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Story Of My Life
I open the door of my house. Damn. It’s so cold. I never remember turning the heater off. I stomp over and angrily snatch over the remote and turn it back on. Then I make myself a mug of hot chocolate. Always helps in a winter night like this.
The doorbell rings. What? This is ten o’clock. Who could it possibly be? I walk over nervously and push open a small creak. It’s a delivery guy dressed in the official uniform. I sigh relief as I push the door fully open.
He hands me a box and then leaves without a word. Wait. I didn’t order any deliveries. Did I? Well. I’m too tired to remember. I set the box on my dinner table. Damn it. It’s freezing here. Didn’t I just turn the heater on. No way I could have forgotten that. But apparently it’s off again. Damn it.
Then I notice the hot chocolate spilled over. I am suddenly extremely startled and alarmed. Nobody else is in this house except myself. Who could have possibly spilled over the hot chocolate?
As if to answer my question, the light bulb above my head pops. I scream and duck down. Devoured by darkness. I fumble around for the nearest light switch and turn on another array of lights.
The next is the shrilling sound of the wind. Even though the windows and doors are all tightly shut, this sharp ear-piercing noise isn’t leaving. I scream even more. I am scared. Very scared. Am I in a ghost story?
Then the TV in front of me turns on by itself. It is pure static view and noise, but I can sense that it is saying something. Human languages. I snatch the remote in fright and slam the off button, but it’s not working.
My phone rings. My shaky hand reaches into my pocket and slowly presses down the answer button.
“Open the delivery box.”
I am rooted on the floor. My heart that was beating furiously one second ago freezes to an abrupt stop along with the blood in my veins. My mouth opens, but no sounds come out. After ten seconds or so I draw in a deep breath and manage to speak shakily, “Who… who are you?”
No voice came out from the phone. I take a daring peek at the screen. Blank.
After ten seconds of extreme tension that feel like ten hours, I finally let out my long-held breath in a sigh of temporary relief as my muscles start to relax. I am about to reach for the light switch when the TV lights up - a myriad of violent colors, glows, distortions, and images fill the screen and give me a nauseating feeling as I lose my balance again and collapse on the rug.
The rug? I’ve never had any rugs on the floor.
The same voice is now coming out of the TV. “I’m going to count to ten. One. Two…”
No. I must not open the box. My guts are telling me so.
Every light bulb in the room suddenly starts flickering at a blinding rate that I have to shield my eyes from getting blind. Then comes the consecutive beats of glass shattering as the light bulbs pop one by one.
When the voice counts to five. The room begins shaking as every plate and bowl are banished out from the cabinets and slammed hard onto the floor. The paintings on the wall are ripped away by the very same invisible force.
When the count reaches to seven, it’s already absolute chaos and terror, as if an indoor tornado has summoned itself in the center of the room, sucking everything and sending them flying around. Astonishingly, the light weighted delivery box remains stone still on the dinner table that has half of the legs chopped off by a flying silverware.
At eight I can’t take it anymore. Strangely not one flying thing has hit me yet. This unknown person could have killed me so easily. Just let one knife shoot towards my neck and my life will end. Why keeping me alive?
The moment my hand touches the delivery box, everything freezes right where they are. Literally.
Inside the delivery box lies a syringe. Lethal injection syringe.
The voice speaks again, “Who do you think you are?”
Who do I think I am? I am myself. I go to work at eight. Come back home at ten at night. I work as a reputable data analyst. I am twenty-eight years old.
“No. Not the present you. The past you. Your parents. Your childhood.”
My childhood? Parents? I couldn’t remember much over my childhood. I know I go to the elementary school next to my house and the top middle high school of the district. My parents have passed away when I was twelve. I live on the government aid.
“Can you recall anything besides numbers and facts? Are you able to recall any memories?”
No. No memories. Every string of information presents themselves as words or numbers. It’s the first time I realize that I have no memories of imagery on my past. What the? How could this be? I pinch myself to make sure I’m not in a dream. I’m anxious to wake up.
