The dawn was creeping in over the bleak horizon, when a lanky, raggedy man crept out of the dragon carcass he was sleeping in. He straggled towards the lake to clean himself off of the dragon innards that were coating his body. Dragon gunk is a fantastic insulator when the night is that cold. He felt the gravel beneath his feet. He let it bruise him. The fish began biting his bruises. He let them have their breakfast. He caught one of them with his bare hands and tossed it ashore. He submerged himself deep & let his overgrown beard & overgrown hair get as wet as they could. He walked out of the water & stood facing the sun, which was nicely warm by now. He closed his eyes.
“What are you still doing here?”
I called out to him.
He was startled and rightly so. When you are the last man alive in the world, a question like that would startle you.
He turned around, his eyes aghast. That’s a nice word; ‘aghast’. That were his eyes right now . I didn’t care much about what words I used at the moment. I just wanted this to end.
“Arthur! Why… do… you… still… live here?”
I called out to him again.
“Who… Who are you?”, he asked and rightly so. I am his creator. I am the creator of this story, this world, the dragon, its gunk. I’m also a humble creator, so I wouldn’t really brag about it.
“I am the creator of your world, Arthur.”
Shit, that did not sound humble at all.
“You… you are God?” he asked, trepidation in his voice and rightly so. I had gifted his people with a healthy fear of the unknown.
“Well, you could say that. In a way. Yes. Yes, I am God. Well, your God. In reality, I am a twenty-something guy writing this in a cafe.”
That was stupid of me.
He obviously wouldn’t understand the word ‘cafe’. Come to think of it, I should’ve introduced that word into this world. Café. That way there would’ve been far fewer Beer wars. But those were the main conflict of the story. Writer’s problems, am I right? But we are way past the Beer wars, way past the alcohol-addled dragons, the battles of the Rum Sea, the destruction of the kingdoms when the asteroid hit, the mass extinction of the world’s population due to lack of breathable air, the death of our heroes as they see everything turn to ash. Way past all of that. We’re in the dregs of the story, if you will.
“Huh?”, grunted Arthur. I had also gifted his kind with minimum vocabulary.
“See, the story has ended. The humans are dead, the dragons are dead. What are you still doing here?”
“This… This is a story? I am in a story?”
He wore a look of confusion upon his face.
“Well, yes. Now that that’s out of the way, will you just die already and let me get on with my life?”
“This is a story? My brother dying in my arms was a story? My wife and children sleeping in the hut as the village burned down was a story?”
He was now visibly enraged.
I opened my mouth to say something right, but I closed it again. It seems my real world awkwardness has translated to my story.
He began charging towards me, yelling, “False God! False God!”
He went right through me. What? You thought I’d enter my own story that’s set in the barbaric, middle ages to face a middle-aged barbarian without any powers?
Get out of here!
He fell flat on his face.
“Just die already, man!” I was now visibly exasperated.
He turned around, with his back to the ground and asked, “Why don’t you just kill me?”
“Well, I can’t. See, you were a side character. In fact, if I were to take a picture with all the side characters, you would be the guy with just a hand in the picture. You are that insignificant, but somehow you’ve survived and I seem to have no control over your actions. You have free will within my story and that pisses me off. Just die already,man. I want to write about a space-faring Bonobo monkey next. I’ll even name him ‘Arthur’ after you. Please, just die.”
“No,” he said vehemently. This too was a nice word, ‘vehemently’. But I digress.
“No, it wasn’t my fault I was born. I have suffered through my life all this while just to know that I am in a story? Forget it. You can crash another big rock on me…”
“Asteroid,” I corrected him.
“Ostrids on me, but I am not going to die of my own will. The hell with you and your cafe! ”
He stomped away from me and crawled back into his dragon carcass.
A light bulb went ‘ploop’ in my head.
“Very well then. Here’s your gift. Continue living this whatever you call it, ‘Arthur’, which, by the way, is the most generic name for a man from the fantastical middle ages.”
I disappeared from the scene.
Arthur crawled out again, looking for me. He turned his attention toward the sky.
A blazing, red thing was hurtling towards him and it was growing in size.
He picked up his fish and took cover in the trees when it crashed on the shore.
It was still smoking when Arthur heard a clicking sound from the spherical thing and a door laid open.
A Bonobo monkey wearing orange space suit stepped out. His nametag said ‘Arthur’
He waddled towards our Arthur, who was out of the trees by now.
The monkey Arthur stretched out its hand.
The human Arthur stretched his hand and offered the fish to the monkey.