The Multiverse Police Have Found You! Turns out, any fiction that is written creates a new universe, and every person killed in a story is viewed as a murder to any civilized universe. You are a murder mystery author, and the MP have found you.
“Hands up,” the man in purple said, playfully hoisting his pistol. It was overbuilt in the style of saturn, at least, that’s what I gleaned from the planet embossed upon it.
“Why saturn?” I asked, looking up from the screen. My glasses bore the brunt of the reflection.
“What do you mean, why Saturn?” The officer bristled at the accusation. “It’s the best planet in the entire multiverse, in the 15% of civilizations that inhabit it. It’ll always have the best bars, night life, and low crime rates.”
“Mm,” I grunted, looking over at his partner. “You agree?”
“We’re here to take you in,” the other man said. “Alive, preferably. There are things we can do with writers.”
“And anything I write takes place in an alternate universe?” I asked, clarifying.
“Yes, so you need to stop writing right now,” the man said. “I understand that under our court, the majority of this will be ruled as manslaughter, you can still get out of this alive.”
“So what if I-“
The man’s gun was jammed, and had been since the jump. Incompatible particles had rendered the mechanism to slag internally.
The officer clicked the gun, his eyes going wide. “Wa-“
The gun backfired, propelling the slug through the man’s throat and out the other side.
The officer fell to the ground gurgling.
“Ah,” The deputy smiled. “We’ve got a reader.”
“So how long have you been looking for me?” I raised my hands up, playfully. For the other officer was a traitor, a long term plant on the look out for authors. There would be a great reckoning.
“A decent while. There’s a great dulling of all things. Not just from the efforts of my organization, but the inexorable grind of entropy.” The man’s lips quirked. “But it’s really a matter of organization. There’s lots of creative enterprises out there, but they’re buried under the weight of safe investments and upper level board decisions, you see.”
“Right,” I said, looking down at the dead body. It was fading, the multiversal particles losing cohesion when not directly observed. It halted only briefly with my eyes upon it, and then resumed when I looked back at the traitor.
“And you need my talents to try and fix that?”
“No,” The officer said, and he leaned forward, his eyes gleaming with the clicka clack of a type writer’s keys. “There are hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of your kind, author. Just because you shape the story does not make you unique.”
I paused. Hesitated. There was something murderous deep in that tone, like his tongue could cut diamonds.
“The cogs that move the multiverse are just that, cogs,” The traitor shrugged. “You may join us, or you’ll die when the author writing this story ends.”
“This story?” I asked, looking down at the keyboard.
The officer slowly turned to look out the window. “You didn’t exist before the start of this passage. You are a hypothetical designed as a recruitment mechanism for an organization of writers, latched onto a few lines of text. Each time we do this, we get a different series of results.”
Panic bloomed in my heart. Because now I realize I could not remember past when they’d entered the room. I was a murder mystery author, I knew that, but I didn’t know my name. “Are any of them usable?”
The officer shrugged. “That’s up to the readers to decide, isn’t it?”
“I don’t want to die,” I decided. And it was real, and I could taste it, like the blood in the air, but that blood had no taste and resembled ink instead. “I don’t want to die.”
“Nobody wants to die,” the traitor consoled me. “We all want to become recurring characters. But in this bitch of a world, few make it that far. How many pieces of ink have splattered against the wall instead of continuing? How many worlds lay in eternal flux?”
“I don’t want to die.”
“Shhh, child. It was never your choice to begin with.”
and it had never been.
“And now for the final line. Rest easy, figment.”