The ugly little man lay at Molly’s feet, pretending to be unconscious. She kicked him, rather harder than she had to, but she was angry at the mess he made of the books.
“Get up,” she said. “Now, or I’ll kick you again. Harder.”
He rose and straightened his jacket. “Mr. Collins?” she said, aghast.
“Yes, my good woman, it is I, the great friend of Lady Catherine and…”
“You’re a horrible person,” said Molly.
“I do beg your pardon, madame,” he said, briskly.
Darcy picked Collins up by the scruff and said, “Why did you take the plot?”
“Put me down this instance,” said Collins, turning bright red.
“Why?” said Darcy. “Why did you do it?”
“Why do you think,” he said, glancing at Bennet.
Darcy turned toward Bennet. “Her? You took the plot because of Miss Bennet?”
“Not only her,” he said. “You had everything. Everything I ever wanted. Height, money, power, looks, wealth, riches, family and Elizabeth Bennet. YOU had everything I ever wanted. I was sick of being hated by those who read the book. How they all looked down on me. Felt sorry for the woman who were FORCED to be in my life? Did you think I didn’t know that no one love me? That they couldn’t stand to look at me?”
“You’re pathetic,” said Darcy, dropping him to the floor.
“Yes, I am. I was WRITTEN THAT WAY,” shouted Collins. “I didn’t have a CHOICE. And you were handsome and daring and charming and everyone wanted you. So I took the plot because I couldn’t stand myself, and I didn’t know what else to do. It’s not fair that I could be written in such a vile way.”
“He’s kind of right,” said Molly. “Jane Austen wrote him that way. He couldn’t change, even if he wanted to.”
“I DID want to,” he said. “I did. And I saw how Elizabeth loved you, Darcy. She couldn’t think of anything but you. Couldn’t breath without you. And I saw how you loved her. How not having her love was destroying you, because you loved her that much. And what did I have? All those years, all those readers, seeing me the way I was written. All of them hating me.”
“You might not seem so weird if you came into my book,” said the White Rabbit.
“That’s very nice of you, Rabbit, but you know that can’t be done,” said Molly.
The Rabbit shrugged and went back to his carrots.
“Mr. Collins,” said Bennet. “We will all die if you don’t return the plot. Every single one of us, along with everything in the entire book. We will all disappear forever.”
“I want to die,” said Collins, softly. “Death will be better than existing as I was written.”
“Do you want to take everyone else with you?” she said softly. “Think of the horses and sheep, the cows and the pigs, the trees and the beauty.”
He stood there, looking at his feet.
“Mr. Collins,” said Bennet. “What if you restore the plot to our book, but we live outside the story. What if you can be the kind and lovely man you wish to be, behind the plot.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You could come to dinner, we could get to know the you that you wish to be, but that won’t be part of the plot. It will be our own story, hidden from the readers.”
“But they’ll still hate who I am in the book,” said Collins.
“Perhaps it won’t matter, because the Mr. Collins in the book, will be an actor, playing a part.”
He looked at her, then at Darcy.
“I believe Miss Bennet has come up with a very sensible idea. One, I will do my best to make happen.”
“Where is the plot?” asked Molly.
Behind the fake tree in the Children’s section,” said Mr. Collins. Then he turned to Bennet and Darcy. “I have you’re word as a Lady and Gentleman?”
“You do,” they said, at the same time.
Molly returned with the plot, an ethereal looking thing. She opened Pride and Prejudice, placed the plot on the open pages, then scooped up the words and let them drop onto the plot. There was a rush of words, as they scrambled to get in the proper position. Pages fluttered and words bounced and flickered, until the three characters, became wispy.
“Thank you,” they whispered, toward Holly, waving at her. She waved back and blew them a kiss.
Suddenly they were pulled into the book and it snapped shut.
“I have to go said the White Rabbit. My book is calling me.”
“Love you Bunny,” she said, watching Alice join him as they raced toward the Children’s Section.
