Episode 21 – Elizabethian Swordfighting

Flashes and bright lights were blinding us as we tried to close all the curtains and keep all the unwanted people out of the house.
‘What is going on around here? Do they know who you are?’
‘If they didn’t before, they do now…’
Guy made an angry face at Poe and peered through the window between a small crack in the curtains.
‘Well I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. The rip between this world and the fictional is opening, look.’ He pointed upwards and Poe and I tried to look at the sky. We could see a small line in the air, if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t see it. It looked like purple lightning during daytime, but without the disappearing. It was like one flash of lightning was glued on the sky. It made us all feel eerie.
‘Kids, there’s no time. Fiction is changing and you two are the only ones who will be able to stop it. I know where the Writingdesk Conundrum is now, he needs a human form to come to the real world, now he’s only an abstract thought. But I happen to know his weakness. Here.’
Guy handed us a book and I took it.
‘Honestly?’ Poe asked. ‘Why so olden-English?’ He said it with a hint of contempt.
‘I kind of liked him as a character. I guess that will be ruined soon.’
‘Find him and make sure he doesn’t get him. Do whatever is necessary.’
‘But how can we stop him if he doesn’t have a form? I haven’t even seen him!’ Poe said.
‘I wish I could help you there… But no one knows. Just please try. I’ll handle the press outside, maybe there’s still something we can take care of. Now hurry.’ And Guy pushed us out of the room onto the hallway and closed the library door.
‘That was rude.’ I said.
‘He’s a very stressful man. But I guess we should go.’ So together we opened the book and went in.

‘To be, or not to be – That’s the question;
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end the; to die: to sleep –’

We entered in the lobby when the most famous words were spoken and hid behind an old looking cabinet.
‘I don’t think they saw us. What do we do now? I asked
‘I wish I knew.’

‘For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil –
You do know I can hear you Polly?’
Shocked because I heard Hamlet say my name, I slowly got out of my hiding place.
‘Hamlet? Do you know me?’
‘Silly girl. This isn’t Hamlet anymore.’ And the body smiled deviously.
‘Polly, who is this?’
‘That, Poe, is the Writingdesk Conundrum.’
‘Nice to finally meet you in person, Poe. We have spoken in your head before.’
‘Yeah, I’m glad that stopped.’
Ophelia was still standing behind who she thought was Hamlet. All shivering and nervous she finally asked: ‘My lord, who are these children you speak to?’
‘Not now, my dear Ophelia. I have better things to do.’
She quivered and went silent, following us with her eyes.
‘Now, now, Poe. I thought we had some fun times. Sending you all over all kinds of books, bringing fiction and reality together…’
‘Ruining the world.’ Poe added.
‘Don’t be like that. Both of you. I was hoping we could be friends. Especially now I have this body… How did you two find me anyways?’
‘We had some help.’
‘I already got that. You could never find me alone. But who is the helper here?’
‘Guy Montag. And he will kick your ass!’ I replied. I couldn’t stand the Writingdesk conundrum being so demeaning. And although my reply was weak, I felt like I needed to say something.
‘Ah, I should have known. The protector of books, after he burned them all off course. I do wonder how he got on my trail. Not that it matters now. I’ll deal with him as soon as I’m out of here.’
‘You won’t get that far. We are here to stop you.’
‘Are you now, little Polly. And how were you planning on doing that?’
I looked at Poe for answers but we didn’t know what to say.
‘That’s what I thought.’
‘My honoured Lord, I wish you would explain –’
‘Shut up!’ He screamed. ‘God, these Elizabethan women can be so difficult. Always wishing for things.’
Ophelia had put her face in her hands, crying and tried to speak once more.
‘Ophelia, what did I just tell you? You’ll kill yourself anyways, so I don’t think I have to be nice to you.’
She cried louder and ran off into a different room.
‘This body better be worth all this effort. And boys, you can come out now.’ He had turned to an arras at the opposite side of us. The King and Polonius appeared cautiously from it and stammered through some sentences.
‘Dear King, you don’t have to apologize. I know what you were doing there and I have to tell you that it doesn’t matter anymore. Your dear Hamlet is gone, it’s all me in here.’
‘Who… What art thou?’
‘I am your savior. Well not yours exactly, but fiction’s. I’ll be your death.’ And as he said that he took out his sword and stabbed the King through his heart.
‘I am but hurt!’
‘You are dead, you mean.’ And the Writingdesk conundrum took his sword out of the King’s body and looked up. Polonius was shaking and so were we.
‘Run, you old tart!’ He screamed at Polonius, who did as he was told immediately. ‘Sometimes I forget why I love Shakespeare that much. But now on to you two.’
‘You… You’re going to kill us?’ Poe asked.
‘That’s right. I have no use for you two anymore. And I can’t let you two be a risk. I know how that goes in most stories. I need to deal with you two before you find some magical way to stop me. I think I’ll start with Poe.’
The Writingdesk Conundrum moved forward, his sword still in his hands. I didn’t know what to do or how to stop him. Poe stood frozen next to me and out of ideas I grabbed a heavy bust that was standing on a pillar and threw it at the Writingdesk Conundrum. It hit him in the chest but didn’t do a lot of damage. He looked at me angrily, dropped his sword and grabbed me at the neck, lifting me up.
‘I guess I’ll have to start with you.’ And he threw me against a wall. My head smacked against the stones and again on the floor. I saw Poe run towards me and then everything went black.

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