Some of the saddest relationships in the world can be described by Euclid’s mathematical equations. Some are like asymptotes, because even as the two people get closer and closer to each other, their paths will never ever cross.
Some are like parallel lines: they have so much in common with each other, but somehow it’s not enough to ever make them meet.
Still, some are like intersections, where they meet once for a short period of time, and never again.
And for me, intersections are the saddest types of relationships. Because once you get the taste of something perfect, nothing will ever quite live up to it.
“She’s really gonna get it this time.”
“How did it happen?”
“Does she know where it is?”
“What will the Big Man say?”
Whispers and flurried conversations floated over me as I sat with my knees to my chest and my head between my arms. I really didn’t need this right now. If these hypocrites could just stop spreading rumors or whatever and help me, this would be a total non-issue.
I heard a soft yet mocking laugh somewhere behind me and I could almost picture Faith’s taunting look, something I really want to bash her face for.
No, I’m not normally violent, but she stimulates the worst in me. Which makes sense because all the Characters dumped on her (and I say ‘dumped’ because she hates them) are psychopaths. Some Authors actually take pity on those sort of people and try to give them dignified backstories, but Faith has no compassionate bone in her body. It probably wasn’t always like that, but I can’t remember when it wasn’t. But whatever the case, she’s a sour one.
“Destiny, you’re wanted in the Big Room.”
I sighed. Into the Big Room with the Big Man. Well, I’ve done worse.
Actually, no, I haven’t. And that’s saying something.
I sighed again and stood up, meeting the eyes of anyone who dared stare at me. I’m not helpless, and if they think they can drive me into a corner because of this incident, they don’t know who they’re dealing with.
I caught a glance of Faith as I walked toward the huge oaken doors. She was smirking, quite precisely how I imagined her to be. I returned the favor and smirked right back. She scoffed and walked toward me, and I could see in those dark eyes that she hoped to intimidate me.
Not today, not ever.
“I heard you made trouble again, Des,” she said with such a self-satisfied look as if she has been waiting for an incident like this for eons. Which could probably be true, knowing what I know about her.
I grinned and shrugged. “When did I not?”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “This one is going to send you away for good, and we’re going to celebrate seeing you go.”
Faith pursed her lips and I could imagine her teeth grinding inside her mouth. “Good luck, Destiny. You’re going to need it.”
“Not more than you, honey.” With that, I sauntered into the doors and they closed in behind me. Faith is not going to get to me, because I’m going to make this situation an interesting one.
I walked into the Big Room that got its name for being massive and spacious, like it could fit an entire train station inside it. If it had any other name before everyone started calling it the Big Room, I don't remember it. It’s also where the Big Man stays. He’s our boss, and he’s the one who assigns our Characters to us. He sits on a bronze throne that seemed to glow and pulsate with energy, and he looked like an old, wise man. Think Santa Claus of the American kids, only in golden robes and slightly bigger proportions, because the Big Man is taller and wider than any other Author—or human—in existence. He’s literally the Big Man.
I bowed and kept my eyes away from him. “Good day, sir.”
“I hear you have lost your Book.” He said his words slowly, enunciating each syllable carefully, and I got the feeling he was hoping it’s not true.
Sorry to burst your bubble. “I… dropped it, sir.”
I nodded. I could feel his disappointment vibrating in the room, and if I ever cared about how anyone thought of me, his opinion of me mattered a great deal. I shrunk further away from him. He clucked his tongue like a father whose son made a mess in the living room. Or whose daughter was caught slipping out of her room in the middle of the night, whichever works. You get the idea.
“You are going to have to go down and get it.”
I was startled into looking at him, thinking he was joking. He had to be joking. “Sir?”
“You heard me, Destiny. You will go down to Earth to retrieve your Book, or you would be stripped of your Authorship.”
“B-but how? No Author has ever gone to Earth before.”
The Big Man shifted in his seat and leaned forward. “Well my dear, you seem to have a knack for doing things no one has ever done. This should be right up your alley, don’t you think?”
Alright, fine, so I did have a reputation of not doing things the way they’re usually done. But hey, my Characters always end up as amazing people. I remember the first female pilot, Amelia Earhart. She was mine, and she became what she was because I thought she had the potential to become something different. I see nothing wrong with my style of writing.
But to go down to Earth and meet all these people we’ve all been writing about? I can’t even begin to comprehend it. It has never happened before, ever since the world came to be. The look on the Big Man’s face said I’ve got no choice, and I realized that indeed I haven’t. I lost my present Character’s Book, and I had to find it. I didn’t even know what will happen to him if I didn’t find it, but I will lose my Authorship, and that’s the worst that could happen to me. I will lose my identity, who I am.
