Michael could feel the force pressing down on him; he’d felt this strange pressure floating about his consciousness for weeks, months even, but today felt different. He felt trapped, besieged by malevolence far greater than any negativity he had ever felt before in his life. He had the irrational urge to run, to flee from something that didn’t even exist. But he had to go to work, to go about his day as he always did. He brushed his teeth, combed his hair, applied deodorant, dressed (first pants, then socks, then shirt, then tie, then shoes and finally jacket) and left his apartment for work. He was employed at Brown and Baker Attorneys: “we’ll win the case or you’ll win the lottery!” The plug was designed to give people the confidence that even if their case didn’t win they would still see money, but people rarely won, and the only money they saw were the funds draining steadily out of their bank accounts.
Michael had tried to explain to his current girlfriend the recent feeling he had that someone was guiding his actions, placing each of his movements precisely in the way that the force desired; however, she was less than amused. She told him to knock off the theatrics and stop daydreaming. Her comment was not without merit; Michael was wont to leave behind the waking world and explore the realms of his mind. He had found that his waking life was rather droll, and his fantasies were significantly more enthralling than his time spent behind a desk. He could be off exploring the frigid wastelands of Hoth, or battling the dark forces of Sauron, or even claiming the independence of the Corsican people. His mental realm was his Sanctuary, but lately it had become something far more sinister.
Michael felt the Presence on his 7:46am bus ride to work. A pall hung above him, pushing him down. The clouds didn’t just seem darker, they seemed alive. Angry. News reports spoke of the worst storm in city history, storms that had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Michael knew where they came from though; he knew they came from the Presence that existed beyond tactile perception.
Michael’s bus neared his stop. As the bus chugged forward the clouds grew more turbulent. Lightning whipped across the sky as thunder cannoned off the buildings. Wind tossed the bus back and forth as the sky grew an unpleasant shade of green and gray. The bus driver slammed on the brakes, screaming for the passengers to get off now and make their way to shelter. Michael was in no hurry to leave the relative safety of the bus, but he was swept along with the sea of frightened people. As they made their way outside, the storm reached new heights of fury. Michael could feel this rage coming to a head; this blind hate that sought so desperately to destroy him.
Michael saw it coming before he ever had time to actually react to it. A large piece of metal, some sort of stabilizing beam, flew through the air towards him. He knew it was coming, knew he had no chance of moving and knew that this was all fitting. But why did he know? And more alarmingly, how? His life didn’t flash before his eyes. He didn’t think about all of the things he had done or wanted to do. He didn’t think about his family or his girlfriend. He watched the beam move towards him, with unbelievable amounts of force, and waited. He was somehow aware that this is what was meant to be. It felt like this was the culmination of things for him. As the beam speared through his chest, Michael felt at peace with the Presence above. As his life leaked around the edges of his clothes, Michael knew, and this felt peculiar even to him, this was where he ought to be.
Duncan typed furiously, annihilating the pristine whiteness of the blank pages with streaks of black fire. He had willed these people into existence, manipulated their formation and done what so many could not. Jessica Harper, his antagonist, was a crime scene investigator, and what better way for her to get involved in the story than by a freak storm? Seeing as she needed a body to examine, preferably one less than alive, Duncan needed someone to die. Michael was created and obliterated within the space of an hour. He was fiction right? He had no life apart from the brief scene he had on the bus. Michael was nothing more than a plot device. Duncan did not even grace him with a second thought as the beam speared through Michael’s chest, seeing only the resulting profits from his next publication contract.