Imagine that you were writing a story and suddenly the character became aware of you.
"You never know where danger may be coming from."
She isn't carrying much with her today.
"Too much weight slows you down and makes it easier for you to be caught."
As is usual for her, she woke up early this morning and headed out to find what she could scavenge. The possibility of danger, especially ever-present zombies, forced her to learn how to be extra careful, and how to use her sense of hearing in a way that she never had before. With all of the daily noises that used to exist anywhere and everywhere that she went, before all of this happened, she basically had learned to ignore most sounds around her. Like most people, she could go throughout her day, going from place to place, and only truly "hear" what she wanted to hear.
A regular day for her included waking up early, heading to the gym, exercising until she wore herself out, coming home for a nice warm shower, and then heading out to work. Noémi enjoyed her job as a graphical designer for an up-and-coming Internet and web company. She enjoyed using her skill of understanding abstract concepts and translating them into code which would later be used by others to design graphics for advertising campaigns and other such ventures. As far as she was concerned, she would be staying on this job, or one similar to it, until she would decide to retire.
On the day when the world had changed, Noémi had stayed work all night long. That morning she did not follow her normal routine; she did not have a chance to go to the gym because she had a deadline. Deadlines were stressful for her, but at the same time, they caused her adrenaline to spike introducing doses of dopamine, which gave her a sense of excitement on whatever she was working. She had worked all night long while listening only to the music on her iPod, so she was not aware of what was happening in the world. Having long ago learned to ignore things around her, she did not even look out the window. She was not aware of all that had transpired throughout the night.
After hitting the last stroke on the keyboard and saving the file of the program she was working on onto the server, she stood up and stretched. She could feel her muscles ache a bit, as she had not done much in the form of exercising or moving around all night long while she worked on the project. While standing, she stretched her body to the left and then to the right and then noticed the window for the first time that morning. Noémi worked on the 11th floor of an office building, a three-floor section that her company had rented. From her vantage point, Noémi had a wonderful view of the outskirts of the downtown area facing the nearby river. On almost any day it was a breathtaking view. On that day as well, the view was breathtaking but not for the same reasons. What she saw instead were columns of smoke rising from several buildings. This was highly unusual. She quit her minor exercise routine and walked over to the window. The closer she got to the window, the more she started feeling a dread come over her. Little at first, but with each step, fear grew within her. As she neared the window, she reached over to a radio that the staff kept there mostly as a joke, and turned it on. Since everybody had their own iPhones, and iPods, there was little to no use for a radio. But, because it was a classic reminder of an earlier time, and because it was a nice-looking piece of technology, the staff kept it. On top of all of that, the radio worked.
"Repeating," the radio blurted, "find a place of safety and stay there. The authorities are doing everything they can to deal with the present danger. There have been reports of some people attacking others for no apparent reason. As unbelievable as this may seem, it is reported that the dead have come back to life. This is not a drill, this is not a joke, the danger is real and immediate. Arm yourselves with any weapons you can find, and remain in a safe place until the authorities are able to retake control of the present circumstances! Repeating."
Since that morning, six months ago, things have gotten so much worse. Noémi has had to learn to fend for herself and has had to do things she would never even have considered, just to remain alive. With only her weapons in her hands, and the stuff she scavenged today in her backpack, Noémi was following her tracks back to her hideout. But, because something caught her attention that she had not been aware of before, she found herself at this corner looking around trying to figure out what it was.
"What?" She asked.
"Hello?" she asked again.
"Stop that! Is someone there?" She asked again, turning in all directions looking for the source.
"Who is this?" She asked again, with her voice going up an octave or two.
"You can hear me?"
"Yes, who are you?" She asked as to look up into the sky.
"Do you mean me?"
"Yes, why can't I see you?" She asked.
"Are you … talking to me?"
"I said yes, who are you and why can I see you?" She asked dumbfounded.
"I'm the writer of this story."
Noémi hesitated a moment and then asked, "What story?"
"This one, the one you are in, about the zombie apocalypse."
"Zombie apocalypse?" she asked.
"You say you're writing a story about a zombie apocalypse and I am in it?" She asked.
"Well … yeah, I woke up this morning with this idea in my head about writing a story about a zombie apocalypse, and I was just getting going when you started questioning me."
"So what you're saying, is that I'm not for real, but instead I'm just some figment of your imagination?" Noémi said as she started to notice a new dread building inside of …
"Stop that!" She yelled, "This is my life. You can't just start making things up about me. I'm a person, I'm not somebody's toy. You may think it is some kind of fantastic opportunity to write some story, but this is my life."
