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I touched the pen to the paper for the tenth time. The reason I say ‘the’ pen instead of ‘my’ pen is because it’s not mine. I found it laying on the side of the road and picked it up, thinking that it was a good omen. Y’see, I have this story I need to be writing for my company I work for. I rubbed my eyelids, sighing heavily. I took a swig of coffee from my flask. The Nectar of The Gods. Finally, an idea popped into my head. I scribbled down a title. ‘The Thicket of Bones’. I wrote about how a hero had to save the kingdom from magic skeletons that break through the ground, searching for a purpose. I accidentally ripped the page, and was about to write over it but my wrist grew tired as I set down the pen. My writing glinted a navy blue, shining brightly against the page. I leaned back in my old swivel chair, unfortunately getting the setting sun in my eyes. Blindly stumbling towards the drapes, I closed them and clicked on my tiny lamp. I fear the dark, or rather, what’s inside of it. I shimmed into my pajamas and face planted into my pillow. A day well spent. I buzzed with serotonin at the thought of my writing being displayed at work. Perhaps I’ll even get a raise. The pleasant thought lulled me to sleep. Suddenly, my body did that fake-falling thing, and I jolted awake. Well, I thought I’d see my room, like always, but no.

I saw the rolling hills, dotted with beautiful trees. I was in my story. Now, I’m sure most of you think getting stuck in a story would actually be really cool, right? Wrong. Everything feels fuzzy, and it’s very easy to break the fourth wall. It’s like being caught in a fever dream. I took a step forward, and immediately something latched onto my ankle. My panicked breathing hitching in my throat. I turned, and saw a bony hand, latched onto my ankle. A skeleton rose out of the ground, its bones popping and snapped back into place. “W- what do you want from me?” I asked.

Yo''ur'''e the H''ero we’'''ve b''ee'''n wai''ti'''ng for.” It shakily called out. “No! You’ve- you’ve got it wrong! I am not your protagonist…..I’m not even my own.” I sighed, knowing that I don’t have any control over anything I do, just as it is in the real world. I yank my foot free of the skeleton’s grasp, which was clearly not intended to happen considering the fact that the skeleton melted. Horrified, I ran. Ran and ran. I reached a dark area, a ledge in the world full of static and misery. I turned, and an entire terrifying jumble of melted bones and voices was shambling towards me. Can't go back now. I squeezed my eyes shut and jumped into the pit, expecting to either a.) wake up or b.) die. Neither happened.

My feet hit soft grass, and I opened my eyes. Before me was a small house. The sky was pitch black, not a cloud in sight. I shakily walked to the house, and someone from inside was setting a fresh pie on the windowsill to cool it. The person had on a apron like that of a 90’s mom, but their face was covered by a mask. The mask was simple, smiling at me with dimpled and rosy cheeks. “WeLCome Home, dear.” it spoke. It certainly was a feminine voice, and I knew where I was at last.

I felt very claustrophobic and panicked, and a male voice startled me out of my thoughts. “Out of school so soon, son?” it asked. I turned, and a man drinking out of a mug and reading a newspaper looked up at me. His face, too, was covered by a mask, this time you couldn’t see its smile, for it was covered by a gray broom mustache. “I- er-“ I began.

Big browwer!” Squealed a cheerful yet warbled voice. A little girl with a full on delighted grinning mask came in, her blonde hair done in pigtails. She hugged my thigh, and I couldn’t help but pat her head.

“Where am I, really ?”

This is home,” they all responded.


This is home.

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