Author's note: I finally decided to write about writers. It feels like cheating, it's so easy.
Chapter 3 (part 2)“Yeah…” he replied slowly, lifting his eyebrow at the window shades. He stared at the lava lamp in the corner and his eyes grew wide. “Ooh…” Merry giggled again as he went to touch it, and then pulled back at the hot feel, resigning to simply watching the wax bubbles float up and down.
“You’re just like I imagined you,” she commented, hugging her knees as he got close to the glass and followed the bubbles up and down. “It’s weird.” Lore tapped the glass again and
“Yes, you. Cute.: Merry watched as his gaze shifted back to the poster, fawning over the details. “It's just so weird. And hard to absorb.”
“You are!” she replied, finally conjuring up the bravery to put her feet over the side of the bed on which Lore stood. “You're not really... real. Yet here you are.”
“Which makes me real,” he replied with a grin, winking at her. “Come over here and pinch me if you really want to.” Merry stayed where she was. “Oh come on, you know me better than I do. I don't bite. At least, I'm sure I don't.” He beckoned. “Come on, pinch me. Or poke me, if that suits you.”
Merry giggled again. “I... I don't know, I'm just a little shy... you know... don't you feel the same way? Isn't this new for you?”
“Um...” he glanced around the room, and his eyes fell on Merry's dresser, upon which sat an army of little plastic superhero figurines. “Yes. Yes it is.” She smiled.
“So we're both feeling the same bewilderment.”
Merry stood up bravely and, gathering up enough courage to do so, walked toward him with her hand outstretched. She reached him and poked his arm lightly. They both stared at each other for a moment, and then Lore grinned.
Merry poked him again, just in case, and then nodded. “I see... I think... yeah...” her words became drawn-out. “I can't believe this...”
She looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
“You're a writer. I thought you could believe in everything.”
“Hmm..." Merry seemed to think about it for a few seconds. “Well. I do think I saw Santa Clause over our house once. But that was in January, so I can't be sure. I think I believe in him...”
“So therefore, you should believe in me.”
“I guess so.”
“Well of course I want to. But... I've never actually been faced with something as... bizarre as this before.” She backed up and sat down on the bed again, sighing. “Nobody will ever believe me.” Lore leaned on the wall, crossing his arms. “Does anybody have to?” he asked, shrugging. “I don't know about you, but I would prefer to stay away from any adults for now...” he looked slightly nervous. “I don't know why... that pounding on the door scared me...”
“It scared me too.” She eyed Lore again, from top to bottom. “What did you say when you first came in, again? Something about… me calling you…?”
“Oh yes,” Lore snapped his fingers. “I was wondering about that. Something you did pulled me here, which is sort of why I am here in the first place. I don’t usually stalk around unfamiliar bedrooms at night. It gives me the creeps.”
Merry laughed, and then paused. “So why did I call you?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, I didn’t do the calling. What was the last thing you thought before I showed up and mistakenly… frightened us.”
Merry scratched her head in thought. “I was mad about my birthday going all wrong,” she muttered. “Then I started thinking about my book so I wouldn’t be so upset.”
Lore snapped his fingers again and pointed at her. “That would do it, I suppose.”
“You feeling upset and wanting me nearby to comfort you.”
“How does that make any sense?” Merry threw her arms up into the air. “A few minutes ago you weren’t real!”
Lore shrugged dramatically. “Well, now I am. Here, try thinking about Cheera really hard. See if you can do the same thing you did with me.”
Merry looked dubious. “I don’t know…”
“She’d love it here…I think.”
“Are you sure?”
“No,” he admitted, grinning sheepishly. “But the point is for you to learn how to do this thing you did again. It’ll only give yourself more proof, after all.”
Merry sighed. “I guess so… but where are you all going to go when I have to go back to sleep?”
Lore looked around the room, then out the window, and then shrugged. “I don’t know. Somewhere… back in the book, maybe?”
Merry slanted her mouth, but settled down anyway. “Ok. Here goes, then.”
She shut her eyes and began to focus. Cheera was tall, but not as tall as Lore. She was thin, and toned, and had mid-back length golden hair tied into two braids. Her eyes were light blue, like a slightly cloudy day. Her clothes were light, and mainly for hunting in the woods or jungle. She carried a spear.
“Oh, hello,” Merry heard Lore say, and her eyes popped open. Cheera was standing by the bed, blinking and looking confused.
“…what,” she said tonelessly.
“Cheera, hi,” Lore poked his face into her line of vision. She looked at him. “We’re in Merr-, well, we’re in the writer’s world.” He moved aside so she could see Merry again. “That’s our writer.”
The female elf stared, and Merry squirmed uncomfortably, trying to smile.
“Hi,” she said, waving a little. Cheera blinked again, and then waved back as if she didn’t exactly understand why she was waving. Her eyes drifted to Lore.
“It’s ok, you’re not dreaming,” Lore reassured her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Merry summoned us, or something of the like, and so here we are.”
“Um…” Cheera looked at Merry again. Then her eyebrows drew together. “So you… brought us into your world?”
“After waking us up?”
“I was sleeping pretty well.”
