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Chapter 1: Miss Sensitivity

Yesterday we wrapped up our theme for the February/March issue – Fairies, Elves, & Dragons. Today, we kick off our theme for the April issue – Titanic. LeeAnn and I have no idea where this story is going to take us but we know one thing: it’s gonna be huge!

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And in case you weren’t aware, Pilcrow & Dagger is currently accepting submissions for the April issue. The theme is Titanic. But don’t worry, we’re not limiting this theme to sad love stories or sinking ships. We’re looking for anything that’s big, huge, or enormous. You can learn more about the requirements for this theme here. And with that, I bring you the first chapter of this round robin episode: Miss Sensitivity.

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“Please stop crying.” I am not the go-to-girl for sob festivals. I had no idea why Betsy even called me. She knows this. I’m the girl who will hold your hair back when you’re drunk-vomiting at a party. I’m the girl who will perform classy acts of vengeance against ex-boyfriends – like gluing condoms all over his brand new sports car. That’s the girl I am. But this. I am not the girl who passes tissues to her friends who have snot running down their faces. I am not Miss Sensitivity. 

“I can’t believe he left me.” Betsy took a tissue from me and blew her nose. “It was the greatest love of my life and now it’s over.” She flopped down onto the bed, crying even harder than before.

I patted her on the back. Anything that was touchy feely was outside of my comfort zone. 

“Betsy, let’s be real about this. David wasn’t the love of your life. He wasn’t even the great love of your life. He was some guy you hooked up with one time, three weeks ago.”

Betsy sat up on the bed, wiping her nose with her sleeve. “Oh my, God, Trish! How can you say that? What we had was so much more than a one night stand.”

“No it wasn’t.” I shook my head. “It was a classic one night stand. He said he’d call you but he never did because it was a one. Night. Stand.

“Well maybe he just lost my number.”

“Or maybe he threw it away while doing the walk-of-shame out of your apartment the next morning.”

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“Or maybe it was something else. Maybe that girl he met at the restaurant last night was a sister or cousin.” Betsy got off the bed and walked over to her closet.

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“Didn’t you say they were making out?” I sat there, watching her search for the perfect outfit and wondered why I always had to be the voice of reason with her. 

“Maybe it wasn’t what I thought. Maybe she had something stuck in her teeth?”

“Or, maybe you were a one night stand who has spent the last three weeks stalking some loser.” I walked over to Betsy and turned her around. “I say this with as much love and compassion as I have to give.” I cleared my throat. “It’s the same thing with every guy you meet. He’s the one. The love of your life. Your happy ending. Sometimes, it works out and you’re in a relationship. Most of the time, you make a total fool of yourself by following these poor guys around town, sending them singing telegrams. Betsy, please! I beg you; get a hobby.”

Betsy pulled away from me. “How can you be so mean?”

“It’s easier than enabling someone.”

“You just don’t understand, Trish. You’ve never been in love. But one day. One day you will know what it’s like and how much it hurts when it’s over.” Betsy grabbed an outfit from her closet and walked inside her bathroom. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work.” She slammed the door in my face.

She had a point. I haven’t been in a relationship. But there was a reason for that. I had a secret. A big secret. No one knew. 

To be continued

Chapter 12: The End

“I wish for ice cream,” Dionne said.

“What?” Elvis asked sitting on a struggling Frankie.

“You said to make a wish. I wish for ice cream.”

“No, you foolish dragon. Breathe fire on Frankie.”

“Then can I get ice cream?”

“Get off me you stupid elf!” Frankie fought to throw Elivs off her.

“Dionne, please. I’m sure Mabel will write in ice cream for you. Just breathe fire on Frankie. I can’t hold her down forever. If she breaks loose she will erase us!”

“But if I breathe fire on her, I’ll be erasing her. Then I’ll be an eraser,” Dionne burst into tears. “I don’t want to be an eraser! Waaaaa! Hic!” Dionne’s crying brought on a case of the hiccups. Her second hiccup came out as a ball of fire.

“Yes! That’s it! Just aim your hiccups this way!” Elvis cheered.

A teary Dionne turned toward Elvis. “What? Hic!”

Elvis dove off Frankie just as Dionne’s fire ball hit square in the center of Elvis’s cloak sending up a plume of smoke.

“Whoa! Those are some hiccups,” Elvis said with a low whistle.

They stared at the blanket. It was scorched but otherwise in tact. The figure underneath was still.

“Is Frankie okay Elvis?” Dionne asked.