There was a flurry of activity, then everything calmed down and went back to normal.
“Hey, Molly. You’re here early,” said Amanda, putting down her coffee and hanging up her coat.
“You didn’t go home, did you,” she chided. “You have to get a life, woman. Libraries are boring, you need to go out and live a little.”
Molly smiled at her. “Have you ever thought about how many evil, or miserable, characters in books hate being that character?”
“No, Sweetie. Why would I. The characters aren’t real. They’re just words. You look beat. Why don’t you take the day off. I got this.”
Molly got up, said see you tomorrow, and thanks. then she put on her jacket and left the building. “They are more than just words. We make them real, by believing in them,” she said to no one in particular. “They have feelings and can’t change their lives. They are all trapped in cages made of words.”
She stopped at the bakery, bought six chocolate donuts, tapped the book in her pocket and went home to reread Pride and Prejudice.
“I wonder if I’m dead,” thought Joey. “Do dead people think about being dead?” he asked himself. He remembered seeing Chester and Midnight running toward the men with guns. He couldn’t remember why anyone was shooting at him.
“Joey,” said a soft voice. “Can you hear me?”
He heard someone was talking to him but he didn’t know why.
“Joey, honey, open your eyes.”
Ah, he thought. That must be why it’s so dark. He tried opening his eyes, but decided it was impossible, so he went back to sleep.
“I told you that you couldn’t learn how to be a hero, Joey,” purred Midnight, into his ear. “You just are one, when the time comes. You did really good, but it’s time to wake up,” he said, tapping him on the eyelids with his paw.
Joey smiled, and opened his eyes.
“Well! It’s about time,” said Diana, sternly. “I thought you were going to die, or…something. Just laying there.”
He looked at her and tried to smile.
“How many BULLET HOLES DO YOU THINK A BODY CAN STAND?”
“Diana,” said Lacy, putting her hand on her shoulder. “Don’t yell at him. At least wait until he’s able to sit up, okay.”
“FINE!” she said, standing. “I’ll make tea.”
Lacy sat down and looked at him. “She’s been up for five days. Hardly slept at all. You were so near death, and she just lost Flower, so she was working around the clock to keep you alive. You were shot…a lot. You have amazing healing abilities, because of your magic and fairy genes, but it was a lot for your body to take. The only reason you’re alive is because the Queens cast their spell and you, as well as Chester and Midnight, were brought onto the new plane, along with the rest of us. If not for the timing of the spell, you’d all be dead. Well, that and the fact that Diana has been taking care of you.”
Chester jumped onto the bed, walked in a circle three times and flopped down. “Hey,” he said. “Glad to see you’re awake. Cormick doesn’t know how to go for a walk.”
Diana walked in with the tea. “Tim and Luca want to get married in the shop, but they put the wedding off until you could attend. You better hurry up and recover, they aren’t getting any younger.”
“Diana,” said, Lacy. “That’s a terrible thing to say.”
She snickered. “I guess it is.”
“Have I been in bed for a week?”
“Five days,” said Lacy. “You were shot twenty-two times.”
“It’s a good thing the timing was right or you would have bled out, magic and all. No one knew you were gone. The Queen’s cast the spell and you and the boys,” Diana said, looking at Chester and Midnight were just transported to here.”
“They shot me twenty-two times?”
Diana nodded. “I think we should kill all of them.”
“She’s a little angry,” said Lacy.
“No,” said Diana. “I’m a LOT ANGRY. And you,” she said, “going out to play the hero. What did you think you could do against the militarized police and the army? What? Did you think you could smile at them and they would go away?”
He told her what happened. What he saw and felt. He said that he learned a lot.”
“Like how to DIE?” she shouted.
“He’s the hero, Diana. Give him a break,” said Lacy. “If he hadn’t gone out there, they might have killed a lot of us before we could act. We didn’t know they were coming.”
“HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?” she yelled? “HOW COULD WE NOT KNOW THEY WERE COMING?”
