“That’s messed up.”

‘’Yes, it is.”

“Like so messed up.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Like, wow.”


"But what is even more messed up is that you haven't told me yet what is messed up and yet I know that it is messed up. "

"We haven't reached that part of the story yet. "

"That doesn't help in calming me down.

"Yes, I know."

“Stop saying yes again and again, damn it!” Trevor snapped, “Also how are you not panicking right now?”

“Well, technically, what's the point? I'm all for it. For the sake of the plot. ”

Harry smiled and burst out in laughter.

Trevor felt a strange compulsion to join him and began to laugh as well.

"Fine, I'm in. For the sake of the plot. "

The two boys kept laughing as they dangled their legs into the clear blue water.

It was a quiet beautiful morning by the river banks.


Trevor waited impatiently. He felt out of all the vices Harry had, his lack of punctuality was the very worst.

“You won’t believe what I am about to tell you!” Harry yelled as he ran over to Trevor’s side by the water.

“No, I won't. Feel free to tell me after you are done huffing and puffing.” Trevor muttered.

Harry’s cheeks were flushed red and his hands were on his knees, waiting to catch his breath. “Trevor, this changes everything. You will not believe this.”

“Stop exaggerating and come to the point. I already know it is messed up. We established that ten minutes into the future. Man, why did we get an author with a non-linear writing style?”

“ Yes, the non-linear part super sucks. Especially when he doesn’t know how to use it. But that’s not why I am here.”

“Well, then, what’s it?”

“Sharat’s coming to visit town this Friday.”

“Yes, I already know that. What’s the big news?”

“We have been ordered to kill him.” Harry said with an unmistakable glee. 

“WHAT?! What do you mean, kill him? Who ordered you to kill him? Wait, none of that makes sense. He writes our every action and word, so why in the name of Shakespeare would he make us kill him? Well not him, his fictional projection of him…..coming to visit….on Friday….. you know what? My head hurts.”

Trevor promptly plomped himself onto the grass.

“No, no, relax. It’s alright. It’s all handled. Chill. We won’t have to do anything violent. It’s very very simple. We just have to trigger his allergy of peanuts when he eats lunch in the town hall and voila, the job is done." Harry was focusing on skipping stones in the river and failing remarkably.

"What do we get out of it?"

"Oh, you are gonna love this. We get, listen to this, promised plot armor as well as brand new stories! Isn't that amazing?!" Harry looked over at Trevor. "Come on, you have to agree to it. You just have to agree and it's straight to the flash forward. No plan montages, nothing."

“No, this is too good to be true." Trevor shook his head. "There’s gonna be some twist. Sharat always puts a stupid twist. He’s gonna catch us or something. Some weird stuff is gonna happen. This is Sharat toying with us, like cats with their food.” Trevor gasped, “He likes cats! This is definitely him. I knew we were expendable characters! Wait, you didn’t tell me. Who gave us the job? Who told us to do this?”

“Yeah, well, that part is kinda problematic. I....don’t....know."

"You don't know?!" Trevor bellowed into Harry's face.

"Yes, yes, no need to yell. I think that is something that we aren’t required to know right now, as it is not helpful in our assigned duty but I do know for a fact that whoever is behind this, they can carry out on their promise.Besides,we really don't have a choice.”

“How are you so sure of the promise part?”

“Watch this.”

Harry stepped back and focused on the shimmering water, eerily perfect. He snapped his fingers. The water disappeared and was replaced by well, nothing. There was just a huge chasm separating them from the other side.

Harry snapped once more. The water returned and all was back to normal. He turned around to see Trevor’s mouth hanging open wide.

"Whoever assigned this to us gave me control over that. Pretty sick, huh? "

“That’s messed up.” 


"The previous Friday? ", Trevor groaned, “This isn't a flash forward, it's a flashback! I hate flashbacks! Also nothing happened last Friday, I mean, today. Why are we even her-?” Trevor was interrupted as a five-year old ran face first into his stomach and fell to the ground.

Trevor didn’t bother to extend a helping hand as he shared the same opinion with Sharat that all kids aged 5 and below were virtually indestructible.