The figure below began to move and the cloak slowly slid off to reveal a dazed and confused Frankie. She was dressed in her fairy dress and wearing her wings. She shook her head and flapped her wings. Fairy dust fluttered all around them.

“What happened?” Frankie asked rubbing her head.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

“I was visiting my sister in her story Summer in Fairy Land when I was hit in the head from behind. How did I get here? What story is this?”

Dionne bear-hugged Frankie sending dust all over. “I thought you weren’t yourself! I’m so glad you’re back!”

More and more words filled the pages. Pages began flipping. Characters returned; confused at first, but happy to be back in place again.

“II think it’s safe to go back to our stories now,” Elvis said.

“How do you know?”

Elvis pointed to the last two words….

The End

Chapter 11: Confessions

“Maybe we should start by telling our secrets.” Dionne looked at Elvis and Frankie. “You know. Tell each other something about ourselves that we haven’t told anyone else.” 

“Yeah. Alright.” Elvis scratched his head and walked in between Elvis and Frankie. “I’ll go first.” He cleared his throat. “For the longest time, I’ve been telling people that my dream is to be a comedian or a performer of some kind. But that’s not true.”

“It’s not?” Dionne asked.

“Thank goodness.” Frankie snorted. “There might be hope for you yet.”

“Very funny.” Elvis rolled his eyes. “The truth is I really want to be a mentor for elvin kids who need a little extra attention and someone to help them realize their dreams. I think I could make a real difference.”

“That’s so sweet.” Dionne sniffled and wipe a tear away from her eyes. “And all this time I thought you were this obnoxious elf with a tacky sense of humor.”

“I am.” Elvis replied. “But I’d rather be a mentor.”

Frankie hopped up on an old picnic table, crossed her legs and pulled out a nail file.

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“Well that’s great for you. But revealing your secret has done nothing to stop the erasers.” 

“Hey! You two dames still have to reveal your secrets.” Elvis puffed out his chest and hiked up his pants.

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“I can’t fix this all by myself. And believe me, I’d love nothing more than to take credit for saving the day. The elvin kids would love hearing a story like this.”

“All right.” Dionne took a step forward. “I’ll go next.” Dionne’s tail swished back and forth. “Last week, I became the fire department’s newest recruit.”

Frankie stopped filing her nails. “Um….you do realize that the purpose of a firefighter is to put out fires and not start them, right?”

“Yes. I’m tired of always destroying things. I want to help people. And being a firefighter is going to be perfect for me.”

“How so?” Elvis folded his arms across his chest. 

“I’m not afraid of fires. Flying into a burning building wouldn’t scare me.”

Elvis nodded and then glanced down at the book. “Look. It’s changing.”

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Words began filling the pages of the book. One by one, each chapter developed a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

“Is it your cousin, Mabel?” Dionne asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“Guys.” Frankie jumped down. “Maybe we should stop all this confessing stuff. What if instead of freeing ourselves we actually make things worse?”

“Don’t you remember?” Dionne asked. “Mabel said that by confessing our innermost secrets we would destroy the Erasers.”

“Come on, Frankie.” Elvis pushed his way in between the fairy and the dragon. “It’s your turn. One more confession and then we can escape this book and get back to our own stories.”

“Yeah, Frankie.” Dionne coughed back a fireball. “Tell us your secret.”

“Secret. Ha! You couldn’t handle it.”

“Try us,” Elvis said.

“Fine. It’s no secret that I’m not for this stupid game because of its consequences.”

Elvis and Dionne exchanged confused looks.

“What consequences?” Dionne asked.

Frankie’s face morphed from an aggravated look to malicious. “You and your stupid ambitions about being a firefighter.” She jabbed Dionne in the chest. “Who ever heard of a dragon working as a firefighter? That makes about as much sense as Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor. He’s never going to get rich if he keeps giving all of his loot away. You want to know what my secret is. Get ready.”

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“I am an eraser.” Frankie declared. In one swift motion, she ripped off her yoga outfit, revealing a black suit underneath. “And there will be no stopping me.”

Elvis and Dionne gasped.

“What are you going to do?” Dionne looked around nervously.

“I’m going to take fiction books everywhere, erase their stories and write new ones. And I’m going to start with this one.” She cackled.

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Dionne ran over to Elvis, trying to hide her large, dragon body behind his tiny, elvin frame.

“Yeah, well.” Elvis cracked his knuckles. “You’re forgetting a few things.”

“Like what?” Frankie stared Elvis down.

“Like this!”