But Laurel, he might be asleep forever and eventually die of lack of food and water, because that was the last thing I wrote him doing before I lost my Book.
I took a deep breath. “What must I do, sir?”
“I can grant you human life for 30 days, and within that time you must find your Book. Your Authorship hangs on the line, and you have two choices on how you lose it: fail to find the Book within 30 days, or someone finds out what you are.”
“And if I fail to retrieve my Book? What’s going to happen to my Character?”
The Big Man paused, as if he was coming up with his answers on the fly. “His life will reset. He will be in coma until we find a blank Book for him, and someone else will continue his story. When he wakes, he will not remember anything of his past life. He will be somewhat reborn into someone else almost entirely different, should the Author decide this would be best.”
I made a face. “Sounds like this has happened before for you to be so prepared.”
The Big Man looked slightly miffed. “I am thinking logically here, Destiny. We are sworn to protect our Characters and maintain the most minimal interference between our world and theirs. We are their Authors, and that is it for us. For them, we do not exist. I am sure you understand this, my dear.”
I nodded. “Yes sir. I will be back in 30 days.”
As I prepared to leave, I realized I’ve got nothing to bring except pads of paper that the Big Man gave me to temporarily substitute for my Book, and my Pen. The prospect of living on Earth was just dawning on me, and for the first time, I felt scared. Earth is such an unsafe place, and I know that that is the fault of some of us here, but only now will I really experience how it is to live under the sun. Never thought I would, really.
“Ready to leave, sucker?”
I bit my lip and held my anger down. I refused to get into any more trouble—not until I get back, at least.
“Don’t see me off, Faith. I’d rather my memory of this place be a good one.”
I turned around as I twirled my hair up into a bun and secured it with my Pen. Faith loitered at my bedroom doorway, looking smug as ever.
“I hope you have enough good memories to keep you busy down there.”
I smiled sympathetically and patted her shoulder. She looked like she was ready to kill me. How fun.
“Be good while I’m gone,” I said to her in mock sympathy and was rewarded to see her face twist with annoyance.
And with that, I closed my eyes and left in swirl of wind. I knew that when I open my eyes, I would be on Earth, right in front of Laurel’s house. I dropped my Book on Earth, and I could feel that it would eventually find its way to its Character.
It just sounded logical, somehow.
I felt the sun before I saw anything. Has it always been this hot? It must be in the middle of the day. I slowly opened my eyes and caught glimpses of the world. I was standing on hot pavement, my feet could tell me as much. We really had no use for shoes where I come from so mine are really thin. I could hear people walking, cars honking, and bikes ringing. I opened my eyes fully and realized that I was standing right in front of a house so familiar to me, it almost felt surreal.
I knew all its inner workings, where the bathrooms are located, how to get to the attic from Laurel’s room. That is his favorite place. I stared up at the house, and I could hear his mom calling from the first floor up to Laurel’s room.
Crap. He still hasn’t woken up yet. I had the pads of paper, so I whipped those out and my Pen from my hair, and woke him up. The pads only began serving their purpose the moment I touched it with my pen. Huh, that’s interesting.
His mom’s words appeared on the paper and I responded accordingly, saying he had to stay up late for a project. It’s a Saturday anyway, and he had the time to sleep in.
I groaned. Not only did I have to find my Book, I also had to write for Laurel as I go along. This is going to be harder than I thought.
“I wish someone would have told me how to live, or at least where to live,” I muttered as I started down the street with my paper. I avoided people, sometimes wondering who the Author behind them was. When I reached the end of the subdivision, a gate opened wide into a highway, and I couldn’t possibly go further than that. Laurel needed me, so I have live close by.
I started back again into the subdivision, taking another route. I had no worries at all about getting lost because Laurel has lived in this place his whole life. I’m not a fan of “new kid” labels.
Around a corner, I felt someone staring at me. I turned and saw an old woman rocking on her chair in the porch, and she could have been looking at anyone else, except there was no one else in the street aside from me. I carefully approached her. When I was close enough to see, she smiled. Warmly, not in any creepy way. She looked like a friendly grandmother.
I staggered back and blinked up at her. “You… What?” I’m ‘here’?
She chuckled. “I was told you were coming. I was told to wait for a girl with gold in her hair.”
I ran my fingers through my hair. It used to be all gold, like all Authors had, but it was now hazelnut with gold streaks in it. I looked back at her. “Who told you about me?”
She waved off the question. “Just a dream. You’re supposed to live with me, it said, at least for the rest of your stay.”
Huh, well that’s efficient. I kept increasing items to the list of favours the Big Man granted me. I should be extra good for a few hundred years when I get back.
I bowed to her. “Thank you. I hope to live well with you. I can’t promise to not make trouble, but I could promise to keep out of your way when I do.”
She smiled again. “I could live with that.”