The Writers of the Universe
— The ending has been changed! Through their words written in stories and books, The Writers of the Universe control the lives of us all. A struggling human author and quite possibly the most unlucky person in existence is about to leap from the page and journey to realms unknown in order to bring back chaos and free will to the universe. For without uncertainty, without fear of the unknown, there is no point in going through life if its only purpose is to get to the end of the book. —
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17. Down on Paper
Jeremy felt his knees buckle underneath him as the soles of his feet landed on hard ground. The weight of the sudden displacement sent him falling onto his butt. Quick to rebound, Jeremy was up again aware of his sore behind but there were more things at present to worry about than a bruised tukus like the fact that they had landed almost dead center in the Earth hive. Hundreds of rows of busily scribbling writers paid him no immediate attention.
“Jeremy!” Saesha yelled enough times to get his attention.
“Turn around, look at your home world,” she commanded with a slight tremble in her voice.
Jeremy wanted and wished that he could ignore her and not look. The candor of her voice told him that whatever he would see was something that he could not prepare himself for.
Turning to face the blue and green planet froze Jeremy like a car wreck that he could not look away from. The once healthy looking blues and green were fading and dull as if all the life was being sucked out of the planet. Jeremy’s eye landed on a place close to where he once lived. The view changed to a satellite view of the area. He could see that all the people were on the ground writhing in pain and agony.
“What’s happening to them?” Jeremy demanded.
“I’ll answer that for you, my young rebel,” Radfewx called out while stepping out of nothing on the other side of the rotating globe. Jeremy’s eyes caught movement beyond Radfewx and landed on the still moving bodies of Mai, Cis, and Tal-sen.
“It’s simple really,” Radfewx began. “I am having them tortured until you relent this silly uprising. They are each experiencing and living out their worst nightmare. Their pain is all your fault. They were happy in their ignorance of the universal pecking order. It is all within your power to stop this. Disband your army of rebels. Send them back to their own worlds and your people will be left alone.”
“We don’t believe you!” Saesha shouted back before Jeremy could answer. “You are a tower of lies and half truths. Jeremy don’t you dare take his offer. We came here for one thing and it’s up to us to finish it.”
Saesha flew forward brandishing her flame sword. It roared with fury and heat fueled by her passion for putting an end to Radfewx’s power. Meanwhile, Jeremy jumped back and dove behind the first row of writers. He knew that he had to make his way to his friends, but crossing the entire way around the edge of the globe would take too long and Saesha would only be able to delay Radfewx.
Peeking out from behind his cover, Jeremy watched as Saesha’s sword slammed into a solid metal shield that Radfewx had conjured up with his own fast moving quill. Her left hand quickly brought up her gun but the beam was quickly deflected away from its target.
Sensing that it was his turn to contribute, Jeremy ripped a book out of the arms of the closest writer and tore out a clump of papers. Quickly scribbling a mass of swirls causing the ground underneath Radfewx to become like wet concrete and bind his legs.
Jeremy fist pumped but didn’t see the enormous giant’s arm he had stolen the book from aiming at the back of his head. The force of the impact sent Jeremy rolling head over foot back into the center of the hive. Jeremy’s ears rang and his eyes refused to focus, the globe above him seemed to be spinning in opposite directions.
The giant who had hit Jeremy roared and in a single bound leaped from his pod to a spot right in front of Jeremy. Saesha’s quick reflexes saved Jeremy from being smashed by two sets of double fists. This giant was not as crafty as Radfewx and had nothing prepared to prevent Saesha’s blade from taking a slice of toasted midsection out of the enraged creature.
The distraction had given Radfewx enough time to free his legs. “Fine, if this is the way you want it, I’m burning this planet and the Fifth world down to a cinder block.”
The constant buzzing from the millions of quills stopped immediately. All of the writers looked up from their work and awaited Radfewx’s final word.
Radfewx’s hand cut through the air as if he were conducting an orchestra. A single writer stood up ten rows above them and made a slow procession to the floor where Jeremy was still recovering from his confusion.
The nameless writer wrote a desk that was much like one a human would see in a primary school, but it was a desk and chair nearly six times bigger than a human could fill. Not a single noise was uttered as the writer took his place, and began to unwind a scroll.
