“The Final Ending” started out as a simple fairy tale in a space opera setting. A princess needs to be rescued. A prince, pirates, even a dragon, floated into the story and I thought to myself ‘who on earth would write something like this’ (aside from me), and then the writer became part of the story (and subject to the same sort of whims he was inflicting on his characters.)
Here’s the blurb:
Space pirates? Dragons? A princess? An accountant’s true love? Who writes this stuff?
With a seemingly immutable fate written by a hard-hearted author, what would you do? John Charming wants desperately to rescue his true love, but the creator of his particular story expects John to just sit back and accept his destiny. John has other plans. Read “The Final Ending?” to see what happens.
And here’s the excerpt:
Sometimes You Can Change Your Stars
John couldn’t believe his luck.
For three years, his occasional compliments of her choice of clothes notwithstanding, he had kept his working relationship with Aurora entirely professional. He had detected a warming in their interactions of late, though, something in the way she looked him directly in the eye that encouraged him, so last week he had finally made his move. The financial analysis he had handed her of the Opularis Resort on Avalon wasn’t just the usual drab collection of statistics. On a brochure included in the packet, he had placed a simple post-it note pointing to the claim of “lush accommodations in a romantic setting”; his note read simply:
“Something we should experience?”
She had paused in her scan of the materials, then resumed her read-through. He had thought it was all for naught, until she closed the dossier, looked him in the eye, and said.
“An excellent recommendation, Mr. Charming,” she said, and the warmth in her eyes was magnified in his chest. “We’ll discuss it when I return from my trip.”
But it was not to be. Aurora’s ship was attacked by marauders on what was supposed to be a simple two-month excursion to Epic Astronomics’ Lilliput facility. Aurora’s lifepod escaped the pirates, but had disappeared from the government’s scanners. The authorities had only engaged in a cursory inspection of sensors and radio transmissions before calling an end to the search.
“She has to still be out there – otherwise, what’s the point of all of this?”
Business being business, with neither evidence of Aurora‘s survival, nor even a demand for her ransom, Epic Astronomics, in the person of her replacement, CEO Prince Bentley, had put an end to all speculation. The Darling of the Five Systems was lost forever. Nothing else to see here – move along.
“I can’t believe that it’s over before it’s even started,” John said. “I have to do something.”
Accountants only handle money – they don’t have any of their own. What could someone of John’s unimpressive standing do?
Whatever Needs To Be Done
The fifty-million credit chits that John had embezzled…
“Let’s say creatively drained.”
Whose story is this?
“Who’s it about?”
The fifty-million credit chits that John had creatively drained from a variety of Epic Astronomics’ accounts weighed down the valise as he wandered through the space port. Let those unfaithful corporate types moan and groan about the proper way to do things. Aurora deserved their loyalty.
“That’s more like it.”
He wandered through the outer ring, the seediest part of the city, wondering when someone might jump him from the shadows. Finally, he saw the Andromeda Bar’s fritzing neon sign and stepped inside.
John spotted the pirate, still suited up and sitting in a corner booth. He was a red-bearded spacer who looked no shadier than the rest of the patrons, none of whom looked like they could present legitimate letters of transit if asked. He slid the valise under the table and sat across from Red Beard as the pirate reached down and tested the hefted of it.
“It’s all here?” Red Beard asked.
“As agreed,” John said. “Do you want to count it?”
“Not necessary – I trust you,” Red Beard smiled.
“You’re sure you have a bead on where her lifepod is?”
“I know the area it disappeared in like the back of my hand. Trust me,” Red Beard said, standing with the valise. “I have to do some prep for the trip. Meet me at Pier Seventeen at 2300. It’s not far, but it’s not a pretty place, so be careful.”
“That’s in two hours,” John said, looking at his watch. “Shouldn’t I go with you?”
“Look, I’m surprised you made it here in one piece, but you don’t want to go where I’m going,” Red Beard said as he walked away. “Trust me.”
John wondered if he was a fool to do so as he watched the pirate walk out into the street. But what else could he do? He had to count on Red Beard to keep his word.
He should have followed the pirate. Everyone knows there isn’t honor among thieves.
“Not true,” John said. “I’m a thief now, and despite that, I’m acting honorably.”
After waiting around for what seemed an eternity of doubt, John left the Andromeda and circled the ring until he found the empty, totally abandoned Pier Seventeen. He checked his watch – 2300.
“That’s a fancy watch you have there,” said a voice from behind him.
Before John could turn around something hit the top of his head hard, and his thoughts throbbed as he fell to the ground.
No. There is no honor among thieves.
And then it all went black.
“What? That’s it? It can’t be over!”
Sometimes things don’t go the way you’ve planned.
“I don’t buy that. There has to be a different ending. Aurora is counting on me.”
Will John Charming be able to influence the story line enough to gain his heart’s desire? Or will his fickle fate be further flailed by a fickler (Does this seem ridiculous to you? Well, I suppose it might – except I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught this kind of flack from my characters while I’m trying to write. I mean, who do they think is telling the story?)
“The Final Ending?” is a speculative fiction short story, and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
“The Final Ending?” is also included in the collection And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND :
Which is itself included in the mega-collection The Next Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’ (as a special offer, since “The Final Ending” is the last story I will be promoting from this mega-collection, the next ten people to purchase the collection at Smashwords with coupon code SSW50 will receive an 80% discount (so you pay only 99-cents for EIGHTEEN STORIES – such a deal!):
William Mangieri’s next ePublication will be “Truth in Advertising”:
A paranoid marketer finds himself down a dark alley, just as he expected. But is it always a bad thing when they’re after you?
“Truth in Advertising” is a speculative fiction short story with a bit of alien marketing. The release date isn’t until June 21st, but it’s available for preorders now at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Date Night” – can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
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