The Author Part 3
A Startling Revelation
Andy stares at Thomas for a moment, perplexed by his words. ‘Excuse me, what? I…I don’t understand. What do you mean ‘the Author’? Are you talking about a writer-type author? Someone that writes…words?’ Her voice goes up a note.
‘You’re saying a writer,' Andy gestures towards the harbour, her voice ascending another notch, 'did all this?'
Thomas nods again.
‘So, this writer, this...this Author, created me? You’re saying I’m a fictional character?’ Her voice reaches a crescendo.
Thomas nods a third time.
This revelation is too much for Andy to comprehend. Her mind short circuits, leaving her motionless and staring off into the distance.
After a second or two of spluttering and hiccupping, her brain resets, and Andy finds her voice.
‘Are you a fictional character,’ she whispers.
‘Oh yes,’ Thomas affirms.
‘Farmer Mistral and his family, were they fictional too?’
‘And that doesn’t bother you,’ she says, adopting a casual manner.
‘Of course not,’ he smiles, ‘why should it?’
‘Well…because…well…uh.’ Andy's façade crumbles. ‘Really,’ she blurts out. ‘You really don’t see why this is a problem?’
Thomas shakes his head. Andy takes a calming breath and explains. ’Well, Mr. Langley, sir. You see, the thing is, don’t take this the wrong way, but you and Farmer Mistral aren’t real. Someone made you up. You’re not a real people.’ Her eyebrows rise as she realises, ‘Oh my God, that means I’m not a real person either,' she whimpers.
‘Oh, we are very real, child,’ Thomas replies emphatically, ‘as are you. Farmer Mistral and I have real lives and stories. I am where I am meant to be, as is Farmer Mistral. However, neither of our stories can continue so long as we are both without daughters.’
Andy falls into stunned silence.
Thomas continues. ‘I see this comes as a shock to you. Truth be told, I am somewhat at a loss as well. For reasons I cannot fathom, the Author has broken all our stories. This is very unlike her.’
Thomas paces back and forth; his head bowed in thought. A few minutes later, he looks up and approaches Andy.
‘Miss Andy,' he says with urgency, 'you must seek out the Author, I implore you. You must help her correct her errors for all our sakes.’
‘Me? Seek her out? Why me,’ she whines. ‘Why can’t you go?’
‘Because I believe you are the linchpin in all this. Somehow, your creation has caused a distortion in my and Farmer Mistral’s storylines. I believe once you discover why you were created, we will have our rightful daughters and you will find your home.’
‘I like the idea of going home, but it just seems so dicey.’
‘I don't know,' she replies, 'I mean, you seem to understand this better than me. What about Mistral? We could just explain it to him and he could---’
‘Enough, child,' says Thomas, his voice stern.
'But I---,' Andy's protests are cut short as his dark, piercing eyes bore into her. Resigned, Andy concedes. 'Fine. I'll do it. How do I find this Author?’
‘You said you came from Mistral’s story to mine through no will of thine own, yes?’
‘I daresay you are in her thoughts even as we speak. Now would be a most opportune time to find her. Close your eyes, Miss Andy. Call to her. I am certain she will hear you.’
‘Close my eyes,’ Andy demurs. ‘You must be joking. If I do that, I might end up as a…a…rodeo rider in the Wild West. Maybe.’
Thomas laughs though he is uncertain to what she is referring. ‘Do not fret so, Miss Andy. You must have faith. Speak, and you shall be heard.’
‘What’ll I say?’
'Simply say to her what you've said to me,' he answers, his tone softening. 'Do not be frightened, child. She is not a monster to fear. She is your creator. Close your eyes now and fare thee well, Miss Andy. May the Lord bless and keep you in this endeavour.’
‘Good-bye,’ she murmurs. With a growing sense of dread, Andy shuts her eyes and feels a familiar tug.
Back in the Void
Andy wakes. She capers in delight as she exclaims, ‘Versace! Louboutin! It’s so good to have you guys back again.’ Her celebration is cut short, however, when she realises she is back in the void. Or is she?
Where once there was darkness, the bright, bold, fractured colours of a kaleidoscope forever turning swirl around her. Where once there was silence, music now fills the air. It is loud and high-pitched, recalling a time of big-top circuses and Victorian carousels. She is amazed by not only seeing the colours streaming past her but hearing them as they carry the music along.
Andy follows the prismatic sound to an ornate calliope where a woman in flowing white robes, her long, black hair cascading to her waist, sits at the keyboard. Streams of melodious colours emanate from its brightly-polished brass whistles. As Andy approaches the woman, who is oblivious to her presence, a disembodied voice speaks, its tone teasing.
‘This is Lucy. She is not the one you seek.’
‘Who’s there,’ cries Andy. No reply. She looks at Lucy though she knows it wasn’t she who spoke.
‘Hello,’ Andy calls out. ‘Is someone there? I’m looking for the Author. My name is Andrea, and I’ve got a problem. Do you know Thomas Langley? He said the Author could help me.’
Again, no response. Andy glances at Lucy again. Lucy sways to the music as her fingers continue to dance along the keys as if nothing untoward has occurred.
Frustrated, Andy shouts, ‘I know someone’s there. Whoever you are, show yourself.’
‘If you insist,’ comes the laconic reply.
The voice is closer now, coming from behind her, in fact. Andy turns around and sees a woman sitting at a computer. The light radiating from the monitor gives her face an unhealthy pallor. She is leaning back in her chair, eyes closed, arms folded across her chest.
Andy is uncertain what to do. ‘Looks like she’s sleeping? Should I wake her? What if waking her makes me disappear? I definitely wouldn’t see my family again.’
At that moment, it occurs to Andy that despite knowing about her family, she cannot recall ever meeting them. Nor does she have any childhood memories. ‘How can that be? How can I know about my life but not remember living it?’ She decides to take the risk and wake the dozing woman. Andy needs answers, and she needs them now.
It seems Andy has come full circle. She has returned to the void, but it has changed drastically. Why? How? Who is this woman? Does she hold the key to Andy's future?
By all means, Andy, please wake her up. We want answers too.
© 2018 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon