Before Convergence #1 - Melissa And The Author

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 04, 2017

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Submitted: May 04, 2017

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My name is The Author.

Since my childhood, I've possessed the ability to create. I'm not exactly sure how my power came to be, but over the years, I've imagined whole worlds and characters. When I first started, I utilized the works of others, but gradually, I came up with ones I could call my own. Today, however, I was going to go one step further, because a storm was coming, and I had to make sure everything was prepared.

"What do you mean?" Asked the girl standing before me in an inquiring 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 flowed behind her, clasped at the neckline by a bronze phoenix crest. Utilitarian brown boots completed the practical look, contrasting the only hints of real color on her: shoulder-cropped light-blue hair and like-eye color.

"It's true," I said, my voice a neutral tenor. "For lack of a better term, I created you."

"You can't be serious."

"I am. Trying thinking past the last few minutes. You can't, can you?"

Melissa stared at me, her eyes narrowing. Then, in resigned acceptance, she sighed.

"Alright. I'm...not sure how I feel about this."

"That's fine," I nodded. "If I were in your shoes, I'd have a ton of questions. Go ahead. Ask away."

"I will." Melissa spread her arms wide, gesturing to our surroundings. "For starters, where exactly are we?"

The two of us were standing at the center of a large, sterile, white-colored room completely devoid of anything else. There were no obvious sources of light, yet the place was brightly lit up by some form of ambient lighting, with not a shadow in sight.

"This," I said with a smile. "This is the White Room. My safe place, if you want to call it that, where I can think and tinker with, well, whatever it is I want."

Melissa's eyes lit up in understanding. "I see. I suppose it's not too surprising for a creator to have a workshop."

"Indeed." I paused for a moment. "Though I will say this is the first time a creation of mine has been sentient and aware while being here. Normally, I would've transformed this place into a proper setting first, say a forest or town. You're looking at a blank canvas, so to speak."

Melissa raised her left eyebrow at me. "I'm flattered you think I'm worthy of seeing this."

"Why's that?"

The question seemed to stump her. It took her a few seconds to respond.

"Why me? I don't remember doing anything to deserve this kind of special treatment."

I frowned. "To tell you the truth, the reason you don't remember is because you are a shell of your former self right now. Just like this White Room, you're just a construct. I've left your true memory out for now, because I was curious to see what you'd do with this opportunity."

Melissa's expression became startled. "You...erased my memory?"

"Not quite. More like...it never existed within your current body."

Annoyance creased her brow. "I'd like to know why you'd deny me my true memories."

I hesitated. "I'm sorry. This is new territory for me. I didn't want to show you anything until I was sure you could handle it."

"Why? What did I do?"

"Are you sure you want to know?"

This time, she was the one who hesitated, but only for a moment.

"Yes."

From within the large sleeves of my white robes, I withdrew a deck of cards. They were as white as the color of my clothing, with no markings of any kind on either facing. Using a spring flourish, I exposed the seemingly blank deck. I stopped once I hit one of the cards in the middle, drew the top card with my left hand, and returned the rest of the deck into the folds of my sleeves. Then, I palmed the blank card in my right hand, holding both out to Melissa.

"Take my hand."

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

"I just do."

In the end, her curiosity overcame her hesitation, and she reached out to grab my hand with her own. This caused a brilliant flash of light to overtake us both.

-

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

The Melissa of the present heard these thoughts flowing through her mind, even though she had no idea where they'd come from. It was as if her consciousness had been locked inside the body of another, with that person clearly being herself from the past. Her first instinct was to call for The Author, but she found she couldn't control the actions of her past self either. She quickly came to the conclusion that this was a memory where she could be nothing more than an observer. As she settled in, she could feel her past self's thoughts overtaking her own, and slowly she began to understand what had led her past self to this moment. A feeling of betrayal, friends she'd  abandoned, the destruction of a city...

A sudden noise made Melissa scramble upwards from her sitting position.

"W-Who's there?" She asked cautiously. She instinctively reached up with her hand to clear her eyes of tears, but what would that have accomplished? This building had no power, no light of any kind, and no windows. 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 withdrew and held her battered but trusty circular metal shield in front of her.

That was when the first blow was struck, her shield emitting a dull metallic clang as it strained against whatever it was her attacker was holding. Rebuffed, the assailant 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, she aimed a wide swing with her free hand for where she thought her opponent was, but there was nothing except empty air. The pressure against her shield lifted and she heard steps moving away from her, letting her know the assault had ended, at least for the moment.