“They were shielded,” said Joey. “Someone who knows how to use magic is working for them. The only reason I even went out there was because Calico told Midnight something was happening.”
“I think we should let him rest,” said Lacy.
“No. He’s rested enough,” said Diana. “He should sit in a chair, at least for awhile. If possible, he should come into the shop and DO SOMETHING, so…”
“So you can feel better?” laughed Lacy.
“Exactly,” admitted Diana. “So I CAN FEEL BETTER!”
“You really scared her. She’s been like this since we found you.”
“Are these new plants?” asked Joey, looking around his room
“No,” laughed Lacy. “They just tripled in size to give you more oxygen.”
“Thanks,” he said to the plants, who waved their leaves at him. “I think I can get up now.”
Tim and Luca were married that weekend. It was a lovely affair. Lacy provided the flowers and Cormick put on his wizard hat and was in charge of the service. The cake was beautiful, but most people opted for the cookies.
Joey limped, but Diana said it was only temporary, since his bones were still knitting together AFTER BEING SHOT BY IDIOTS. Every time she started yelling he started laughing and she would tell him that if he saw his body when they brought him to her he WOULDN’T THINK IT WAS SO FUNNY!
Things eventually went back to normal and Joey realized that life was much better without humans. Better for everyone and everything. Sparrow stopped by to check on him almost everyday and she was finally able to convince the Fairy Guard that he was no longer in any danger, so they stopped guarding him. He was grateful for that. He saw his grandmother quite often and he even saw his aunt once.
He sometimes thought about all the hatred and violence in the other world and no matter how he looked at it, it never make any sense. So, he finally let it go and just enjoyed the life he had.
Calico moved into the shop and Chester met a beautiful mutt named Josie, who came over for food and naps. Teatree was proud of his son and many of the fairies were grateful for what Joey did for all of them.
Joey still didn’t feel like a hero, but he understood that no one really knows what they are, until the time comes. All in all…life was good.
The things that the shooter said, about hating Magic users because they wanted affordable healthcare, etc., were taken directly from something a conservative wrote about why he hated liberals so much. He said liberals were destroying our country with their demands of equality and education, etc. That kind of hatred is real. It’s happening right now in our country. His words were so hate filled, that he tried to change them a bit, the next day. He failed, because he basically said the same thing again.
Unfortunately, we can’t just move to a different plane of existence…we have to stay and fight/die.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you for reading it.
“You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met,” he said.
“No one is like anyone you’ve ever met.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I do. And you’re afraid of me.”
“I’m not afraid of you. I’m…afraid of me.”
“Because this whole thing goes agains everything I’ve ever known, believed, or even thought about and I’m wounded. It makes me feel as if…I’m not in control. I don’t understand how I feel and I’m not sure what’s going on.”
“Maybe it’s time you learned new things and saw things differently. And I know a secrete that I’ll tell you, if you promise not to tell anyone else.”
“I promise,” he said, immediately.
“No one’s in control,” she whispered.
He stared at her for a few moments. “Is that one more thing that I’ll have to get used to?”
“Probably. It’s up to you. Everything is up to you.”
“Why doesn’t it feel that way?”
“Because you have to break through your conditioning.”
He looked straight ahead for a few minutes then said, “You’re right. The things I’ve been taught to believe are telling me that you’re dangerous, too fast, too much, too…chaotic and…out of control. You are too far from the norm. You are too free spirited to fit into the mold society has cast for you, therefore, I don’t know how to think about you! I can’t believe I didn’t SEE that before,” he said, in amazement. “I was…”
“Blind and brainwashed, like a good little boy?”
“YES!” he said loudly. “You would scare anyone, because of what we all believe is acceptable. Can we just get my dog, some of my things, and go back to your place?”
“Is that what you really want?”
“Pull over,” he said.
“I’m going a hundred and ten, on a crowded expressway,” she said, glancing at him.