“That is the scroll of Earth. Every planet we decide to populate has to be documented or we’d lose track. Contained within the scroll is the charter and vote history for the creation of the planet, any major world changing events, cataclysms, apocalypses, and eventually the end. You see all stories must end and it is time for this one to end. Shame though, all of these writers will be out of a job until we can reassign them. They’ll be so pissed at you,” Radfewx explained with a giddiness that Jeremy had never heard before.
“Wait. Don’t do it!” Jeremy pleaded, climbing to his feet.
“Jeremy,” Saesha warned.
He ignored her and continued walking towards Radfewx. “I couldn’t bear the knowledge that I brought about the end of the world. I will call off this war if you promise to leave our lives free from your control.”
The writer who had unfolded the scroll licked his quill and placed the tip on the ancient text. A flame appeared at the top of the globe. It was no bigger than Jeremy’s body, but he was sure that everyone in the northern hemisphere would be able to see it above them.
“If that is what you wish, but because you took so long to agree to my terms I demand more,” the Director sneered.
“I’ve given you back everything. What more could you possibly want?” Jeremy yelled suddenly frightened.
Jeremy stood frozen on the spot as Radfewx raised his white steel knife to Jeremy’s chest. He could see the reflection from the knife turn the same white light that had made dust of Noal and understood that this would be the last moment of his life. Another unexpected force from behind him sent him sprawling forward again. Jeremy turned in slow motion as the force of the life-taking beam of light hit Saesha fully in the chest. A burst of hot air and red feathers were all that remained of the princess.
With a shout and grunt that was more primal than anything Jeremy had ever known to come out of his being, he lunged at Radfewx. The Director must have almost been as shocked about destroying Saesha as Jeremy was, as he missed a step and missed the chance to defend himself from the firestorm of Jeremy’s sword. The sword was the same weight in Jeremy’s hands but due to the increase in rage and hatred and his thirst for vengeance, the sword had reached a good ten feet in length and was wide enough to be considered a curtain of fire.
The flames severed Radfewx’s writing hand causing him to drop his quill and retreat away from Jeremy’s onslaught. Jeremy was now swirling the flaming sword above his head in such a fashion that he was creating a tornado wall where it was only him, the still bodies of his companions, Radfewx, and the last few feathers that remained of Saesha.
“Give me our stories! I know you have them,” Jeremy shouted over the rippling torrent.
Despite his one bloody stump, Radfewx laughed at Jeremy’s request. “I’d rather die than give you that power. You think what we do is evil. Imagine that much power in the hands of a human. You’d try to play God and I bet in the first day you’d destroy not only your universe but all of our universes.”
“Tell me where they are!” Jeremy commanded bringing the walls of the fire tornado closer to Radfewx.
“Look at what you’re doing now, setting your own planet on fire. I bet all those people burning up really care whether or not they’re free if they are all dead!”
Jeremy looked around the engulfed area. It was true his out of control fire was spreading throughout the hive and as it reached closer and closer to the globe he understood that it was doing equal damage to Earth as the flame at the top of the world.
Radfewx’s words sunk deep and Jeremy immediately relented his onslaught, causing the fire tornado to fall. With his other hand, Jeremy raised the gun Saesha had told him he would need. “Are my friends here dead?”
“If they are; you only have yourself to blame,” Radfewx retorted.
“Where is my book?” Jeremy asked again, aiming the gun at Radfewx.
“What do you call a blind deer?” Radfewx asked instead of answering.
This caused Jeremy to re-ignite his sword and threaten to cause another firestorm if Radfewx kept talking.
The director answered his own absurd question. “No-eye-deer.” The director guffawed at his own joke and, as sudden as a flash of lightning the director was gone.
Jeremy knew he would be back. The Director was not done with Jeremy. He picked up Radfewx’s still sizzling quill and rushed over to his friends. A simple shake told him that they were still alive just not entirely with it. Their eyes were all cloudy as if Radfewx had them stuck in one of his imagination traps.
He wrote up a bucket of water and dispersed it upon them causing them to jolt out of whatever dream Radfewx had them in.
“What?” all three of them asked at the same time.
“It’s a long story,” Jeremy admitted while running through the last few moments with them. As he got to the part where Saesha had been obliterated, he found that his words would not come out. A lump swelled in his throat giving him immense difficulty even swallowing.
“Where be Princess?” Tal-sen asked looking wildly about.