"Who are you?" Melissa demanded. "Why are you attacking me?"

A breeze above her was the only warning she got as she brought her shield up to block the overhead swing. Again, just in the nick of time. The pressure moved away quickly, 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 struck her left leg, making her lose her balance. She shifted herself left and used her shield as a cudgel to retaliate, but again, she hit nothing. She did feel something though, just on a different part of her body. Brilliant white hot pain engulfed her senses as a blade of some kind cut into her exposed right arm. She realized her opponent had exploited the fact that she'd left her right flank open due to the missed swing. She gasped hard, staggering back on her left foot.

"Please!" Melissa exclaimed, her voice pained. "Why do we have to fight? It doesn't matter anyway! Nothing does anymore..."

Again, no response. Not with words, at least, but a flurry of attacks. She was forced to hold as strike after strike pelted her shield, battering it endlessly. Her injured right arm throbbed and she could feel red-hot blood dripping off the bottom of her elbow. She couldn't sustain this; sooner or later, she wouldn't have the strength to continue blocking the attacks. That's when something deep within her flared to the surface.

"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 at the uppermost area. Thinking an attempt to yank the shield away from her was coming, 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, causing her left arm to drop limply to her side. This time, she screamed in pain. She pulled back again, but this wasn't going to take her down. Not yet.

"No!" Melissa's voice was now raw but unyielding. "I don't care if I'm just a character in a story! So what if my life is a lie? THIS is what living looks like! Me fighting back against you! Even if you take me out, I'm going to make sure you remember the name Melissa Bailey!"

With that, she lunged forward in defiance of her grave wounds. In her bloodied right hand, her shield whirled like a buzz saw, forcing her attacker on the defensive for the first time in the entire fight. Melissa's wild chain of attacks was such that there was no opening for any sort to exploit. Eventually, she overwhelmed her opponent, with a final bash sending this mysterious figure flying, followed by a loud crash as they struck something unidentifiable in the distance.

Melissa had just a moment to relish her victory before she dropped to one knee. Adrenaline had been fueling her this entire time, but it wasn't going to be enough now. Her wounds were bleeding furiously. Her left arm was unusable. 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. Even staying conscious was a chore.

She didn't know how long she stayed there, but when she felt the tugging on the back of her hair, she knew it was over. A third white hot flash forced itself onto her senses, this time across the front of her neck. She let out a gurgle, falling onto the ground face-first as the person let go of her hair.

Murky as her mind was now, she knew from her attempts to gulp down air that her throat had been cut. Still, Melissa smiled. From those first few attacks, she'd known she stood no chance of surviving this calamitous night. Based on The Author's revelations, her role in the story was to be weaker, slower, and not as strong as everyone else. The Author had purposefully handicapped her, making her someone who was meant to die to further the story of the main characters. The sacrifice to rally the protagonists to go forth with courage to defeat the antagonist. 

And yet, Melissa had managed to win at least one bout against this person. Someone completely out of her league. Even in her dying state of mind, a feeling of euphoria overcame her. She had beaten the odds. She'd gone beyond what she was capable of. What she was created to be. Nothing more than a minor throwaway character.

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

"I shall remember you, Melissa Bailey."

-

My hand fell to my side as the card powering the memory slowly dissolved into thin air. However, Melissa's own hand remained outstretched, as if she was trying to hold on to that final moment of her past. She looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. In her misty eyes, I could see a multitude of emotions. The ones that stood out most were sadness, anger, curiosity, and euphoria.

"So that's what happened..." She said softly. "What I did...how I died..."

"Yes."

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

I returned her stare, gazing into her piercing light-blue eyes with my own pure-white irises. 

"Out of all the characters I made, you're the only one that truly defied your role. I admired your desire to fight on, even with everything stacked against you. Yes, you were nothing more than a secondary character back then, but I believe you've more than proven that you deserve a second chance."

"I...see..." Melissa's cheeks took on color as she nodded in appreciation.

"To put it mildly, I think I wasted your true talents, so what I really want is for you to join me on a journey."

"A journey?" 

"Yes. I wish to show you how you can become something more. As part of that second chance, so to speak."

"And the catch is...?"

"Nothing I can think of."

An uncharacteristic smirk formed on Melissa's lips. "And...if I find a way to...defy the story again?"

"So be it." My answer was unflappable; a challenge of its own.

Melissa pursed her lips, silent for a moment. Then, she uttered one word.

"Deal."


© Copyright 2017 T. J. Wong. All rights reserved.