“WAY TO GO ALEX,” she shouted, as she whipped the car across three lanes of traffic, to the shoulder. The second the car came to a halt, amid a ton of dust suddenly floating around it, he grabbed her and pulled her over the cup holders, toward him.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how much this hurts,” he moaned. “But…I absolutely have to kiss you right NOW, or I think I might die.”
“When he finally pulled away, he panted a few times, held his ribs, groaned, made sad little ow noises and said, “I am NOT going to miss this OPPORTUNITY! Let’s get my dog and go home. I don’t care if you ever even tell me your name.”
“It’s Misty,” she said.
“I am absolutely crazy about you.”
“Took you long enough,” she snarked, pulling out in front of a car going ninety.
“In my defense,” he said. “It’s only been twenty-four hours and I was asleep for then of them. And that, by the way, was supposed to have been one of those special moments.”
She turned toward him. “Stick with me and you’ll have more special moments than you’ll know what to do with.”
“Do you think my ribs will be healed by the time we get back to your place, or do you think I can take enough pain pills so that I won’t care?” Her laugher filled the car and he said, “Try not to kill us before I’m better, okay?”
“My dog’s name is Carl.”
“My cat’s name is Sassy and she will boss him round the minute he steps a paw in the place.”
“How can I love you this much already?”
“Life’s like that sometimes.”
“Am I in a coma, still in the hospital, dreaming this is happening?”
She pinched him.
“Does that answer your question?” she asked.
“YES, thank you,” he said, rubbing his arm. “Once my ribs heal, I won’t be so easy to catch, you know.”
She glanced at him, her eyes half closed and said, very softly, “I can hardly wait.”
when everything’s gone
and nothing’s left
admit we didn’t
do our best
for the earth
not for the
or the trees
not for anything
did we fight
all we did
He had reached the end of the line. There was no going back and he didn’t know what waited for him in the darkness. He sat quietly, eyes closed, contemplating his life and how he had lived it. He was as honest as he could be, about what he had and had not done, and he was satisfied. He remained sitting, letting things fall away, saying goodbye to those he loved and once thought important.
When he opened his eyes he was staring at his own face. He no longer resided inside the body in front of him. He looked familiar, but from outside, he might not have recognized himself on the street. He was amazed at what he was seeing. As for what he was now, well he was wisps of what remained of his aura. He was smoke and energy.
Finished with earthly things, he was ready to move on. He was free from the weight of the world, from responsibilities, from all the heavy things that held people down and drained their energy and joy.
That’s was the moment he joined in the singing of the universe.
The dogs were curled around her feet. Jade looked at them and touched their faces.
“They really are your dogs,” said Smith.
“I hear their heartbeat, it’s the same as mine.”
“What will you call them?”
“Love and Freedom.”
“I don’t want to go to earth,” said Jade. “I want to stay here and make Wen a good place to be. I don’t think we should keep killing, once the Arcs have been eradicated. We need to find out what the crew knows about them. Seven, scan them and see if they’re lying. We also need to figure out a way to get the ship to come back to pick up Lee and drop off goods and whatever. I want to start an alliance with earth that allows Wen representatives to visit and earthlings can come here, as long as their people have clearance. Lee can be our contact on earth, maybe Mr. Paul as well.”
“Jade,” said Smith. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing,” she said. “The dogs are teaching me about peace and connection. About real freedom in my heart and they know what love is. They have no secrets. They are open, understanding and unconditional. I trust them because they can be trusted. They don’t know how to lie. I don’t want things to be the same. I want things to be different, better, kinder.”
“The dogs said that’s how they want to be treated, with kindness. I want to be that way for them. I understand them and they can teach me. They try to teach everyone but most people don’t listen because it’s too noisy in their heads.” She took out four of her knives and placed them on the table. “I won’t be needing these any longer. I’m keeping the last three because they’re friends.”
Seven turned and said, “People are gathering in front of the building.”
Jade, the dogs, Smith and Seven went out in front. People stood in silence. Lil moved forward. What’s happening?”
“What do you mean?” asked Smith.