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Elvis punched Frankie, sending her flying through the air.

“My mother always told me never to hit a lady.” He shook out his hand. “It’s a good thing you’re not a real one.” He took off his cloak and tossed it on top of Frankie. “Dionne. Get over here. It’s time to make a wish.”

(To Be Continued)

Chapter 10: It’s a Secret

Elvis flipped through the pages of the mysterious book. “The only words in chapter 1 are ‘run fast.’ The only words in chapter 2 are ‘erasers are coming.’ We know this already. How is this book going to help?”

“I don’t want to be erased!” wailed Dionne exhaling a wisp of smoke.

“At least you’re not burping fire balls anymore. That’s a good thing, right?” Frankie said.

“Chapter 3 only says ‘they can be destroyed,'” Elvis continued.

“Well, then perhaps Mabel left the instructions in the next chapter,” Frankie said rolling her eyes.

“I have a cousin Mabel,” Elvis said. “I wonder if this is her. She’s a writer of sorts.”

“How can you have a cousin who’s a real person? We’re fictional characters.”

“Yeah, well, that’s complicated. Chapter 5 is more interesting. Listen. ‘The erasers can be defeated. All things in fiction are possible. You must use your imagination to control the situation. Don’t let them get close to you even if you know them. Follow these rules. Step 1: Sprinkle fairy dust on yourself. It will protect you. Step 2: An elvin cloak can be used as wings to help you soar up and out. Step 3: Dragon’s breath – a flame – is a signal flare. Help will be on the way.'”

Frankie and Dionne looked at Elvis blankly. Dionne hugged her tail, straightening and polishing her scales. “So, if an eraser comes I need to send up a signal. But to who? How do we know we won’t signal another eraser to come wipe us out?”

“Like, what….they hunt in packs?” Frankie crossed her arms. “I’ve got plenty of fairy dust, but I don’t have my wings so I can’t fly. If the elvin cloak acts as wings, the writer probably wants Elvis to fly. Dionne, you can fly. Can I catch a ride on you?”

“Sure, I guess so. But where would we go?”

Elvis continued, “This is so cool. The words are just appearing here in real time. The narrator says ‘You fly out of the book and warn others. Spread fairy dust.'”

Frankie said, “Okay, if you’re so smart, Mabel, how do we know who is an eraser and who’s not? And how do we defeat them?”

Elvis read, “‘Shmendrick.’ Hey, that sounds like my cousin! ‘It is your cousin you big dummy. Listen up. Erasers are within you, within all of us. They are the secret desires we have. Destroy the secrets and you destroy the erasers.'”

The sky began to lighten with the opening of the cover. The trio looked up in fear and dread not knowing what was approaching. Just what sort of secret desires could be their doom?

To be continued…

Chapter 9: The Three Ingredients

Frankie, Elvis and Dionne wandered aimlessly through Martians on the Playground. They hadn’t seen an alien since Marshall left the book. The world they were in was quiet. Too quiet. No birds chirping. No insects buzzing. Not even the empty swings, blowing in the wind, creaked or groaned.

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“I don’t like this.” Dionne walked around, holding her cell phone out in all different directions.

“What are you doing?” Elvis asked.

“I’m trying to find a signal so I can call my therapist.”

“Something tells me she’ll be working a lot overtime after we get out of here.” Elvis snorted and then tripped over something, falling into Frankie.

“Watch it!”

“Sorry.” Elvis pulled himself off the ground, brushing dirt off his clothes. He looked down at the ground. “What the heck is this?” Elvis picked up an old book.

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Frankie took the book from Elvis and read the cover. “The Fictional Character’s Guide to Survival, written by Mabel.” Frankie flipped the book open to the very first page. “Dedicated to mi amor, Carlos.”

“Do you think this book could help us?” Dionne put her phone down, focusing on their discovery.

“I don’t know.” Frankie shrugged. “But it’s one heck of a coincidence that this book just happened to be in our path.”

***

“Come on guys,” Mabel thought. “Do I have to read it for you too?” Pressing on with her story, Mabel cleared her throat and spoke into the microphone.

The book appeared out of nowhere….or did it? The fairy, the elf, and the dragon all balked at the book trying to figure out it’s significance. Finally the dragon spoke.

***

“Turn to the table of contents, Frankie. Let’s see if we can get the gist of this book.”

Frankie nodded, flipping to the table of contents.

“What’s fiary dust?” Dionned coughed, releasing a small fireball.

