THE SHINE JOURNAL

Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!

 

Intellectual Property 

 

by

 

Christopher Allan Death

 

 

 

Have you ever imagined a character so vividly that he actually came alive?  Have you ever fallen into a nightmare so frightening that you thought it was real?  Michael Dawson did, and that’s exactly where our story begins.

 

Darkness spread across the bedroom.  Michael hid beneath his covers, trying to ignore the ethereal sounds that interrupted his troubled slumber.

 

Lightning creased the sky.

 

Thunder riddled the fragile calm.

 

Across the room Michael’s bedroom door swung open slowly.  The terror that had saturated his mind during so many sleepless nights suddenly paled in comparison with the figure that stood before him now.

 

Every bone in Michael’s shivering body told him that this was not possible.  Every bone in his shivering body told him that the figure was not Arthur Van Buren, rogue detective from New York City.  But deep down inside he knew the truth.

 

Are you going to kill me?”

 

The figure standing in the doorway smiled.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Because you died in my new novel?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“How did you find me?”

 

Arthur Van Buren cracked another evil grin.

 

You created me.  You gave me life.  I always know where you are.”

 

Michael swallowed hard.  The man was exactly like he pictured in the novels: tall, well-muscled, sun-burnt skin, bald head, and dark sunglasses.  Except this time he carried a mean .357 nickel-plated pistol, instead of the trusty Colt .45 he used in Michael’s novels.  That meant he was forming an identity by himself, without the author’s intervention.

 

“Why did you kill me Michael?”

 

“The publisher thought I should knock off a prominent character.  I had no choice.  My readers wanted something new.”

 

“That isn’t good enough.”

 

Michael watched with mixed fascination and horror as the .357 rose suddenly.  He never imagined that one day his most beloved creation would be pointing a semiautomatic pistol at his head.  But now he realized that anything was possible.

 

“What do you want?  I’ll do anything you ask.”

 

“I want you to rewrite the story.”

 

“That isn’t possible.  My publisher already shipped the novels worldwide.  The book is scheduled to release in six days.”

 

Van Buren’s eyes flashed with confusion and betrayal.

 

“Why did you kill off your favorite character Michael?  I was inside your head for ten years and now you decide to destroy me overnight?  I thought we were a team.”

 

Michael shrunk further into his satin sheets.  The scent of sweat and fear and anger condensed in the room, creating an atmosphere worthy of some Stephen King novel.

 

Van Buren stood inside the door, his figure highlighted against the shadows by streams of silver moonlight.  The wicked-looking .357 extended toward Michael with silent fury.  Suddenly the world-renowned author knew he was going to die.

 

The trouble actually started about ten years earlier during a vacation in Chicago.  Michael was a struggling writer and his fiancée of six months had just left him.  During that hard time he created Detective Arthur Van Buren – the character who jumpstarted his professional career.

 

Unfortunately when Michael decided to surprise his loyal readers and kill off the popular character, Van Buren became angry.  Somehow the character inside Michael’s mind managed to separate from the author’s creative psyche.  He had become completely independent from Michael’s intellectual control.  And now he pointed a loaded .357 at his creator’s forehead

 

“I’m sorry Michael.”

 

“Please don’t do this.”

 

“You shouldn’t have killed me.”

 

“Give me another chance!”

 

A gunshot echoed through the silence.

 

Michael felt the cold lead enter his chest, and rend into his fragile stomach tissue.  Another hollow-point followed close after, this time cutting straight through his heart.  Severed blood vessels spat thick crimson fluid from the wound.

 

He tried to breath, but only blood filled his lungs.  He could taste a coppery tang in his mouth.  Michael felt his world disappear, and a canvas of darkness converged upon him.

 

When the police found the author’s body two days later, they blamed the death on natural causes.  According to medical records, his family had a long history of heart problems.  The county coroner found no evidence of foul play.  Instead, the fine print on Michael Dawson’s death certificate read: CAUSE OF DEATH – HEART ATTACK.

 

Nobody noticed the handwritten prose on the author's writing desk... or the .357 hollow point bullet shells hidden beneath.

 

Christopher Allan Death ...

...will share with us soon...