Five Minute Fiction 72
An ongoing weekly experiment where I give myself five minutes to write something. Don’t think about anything. Just write. When done, walk away, coming back later to correct any glaring errors.
Apologies for this entry going a bit long. I started it, and just couldn’t find a good place to stop.
Birth Through Thought
For the next several hours I laid on a couch that reeked of feet in a small room separated from the warehouse by a door made of frosted glass. I kept perfectly still, eyes closed, trying to will myself not to throw up. Around me the world drunkenly spun as the ghostly profiles of people filed past the door, each hurriedly on their way to some unknown destination.
“Where do you think you are?” a voice asked me. Opening my eyes I looked over and saw the old man sitting quietly in a wooden chair in the center of the room, staring at me with his oddly blinking eyes.
I rubbed the bridge of my nose, feeling the deepening pressure of my fingers press against my eyeballs until I saw stars. “Some dump in the ass end of town?” I replied, swinging my legs over the end of the couch and sitting up, choking back the queasy feeling roiling away in my guts. “Listen, dude, I just want to go home. If you can point me to the door I’ll just…”
“Where do you think you are?” the old man asked again, dragging the chair closer.
“I don’t know. Shit. Some funky warehouse?”
“Is that what this looks like to you?” the old man asked, poker-faced. “I guess that should come as no surprise. It’s your first transition. I understand.”
“You keep mentioning this ‘transition’. Is that some sort of drug code?” I asked.
“Hardly. What it means is you’re pure. Uncompromised. Without baggage. You’re a first issue of a new, powerful work, and we’ve been waiting for you for some time now.”
“Listen. I don’t care who you are,” I said, my stomach finally starting to settle down. “I have to get to work in the morning, so I’d appreciate it if you could…”
Someone knocked on the door. “Hold that thought,” the old man said as he stood up. Opening the door a crack he said, “Yes?” in tone both professional and courteous. Someone mumbled something on the other side of the frosted glass. The old man held out an open hand, as if expecting something.
Through the crack something green appeared. It looked like a large, curled frond from a fern. It quickly unfurled, and from a hidden fold in its skin it produced a piece of crumpled paper. Using a crab-like claw, it placed this note into the waiting hand of the old man, then curled back up and disappeared behind the door.
“What the fuck was that?!” I asked, standing. Pointing. My upset stomach completely forgotten. The old man studied the paper with a frown, folded it up, and then placed it in his pants pocket.
“We don’t have much time,” he said, walking back to his chair. Sitting down, he rested his chin on his thumbs and stared at with a hard look. “This may be a bit difficult to believe, but for the sake of expediency, I’ll lay it right out for you, ‘warts and all’ as they say.” He took a deep breath, the gill slits on the side of his neck pursed open like suckling lips.
“You can think of this place as an airport terminal. A way station. It’s a nexus of power that allows us to travel from our world and enter yours. We don’t know where these energy hubs came from. They were here before any of us ever existed. Some of us have theories that Gutenberg, Gannett, or even Julius Caesar had a hand in their creation.”
“Have you ever read a book, Wanderer, where the story was so finely crafted, the characters so compelling, that you felt as if you were physically being drawn into their worlds, as if a part of you yearned to be with them as they traveled beyond the stars, hunted the world’s deadliest prey, or fought dark forces which would break the sanity of the sternest and hardest of individuals?”
“These characters – monsters, marvels, and madmen – they’re very much real. They were born not of flesh, but of the mind. They were given the gift of life by the soul of their creators, birthed by a single thought, but made strong from the energies of countless eyes reading of their exploits. The more popular our stories, the stronger we become, until we manifest in the nexus and are allowed to travel between the written world and your own.”
“We are, in essence, ghosts made real. We can visit your world and do whatever we choose, as long as we don’t break the one rule we are spiritually bound to follow: We must never purposely make ourselves known to humanity. To do so would mean the destruction of everything we are. And so, those that break this singular rule are summarily…destroyed. Deleted. Their entire printed works purged from all thought and record in your world, and in ours.”
“There are times when we, inadvertently…slip up, so-to-speak. Whenever you hear somebody speak of flying saucers, Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster…that’s us, accidentally revealing ourselves to the physical world. The magic that governs us isn’t entirely cruel. It’s actually quite understanding, to a point. Only when the rule is purposely broken is that harshest of penalties laid down and the offender…cleansed.”
I must admit to listening to his story slack jawed. “This is ridiculous,” I said, “You expect me to swallow your story? Do I look like an idiot to you, Mr…?”
“Dagon. You can call me Mr. Dagon.”
“Dagon. Well, Mr. Dagon, this is bullshit and you know it. Kidnapping stranded motorists, is that your game? Is this how you get off? How can you expect me to believe anything you say?”
“Belief on your part is not required,” Dagon said without betraying any emotion. “What is required is your…assistance. There’s something out there, Wanderer. Some new manner of creation that’s being spawned as we speak. Its author is writing something at this moment which threatens to destroy us. We can feel its corrupt presence even though it has yet to be printed, bound, and consumed by a world full of readers. It is something that, should it make its way to a printing press, has the ability to not only raze our world, but end yours as well.”
“In short, we need a man of your…talents. We need you, Wanderer, to kill an author.”