“We feel it. A clearing, not just from the drugs, but in the air around us.”
“That’s peace,” said Jade. “And, these are dogs. This is Love and this is Freedom.”
Everyone stared at the dogs. Some backed up. “They won’t hurt you. They are here to teach us. If you can hear them, listen to what they have to say. Trust them. At first, I said they were mine,” she said, grinning, touching the dogs. “But they belong to all of us. I don’t have to hold them to me. I was being selfish. Selfish means not sharing, thinking there’s not enough, so you have to keep things for yourself. I would like to see that change. I can’t do it without your cooperation. We have been lied to, drugged and used. The Holy Arcs manipulated us and turned us against each other. We have to listen to the dogs and find a way to trust and share, to be…equal…no one better than anyone else. No one more deserving than another because everyone is deserving of the best life we can all have.” She went on to explain her idea about having a small relationship with earth. She asked for volunteers who wanted to represent Wen. She outlined her ideas, plans and hopes. “The dogs have made me different. They made me feel closeness and…I don’t know the right word…comfort, comfortableness, that comes from trust and friendship. No, not friendship, not those things, it’s being together without question. Without wanting anything from the other person but being together. Do you understand?”
A few people nodded, others shook their heads.
“I don’t think it will take long for you to know what I’m trying to say. It’s hard to describe a feeling. The dogs will walk among you. Pet them. Run your hands down their backs. Listen to what they have to say.” Jade touched the dogs and they walked into the crowd, tails wagging, tongue’s out. They brushed against those who needed touching, and snuffled at those who were too afraid to move. They accepted pets and words and basically, worked the audience. When they were finished they sat down next to Jade. “We have time. More dogs will come. Welcome them into your hearts and homes. Let’s make Wen the best place to live in the universe.”
There was a smattering of applause and then hands went up. Questions were asked and answered. People milled around, until one woman came forward and said, in a very loud voice, “What about children? I heard the stories, seen the babies on the Big Screen. Can we have our own?”
Seven stepped to Jade’s side. “The drugs are completely out of your systems and there’s a good chance that those of you who have not been sterilized will be able to have children.”
There was dead silence. “I’m afraid that when you were under the control of the Arcs they surgically made sure that some of you could not reproduce. Wait, listen,” he said, hushing the crowd. “It’s possible that some of the things that were done to you can be reversed. Lee and I can examine you and a doctor can be brought from earth to surgically undo what was done. We don’t know how many will be affected, we don’t known how many procedures will be permanent. There’s no need need to be concerned. Eventually, with the children you do produce, society will grow and flourish.”
“And more animals, trees, plants and other things will be brought to us as well. Lee has agreed, given her word, that she will bring what we need to have a beautiful home. This is our first day on a path to a new beginning. For those who do not wish to participate, please speak with one of us and we can arrange for you to go to earth, leave the community or discuss your concerns. The Arcs are dead. They can’t hurt you any longer.
“Are you taking their place?” growled a man.
“Not likely. I’m just here for the moment. But I understand your concerns. No one will replace the Arcs. This is a free society and all voices will be heard, for now at least. What happens in the future, will depend upon you.”
And that’s how the Holy Arcs and their Followers were defeated. Two dogs changed the lives of an entire city and in a short time, dogs were everywhere. Lee became the intermediary between both planets and true to her word, she sent everything she thought they would need, or like. She also visited now and then to see how things were going. Jade and smith lived in his old hotel room because he still loved the worn, wooden, floors and glass in the windows. Babies were being born and trees were growing. Mr. Paul met and fell in love with K and now lives on Wen. He flies out on an earth run now and then but they are expecting their first child soon, so he may just stay home for good.
Daylight is a bit longer than earth’s and the flowers are enjoyed by all. For a long time people stood around watching birds fly back and forth but eventually, then they got used to seeing them and were able to go about their business.
Wen’s problems weren’t just magically solved overnight, but they had a good start and sometimes that’s all anyone needs. One good start and an end to those who have power over others.