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…


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