“Sorry!! Sharat’s on his way!”, the kid piped up in his shrill cheeky voice, his face red, having recovered almost instantly, and ran off.

 Harry, puzzled, “If Sharat’s arriving today, then,-”

“Oh great, non-linearity.” Trevor grimaced. “The story moves forward but time goes backward when it's supposed to be in the same direction. We are no longer side characters. Simple things we require will be readily available to us, unless they are very very important things. We will be affected the most by the rules of Sharat’s world, which basically rip off ‘Memento’s premise. It’s supposed to give the story a cool vibe but is actually pretty ordinary when you read it chronologically. You know what, Sharat should be arrested for plagiarism. I mean, come on, you can sense the ‘Harry Potter’ vibes that we are basically giving out.”

“Not really, no.”

“Never mind then. Let’s get a move on. I am done being Mr. Exposition.”

Sensing the lack of the crowd in the streets, Harry and Trevor quickly figured out that Sharat must have arrived in the town hall. They sneaked into the hall and viewed the stage from behind.

Sharat had been given a position right in the centre to soak in all the attention. He had dressed himself in the form of a hefty forty-year-old man dressed in a bright blue jacket and track pants. Trevor muttered something about arrogance, narcissism and motivational-self-feel good stories. Harry dragged him away so they could find the kitchen, an adjoining room built into the right of the building. 

Within the kitchen, they found people bustling around. Steam floated around. Harry quickly discovered a small bag of crushed peanuts within his pocket. He glanced at Trevor who rolled his eyes. Trevor looked around for the main dish they would be serving Sharat and quickly spotted it. A beautiful apple pie left unattended for apparently, the sake of the plot. Trevor grabbed the bag from Harry and sprinkled the peanuts hurriedly over the pie. They immediately stepped back as the pie was instantly transferred by another cook to a different part of the kitchen and disappeared behind steam once more.

Harry and Trevor slinked back to the hall near the entrance where the food was being brought it. The mayor was still giving a speech praising Sharat's creativity and magnanimity in visiting them as most authors were unlikely to do. When he concluded, there was thunderous applause from everyone present. Sharat beamed proudly at his creations. 

The mayor called for the food to be brought out. A pretty girl, of about six years old, brought the pie in. Nervous, she slowly walked all the way to Sharat.

Harry and Trevor watched, completely alert, their heartbeats matching her footsteps, their fingers crossed. This had to work or well, nothing would happen but they would be stuck in the same old dreary life, which they hated.

As the girl approached Sharat, her little shoe caught on a nail and she stumbled. Due to the imbalance, the pie promptly toppled off and tumbled off onto the floor, becoming a disgusting paste. 

There was complete silence in the room. Trevor whispered, " Told ya there was gonna be a twist. Let's get out of here. " Harry responded with a nod and got up but bumped into one of the cooks, exiting the kitchen, who was carrying a bunch of metal plates. Somehow the silence magnified the noise of the metal plates clanging on the floor even more. 

"What's that noise over there? " Sharat's voice boomed throughout the hall. The mayor hastily ran over, summed up the situation with a single glance and quickly pushed the two boys towards Sharat. 

"It's just two children having fun. Kindly don't take notice of it, Sir, " the mayor stammered. 

"Bring them here in front of me. " Sharat commanded. 

Trevor, unprompted, came forward before Sharat. Trevor stared into Sharat’s cold blue eyes. He knew very well this wasn’t the actual Sharat before him, but merely a projection of the author. That’s what they called it when the author wrote himself into his own story. Trevor was pretty sure that Sharat didn’t have blue eyes but like every other author, his projection could be changed at a simple whim. The last time Sharat had visited, he had done so in the form of a six foot gold statue. It had been pretty strange. Right now, Trevor was pretty sure that he was going to fade into oblivion. Sharat could just choose to stop writing him within the next few sentences. This happened almost every time he visited. He would always write off a side character over a petty issue.

Trevor snapped himself back into focus and looked into Sharat’s eyes and was surprised. He saw fear all over the latter’s face. 

“You are not supposed to be here!” Sharat whispered, with a wild crazed look on his face. He got up and stepped back,toppling over his chair in the process. His eyes glazed over into a pale whitish colour and directed his view above Trevor's head. 