“I think it’s supposed to be fairy dust.” Frankie took off her shoe, shaking a few small pebbles out of it.

“Are you kidding me?” Elvis mocked. “Has this publisher never heard of hiring an editor?”

“Everyone’s a critic.” Frankie rolled her eyes.

“Why aren’t there titles to chapters five, six, and seven?” Dionned coughed again. This time only a puff of smoke escaped.

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“Maybe they haven’t been written yet.” Elvis loosened the cloak around his neck.

“Or maybe the writer got interrupted.” Frankie looked at her traveling companions.

“What are we supposed to do with fairy dust, an elf’s cloak and dragon’s breath?” Dionne asked.

(To Be Continued)

Chapter 8: All Things Are Possible

Mabel stood frozen with disbelief in the recording studio. How? How could this be? How could he be an eraser?

“Mabel, mi amor, stop your silly writing and come away with me. We’ll travel the world as we imagined and see all the beautiful things there are to see.” He tried the door knob but it was locked.

Mabel’s mind reeled. She had to shake off this betrayal this unimaginable betrayal, and think! Think fast! “Carlos, I can’t believe you’re here. I can’t believe this is real.”

“Yes, mi amor, in fiction all things are possible.” He picked up a chair and hit the Plexiglas trying to break his way in.

Mabel put on her headphones and started speaking.

“The door was welded shut and there was no way for the betrayer to enter the room. The glass could not and would not break. He could not reach her.”

And the door was sealed shut, thwarting Carlos’s attempts at entry.

“Why do you keep us apart, my darling? I’m mesmerized by your beauty and can only do as you ask. I will protect you with all that I am and all that I have. I could not bring harm to you.” Carlos reached out with his velvet voice and silken words. His big brown eyes showed a warmth and sensitivity. His broad shoulders and well-muscled form offered comfort and security. 

Mabel wanted to believe him. She longed to be held in his arms and to feel safe. He was handsome, caring, smart and she could tell all her thoughts, hopes and fears to him. He kept her secrets and listened to her without interruption. He shared her dreams of traveling and adventures. He was her hero and… He was her creation. Her dream man. He wasn’t real.

Mabel closed her eyes and spoke again into the microphone.

“The beautiful woman said, ‘Carlos, I no longer lover you. We can no longer be together.’

Carlos clutched his chest. ‘Mi amor, you are breaking my heart. I cannot live without you.'”

Mabel watched Carlos mimic the actions in her narrative. She continued.

“‘Carlos, I cannot save you. I must go on with my life without you.’

Carlos said, ‘I’m dying without your love. I will die and return to dust.'”

And with her final words Carlos fell to the floor, lifeless, and turned to dust. Mabel spoke new words and opened the door.

“In fiction all things are possible. Brilliant!”

Once more Mabel put on the headphones and began speaking into the microphone. “Once upon a time there were wondrous creatures great and small, magical and not. They happily lived in wonderful books teaching lessons and having adventures. One day, a terrible magician appeared and tried to take away the stories. He made evil beings called erasers and sent them out into the world of stories to destroy them and the characters who live there. But one day, the evil magician made a terrible mistake and a narrator learned how to control them…”

To be continued…..

 

Chapter 7: The Narrator’s End

“The snow flakes glistened in the bright sunlight. Icicles clung to tree branches, making the forest seem more magical than it actually was. The ice that covered the stream nearby was like a glass window. Fish could be seen swimming through it. And the mountains that were normally threatening in size and nature, looked peaceful wearing their white, winter coat. This winter wonderland was truly a sight to see….”

Suzie turned the page for her mother.

“That’s weird.” Suzie’s mother looked down at the two blank pages in front of her. No pictures, no text. Nothing. Surely it was an error made during printing. She turned to the next page and then the next. 

“What happened to the book, mama?”

Suzie’s mother flipped through the remaining pages in search of the remainder of the story. She and Suzie only read the first page of this book, “The Witch and the Wonderland.”  

Where was the rest of it? There was only a few lines of narration. No pictures. No characters.

“I don’t know, baby.”

***

A crack in the air startled Mabel. She looked past the microphone in front of her, staring out through the windows of the isolation booth. The source of the crack hid in the darkest corners of the recording studio. 

“It was probably just static. The Erasers aren’t that bright. They’ll need a longer story before they’ll be able to track me,” she thought, adjusting the headphones. She cleared her throat and continued narrating the story. “This winter wonderland was truly a sight to see. Trees and rocks were transformed into ice sculptures—”

Crack! This time there was no mistaking it. Mabel wasn’t alone in the recording studio. She reached over and locked the door to the isolation booth. With floor-length windows on all four sides, there wasn’t much she could do to protect herself.

