Melissa's New Beginning

Melissa's New Beginning

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

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Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

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Submitted: May 04, 2017

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Content

Submitted: May 04, 2017

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My name is The Author.

For the longest time, I've known that I have been granted a special kind of power: the ability to create. I'm not sure exactly when or how I managed to achieve this power, but I have put it to good use over the years, imagining whole worlds and characters. But I have yet to try something quite like this.

"What do you mean?" Asks the girl standing before me in a surprised but gentle tone. "How is this even possible?"

This is Melissa Bailey. She is in her late teens, wearing an unassuming light grey tunic and pants.  A similarly-colored half-cape flows behind her, clasped at the neckline by a bronze phoenix crest. Utilitarian gloves and boots complete the practical look, but don't offset her shoulder-cropped light-blue hair and like-eye color.

"I told you already," I say. "For lack of a better term, I created you. Search your memory. Do you remember anything outside of the past couple of minutes?"

Melissa stares at me, her eyes narrowing, then in resigned acceptance, she relaxes.

"Okay," she says, taking a deep breath. "I'm...not sure how I feel about this."

"That's alright. I know that if I were in your shoes, I would be thinking the same thing. Feel free to ask me anything."

"For starters," she says as she spreads her arms wide, gesturing to our surroundings. "Where is this place?"

The two of us are standing alone at the center of a large, seemingly endless white room that is completely devoid of anything of substance. There is no obvious light source, yet everything in the area seems to be flooded with light. Almost like a three dimensional blank canvas.

"This," I say with a smile. "This is inside my mind. A sanctuary of sorts within. I use it when I want to think, and sometimes, to create."

"I see," she says. "Well, as my creator, I guess a place like this would come as no surprise."

"Indeed." I pause for a moment. "Though I will say that this is the first time I have brought a sentient creation of mine into this space. Normally, I would make something of it first, say a forest or a town. You're looking at the raw, blank space."

Melissa raises her left eyebrow at me. "I'm flattered you think I'm deserving."

"And why is that?"

The question seems to stump her. It takes her a few seconds to respond.

"...What makes me special?" She asks. "Why me?"

"You're not special. At least, not in the sense that you're destined for something. I don't believe that."

"Good, because I don't believe that either."

Now it's my time to raise my eyebrow at her. "Really?"

"Yes." Melissa's eyes scan my face. "I don't like it when someone tries to impose their control over me."

I smile. "Now we're getting somewhere."

Melissa's eyes furrow in confusion. "Why?"

"That is why you're special. At least to me." Another pause. This time, it's because I'm hesitating.

"What?" Melissa looks disappointed. "That's your reasoning? I can't be the first person to have a rebellious streak."

"In my world, yes. Yes, you are."

"I don't believe you." Her light-years eyes pierce mine, challenging me.

"Would you like me to show you?"

For a second, Melissa seems to reconsider, and I have to wonder what's going through her mind right now. Is she still the same character I thought up from before? Or has she changed into something else entirely now that I have confessed myself to her? 

"Yes," she says finally. "I want to know."

"I'm not sure if you're going to like it."

Melissa's expression hardens. "Try me."

I pull out a deck of cards from the sleeves of my robe. They are as white as the color of my clothing, with no markings of any kind on either facing. Using a spring flourish, I expose the seemingly blank deck. I stop once I hit one of the cards from the middle and draw the top card, returning the rest of the deck to my sleeves. Then, I palm the blank card in my right and hold the hand out to Melissa.

"Take my hand," I say.

Melissa is somewhat confused by my demonstration. "But all of the cards were blank. How do you know which one-"

"I just do."

With a final bit of hesitation, Melissa reaches out and grabs my hand with her own right.

-

Melissa sat alone in the darkness, crying. Thoughts raced through her mind. The Author...everything she knew...her life, her experiences, her sense of self...it was all fiction. All fabricated. All a lie. Created by someone with an overactive imagination. She was a fake.

Melissa of the present knew this of course, but she couldn't control her past self. Her present self was like a consciousness that had been loaded into her past self but had no control over it. Her first instinct was to call for The Author, to ask what was going on and why she couldn't see anything in this room, but her past self didn't seem to be following her desired movements and actions. She even found that her past self's thoughts were overriding her own, and slowly her sense of self became the one from the past.

A sudden noise in the darkness made Melissa jump in her sitting position. She thought she had been alone here. 

"W-Who's there?" She asked cautiously. She instinctively reached to clear her eyes of tears, but what would that have accomplished? This building had no power, so light was out of the question. She could only rely on her hearing, touch, and sense of smell if there was any sort of danger or-

Her thoughts were interrupted as her ears registered another sound: the scraping of metal against what sounded like a scabbard or sheath. In response, Melissa silently got to her feet, holding her battered but trusty metal circular shield in front of her.

