The End

June 25, 2011
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“You’re killing me?”

His voice is hoarse as he whispers across the white space. The words fall like drops from a leaking faucet, too hard and too loud.




I’m staring at him and, improbable as it is, he is staring back at me. His breath is coming in wisps.

“It’s not…killing, exactly,” I say, trying to persuade him. Trying to persuade myself. “It’s like…well, it will seem like death to the others. They’ll think you’re dead.”

“Oh.” Crushed breath from crushed lungs. In. Out. In. Out. “Oh.”

He stares at the nothing.
“Do I get to see them again?”

“Well…” I stop myself. Will he get to see them again? By “them,” of course, I mean his brother, his parents, everyone else in the book. Will he get to see them? “I guess…sure you could. You always can, you know. You just won’t see them, you know, in the actual story again.”

“So I won’t know if they die?”

Blood flowing, heart beating. Virtue and vice, thumping in rhythm.

“I don’t know.”

There. I’ve said it. I am kneeling on the white space across from him now. Blank sky and a blank ground. Crushed lungs filling. I can hear him not asking the questions, and I can hear my answers unspoken.

Will it hurt?

I don’t know.

Will they cry?

I don’t know.

Will they ever go home?

I don’t know.

Will the bad guys kill them?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I don’t know how, but he’s suddenly grasping my fingers, clenching and curling them up tight until it looks as though his hands might break. Those hands…I gave him those hands, bestowed upon him every last detail of the thin face with its round, grey eyes. He’s like a child – well, I mean, he is still a child. He’s only, what, twelve? Ten years old when he was born. But he’s like my child. My child, and for some reason it’s suddenly hard to just let him go.

“I don’t want to die,” he whispers. I don’t want to die. Right now, he, along with his brother and three others, is struggling along a vast, barren plain covered in eternal snow, lucky to survive every day. Dying would be so much easier. No more cold, no more pain or disease, no paying the price if you survive to the end of the story. But for some reason, he wants to live.

And I can’t figure out why.

His eyes are shining with tears in the blank space, and I turn my hands to hold his gently.

“My brother,” he whispers. “Will he die?”

“Well – well, no, I guess. He’s the main character, so I can’t exactly…” My voice trails off, and I smile sheepishly. Tactlessly.

To my surprise, he merely nods. “I’m glad,” he says quietly.

His hands are exactly the size of mine. Fitting, since it is my hands that created him.

“Listen.” I speak his name. I’m the one who taught him that name, going through dozens of others before deciding on one. It speaks of his innocence, his youth.
It speaks of vulnerability.
“Your brother – he’ll be okay. They’ll all be okay. They’ll miss you, but they won’t forget you. And when the time comes, you’ll see them. I promise.”
He is silent. “Okay.”
Keeping his fingers in mine, I stand, pulling him up with me. I smile and brush some of the dark waves of hair from his forehead. When he was born, I did not believe it possible, but now, he smiles back.
Now the emptiness around us is closing in, the real world threatening to take over. Who knew I would grow so fond of him? I was not meant to love him, but he is a part of me. After all, our hands are exactly the same size.
It will not hurt. That much I know – he will not hurt when he is dead.
So I speak his name for the final time.
And I let go.

Join the Discussion

This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

rage_against_the_machine said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Woah, cool! 

I'll admit, at the beginning, I was already formulating a response about being confused as to the situation, but the ending was awesome. I love the concept of the author speaking to the character. 

I've never seen anything like it, bravo.

HayHay123 said...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

This is SO clever Jade!

I'm so excited to read the book your writing! Going to Harry Potter 7 with you was SO fun! Have you been on the Pottermore website yet?

Hope to hear from you soon on email!


StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Hallo, Haley! ^-^ Glad you liked it! I shall email you soon.
Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Aug. 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm

This is like , you telling your character that your killing him off , right?

Anyways , I loved the idea of it , and it made me kinda sad. I feel horrible when I'm writing , and I know one of my characters won't survive. It was such a cool point of view to see this from. Fantastic job!

StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Thanks! Yes, it was basically me telling him he's going to die. :(
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:22 am
I'm now very, very intrigued by the story this came from. I've caught bits and pieces of information--like the whole 'main character' thing. This must be a very good novel you're writing. And this scene is so well written. Your style of writing kind of just has the reader captivated the entire time. So well done!!! I can't believe I'm the first one to comment! 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Thanks so much! :) This is one of my favorite pieces I've written. I'm still working on the novel that's referenced...I might post it on here when it's finished.
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