The Writer’s Warning


I’m participating in a writing challenge here, where you write a story based off of a picture.  I had kind of a different idea, so I decided to try it.

Evander sat on a moss-covered rock, removing his leather shoes to dip his feet in the cool waters of the gurgling creek.  Leaning his back against the red brick wall, he examined the surrounding scene.  The winding creek, the mist, and the birds could have come straight from his homeland of Edrana.  However, the brick walls possessed a queer foreign quality, especially with those peculiar lights.

Easing from his seat, Evander ventured forward, leaving his shoes behind.  He felt caught in between worlds—between nature and man-made structures, between dreaming and waking.  Something about the place made him feel more at peace than ever before.  A content smile spreading across his weathered face, Evander decided to explore this new world until he reached the edge of time.

“Evander.”

The young hero turned to face the soft voice, his hand flying to his sword.  With a shock, he realized he wore no weapons, leaving him vulnerable to any attack.  Although he never parted from his sword, Evander faced the situation with an eerie calm, putting up his hands in surrender for the first time in his memory.

“I’m not going to fight you, Evander.”  The speaker sat perched on one of the lights, regarding Evander with a sad gaze.  She wore clothes unlike any he had seen before, especially on a female.  Instead of donning the simple frock of a peasant woman or the elegant robes of a noble, she sported dark blue trousers and a loose red shirt.

“Who are you?” he mused.  “An enemy?  A friend?”

The strange woman continued to give Evander a gaze full of inexplicable compassion and heartbreak.  “Both, I suppose.  I love you more than any other could, yet I have harmed you more than any other could.”

“Are you… my mother?”  Evander shook his head in confusion.  It couldn’t be possible.  His mother died giving birth to him.  Yet he could think of no other who fit her description, and in this strange land, anything seemed possible.

She laughed softly.  “In a sense, Evander.  But not in the way you think.”

“You speak in riddles, my lady.”

“I always have.  And there’s no need to call me ‘my lady’.”

“Then what should I call you?”

“Call me Lizzy.”

Evander frowned, once again looking over the woman’s foreign clothing.  “I have never heard such a name.  Where do you hail from, Lady Lizzy?”

She gave him a sad smile.  “You never do forget your manners, do you?  If you must know, I hail from another land, the land of electric lights.”  She tapped the light next to her for emphasis.

Evander raised a brow.  “How would you know of my manners?  Perchance you could have heard word of my deeds or my skill with the sword, but few speak with me long enough to decide whether or not I am a well-mannered person.”

“I know all kinds of things.”

“Well then, lady of the land of electric lights, do you know where we are now?”

Lizzy drew her knees to her chest, letting out a soft, rueful laugh.  “Oh, we’re not here.”

“What do you mean, my lady?”

“We’re in a dream.  This, like every other land you know, is a world of my creation.  I designed it to be a cross between your world and my own.”

“So you are not real.  You are but a character in my dream.”

If possible, Lizzy’s gaze turned sadder.  “I’m quite real.  I’m afraid it’s you who is the character.”

Evander took a step back.  He couldn’t be a character in a dream.  He had memories, emotions.  He had a life to wake up to.  “I do not understand.”

She looked to the side, fiddling with her red braid.  “You’re my character.  I created you and everything you’ve ever known.”

His jaw dropped in shock and he found himself needing to lean against one of the red brick pillars for support.  As outlandish as Lizzy’s claim seemed, he felt deep inside of him that it was true.  “My lady… what gives you such power?”

“Simple.  I’m a writer, and you’re the protagonist of my book series.  Everyone loves you.  The readers, the critics, everyone.  I’ve never written about a character I’ve loved so much.”

“That could not be.”

“Every word I tell you is true.  I can’t lie any better than you can.”

“You know I can’t lie?”

“I know everything about you.”

Evander paced in front of the creek, trying to piece the new information together.  “But my lady–”

“Lizzy.”

“Lady Lizzy… if you are who you say—and I trust that you are—then what would cause you to seek me out?”

The smile faded from her eyes and her expression turned deadly serious.  Evander had seen that expression before on others.  He saw it on the messenger who told him his father had died in war.  He saw it on the healer who told him his companion was beyond saving.

“I have a message,” she whispered, tears forming in her eyes.  “I shouldn’t be here, and this will all amount to nothing, but I had to warn you—to see you—before I did it.”

A sickening dread filled him.  “What news do you bring?”

“I’m writing the last book of your story.  Millions have preordered it.”

“My lady, you speak riddles again.  Pray tell me what I need to know in words I can understand.”

Lizzy jumped from her perch on the light, landing with a soft thud.  She reached out her hand as if to touch Evander’s face.  Had there not been a river between them, he thought she would have.  “I’ve written you into a corner.  Only an unlikely miracle could save you.”

Evander’s pulse raced.  “Yes…and?”

“A miracle is on its way, but it will fail.”  Lizzy turned away, her voice dropping so low he could scarcely hear it.  “You won’t have a happy ending.”

 

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