I’m offended, y’all. It appears to me that not one of you read part 5. And look at poor old me, trying to be on schedule (and failing sometimes, but that’s not the point) and posting part 6 like a good girl. But you know what, I’m gonna continue this series even if none of you reads it. Because I like it and I enjoy writing it. Screw all of you.
In case someone does come here, I’m gonna leave the link to all the parts and you can scroll down to find the one you want: Killing the Creator.
Contrary to my expectations, the world around me doesn’t whoosh or melt away. It’s like I’m in Rennie’s room one moment, and standing on a roadside pavement the other. Like a bad transition in a presentation or a video.
It appears to be late in the night, but cars still drive past us like the drivers don’t need to sleep at all. The yellow street-lights illuminate the roads and the pavement like eyes of a sleepy monster. Al and I step off the pavement, trying to avoid the vehicles whizzing past us in a multitude of colours. We reach the other side, where there’s a bench to sit on and think about our next move. I look to Al for guidance.
Al stares right back. “What?”
“What sort of a protagonist are you, huh? One that doesn’t know what to do next?”
“You’re the one who brought me here,” I point out.
Al rolls his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Now, this writer could be anyone. All we know is it’s a she.”
“Great. So we’ve narrowed it down to half of humanity. That’s helpful.”
Al ignores me. “The first thing we need to find out is if she’s a professional, published writer or an amateur.”
“And how do we do that? We don’t know the title of our book.”
“We search your name on the internet, Einstein.”
“I doubt we’ll find any device or any source of connection at this hour.”
“Then we better find a place to spend the night.”
Next day, as soon as we’ve washed our faces in the fountain in the park adjacent to the rumoured-to-be-haunted ruins where we slept the previous night and eaten some of the snacks in my backpack, we set out in search of a cyber cafe, one of the places where the modern-historic human beings went to access the internet. After we found our ruins the previous night. Al and I stayed up for a little bit, and we figured out that this world is probably something like an old version of our world. Not completely, but partly.
On the way, a thought strikes me. “Will they accept payment in gold?”
Al stops mid-stride. He hasn’t thought about it till now.
“I don’t think they will,” I add when Al doesn’t reply. “I once read that gold was- is pretty valuable in those- these times.”
“Spruce, this world is not-”
“Completely our old world, I know. But isn’t it probable that gold will be pretty expensive here?”
Al seems to quietly agree with this even as he pretends to mull over it. I stop a tall young man in a fluorescent sleeveless top and black shorts, jogging with earphones plugged into his ears. He politely removes his earphones and looks at me, enquiring.
“Er… sorry for disrupting your run, mister, but do you know what the cost of gold is here?”
The man seems surprised by the unusual question. Apparently, not many teenagers ask strangers the price of gold in the morning.
“I don’t exactly know,” he replies in a voice which is somehow hoarse and a bit soft at the same time. “But I guess it must be about 2000-3000 rupees for a gram of pure gold. What do you want to know it for, anyway?” he asks, slightly interested and suspicious.
“Um… heh… nothing, really. Have a good day!” And before the bemused man can reply, we walk away.
“Did you hear that, Al? That doesn’t seem like a small amount. Gold is pretty expensive here, after all.”
“So we’ll have to go to a gold shop. And sell some coins to them.”
Three hours later, we somehow end up with twenty thousand rupees in cash in our bag, courtesy of Al’s tallness which fooled the jeweller into thinking he was an adult. After a lot of haggling and arguing, we persuaded him to give us cash in exchange for our 10-gram gold coin (according to his weighing machine) by letting him keep around a third of the actual amount.
Presently, we’re sitting in a cyber cafe, two ‘tourists’ sitting on black plastic chairs, staring intently at an ancient-looking computer screen. I should probably stop thinking of everything as ancient here since it is an old world after all.
Giving Al a ‘let’s do this’ look, I type ‘Spruce Marlow’ into the search bar.