“Once I finish off the villain, I can go back home.”

Denyamin stood uncertainly before the doors.  Towering, white, decorated with bas relief flowering vines.  They were as beautiful as the gates of paradise; but he knew he’d face hell beyond them.  One of the guards prodded him- using the deadly end of the rifle.

“Hurry on, Rebel!  She’s waiting!”

“She?  You mean I’m not to face the Emperor?”  Denyamin asked.  He had his guess as to who ‘she’ was, and it was hardly an improvement from his expected meeting. But when the guard growled and shoved him again, Denyamin took a breath, squared his shoulders, and pushed open the door.  He looked through, but didn’t enter, too awed by the sight before him.  The entire outer wall of the room was clear like an enormous window.  He could see the city spread out before him, beacon topped spires and multi-coloured domes, the flickering lights of transports winding their way along the tracks, and beyond that the glittering silver sea that merged seamlessly into the sky.

“Come in, Denyamin Untermon.” A voice, feminine with a surprising and unsettling softness, requested.

“Close the door behind you, I’ve told the guards I wish to speak with you alone.”

Denyamin stepped in and closed the doors as carefully as he could.  They shut without a sound. Turning, he saw that the room was mostly empty save for at the side where stood a small table and two chairs.  Waiting with folded hands in the farthest chair sat the Prime Minister. She indicated to the vacant seat.

“Sit, Denyamin.”

He came, forcing his legs to take measured and steady strides. The Prime Minister hardly looked like an individual to be feared.  Now that he was closer, Denyamin could see the youth in her small face, youth and smoldering regret. Her dark draping Prime Minister’s robes only seemed to accentuate the irony. Regardless, Denyamin kept a wary eye on her as he sat down stiffly and turned his chair slightly to the side. The Prime Minister rested her hand over the buzzer at the table’s corner.

“Would you like anything- tea, coffee, perhaps some fruit?”

“No, thank you.”

“Just as well.  I don’t think I’d be able to take anything either.” The Prime Minister sighed, placing her hand back in her lap and lowering her head.

“I really didn’t want it to be this way.”  She whispered.

“I’m sorry?” Denyamin’s grip on his chair tightened.  The Prime Minister lifted her head, met his eye and leaned her folded arms over the table.

“I did everything I could to prevent this.  You were supposed to stay a humble mail courier, nothing more.  I saw who you were becoming before anyone else even suspected it. But you’re not here simply for your rebellions.  You’re here because you were interfering with my secret plans!”

The Prime Minister seemed to deflate a little as she lifted one arm and pressed the palm of her hand to her forehead.

“I couldn’t risk it.”  She said softly, almost to herself.

Denyamin, eyes wide and hands clenched, was unsure whether to try and offer her comfort or back away.  He tried to speak, to ask her what she was saying, but suddenly she pushed away from the table.  Her robes billowed behind her as she strode to the wall, where she turned a dial on the control panel beside the doors.  The vast windows seemed to ripple as they darkened, until the scenery was blocked out by walls of black.  In her dusky robes the Prime Minister was hardly seen,  aside from her pale face and honey coloured hair. The room was dimly lit by a cold and artificial blue glow, giving her an unearthly quality.  She did not return to her seat when she came back, but stood over Denyamin with her hands tucked into her flowing sleeves.

“I must confess.  I am not the Prime Minister.”  She said in a low tone.

Denyamin nearly jumped back.

“Then those conspiracy magazines, their articles are true?”

“No, although some have come close.  I’m not what even they think I am.”

The look in her eyes as she held his gaze chilled him.

“Mr. Untermon…I’m your author. Your city, your emperor, and you are all creations of my imagination.”

Denyamin stared at her, certain that the allegedly counterfeit Prime Minister had become insane.

“What?” He hissed as soon as he found the breath to speak.  Without breaking eye contact, the Prime Minister continued.

“It all seemed so innocent when I first typed out the layout of your land, its government, its people.  I thought I was making simple stories, although they seemed so real to me.  But as I wrote and delved deeper, I found it was more real than I would have liked.”

She blinked and looked away.  She stood in silence for a while, and then sat down shakily.  This time she kept her eyes shut as she spoke, tears glistening in the blue light.

“I can’t say how it happened.  But one day the intended villain appeared without warning in my world, and forced me into his. It happened so fast I couldn’t fight against it.  I had no time to see my familiar surroundings for the last time…couldn’t say goodbye.”

Denyamin’s frown softened as his incredulity faded.

“You’re…you’re telling the truth…”

Fresh tears trickled down the Prime Minister’s cheeks as her face pinched and she nodded.  She lifted her chin and blinked at the ceiling.

“They…they called me Andrea…back home.” She swallowed.

“I was only a kid trying to find my place in the world.  But I was small, looked down on, insignificant.”  She paused and looked out towards the darkened windows.  Denyamin did the same, and found that if he looked closely he could see the setting sun and its reflections off the city windows.

“But then I was taken away.  And here I found a position I would never have imagined.  Here I am respected, depended on…perhaps…perhaps even loved.”  The Prime Minister faltered.

“But here is not my home, no matter how hard I tried to make it.  I realised I had to get back at all costs.”

“But can you?” Denyamin asked, hesitantly.

She looked at him, her face hardening with fierce resolve.

“This is a story world, I should know, I made it myself!  Therefore the rules of storytelling apply! The hero defeats the villain, and the story ends, that is how things usually work.  Once I can get this story to end, once I finish off the villain, I can go back home.”

“But Prime…Andrea, this ‘villain’ is still in your world, isn’t he?”

“He is.” Andrea’s eyes flickered between fear and fury as she answered.

“And without him, I need a new villain.  So I am making one.  The Emperor fills in the part perfectly.”

Denyamin shifted in his chair and reached out to place a hand on the young woman’s arm.  He did his best to sound calming and gentle, but there was no hiding the tension in his voice.

“Andrea, please listen to me.  I’m sorry this had to happen and I can’t imagine how it must be for you; but would you risk hurting millions of others?  Take into consideration my people if our Emperor continues this path of corruption and falls, bringing the countries down with him.”

Denyamin paled as a new thought struck him.

“What will happen to us all after the End?  When the story finishes…will we be finished too?”

Andrea jerked suddenly, smacking Denyamin’s hand off and pushing away from the table.

“It doesn’t matter!  In reality you’re just words on a page!  I’m the only one that’s an actually flesh and blood person!”

She pushed on the buzzer, and the door opened a crack.

“Yes, Prime Minister?”

“We’re finished.  The guards may take Mr. Untermon back now.” The Prime Minister said as she turned her back to the door. Denyamin saw her wipe a sleeve across her face.

“Wait!”  He begged her.

“Please reconsider! My people matter, you must see it!”

The guards took him by the arms and pulled him back.  The Prime Minister remained turned from him, but she replied in a near-whisper.

“I’m sorry Denyamin.  But at least you now understand.”

***

   This snippet was written back in 2015, although I’ve edited it a bit.  Sometimes I come across stories of people entering books, and I wonder what would happen if the real world person- perhaps the author him/herself- entered the story…and then turned sour.  This was a way for me to play around with the idea.  I’m still fond of this piece, and I’d like to expand it someday. 

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