind the bunks. Timothy.' After lunch, I gathered all of my courage and met him. He told me about Le Ris, a group dedicated to stopping the guard and killing the Mayor, Arthur Stoningham. I went along with his ragtag team, despite a near certain chance of death. Why? Simple. Despite only knowing Timothy for a handful of moments, I already feel an attraction to him. Call it destiny, call it a coincidence, but I believe it to be real and permanent.
Click. A few weeks later, we escape. Together, we distract the armed goons with a perfectly-timed prison riot. While hiding out in the woods, searching for food, we meet up with Jessica M. She won't tell us her last name or practically anything about her, only that she's out for vengeance. We begin planning raids and attacks on the fortress.
Click: On our fifth mission, disaster strikes. We are kidnapped. I am trapped in the Mayor's tower, being forced to spend time with his odious son, Raed. While he is a horrible person, always hurling snide insults at me and ignoring the servants. Despite all of his,I feel strangely drawn to him. I'm plain and absolutely average, while he is dangerous, reckless, and brooding.
Click: I try to escape, but a soldier stabs me. Raed furiously attacks the soldier. We both end up in the medical ward, bonding.
Click: On the day of my release, Arthur arrives, telling me that Timothy has been captured. We are to be executed...and Raed will be our killer. Raed smiles and nods. In doing so, he twists my heart into infinitesimally small pieces.
As the cheering crowd roars, Arthur signals Raed to begin the execution. There will be no words, no fancy speeches. The crowd only wishes to see the death of two interlopers, with no interruptions. They will settle for nothing less.
Alicia defiantly raises her head as Raed approaches, tears pooling in her eyes. "No," she mouths as he raises the gun. "Please..." Raed hesitates slightly, the gun shaking like a leaf in the wind.
Timothy notices this exchange and scowls. Raed immediately raises the gun again and turns toward him. Bang. Blood pools from a gaping wound in Timothy's stomach. His eyes widen as he struggles to breathe.
Alice cries out in anguish. "No! I love him, you monster! We were betrothed and now you've killed him!" Shoving away the guards, she- You know what? Screw it, I can't take any more of this melodramatic crap. This entire affair stinks.
With a slight pop, the scene disappears, leaving only a foggy white void.
Chapter 2: Insecurities Of A Deity
I am not a ghost, though it might be simple to make that mistake. Rather, I am the concept of literature itself. I am the eternal narrator, destined to recap every story. From the unwanted to the accepted, the rejected to the critically acclaimed, the half-baked to the thoughtful, I know it all.
When a prospective author, someone with an assignment, or a person lost to fantasy maps out an idea, any idea, I'm the one who creates it. Within this infinite mass of white nothingness, ideas begin to emerge. Throughout history, I have seen oral telling of stories, original drafts of classic works, and even some lost manuscripts become real. Unfortunately, because I am the sole deity, this means that when I experience issues, prospective tales everywhere experience issues.
Lately, it seems as though I am losing my ability to create new worlds and make something delightful and new. Everything I make simply feels fraudulent and wrong. Take that most recent piece of trash, for example. It's just another teen dystopia novel. Before, I could have taken that author's concept and morphed it into something brand-new and revolutionary. Now, it just feels like a carbon copy of concepts done before.
I suppose that I might as well take a physical form and rest. You see, deities have no need for an actual body. We merely float in a drift, unable to be seen by mortal eyes. Take, for example, the concept of art. They can morph into anyone, but sticking to art helps, because that is the main objective. I can turn into a piece of furniture or a seller of used cars, but that doesn't help with my abilities. I prefer to be authors, teachers, or librarians.
I feel like my characters might have had some potential, but the setting was dreadfully generic. Therefore, I'm going to turn into J.R.R. Tolkien, an author renowned for his world-building and unique vision. With a faint pop, I solidified, appearing as an elderly man with white hair, stooping slightly. To help with that, I conjured a polka-dotted easy chair. I could get rid of the physical ailment, but it helps to get into his mood. Let's see...What kind of mythical world could I create? Something whimsical or a world tinged with darkness...