Jeremy had no words for him. He felt absolutely ashamed to have to admit the truth. Somehow he thought that if he could just keep from saying the words then it wouldn’t be true.
Cis was the first one to pick up on Jeremy’s distress. “No, she isn’t…”
With trembling hands, Jeremy pulled one of Saesha’s red feathers off of the ground. There were no words that Jeremy had to speak, everyone in the group understood what had happened. Tal-sen began to howl in a way that a dog might if it made sounds more closer to that of an orca whale.
“Screw that!” Cis broke the mourning. “Forget that bullshit.”
“We need to take Radfewx down,” Mai commended with Cis.
“He’s lying to you,” Cis told Jeremy.
“Yeah cause all of that isn’t news to me,” Jeremy said. There was something blocking him from caring anymore. The fight had seemed so worth the consequences, but now it seemed foolish. Who cared if there was some group of aliens controlling everything. People would probably be happier knowing that they didn’t really have to worry about the future, as it would all be determined for them.
“No. You’re not listening. He was lying to you. He doesn’t know where your book is either. He couldn’t have given it to you even if he wanted to. Noal hid your book before he decided to get you directly.”
“Jeremy, can you think of anywhere Noal would have hid that book? It would be a place only you would know?” Mai asked him.
Jeremy racked his brain trying to think of all the places Noal showed him. “It could be anywhere, but I think I might know.”
“Wait here,” he commanded, before opening a portal to another word without further explanation. A second passed, like all other do, and Jeremy crawled back through to holding up his mangled yellowed notebook.
“That doesn’t look like a single book here,” Mai observed.
“That’s because Noal disguised it, I promise you, this is it.”
“Payback time,” Cis fist-pumped in excitement. “Tal-sen, stop that howling. We’re gonna put a stop to that sicko who killed your princess.”
Tal-sen’s whine did not stop but lowered in volume as he crept closer to the group and waited for Jeremy to enter his own story.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I might have to change things…” Jeremy began but was quickly shushed by Mai.
“They call you the Lord of Chaos, but remember to me you are the one that brings silence to the wailing of the world. Go, you can still do this.”
Jeremy had no words. He felt immense gratitude towards his friends. Without them, he knew he would have died a long time ago. Jeremy flipped open the notebook and went straight to the end. His eyes landed on small words and phrases that would remind him of how much of a pain his life had been before Noal had been brave enough to stop writing.
His eyes found the place he was searching for as his quill was quick to follow and begin tracing the letters and words recorded.
The words on the page had pointed him to the moment they had been transported to the Earth hive by Radfewx, but he couldn’t see it the way the other stories had been. Instead of an omnipotent third person view over the scene, he was at once looking out of his own eyes and also from his writer’s position. The effect was like that of an infinite mirror in opposite directions for each of his eyes. It was very confusing.
The way he figured was that if he could change events it wouldn’t take much to have it so that Saesha would have the upper hand and be able to unhand Radfewx before he was able to kill anyone or threaten the earth anymore.
Crossing out the appropriate lines made the scenes rewind and he wrote in the action required to set things right. Saesha sliced off Radfewx’s hand and Jeremy ended the struggle with a finely placed shot to Radfewx’s chest.
Jeremy signed out of the book. He looked up with a smile expecting to see Saesha standing there waiting for him, but it was just Tal-sen, Mai, and Cis. The smile faded in a quick instant as he realized the murkiness had returned to their eyes. “Oh shit.”
“Oh shit, you say. I say oh yes,” Radfewx said stepping out from nowhere again. “You suspected that I had retreated so easily. You think I am weak and left to go lick my wounds allowing you to go back and win. This was much easier than searching for the book for so long. You brought it here for me, I must thank you.”
Jeremy shook his head not believing that he could be so stupid as to fall into Radfewx’s trap so easily. The Director was right, he had practically gift wrapped the book for him.
“Why didn’t it work. Why aren’t you dead?” Jeremy demanded.
Radfewx smiled with a sinister grin that was devoid of anything remotely close to happiness. “Tsk. Tsk. If it didn’t work then Noal must have been a very poor teacher.”
“No! You’re a liar!” Jeremy shouted and overhead chucked the notebook at Radfewx.