A shadow in the distance crept along the wall, taking a familiar shape.

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Mabel squinted, trying to see who the uninvited guest was. She removed the headphones and stepped off the stool.

As the shadow crept closer to the booth, the figure it was attached to became visible. 

“You?” Mabel gasped. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. A trusted friend and confidant. The last person she’d ever suspect of betrayal. “You’re an eraser? How is that possible?”

“In fiction, all things are possible.” 

(To be continued)

Chapter 6: Drawing Straws

Francesca glanced at her two companions Mabel and Bob. “Um, what do you mean by a ‘ritual sacrifice’? Who, or what, gets sacrificed? And how?”

The dark man turned his hooded head toward Francesca. “One character type must be completely eliminated. Make them extinct. The ‘how’ is between the three of you. But know this,” he leaned closer to the trio bringing a chill upon them, “you will do it or you will become extinct.” With that, he disappeared in a puff of smoke.

The trio coughed and waved their hands in front of their faces. “Gah! I hate that. Is he not aware that second-hand smoke is bad?” asked Bob.

“I don’t think he cares,” Mabel replied. “And what’s with you, Francesca? Have you gone completely mishegas? You can’t confront him; you’ll end up being the ‘sacrifice’.

“I just don’t know about this. We were hired to write fiction. New fiction. Now he’s all dark and twisted and smokey and wanting us to rewrite fiction and make characters extinct. And what’s with the cauldron? So cliché.  I don’t get it.”

“We don’t need to ‘get it’ we just need to do it. So, who’s it gonna be? Aliens? Fairies? Elves? Witches? Worlocks? Wizards? Who?” Bob asked.

“Not elves. Those are my people. I have a second cousin who’s an elf. He’s an ass, but still, he’s mishpocheh.” said  Mabel. “There’re a number of inter-species marriages to consider. What happens to the children? If we eliminate fairies and there are half-fairy half-elf children, do they cease to exist too?”

“I can’t believe you all are even talking about this!” exclaimed Francesca. “I suggest we take out the dark and twisty guy. Let’s make him extinct.”

Bob and Mabel looked at one another and then to Francesca. “That would certainly pull us out of our current predicament. Of course, he hasn’t paid us yet for what we’ve already written…. Hey…, I don’t think he’s gonna pay us.” Bob said.

Shmendrick.” Mabel rolled her eyes. “I’m in. How do we eliminate the Dark One?”

Francesca shrugged. “I don’t know. We need to do some research. Let’s go to the library and see what other authors did to eliminate their villains. And, I have a feeling, we’ll need to get some help.”

“Oohh! This sounds like an adventure story!” Mabel said. “My elf cousin, Elvis, was in an adventure story. I bet if we could find him, he would know how to gather people toward one purpose.”

“Yes, we’ll find him and let him do it,” said Bob.

“I said he’d know how to do it. Not that he could do it. He’s an ass with very few friends. But, he could tell us how to do it and perhaps introduce us to a few characters willing to help us not eliminate them.” Mabel answered.

“I forgot about the Erasers. How do we keep our Erasers from following us, or reporting back to ol’ Dark and Twisty?” Bob asked.

“One of us will have to stay back here and keep the erasers busy. Write a story without any characters. Keep making mistakes that will keep them busy erasing,” Francesca said.

“How do you write fiction without any characters?”

“Can we make up some unreal characters and then erase them?”

“No. When you write a character you give it a personality, make it talk, it has thoughts, it has potential even if it only becomes a secondary character or a walk-on character. A character is a person as soon as it’s conceived. Erasing it, would be the same as erasing one of the characters we already know.”

“Then we write a fiction story with only one character – a narrator.”

“But that’s suicide! Who wants to commit suicide?!”

They looked from one to another and fell silent for a moment. Each looking inside themselves for the ability to be the sacrifice, or worse, to be the one to condemn one of their cohorts.

“We’ll have to draw straws.”

To be continued…

 

Chapter 5: The Twist

Little James flipped through the pages of his favorite martian book, Martians on the Playground. Normally the book was filled with images of Marshall – the main character but today, Little James noticed something different. Marshall wasn’t the only character on page five. Three new characters were present: a fairy, an elf, and a dragon. 

“Look, Mama.” Marshall handed the book to his mother. “Marshall has new friends.”