The rabbit sped across the forest, desperately trying to avoid the hunters. THUNK! An arrow whooshed by, only to embed itself in a tree. Run! Flee, little one. The rabbit screeched to a halt, mystified at the strange voices. Tragically, the hunters took that moment to send an arrow right through the poor beast's cerebellum. Nearby, the alien wept, saddened that a simple message of communication led to the ironic death of an innocent creature.
...What the heck was that? I try to make a simple story about hunters catching some food and it morphs into some time-bending science fiction tale. To make matters worse, that didn't sound anything like his writing!
The sole paragraph is too short, not to mention the deplorable word choice. As for the plot, why wouldn't the alien just stop the hunters? Actually, that could be...No. It's a bad creation and I should destroy it. Maybe Tolkien isn't the right form. Maureen Johnson? I could use some humor, not to mention that the realistic stories might make things more logical. I feel so distracted and flighty, my mind is going through thousands of worlds at one.
Grumbling, the dismal forest disappeared into the void, as well as the chair and the physical form. If I can't 'write', then I don't deserve the comfort.
Authors on the physical realm constantly talk about finding their muse. Maybe I just need to do that, even though, strictly speaking, I basically am one. That's it, I just need a simple break. Rediscovering the citizens I help will bolster my spirits. Summoning all of my energy, I disappeared.
Chapter Three: Introspection
I appeared in a pleasantly busy park, surrounded by people. Taking the shape of a gust of wind, I floated through the park, scanning the residents for anything to do with the art of writing. A teen sat on a bench, listening to a radio. Nope. An elderly woman was holding out some kind of electronic device to her grandchildren. Excited, I went closer.
"Martha, Jonathan, I've put some new games on this Kindle for you to play with while I go get some ice cream. Have fun!" The children squealed with delight and immediately scrambled for the comforting shade, fingers dancing across the screen.
Maybe that's the source of my problems! Deities keep up on modern society. Kindles are used to read books online. Is it possible that the decline of print could be hurting my abilities? What if I start to fade away? Wait, that doesn't make any sense. I sound crazy. The Internet has opened up thousands of venues for potential writers. Fanfiction, self-publishing, web series, even comment section arguments.
Every piece takes a toll on me. Even if I'm narrating, inwardly, other parts of me have never stopped working. I'm always narrating something, no matter what. I think I've finally discovered my problems. I'm suffering from burn-out. How can I recover? At that moment, something unfamiliar caught my attention.
"Anticipation, relaxation, can't wait for my vacation. Admiration, alternation? No need for aggravation. Communication, conversation, spells the end for consternation and devastation. Linguistic invention, it paves the path! Hurting about history, mad about math? Just listen to some music, better than a steam bath. I'm Marv Stevensen, your disc jockey for the evening. Have a good one!"
I feel different. I haven't felt like this in years. I actually feel inspired by this! But...how can I use it? I'm a literature deity. Wait...I've got it! Thus, I went back to my dimension.
Chapter Four: The Triad
Deities can create worlds based on their power, but they can also split themselves into multiple beings. I've only let the tiniest part of my essence do that, mostly with narration billions upon billions of stories at once. However, in the most dire of circumstances, we can initiate a greater transformation.
Take, for example, the deity of wisdom. If I remember correctly, that particular 'muse' recently split apart, to better help with the different kinds of intelligences. There should be three or four new muses.
If it's becoming difficult to assist authors, then I need to isolate that part. When I heard the music, it spoke to me like poetry. What are songs and poems but another form of music? I just need to mentally reach down to my core and concentrate...concentrate...concentrate...
...I...I think it worked. Is anyone else here? I'm Dickinson, and I'm pretty sure that I'm the poetry side. I'm here, sort of. Things are still fuzzy. I'm the music side and I think I'll be called Starship. Nice. Thanks. Have you seen- I'm here. Never mind. So, do you think it worked? Yes, I do. This is slightly confusing, but I think it'll work out. Agreed. Great! In that case, let's go back to helping everyone.