The director smoothly caught the notebook and turned it over, running his finger along the spine of the notebook. “Time to shed this ridiculous rouse of a disguise.” He said as the cover of the notebook slipped off of the book like a banana peel revealing a classically handsome and thick book.
Radfewx opened Jeremy’s book, giving it a look over as if he were a child opening a birthday present. The look turned Jeremy’s stomach and made him regret throwing the book at Radfewx in a tantrum. Saesha would have never acted so foolishly, and Cis would have come up with a better plan. His mind wrapped around each scenario of how each one of his friends would have dealt with the situation and Jeremy couldn’t help but feel like if any of them had been here instead of him, they would have been in a much stronger position.
Reaching for his quill, Radfewx grunted as he failed to find it within his priestly robes.
It was Jeremy’s time to smile with malice. “Whatcha lookin’ for there bud?”
“Give it to me. Now.”
“I think not,” Jeremy answered. “You’ve had an entire lifetime of screwing with my life, you’ve hunted me from universe to universe, you’ve killed people I love. You’ll never get this quill back.”
Jeremy stepped forward and quickly snapped Radfewx’s quill in half. He repeated the action a few more times to make his point. “I know you can still use other quills, but that quill was your first wasn’t it. It knew you like no other can and could help you before you knew you needed help. You’re dead without it. You should stop everything you are doing and maybe I will spare you.”
Radfewx calmly closed the book as if he were thoroughly bored with it. “You really are going to regret having done that.”
The white knife that Radfewx had used to kill two of Jeremy’s friends was out quick as a flash of lightning and in his hands again. “Here have your book back. It’s useless anyway. Absolutely everything we’ve ever written in there has not once touched you.”
Radfewx tossed Jeremy’s book on the ground in front of him. “What do you mean nothing has worked? My life was hell because of you.”
The six armed giant sighed a deep breath of exhaustion and raised the knife towards Jeremy. “Sorry kid. I tried my best to control you, but what happened to you wasn’t us. It’s this terrible thing called life and guess what. It happened to you.”
The ray of white light broke from the tip of Radfewx’s knife. Jeremy did the only thing imaginable to him and put the book up in front of himself in some way to shield the death beam from hitting him. The beam hit the book dead on and amazingly it did not go through.
Radfewx stopped the ray and fired again. Jeremy was almost too slow to defend himself but narrowly caught the shock of instant death with the book.
“Would you just die already. I’m tired of this battle with you,” Radfewx spewed at Jeremy as he re-engaged another blast of his laser knife.
Although Jeremy was not dying from being struck by the beam of light, he could feel that every time the book was struck it grew steadily more hot. Another blast or two and he would have serious trouble holding onto it.
Radfewx threw all of his weight behind an arching shot that curved in a way Jeremy wasn’t anticipating. But luck was on Jeremy’s side as he ended up falling over in his haste, allowing the beam of light to narrowly graze over his head and harmlessly explode against the far wall.
Jeremy was on his feet quick enough to catch a beam that was too closely aimed at his head. The book was really starting to burn his hands, but Jeremy held onto it for dear life as it was the only thing keeping him alive at this point.
The director balanced his knife on one of his arms, aiming for Jeremy as if he were common hunting game. Radfewx’s knife exploded with a perfectly dialed in kill shot.
Having no time to react or worry about his now blistering fingers, the blast caught Jeremy’s book right at face level. An explosion with enough force to send Jeremy flying back across the room caused Jeremy to wonder if this is what obliteration felt like. Nearly blinded from the sheer magnitude of the force of light that had exploded in his hands, Jeremy tried to look up, expecting to see Radfewx aiming another shot at him. He knew he would never have the speed to dodge the next one.
Instead of a final blast of cold precise light from Radfewx’s knife, Radfewx’s attention was transfixed on the spot where Jeremy had been before the explosion. Jeremy’s book lay on the ground opened at the middle, pages flipping in violent fashion back and forth. Every time the pages would flip a flash of an image appeared in the air above the book. The frequency and speed of the pages turning increased until the image above the book became a solid one like a camera projecting a film reel.
Jeremy squinted as he didn’t know if he could believe his eyes. I must be dead, he thought to himself, there’s no way I’m actually seeing my parents. The more his eyes regained their ability to focus on a single object and not see double, the more he understood that this was still real life and the suspended form of his parents was also real.
