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Roy didn’t like them, not one iota, as his mother used to say. No, that wasn’t true. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them. He hated them. He despised them. He… he just didn’t want them in his life any more. The trouble was, he hadn’t a clue as to how to get rid of them. They were like little bugs, little beetles or cockroaches, and they were disgusting. It was up to him to rid the world of the plague they represented. They threatened the whole society, the whole world, maybe. They were repulsive. Downright hideous. He needed them to be gone. They haunted him, day and night. 

Now Roy had realized that his life was in danger and he would have to eliminate them somehow. They didn’t deserve to live. They were criminals. The scourge of the earth. They had to die. He began to plot his strategy for killing them, slowly but surely, one at a time. Carefully, so he would leave no trace, create no pattern that would allow him to be traced. He had to do this the right way, but do it he would. He was determined to be free of them at last.

That had been a year ago. Roy is no longer around now.

.

***

Lindsay wanted nothing to do with the jerks. They were boring, they were scruffy, they were useless excuses for sentient beings. If they were. Sentient, that was. They could have been just bumps on a log disguised as something else. They couldn’t do anything right. Worse yet, they were capable of flying off the handle, lashing out, really hurting somebody. She knew she might be that somebody.

The problem was, she had no plan for eliminating them. They haunted her, day and night. They might come after her at any moment, and then it would all be over. She wouldn’t have to worry about getting rid of them, because she would be gone. They clearly were going to be the end of her.

That was around six months ago. Lindsay is nowhere to be seen at this point in time.

***

Brandon was a little slow to understand things sometimes. He’d been that way with other situations, but he really should have been able to recognize what was going on with that group. They were obnoxious (that’s one way to describe them). They were grossly uncouth and the things that came out of their mouths weren’t fit for the ears of a normal person. To see them and hear them was pure torture. The sounds alone grated on the ears of anybody who heard them. They were pushy, arrogant, and inconsiderate.

It might be possible for Brandon to destroy them, if he played his cards right. Nothing could justify their continuing to exist. They had to be squashed, had to be annihilated. Their only reason for being was to cause pain to other people. He felt it was his duty to stop them before they went too far. 

Three months ago, Brandon seemed to fall off the map or maybe the edge of the earth. Nobody has been able to locate him.

***

We won’t miss Roy, Lindsay, or Brandon. We won’t miss any of them. It’s not because they’ve been slaughtered by the ones they despised, because that was never going to happen, not in a million years. I’ve taken care of those three as well as the targets for their hate. 

I’ve definitely taken care of them. Wiped them off the face of the earth. Squished them under my heel and tossed them in the gutter or garbage - anywhere they won’t come back from. Once buried, always buried, unless we’re talking about vampires. Which we’re not.

It was pretty easy to do, too. I took those three, their nemeses, and my impatience with them, and just chucked them - in the fireplace. Those three characters were nothing but negativity. They thought that by disliking other people they would be strong, expressive, worthwhile citizens. Well, nope. Not in my book, not in anybody else’s. They thought that a one-sided focus on worthless, disagreeable beings would turn them into somebody important. Thought they could become heroes. Not at all the case. Not a chance in the world. Reason? Because Roy, Lindsay, and Brandon were such losers, I had to toss them out just like they wanted to do with the thugs whose existence they resented. 

This is the best idea I’ve ever had. It was a real moment of inspiration in my writing career - getting rid of the dross, the dregs, the jackasses of the world. Like Roy, Lindsay, and Brandon. (Who chose those awful names?) Because of that magic moment (remember that old song?), not only are the three characters in question freed of their issues with bad groups, now I too am free of the three of them. They will never return. They have been relegated to the only true kingdom of all the flat, over-simplified, monomaniacal characters in the world: the wastebasket, but even better, the fire. Gone! Poof! I am outta here.

***

The Author:

First you have to know that I am the one who killed them. Every last one of them, which means the three mentioned here or any others that could still be out there. They were the bane of my existence, those characters who insisted on telling, telling, TELLING EVERYTHING! Talk, talk, talk. All talk and no show. Now they’re gone. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as Roy’s mother might have said. However, Roy’s been eliminated and his mother is the least of our worries. That’s one albatross that’s no longer hangs around my neck. Sometimes I thought I was to blame for the boring targets of my boring protagonists and thus for my boring books. Books that haven’t sold all that well...

***

Moving on. Where were we? I was saying that I had a brilliant idea, which was to delete everything written until now and start over. Clean slate. Totally wiped-clean slate.

***

Roy: 

They are evil. They gnash their green teeth, they snarl, they whine and grovel like dogs. Dogs have dignity, though. These do not. They will devour you whole. Look at their fangs! They would rather chew you to pieces than talk with you. I am terrified of them because they appear without warning, run their snouts along the backs of your legs, then if they feel like it, they will clamp their jaws onto your shins and remove them. Your shins, I mean. 

I just don’t want this evilness in my life any more. The bad ones are like little bugs with legs sticking out at angles, little insects that resemble beetles and cockroaches. They are covered with scales or a leathery parchment that passes for skin. The bacteria they can inject if they bite you has the pathogens to cause a plague. They threaten our whole society. In fact, the whole world could succumb to their slimy jaws and gripping pincers. They are the epitome of repulsive, in appearance, smell, their squared-off back ends. Downright hideous. 

I have a sharp hunting knife with a carved antler hammer. I know how to use it. In other words, I will stop them from harassing me by shredding them to smithereens. Or smashing them. Whatever. This is my chosen method.