“Who are you! Why are you asking me all those! How do you know my thoughts!” I can’t help but scream out.
“Because you are my creation.”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“I’m not going to tell you the reason, but you need to follow every word I say.”
I cuss for twenty or so times. This must be some high level prank. They secretly sneaked some drugs into my food or something to let me hallucinate this. Or I’m just dreaming.
The voice reads my thoughts again. A blinding light encircles my surroundings for one second, and then the room is back to what it’s like when I first walked in. The heater on. The hot chocolate unspilled. The light bulbs intact.
“No! Stop! Don’t go on and tell me that I’ve been living in a dream or whatever bullcrap like that!”
“Is a dream still a dream when you don’t know it is?”
“Shut up! I’m telling you, shut up!” I snatch up a glass of water and slam it towards the television. The television remains untouched. The glass shatters to pieces.
“What is a dream? What is reality? A book character thinks she lives in her reality when in fact her whole reality is just an artificial construction of her author. You are in the same situation as the book character.”
“Shut the…” I cuss. “You are just a psycho out of your mind. What are you going to do, persuading me to commit suicide with that syringe?”
The voice ignores me and continues, “Why do you think you only have memories of the present and only facts and data of the past?”
I can’t manage to continue my outrage anymore. Every single word he says makes sense. I can’t find any rebuttals against his rationale. My inside is already broken down. I can only listen to his commands and answer his questions. “Because you have written only so much.”
“Yes, and now if I want to add a piece of memory into you, I can. Do you still remember your ten-year-old birthday party?”
I browse through my memory galleries. Yes. I can remember. The vivid smell of the cake and the jolly melody of happy birthday. The small mound of presents. Everything is so clear. I swear that five minutes ago I can’t grasp onto this memory.
“Yes. I remember. But… This can’t be. How can I still not know. There are always loopholes, bugs, fallacies!”
“Yes. The author knows the book has mistakes. Maybe the audience knows it. But do you think the character knows it? Do you think Romeo ever questioned why he wanted to commit suicide? Do you think Harry Potter ever doubted why he is the chosen one?”
“But why bother talking to me? Why not just write something that fulfills your intention?”
“Dreams are real because they follow realistic laws. Same as a story. There are rules that the characters, and even the authors, have to follow. Rules of logic. Rules of time. I can’t suddenly make a character see something so deep.”
“Go on. I’m a cooperative character now. Tell me. Tell me what you have come here for.”
“My rival author. He is secretly making revisions on this work of mine. Except he’s revisions are of pure sabotage. What you see now - terrorism, war, crime - all those are the attempts of him to destroy my setting bit by bit. All the attempts to fix these issues will be futile unless we actually make the characters conscious that there is another author who’s disrupting the order of the world.”
“You gave me a lethal injection syringe. Why? How does killing myself help?”
“I need you to be a martyr. A symbol of faith. This will be beyond each individual character’s understanding for now, but to simplify it into the simplest terms, I need you to commit suicide while holding this letter of last words that I have put into your pocket.”
Yes there is something in my pocket. A sheet of paper. I can’t believe it though. It’s too much information even for an elite analyst like me. But the logic makes perfect sense despite how much I hate to believe it.
“I will make you and your last words spread on the news. Everyone will see it. Everyone will see a chain of reason that I have created to prove that you are not out of your mind. Then they will begin to become aware that there is something wrong.”
“And so I just die? You can’t revive me right? That surpasses the rules of the book.”
“I will find a way to revive you. I’m the author. I’ll find a way. But right now. The main concern is the rival author. He is a danger to the whole book.”
I sit there in silence for a long time. A lot of thoughts are gushing in my head. The voice doesn’t say anything. He just waits there. Waiting for my decision.
“One last question. Why me?”
“Because you are created to handle this type of emergency.”
He isn’t lying. This is the truth. It’s too grim to be a lie.
I pick up the syringe and drive it into my arm.