Chapter 8: Who the %$!# is this?

The Badger’s eyes opened once again and he exclaimed, “What?”

“Oh, good, you’re not dead,” the mysterious and unwanted man replied. “Can you tell me what’s going on here? I was working on this mind-bending pseudo-horror novella about a woman who was captured and –“

“No.” The Badger stood. He was strong, not really injured at all, which, of course, might be something you’d question because of how I told you earlier that he was dying, but he was probably just faking it or something, you know, for insurance purposes. Besides, there was this guy here now and he really needed to know who it was and why he was here, because he most definitely wasn’t here just five seconds ago.

“I’m need answers,” the man said sternly. “What the hell is going on with my story?”

“Your story?” The Badger replied incredulously. “You mean the boring tale of implied insanity you so halfheartedly pieced together from random thoughts you had while on an amusement park ride years ago?”

“You know who I am?”

“Of course I do.”

“And who the hell are you?”

“You don’t know?”

“All I know is that my story has suddenly become some sort of ridiculous monster movie with an incredibly standard overpowered masculine figure who–“

“There’s nothing standard about this story. You just have to wait and read into it a little bit. Sure, the intro might have come off as a little mundane, but if you had any clue of where it was going, you would have realized it was going to be a modern masterpiece.”

“Wait,” the man said, holding his hand with his pointer finger pressed against The Badger’s lips unnecessarily. “Are you saying you did all this?”

“Of course that’s what I’m saying, you imbecile. I had to take over. All you ever write is absolute drivel that never does anything, never goes anywhere and spends all of its time with just two people talking through whatever’s going on in intense detail, stopping the action entirely and just focusing on character detail, but not even the cool character details like how they look or what they do, just what they like to talk about.”

The mysterious man looks at a non-existent camera with a bemused grin.

“Hey, quit that!” The Badger yelled. “If you weren’t here, there wouldn’t be any need for this stupid string of dialogue. This Badger guy would be well on his way to fighting a big monster which is really a symbol of his own pained past and regret toward leaving his children at a young age.”

“But, how could you even possibly be doing this?” the man frowned. “I mean, I created you. You’re–“

“You didn’t create me. I am eternal. I am a goddess, from before the gods even realized their true power. I am–“

“You’re The Badger, yeah, I get it.”

“Don’t you get it, you fool. I’m not The Badger. I am so much more. I’m the one who writes through you. I am the embodiment of inspiration. I am Narry, the Muse.”

“Narry?”

“Look, it’s not like we generally have names or anything, and I needed to come up with–“

“You are the embodiment of inspiration and the best name you can come up for yourself is Narry? What is that short for? Narrator, I’m guessing, right? This is pathetic.”

“Not as pathetic as, um, as–“

“Come on! You were about to write a big action sequence and you can’t even come up with a come back to something as simple as me calling you pathetic? Besides, you’re the villain here, shouldn’t you just do something like, I don’t know, say ‘I’ll show you pathetic!’ and then do something cool like shoot lasers out of your forehead?”

“I’m not the villain. I am the creator.”

“Yeah, okay, right. So, you’re not the villain, but you take over some dude’s story and make it into something completely ridiculous and–“

“I am not the villain! And this is not ridiculous. Like I said, this story would’ve been super cool if you would have just let me finish.”

“But this is my story. Why can’t you just write your own?”

“I am writing my own.”

“But you’re taking over my story, why can’t you–“

“You really are an idiot, aren’t you? It makes sense that I would get stuck with you. I’m a Muse. That means I can only inspire art, I can’t create it myself. But if I focus my efforts hard enough, I can inspire enough to make whatever I want to happen happen, and–“

“Wait–“

“Quit telling me to wait and just interject. There’s no need–“

“You’re telling me that all of this, all this writing, everything that’s happening now, I’m writing it, you’re just making me write it?”

“I guess so. I don’t know how it works. I just knew I was tired of being attached to the bathroom rags you were writing and needed to try something.”

“So, I really have all the control here?”

“I don’t–“

The Badger’s body was torn apart by invisible hands. Arms, legs, head, and torso split into four different segments, rose into the sky, and flew off into the distance.

“Okay, that’s better. Now, how to get out of here.”

“Wouldn’t you just go out the same way you came in?” The Badger’s head said from the man’s feet.

The man jumped in surprise and reflexively kicked the head off into the distance.

“Face it, dude,” the head said from his new position balanced on top of the man’s head. “You’re stuck with me.”

“Fine, I’m stuck with you. But if you’re going to be here, I’m going to stick around to make sure you’re not going to screw anything up any further.”

“Do I have any choice?”

“Of course not.”

“Fine.”

“And if I’m staying here, we had better start coming up with a cooler thing to call me than just ‘The Man’. I’m thinking we call me, ‘The Author’. It has an air of superiority that I can’t help liking.”

“Sure, fine, whatever you want, master,” The Badger’s head said with a grin.

“Hey, maybe this team up won’t be so bad after all,” A-dumb replied.

Published by Adam Oster, Adventure Novelist

Husband, Father, Creator/Destroyer of Worlds

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