His mother flipped through the pages of the book, unsure of what Little James was talking about.

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She bought this book for him almost a year earlier and read the book to him an infinite number of times. Little James new this book inside and out and not once did he ever refer to the other aliens in the book as new friends.

“Huh.” She flipped through the book, stopping on page five. Sure enough, there were three new characters she’d never seen before. “We must’ve gotten this book mixed up with one of our library books. Let’s go back to the library and see if we can find your book.”

“Okay, Mama.”

***

(The Meeting)

The glow of a fire burning underneath a cauldron barely lit the room.

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A trio of tiny figures stood around the cauldron, staring at an individual dressed in a dark cloak.

“The time to unite and confront our enemies has come.” The cloaked stranger addressed his small audience. “We’ve been too gracious with out gifts. Too giving. We’ve allowed the other characters in the world to have too much control over their stories. The three of you were selected for one purpose and one purpose only: To rewrite fiction so that it serves our needs above all others.”

One tiny figure, kicked the gravel on the ground and cleared her throat.

“You have something to say, Francesca?”

“More like a question. How will we rewrite all of the fictional books?”

The dark stranger moved toward Francesca. His shadow was a giant crawling along the clay walls. Francesca inched away, uncertain of what to expect.

“There will be three phases to this unfortunate task.” The dark stranger grabbed a stick and began writing in the the gravel floor. “First, cast enchantment spells to bind the books shut so that no characters can escape. Work quickly! The last thing we want is for characters to escape into other books and begin talking to one and other about this. Second, you will each be assigned an eraser. The erasers will sweep in and remove details of the stories, wiping out all those who populate the books.”

“And the third,” Francesca asked.

“The last phase,” the dark stranger began, “begins with a ritual sacrifice.”

To be continued

Chapter 4: The Light

“You can stay if you want, but I’m outta here! I don’t want to be erased,” Marshall said. His buggy eyes grew buggier and his quivering was visible.

“Maybe Marshall is right. Maybe we should go too,” Dionne agreed hugging her tail. She gave a soft nervous burp, emitted a small fireball and ignited a shrub. “Oops.” Marshall gave a gasp-squeak.

“Marshall, what happens if all the characters leave their books?” Frankie asked.

“I don’t know. We had characters coming here in a hurry from all sorts of books. They warned us about being erased and then left too.”

“I wonder, if all the characters leave their books, then the books can’t open again. Maybe that’s what happened to our books. Maybe everyone left,” Frankie said.

“Then how do we get back to our stories?” Elvis demanded. “No offense but I don’t want to be stuck on a playground with an overgrown scaredy cat, a dragon with indigestion, and a fairy in yoga pants. I have standards.”

“Yeah, you’re superior, we get it,” Frankie jabbed. “Seriously, if characters leave books, they lose their magic. Where would they go? Marshall, you said you’re going to your Uncle Mike’s. What book is he in?”

“He’s not in a real book. He’s in a graphic novel.”

“Gah! A graphic novel is a perfectly acceptable form of literature!” Elvis stomped.

“We know. You’ve told us…” Dionne whined. “So what do we do? I don’t want to be erased and I don’t want to lose my magic. Do you know what it’s like out there for dragons? It’s dangerous, that’s how. Everyone wants one these days. I just can’t bear to think about being held captive and being pawed at like a kitten! Roarrrah! Hic!” Dionne’s cry shook the bushes and her hiccup scorched a patch of dry grass.

“Yeah, you’re cuddly,” Elvis complained. “Frankie, you’re smart, think of something.”

Frankie sat on the merry-go-round with her hand on her chin. “How do we even know that the Eraser is coming here? How do we even know Erasers exist? And if they do show up, who says we can’t hide from them?”

The four of them sat on the merry-go-round slowly turning and debating their predicament – stay or go; where to go.  Suddenly, the sky brightened – an indication that the cover was opening.

“Ooohhh! It’s the Erasers! They’re coming! I know it! It’s too late for us! Hide!” Marshall ran head first into the nearest thicket of shrubbery trying to hid his 7-foot frame. His head was hidden but his rear end protruded out of the hedge.

Elvis rolled his eyes. “Great. That’ll fool them. Dionne, save us all and burp on them.”

“I can’t seem to breathe,” Dionne whimpered.

“You guys, maybe someone is just opening the book to read it,” Frankie said. “Has it been that long since you’ve been read? If that’s the case we need to figure out how and elf, a dragon, and a fairy, are in an alien story.”

“But what if it’s not?”

To be continued…..

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