Hey, everyone. *Nervous laugh* I’m really, sincerely, sorry for not posting last week. I know those of you who read the first part were really looking forward to the second one. And I have no reasonable excuse for this blunder except that I forgot.
But yeah, a humble apology is not all I have. Albeit a week late, strap yourselves in for the second part.
“Wait- what? What? Excuse me?” I say, baffled.
“You heard it, buddy.”
“Wait- this is too weird. Hang on a second. You’re saying this whole world, this-” I pick up my glass- “This drink, this table, you, Mogu, all the people- we’re all in a book? A fictional world? This is all orchestrated?”
“No shit, Sherlock,” Al replies condescendingly.
“Hang on- what’s the date today?”
“What’s the blasted date got to do with it?” he says, confused by the change in the direction of the conversation.
“Just tell me.”
Mogu takes out his pocket calendar. After a moment, he looks up from it. “Third of June.”
“So, this is an after-April Fool’s prank?” I cross my arms. Al facepalms and shares a frustrated look with Mogu. “The punk thinks we’re pranking him.”
“Mr Marlow,” says the tiny man with as much seriousness as his pudgy features can carry off- “This is not a practical joke. We are telling you the truth, and in my humble opinion, it’d be in your best interests to believe us since opportunities like these are few.”
“Well then, I suggest you keep your humble opinion to yourself, Mogu,” I say with as much acrimony as I can muster. “You all are probably too drunk to actually listen to the bullshit you’re spouting. Do you two realise you drugged me for a silly joke?” I shake my head. “Here’s the money for the drinks,” I say, throwing my last few drachmas on to the table. “Keep the change.”
With that, I storm out of the bar, its little bell ringing violently. Mogu’s bar is one of those old-school places. In fact, old-school is like calling it last minute. Prehistoric would be a better word for it. It has a bell and doesn’t take Aurocoin, for heaven’s sake.
I marvel at the sheer ridiculousness of the idea. The world a book? Me the protagonist? The events orchestrated? Hardly likely. Al and Mogu were stupid to think I’d fall for this. They are good actors though. If I were in Mogu’s place, I’d have burst out laughing in the middle of that.
Besides, if I am indeed the protagonist of some book, I’d have to be strong and smart and handsome. Generally perfect. Which I can say with confidence that I’m not. At all. I’ve read a few old classics like the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid and other such stuff. The hero is always perfect. All pretty face and muscular body and superhuman strength. With girls drooling over him. I’m sixteen with no observable muscles and I’ve never been in a single relationship in my life.
Heroes do go out on adventures though. But what I do are not adventures at all. I’m just one of the regular kids who’s good with a DLRY- a deadly long-range yo-yo- working with The Society to keep out the Hela mutants. It’s a job, not an adventure.
The people at The Society told me it started when we tried to use Hela cells, the first line of immortal human cells, to make human beings live forever. Hela was a kind of a cancerous cell and it could keep on dividing forever. Of course, they weren’t implanted into actual human beings. But once scientists understood the chemistry and the biology of it, they tried to replicate the same in normal human cells. It worked. For a bunch of pretty good reasons, the government and most scientists were against immortalising actual human beings. But there are always those rogue over-enthusiastic people in any story who mess up everything. In the story of the world, they were a bunch of overambitious scientists now known as the Homo Scelestus which basically means a criminal in Latin.
The Homo Scelestus, instead of making immortal people, made mutants. Mutants with only the animal desire to reproduce and kill. They look pretty much like normal people, except for their purple irises filled with malevolence and generally ragged appearance.
The history of the world stops replaying in my head and I finally arrive at my favourite Chinese restaurant. I stop by at Meiwei to pick up a dinner of noodles and soup and suddenly someone taps me on the shoulder.