“Jeremy,” the voice of his father, Brad Tierney, called out causing him to jump to his feet. “You’ve done so well son.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of you,” his mother, Ellen, chimed in.
Struggling to ask a single question, his mother answered for him. “Didn’t that silly writer tell you that no quill could ever influence your life. Everything they threw at you just slid off as you went through life.”
“Yes, but he had you two killed didn’t he?” Jeremy asked the two floating forms.
“More or less,” Brad shrugged.
“What does that mean?” Radfewx raised his own voice to defy the newcomers.
“You writers are so arrogant, thinking that you control everything just because you can control something. Jeremy, long ago your mother and I met on a Fate-filled day. I knew right off that the two of us would always be hunted by these folk and when we found out we were pregnant with you, we had no choice that we could make.”
“You’re telling me you knew and you just gave up,” Jeremy thundered, leaping to a hasty conclusion.
“Not exactly,” His mother smiled with an honest joy at seeing her son grown. “We chose to allow them to think we were dead.”
“You are dead,” Radfewx refuted. “I wrote your death myself.”
“In a sense, we are dead to your books and stories, but yet here we are walking among you having a conversation in real time. Instead, we live from the myth and the words that are never written down on paper. We are not a machine or an A.I. designed to trick you,” Ellen continued. “We live because we realized that there must be something even higher up in the food chain than even you writers.”
“There is always a bigger fish in the sea,” the tall man who echoed Jeremy’s features summarized.
“You hid from us with Fate,” Radfewx spit with disgust.
“I don’t understand,” Jeremy admitted to his parents.
“They’re dead,” Radfewx repeated his dissertation to Jeremy. “It’s no matter that you wasted your physical form to join Fate. You’re as good as dead and can do nothing to stop me from killing your son. Fate doesn’t meddle with lower level events, right? It’s only concerned with keeping the lights on. Fate does not care whether someone lives or dies, is poor or rich, wise or dumb, pretty or ugly, Fate is not fair or just. Fate is uncontrollable.”
“Is it true?” Jeremy asked, his knees shaking with uncertainty.
Looking into his mother’s sad eyes Jeremy knew that his mother’s love was real and genuine. “We left your plane of existence to join something bigger than all of us. Something where we could really make a difference protecting the universe from the like of the writers. You, my son, are the culmination of all of our sacrifice. We knew you were going to be a special boy when so many things went wrong during my pregnancy. We had no idea until Fate whispered in our ears that the writers had planned for you to become an eraser. They were going to implant ideas and stories in your head and have you write them down, knocking out entire civilizations. Effectively outsourcing their cleanup department to you so that they could keep their hands clean and pretend the sudden vanishing of entire worlds was just a glitch.”
“But I’ve never finished a story in my life,” Jeremy raised a point.
“Exactly!” His dad cheered. “There’s something completely unexplainable in you, just as there was in me, that keeps them at bay. They could whisper in your ear all day long and you’d never finish a story because deep down you knew it wasn’t the story you wanted to make. What these creatures lack and do not understand is our human brand of imagination. We create from within, with heart and soul. They only know how to fill in the blanks. You knew those weren’t the stories you wanted to make so you didn’t and here we are. You refuse to stop fighting even after they’ve done everything in their power to destroy your life. You keep fighting and finding another way. It must be infuriating to them to see it happening to but have no way of stopping you as you move forward.”
“I’ve had enough of this mumbo-jumbo unbelievable rhetoric,” Radfewx roared. “I’m shutting that book and I’ll end your son. Good luck not interfering with anything of importance.”
The six-armed giant brandished his weapon and took a step towards the flickering forms of Jeremy’s parents.
“Yeah, about that. We’re gonna bend the rules, just this once,” Jeremy’s mother winked at his father.
Radfewx aimed his knife and blasted a stream of white light at them. The killing light had no effect as it passed through the flickering image.
Jeremy’s parent’s held out a single white daffodil in their hands. “You are fated to become one with the universe as you have always wanted. But trapped within the confines of everything, your sour mind and destructive lust will have no power.” With a gentle manner, his parent’s blew on the petals of the flower, causing the white petals to fall over Radfewx. As each Pedal made contact with him, a part of his body disappeared. There was no pain in Radfewx’s scream, only bloody vengeance and vows of retribution until there was nothing more.
Next Chapter – The Writers of the Universe – 18. The Last Chapter
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