Earnest Deity: A (Really) Short Story
Here is another short snippet I thought up earlier. Enjoy!
Derek thought he had drunk one too many when the words started literally jumping out of the pages of his manuscript.
Cosmic miracle or the trick of an alcohol-imbibed mind, he didn’t know. But his characters were coming to life in front of him, his worlds created like a miniature play-set that moved on its own.
The trick was they all seemed oblivious to him, these small people, even being strands of thought originally peeled from the fertile grounds of his imagination. All the characters went about their daily lives as though everything were normal. They acknowledged nothing but the tiny place that they inhabited.
Derek peered in for a closer look. This was beyond exciting. Everything he had been working on for half a year now had just come alive. He felt like Dr. Frankenstein finally having completed his monster, though unintentionally so in Derek’s case.
A small figure moved through the crowded miniscule street, wearing a long coat and smoking a large cigar. The detective character. Derek stared with fascination as he navigated the walkway, frowning thoughtfully, every feature about him an exact match to how Derek had pictured the man.
A gunshot sounded, causing Derek to jump in surprise. The detective was hunched over, men with guns surrounding him. More gunshots pierced his body, the man screaming in pain, blood pooling in the street. Derek was shocked. He had forgotten he had written this death scene. Except now the characters were alive and real. Was he responsible for this? He had just orchestrated a man’s cruel death. The detective hadn’t even seen it coming; one minute he was perfectly fine and the next he was in the midst of a hail of bullets.
Wracked with guilt, Derek flipped open his laptop and brought up his manuscript. Perhaps he could fix this. He could rewrite the story, after all. Hoping he hadn’t just made a terrible mistake, he changed the paragraphs with an anxious haste.
And to his great relief, the scene changed. The detective, alive and well, popped back into existence walking down the street once more. This time he would miraculously notice the men before they could approach and arrest every one of his would-be assailants. Derek watched with joy as the wrongdoers were put into a police car in handcuffs.
He felt proud. Justified at the precise exertion of his newfound power. Just at that moment he remembered a scene from now in his manuscript a girl was kidnapped by mobsters, another few scenes and there was a dramatic gunfight with many casualties. His book was littered with villains and scum, the dregs of society, murder and rape running rampant throughout. He would have to make changes. He could just kill off all the evil people, but he didn’t feel right about that. They were alive now in the miniature world, weren’t they? Derek didn’t just want to deprive them of that.
So he rewrote every character, making them each a saint, not willing to harm even a fly, and stopped writing, letting the story play out on its own.
What he saw when he looked into the tiny world surprised him.
All the characters simply sat around, on the streets, the sidewalks, sprawled out on the lawns. Most intoxicated in a vain effort to leave their pitiful lives for even a few brief moments. No one talked to anyone else; after all, they were all basically carbon copies of each other, no difference of opinion, no arguments or discussions where different viewpoints could be presented. People simply stagnated, and their boredom with the life they had been given slowly drove them insane.
When Derek removed conflict from his world in hopes of creating a paradise, he realized he had created a hell instead.
He opened his manuscript again, confusion wracking his mind. What was right? He couldn’t change his world back. That world was full of killing and suffering. Surely that wasn’t fair, wasn’t good. But when he removed the disputes that plagued the people, they became drones eager to leave the dull setting of their pointless lives. He could add just a little conflict, he supposed, but conflict breeds contempt, and contempt breeds violence, and that wouldn’t be fair to the victims of such atrocities. So then what was he to do? In his futile efforts to create a perfect world, he realized one single truth:
Being God wasn’t easy.
Brendon “cosmic overlord of his own imagined worlds” Regier