The story is a building and I take the elevator to the seventh floor, the seventh story. I knock on her door but there’s no answer and I’m too impatient now, too energized, thriving on adrenaline, and of course I have the keys, so I unlock the door and step into her story, her world, where she lives.
It’s not a bedroom or a living space, like many of the stories in the building. Instead I find myself standing in an alleyway behind what looks to be an old fashioned movie theatre. It’s certainly not what I expected to find, but the setting doesn’t matter either way because once I find her we can leave this place and build a whole new story on our own.
She steps out into the street, all dolled up in soft subtle makeup. She wears a short fringe dress and pearl necklace, her raven hair done up with a feather and a silk scarf flowing across her exposed clavicle; the design is exotic, expensive, like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the scarf seems to go on for miles. She walks arm-in-arm with a handsome man dressed dapper in a business suit, with golden cufflinks and a silk tie. A little boy walks in front of them. He’s eight years old, or ten, I can’t decide. He has the same raven hair as Mary Sue, and the features of his face are just like the man beside her.
She has a family. I never knew she had a family. A child. A life. She never told me her story. How could she keep that a secret from me, after all I’ve done for her? After everything we’ve shared?
I feel the betrayal boiling inside of me and as I clench my fists in rage I notice something cold and hard between my fingers. I look down and realize that I’m holding a gun, an M1911 .45 caliber pistol, or maybe a six-shooter, I can’t decide, with a Russian name emblazoned on its side. It’s the same gun I stole, the one that was meant for her, and I realize that I never changed the story after all. Everything that’s happened, it was all part of the story. This was always how it was going to go, and it doesn’t affect me either way. I’m just doing my job.
Mary Sue looks up to see me standing in their path, the shock and surprise spilling all across her pretty face. I take a step forward, my left foot splashing in a well-placed puddle. She throws her arms up in surrender. I hear her say something and it sounds like it could have been my name, as if I ever had one. So I point the pistol, pull the trigger, tell the story. The hammer flies forward, knocks the bullet down the barrel, a small explosive force that sends it coursing through the air and through her chest. It shatters her necklace and I watch the string of pearls as they fall to the ground. I let off another shot just to be safe and then turn my attention towards her husband. I pull the trigger three more times and watch as the young boy falls to his knees. He sits in a puddle of blood and cries, cradling his mother’s lifeless body. I drop the gun and escape down the alleyway, back into the building, into nothingness, leaving the boy to deal with the damage and live out the story all alone.
Mary Sue was the only person who ever showed any interest in me, ever believed in me, believed that I could be a story. She was right, and so I shot her dead, just because the story demands it. I thought I made a choice and saved her life, but it turns out that I’ve just been a story all along. I guess that means I finally got what I wanted, although it didn’t turn out quite the way I’d planned. It may not be a happy ending, but it is The End, and if nothing else, at least I’ll be remembered.
I think Father would be proud of that.