That was when the first blow struck her shield, emitting a dull metallic clang. Rebuffed, the attacker spun in place, and Melissa just barely heard the swoosh of the weapon, blocking the lower attack aimed at her midsection just in time. In retaliation, Melissa aimed a wide swing with her free hand for where she thought her opponent was, but she hit nothing but air. The pressure against her shield lifted and she heard steps moving away from her, letting her know that the assailant had backed off, at least for the moment.

"Why are you doing this?" Melissa demanded. She got no response.

A breeze above her was the only warning as her shield blocked the overhead attack. Again, just in the nick of time. The pressure moved away quick, and in anticipation, Melissa placed the shield directly in front of her upper body and face. This turned out to be a mistake, as a booted foot smashed into her left leg, making her lose her balance. She shifted herself left and used her shield as a cudgel to strike, but again, she hit nothing. She did feel something though, just on a different part of her body. Brilliant white hot pain engulfed her right arm as it followed the motion of her shield bash; her opponent had exploited her exposed right flank from the missed swing. She gasped hard, staggering back on her left foot.  

"Please!" Melissa asked the darkness, her voice pained. "Who are you? Why do we have to fight?"

Again, no response. Not with words, at least, but a flurry of attacks. Melissa was forced to hold on as strike after strike pelted her shield, battering it seemingly endlessly. She could feel blood run down her injured right arm to drip off the edge of her elbow; this couldn't last forever. Despite that, her mind flared, and she started to speak.

"I don't know who you are, but if you want to kill me so badly, just know that I will never stop resisting you." The blows halted for just a second, and Melissa felt a hand grab the edge of her shield from the uppermost edge. Anticipating an attempt to yank the shield away from her, she pulled the shield down towards her stomach. This also turned out to be a mistake, as she felt a second white hot burning sensation as her opponent's weapon pierced her left shoulder. This time, she screamed in pain. She pulled back again, but this wasn't going to take her down. Not yet.

"No," Melissa continued, her voice now raw and unyielding. "I don't care that I was born a character in a story. So what if my life story is a lie? Even if you kill me right here, I'm going to make sure you remember the name Melissa Bailey. I am my own person. You nor the Author will have ANY hold over me!"

With that, Melissa lunged forward, seemingly in defiance of her grave wounds. In her bloodied right hand, her shield whirled like a buzzsaw, forcing her attacker back for the first time in the entire fight. Now on the defensive, her opponent was parrying the shield bashes, but Melissa's wild chain of attacks was such that there was no opening for any sort of counterattack. Eventually, Melissa got the best of her opponent, with a final bash sending her opponent flying and crashing into something unidentifiable in the distance.

Melissa had just a moment to relish in her victory before she dropped to one knee. Adrenaline had kept her going all this time, but it wasn't going to be enough now. Her wounds were bleeding furiously. Her left arm still hung limply by her side, its nerves severed. With each passing second, the shield held in her bloodied right hand felt heavier and heavier. In her head, she could hear the pulsing of her heart and the sound of her own labored breathing. 

Melissa didn't know how long she had been there trying to catch her breath, but when she felt the tugging on the back of her hair, she knew it was over. A third white hot flash erupted her senses, this time across the front of her neck. She let out a gurgle, falling onto the ground face-first as the person who cut open her throat let go of her hair.

As she slowly began to suffocate, Melissa smiled. Even though she had lost, she had still won. Her opponent was definitely a superior fighter to her, and yet, she had won a round. She had stood no real chance, but that one round had brought her closer than ever to becoming something more and she was proud of what she managed to accomplish. 

As the darkness overwhelmed her fading life, the last words she heard were feminine and soft.

"I shall remember you, Melissa Bailey."

-

My hand falls to my side as the card slowly dissolves into thin air. However, Melissa's own hand remains outstretched. She looks at me with new purpose. In her misty eyes I see accusation and anger, but also growing curiosity and wonder. 

"So that's what happened...what I did, how I died..."

"Yes." I say neutrally.

"...What do you want from me?"

My eyes bore into Melissa's own. 

"Join me on a journey."

"A journey?" 

"You're the only one of my characters to have ever defied the story," I say with a smile. "Yes, it's true. You were once a throwaway character, someone who was supposed to die; an incentive to drive the main characters. But your courage and effort against all odds in that fight inspired me to bring you back."

"Who was I fighting?"

"A skilled assassin. And before you ask, she's not important now. What matters is that I'm offering you an opportunity to become something more."

A smirk forms on Melissa's lips. "And if I find a way to...defy your story again?"

"So be it." My answer is unflappable, unyielding, and a challenge of its own.

Melissa purses her lips, silent for a moment. Then, she utters one word.

"Deal."


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