She knew she was different since the day she was born. She never knew how she was different, just that she was. She had no special talent, no ties to a special blood line, she looked the same as the others. She spoke the same, spoke about the same things, wore the same clothes, lived in a normal town, doing normal things in a normal way. And yet she was different.
After school one day, she was walking home and looking at the sky. It was clear and blue, no clouds as far as the eye could see. But that was not what she saw.
She saw something blinking, and streaking across the sky, from right to left and back again. At first, she thought it was a UFO, but as she looked, she saw more than just the blinking, white rectangle. As it flew across the deep blue sky, it left things behind, like planes that wrote words with smoke.
But this was no plane. Its flight was impossible for any plane. Right to left, then disappearing, reappearing back at the right again. Occasionally, the rectangle rested in one spot for a few seconds before continuing its movements.
She forced her gaze away from the sky to see if anyone else saw what she did. No one was with her, though. She was alone on the side of the road, three blocks from her house.
It was then that she finally knew just how she was different. She knew, deep down in her heart, that no one was seeing this. She knew it, and accepted it without questioning it. She looked skyward again.
She could see more now. She could see that as the white rectangle traveled across the sky, the things it was leaving behind were letters. But they were backwards. There were already six completed paragraphs, and the first word was not indented. She tried to read, but found the task very difficult.
The seventh paragraph was completed. She concentrated on the middle of the fourth paragraph, trying to look past it, to see if there was more. The white rectangle paused for almost ten seconds before continuing. She could see.
She saw his face, his neck, down to his shirt pocket. She saw a hand appear as this being - person? - scratched the side of his face. He chewed on his fingernails for a few seconds as the white, blinking rectangle paused in the sky.
She understood. She knew who he was, what he was. More important than that, she knew what she was. She was not Anne Haley, teenager, student at Oakford High School. She was just a character in someone's imagination. She did not exist. Her thoughts were not her own, they were given to her by whomever it was whose face was floating in the sky. Except it was not a sky. It was not a page. It was a computer screen. And the first page was about to end.
All of the words that filled the sky disappeared. A new page began.
"Who are you?" she shouted at the man in the sky. As she said this, she saw some words written inside quotation marks appear in the sky. She almost said something. She opened her mouth to ask him again, and quotation marks appeared in the sky. But when she closed her mouth, she saw the rectangle - cursor - go back and write something else over them.
This time, when she opened her mouth to talk, she did.
"Are you God?" she asked. She could see him laugh at her. She already knew the answer to her question. He was not God. He was just an author who was playing God. After all, that is what authors do: play God. Only this one was letting someone who lived in one of his imaginary worlds know what she was.
Anne looked at two words in capital letters as the cursor wrote another sentence.
"What do you want?" she yelled at the man behind all the letters.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY?
After struggling to read it, she decided to answer. "I'm not doing very well, sir." She did not want to say the word "sir," but she could not help saying it. The man behind the page written in the sky was toying with her.
She would rather be dead than be toyed with by some cruel god. A gun appeared in the middle of the road a few feet above the ground and fell. She heard it clunk on the pavement, and looked to see what had happened. She ran to it, but before she could pick it up, it disappeared. She looked to the sky.
YES, I KNOW I HAVE A GOD COMPLEX. I JUST WANT TO INDULGE IN IT FOR A LITTLE WHILE.
Anne read the two sentences, finding it was getting easier to read. She discovered that reading these capital letters - but only the capitals - was as easy as reading words as she normally did. It was obviously a skill given to her by this writer in the sky - on the other side of a computer screen.
I'M GOING TO LEAVE NOW FOR A WHILE. I'M ENDING THIS STORY NOW, BUT YOU WON'T NOTICE, BECAUSE THE SEQUEL WILL BEGIN AT THIS
He gave Anne time to read what he had just written, and then typed the last word of his message.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.