Trevor realised that Sharat was rereading everything he had written. 

“Wait a second, I didn’t write all these parts! No,no this isn’t my writing!", Sharat’s voice trembling now."Who did thi-?”

“I’m afraid I did. Time to say goodbye, Sharat.”

Everyone looked around for the origin of the voice and traced it back to Harry.

Sharat had seemed to notice Harry only now. But the surprise and anger on his face was unmistakable. Sharat opened his mouth to speak, then proceeded to fade away.

Almost instantly, Harry reappeared where Sharat had been. The paste of pie on the floor disappeared and reverted back to it's original state. The atmosphere returned back to the earlier pomp of joy and celebration. Everyone carried on as if nothing had happened.

Harry then snapped and time stood still, for everyone except Trevor. Delighted, Harry yelled, "Yes! I did it! Trevor,I did it! "

Trevor was confused. “What just happened?”

Harry smiled and sat down, “I must confess that I haven't been entirely truthful to you. The pie falling, me walking into the cook and most other things were a setup. You see, I didn’t need the peanuts to kill Sharat. I needed, drumroll please, you.”

“Who are you?”

“It’s quite simple actually. A different projection of Sharat. Harry. Your author has a mental superiority that others refer to as a multiple personality disorder. Quite hard for you to grasp, I know. He thought he had dominance and had driven me,i.e, his alter ego, away a few years back with psychiatric help. But I was always lurking in the back of his mind, waiting for something to break down. He held strong for a very long while, though. "

"Why did you say you needed me? "

"When he started writing, I saw my opportunity and started working toward it. Sharat gets engrossed and lost in himself when he writes. What better moment for a mental attack? I needed to shock him. You may not recall but you were written as a bland quiet boy who sat by himself near the riverbanks in a very different story. I developed you much much further. I wrote small sentences amidst his writing. I played by the rules of his world so his mind wouldn't notice anything was amiss. Bit bit, I created Harry and ,I would like to say, upgraded you. And finally at the height of Sharat's power in his world, when he was about to write a character off simply because he could, I unveiled you. An abandoned character in the wrong story. What could freak out a writer more?" Harry chuckled. "Made him re-evaluate his whole writing. You showed him at a very unsuspecting moment that he wasn't as stable as he believed. Clouded his mind with doubt. That gave me my chance." Harry paused a moment to take a bite of the pie in front of him and grimaced.

"Gah, that's no good." Harry wiped his mouth and got upon. "So anyway, thank you, Trevor. I am afraid that this is where we part ways."

"Wait, no. What about the plot armor and brand new stories you promised?"

Harry smiled. "I'm afraid I fancy myself more of an artist. Writing bores me. In fact I wanted to end this story the moment I gained control. But it would be a discourtesy to Sharat. Besides, you are not at a total loss here, I just made you immortal."

"What does that mean?"

"Well, now you are born every time someone reads this story and you die every time they reach the end. I know, it sounds all a bit dramatic and cheesy, but it is true. You are no longer a boring side concept in Sharat's mind that he added for authenticity in some school romance. You now hold a lead role in all of his fans' minds. You are the final twist in his last story. The nail in his coffin. Also you might be effectively the first piece of fiction in history to overwhelm his author. Literature's Frankenstein's monster. Something to be proud of, eh?"

Trevor stood stunned.

Harry chuckled, "I'm going to go paint. I believe, we have reached those words you dread so well. The end."

And as the world turned black and faded away, the last words that Trevor uttered echoed through blank space of white paper, "Stupid twist. "

March 14, 2020 03:44

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


19:32 Mar 19, 2020

Clever story, I did like that way in which the characters were telling the story as characters who were discussing the roles being written for them. I also enjoyed the way in which you deliberately used the time jumps to make fun of poorly written time jumps, that was pretty funny. My only suggestion for you would be to tighten up your dialogue. Right from the opening I was super confused with regards to who was speaking, how many people were involved in that conversation and which character was saying what. You do this a couple of times th...


Show 0 replies
Kate Cramer
06:04 Mar 20, 2020

This gave me 'Man in the Dark' by Paul Auster vibes. Really great job, I loved it.


Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.