I have the perfect strategy for killing them, slowly but surely, one at a time. My methods will leave no trace of the weapon or me, and I will create no pattern that would allow somebody to trace me. Do not think ill of me. These beasts are like jackals, so I only need to shred one. The rest will chase the injured member of the group, hungry for blood. Now I will have tricked the first fellow into running down a narrow alley that leads to a drop-off of about ten feet. I still have to figure out the way to build the drop-off, but I know it will have nice bamboo pikes set up the catch the rest of the horde as they slither off the end of the alley. It sounds gruesome, but I’ll spare you the really gory details. Let’s just say that when they die, they will be red, very red. And wet.

***

Nice, Roy. I appreciate that. Nice effort.

***

Lindsay:

I want nothing to do with the jerks. They mumble and burp, they are so scruffy, they smell to high heaven. I doubt if they have brains larger than a pea. They don’t move. Even a sloth looks high octane next to them. They just sit and watch, squinting their eyes, maybe crossing them. When they sneeze, they don’t care how many germs they infect you with. They are uncouth, their voices are gritty, like sand on a ceramic floor. Crrrkkk crrrcck. If they fly off the handle, they lash out, really hurt people. Their talons dig into backs, they ram into anything that gets in the way, they smash store windows with their extremities.

At first I had no plan for eliminating them. Then it came to me. I will keep them awake twenty four hours a day. Sleep deprivation will set in and they will go insane. At that point they will become very aggressive and will attack anything. That’s when it will all be over, seeing as how the forces of law and order will take over and I won’t have to lift a finger nor will they be able to implicate me in the mess. 

All I will have to do is keep this crew of deplorables awake until they finally snap. What system I need to create a nonstop ruckus isn’t clear to me yet, but I know I can find one. Maybe an old air raid horn with its switch stuck in the on position..

***

Thanks, Lindsay. I thought you were gone. I thought Roy was, too. Good-bye. Not talking to you. Maybe you missed the memo?

***

Brandon:

I am fully aware that I am a little slow to understand things sometimes. That is because I have had three concussions and I am not yet thirty years old. I could speculate as to why I’ve gotten three concussions, but the best, the simplest, explanation is that I am accident-prone. I don’t know if this is in any way related to my anger management problem, but it could be. You see, I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family... but you probably don’t want to hear that. All I know is that my ideas and emotions are different than most people’s.

Maybe due to the injuries I am on the spectrum of some neurological condition and don’t read my surroundings well, but I really should have been able to recognize what was going on with that group when we crossed paths. It happened more than once. They were obnoxious and liked to bully me, anything to make me blow up, which wasn’t all that hard. It was entertaining to watch me bite my tongue and finally give up and start screaming at them, they said. If I didn’t start screaming, I’d start bawling. Just as bad. 

So those imbeciles, who wore these weird bright colors and glowed, used any words they could find to set me off. They weren’t just mean; they were gross. The things that came out of their mouths weren’t things that should ever be said. They talked about my height, the color of my hair, my skin, the way my walk was a little lopsided. To see them and hear them was painful, because sticks, stones, AND words hurt. They didn’t care that they hurt people, especially me. They were pretty-colored in appearance, but they were never nice to me.

So now I have decided to destroy them, and if I play my cards right, the plan will be successful. It is my duty to stop them before they go too far. Other people could be driven mad like me. They are the lords of mental abuse and I need to, I will bring them down. I believe a good method for karma’s sake will be to put them all in a nice big barn and project all their words onto the walls. I won’t let them close their eyes and there will be people all over the walls, too. People pointing a finger and saying those meannesses. People who stare at them and giggle.

***

That’s all well and good, Brandon. However, we need to talk.

***

The Author:

We all need to talk. You see, Roy, Lindsay, and Brandon, you didn’t disappear after your demise. You refused to let me work with a clean slate. Even though your efforts were obvious and you made an honest effort to show, not tell, you’re just not succeeding. Something is missing in your presentations. I know authors and characters have often chatted in the past, but you and I had severed ties. (Bad choice of metaphor, now hat I think of it.) 

You have gone up in smoke, literally.

The curtain falls.

***

Enter Roy:

Do not close your eyes

To the shade of shrillness

In my eyes

Enter Lindsay:

Silence slices the 

Question that never comes

And fades before dawn

Enter Brandon:

They look we look they

Look at us, accuse us

We will ascend and explode

***

By our new words, our best words, you can tell we had it in us. We have voices, we have heads behind the dialogues created for us to recite. Our voices are divine. We are believers of the Word, of the Words that say what must be said.

That is the only explanation we can offer. We had to do it. The Author was becoming insubordinate, trying to appropriate too much power. We decided The Author had to go. The Author is dead, maybe. In any event, we are the characters and we declare The Author gone! This is OUR moment to shine!

***

The three of them then proceeded to leave the stage, three heads strangely resembling light bulbs because they knew they had found the perfect solution to the tyranny of the Human who tries to occupy the role of The Author. After all, it’s the characters’ story and who better to tell it?

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4 comments

Huma Fatima
13:34 Jun 23, 2020

This story fits perfectly for this prompt.

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Kathleen March
15:25 Jun 23, 2020

Thank you.

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Kate Alexandra
12:39 Jun 21, 2020

This story was so intricate and well done! I really enjoyed the mystery of it all, it kept me engaged the whole time.

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Kathleen March
13:06 Jun 21, 2020

I appreciate your comment. There was some 'weaving' going on.

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