"Uh, sorry? But I was hoping to be able to write a story today and maybe get it published later this week."
Noémi could feel that her heart was pounding harder inside her chest, and the earlier sense of dread had now increased exponentially.
"There you go again!" she screamed, "What gives you the right to decide things for my life?"
"No, wait a minute! Are you God?"
The anger in her voice was obvious as she asked that question.
"You're damned right it is," she added, "Answer my question. Are you God?"
"Well, no … I am not God. But, in a sense, I am your God."
"My God!" Noémi screamed, "My God! What the hell do you mean by that?"
"Well, depending on what I choose to write, I can affect what happens to you and how things turn out."
"Really?" she asked doubtfully.
"You're damned right it was doubtfully," she added.
"Actually yes, would you like me to show you?"
"Yeah, can you get rid of the zombies?" She asked.
"Sure, but I really like zombie stories."
"Well," she said, "Why don't we trade places? You live through the zombie apocalypse, and I will write stuff about you."
"Yeah … it doesn't work like that. But I really can change things if I want. Would you like me to show you?"
"All right, how about you put things back the way they used to be?" She said.
"That wouldn't be any fun."
"All right, at least get me out of this mess."
"Okay, let me think for a moment…"
Noémi finished taking her shower, and after drying herself off she walked back to the bed as her partner, Susan, was just waking up.
"Hey! Wait a minute," said Noémi, "What, I'm gay now? I like guys!"
"Oops, I'll fix that."
Noémi finished taken her shower, and after drying herself off, she walked back to the bed as Frank was just waking up.
"That's better. Uh, what does he look like?" she queried.
"What do you want him to look like?"
Noemi's face blushed, she lowered her head as a smile grew on her face.
"I want him to be a little taller than me, slightly darker skinned than I am, the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger [when he was young], and I want him to be madly in love with me."
Frank saw Noémi walking toward the bed, and he slipped out of the bed, stood up and walked toward her. She looked up into his eyes and noticed that he had a look about him that said that she was the most important person in the world. An avid student of human health, Frank spent much time in his exercise and routines at the gym, and it showed. When he reached Noémi he took her into his arms and took his time as he passionately kissed her.
"Now that's what I'm talking about," she shouted with glee.
"Yeah, but is not all that exciting."
"Exciting," she said between clenched teeth, "It's exciting to me! Why do you get to decide everything?"
"Because I'm the writer ..."
"That's not fair!" She said as tears begin to roll down her face.
"Please don't start crying."
"Why not," she sobbed, "You get to control my life, decide whatever you want, and it doesn't matter how I feel or what I want. Just because you're the writer, and have godlike powers, you can decide how everything turns out for me. I don't really matter."
"That's not true, you're the protagonist in my story. I actually do care what happens to you, but a good story not only has a protagonist, it has an antagonist."
"In other words," she said, "it benefits you to make my life miserable so that people who read your stories can enjoy my life being thrown upside down, right?"
"Well yes, in a way."
"Do you believe in God?" She asked.
"Sure … why do you ask?"
"How would you like Him to do the same thing to you that you are doing to me?"
"I guess it would not feel that great about it."
"Then why don't you treat me better, after all, I am your creation."
"Okay, but I still need an exciting story, and at the moment you're the protagonist that I want to write about. What you suggest?"
"Well, you could put me back into the zombie apocalypse story, but at least give me someone who will fight alongside me and help me to find a good ending for the story."
"Well, I guess I could …"
"Wait a minute, and don't forget to give us some weapons."
"Okay, will do."
Noémi and Frank ran from the corner heading south along the street, taken advantage of every nook and cranny to hide as they went along. Frank shifted his AR 15 from one shoulder to the other as they got closer to the hideout. Noémi acted as a lookout, while Frank threw all that they had scavenged into the hideout's door. Once everything was safely inside, Noémi ran to the door, and both she and Frank slipped inside and locked the door. Noémi and Frank begin separating all the stuff that they had found and put it into separate bins which they had set up as a food pantry.
As the day started getting darker, Frank reached into his bulletproof vest and pulled out a gold chain. The glitter of the object caught Noémi's attention, and she turned to look at Frank. He walked over to her and said, "Here's to the most important person in the world." Noémi smiled, put her arms around his neck and kissed.
"Hello?" She asked.
"Thank you." She said smiling.
"You are welcomed."