“Sorry about that,” Merry was studying Cheera all over, her eyes glistening. “So you’re real too…”
“Of course I’m real, girl,” the elf snorted. She elbowed Lore. “Seems like she can’t believe we’re real. How childish.”
Lore chuckled and glanced at Merry. “She’s lapsing back into her usual self. Be prepared for temper and-ow!”
“Don’t insult me!” Cheera cried, having kicked Lore in the knee. He hopped away to a safe distance.
“I’ll remember that next time I’m standing in your proximity,” he said, wincing.
“See that you do.” Cheera spun on Merry again, arms crossed. “Ok, genius girl. You brought us here, now what are you going to do with us?”
“Well… you see, it’s… um…”
“Yeah.” Cheera whirled on Lore, arms still crossed. “You had a hand in this, didn’t you?”
“Well I was here first, what do you think?”
Cheera narrowed her eyes at him, but just as she was about to say something else, Merry put her hand up.
“Should I try it with Advix, too?”
“No,” Cheera replied strongly. “He’s a wimp.”
“And quite annoying,” Lore pointed out. Merry made a face.
“He’s supposed to be epic.”
“He is, when we’re not doing an In-Between,” Lore said.
“When you’re not writing,” Cheera finished.
“Ahh…” the 15-year old lapsed into momentary thought. “I have two characters in my room and nobody else knows. But I can still summon them… Holy cow… this must be every writer’s dream…” she paused, and then snapped her fingers, inadvertently catching the attention of the two bantering elves. “I should try it with Eclipse. I haven’t written anything with her yet.”
Lore reached forward and poked her on the forehead, snapping her out of it.
“You zoned out. You went into that weird, dark corner where writers no doubt go when they’re thinking.” Merry grinned.
“Yes, I did,” she confirmed. “But for good reason. Here stand back.” She pushed Lore away and motioned him and Cheera toward the wall. Not knowing what else to do, they followed her commands and stood to the side. Merry closed her eyes again and began to focus very hard.
She was a short woman – a human – a little shorter than Cheera. She was thick-boned but still very fit, and slightly more muscular. Her long, shining black hair was pulled up into a messy bun on the back of her head, and her dark eyes matched the calmness of a stormless ocean. Two sword sheaths hung at her sides, a rare sight. She was smiling, like she almost always was…
“What the-?” Merry’s eyes flew open as the sound of a sword being unsheathed reached her ears. Before her stood a woman who matched the description she’d just thought exactly, except at the moment she looked frightened, and in her hands were two swords –one pointed at Lore and Cheera, the other pointed at Merry. She was panting, and her eyes quickly hardened. They fell on Lore. “Where am I?”
“In a room,” he replied jovially. “I’m Lore, and these are Cheera and Merry. He motioned at the two, but the woman did not seem any less threatened. Her eyes went to Merry.
“You,” she said stiffly, and Merry suddenly realized she was being pointed at with a blade. She scooted backward. “Why did you call me here? Who are you?”
“I’m Merry,” she replied meekly.
“I know your name, but who are you? And why did you call me here?”
“I… erm… wanted to see if I could,” Merry replied with a shamefaced expression. “I haven’t written anything with you yet, I wasn’t sure if I could imagine you well enough.”
Eclipse’s eyebrows tilted in an almost sad way, confusion clouding her eyes. “What?”
Lore dared to move out of the way of her sword point, catching her attention, and relaxed himself. “You don’t need to worry,” he said reassuringly. “We’re all pretty new at this.”
“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Eclipse shot back, her voice sharp. Lore didn’t flinch.
“Well that’s easily remedied,” the elf replied, trying to stay relaxed for the newcomer’s sake. Merry was impressed that he remembered to do so. “I’m just an elf warrior, and not a very good one at that. My friend Cheera is an extremely skilled fighting member of the royalty, and Merry here invented all of us.”
Eclipse deadpanned at him. “Huh?”
Cheera smacked Lore over the head and then shoved him, sending him stumbling into Merry’s bed.
“Don’t listen to him,” the elf woman snorted. “He’s confusing. What really happened was that this girl here,” she pointed at Merry, “is a skilled storyteller who can summon her characters to life. That’s why we’re here.”
Eclipse blinked, slowly lowering her swords. “So…we’re characters?”
“Oh.” She sheathed her swords calmly and then let out a breath, looking around, much more satisfied. “Ok then.” She cracked a jolly smile at Cheera and shook her hand with a surprisingly strong grip. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.” Cheera pulled away quickly, and Eclipse went for Lore, her smile widening. She extended her hand into his face as he sat up.
“Hi. I’m Eclipse.”
“Oh. Hello.” Lore leaned back again and shook her hand, but unfortunately he didn’t let go in time as she spun to face Merry again. He went flying, stumbling into Merry’s mountain of stuffed animals. Everyone giggled.
“So…” Merry was still cross-legged on the bed as she stared at everyone. They began milling around her room, picking up random objects and marveling at them, or appearing frightened of them. Lore pulled himself from the stuffed animal collection and stood, brushing himself off. Then he lowered himself next to Merry and rested his elbows on his knees, watching the other two marvel over the goldfish.
“So,” Lore mimicked, glancing at her. “Here we are. What are you going to do with us?”
Merry, who was staring straight ahead in bemusement as Cheera spun her hanging mobile, shrugged.