Demiurge 24


Based on Kandahar 24

Phillips jetted up through the levels of sleep and was reversed-birthed through his mattress. He laid on his limp, sweaty sheets for a moment. It was still the middle of the night—he could tell by the thin air’s harsh edge.

His clock had hit midnight—the new hour, the hour for new action. He twisted his body and placed his feet on the floor next to his readied boots.

He slipped out through the security entrance on the base’s North wall. His completed action would speak for them all—he would be praised in the end, even if the action was (ahem) illegal—the term was a joke in the war theater.

He approached the Afghan village in full American regalia. He gripped the frigid rifle in his hands, cocking it as he saw a guard start to approach.

Phillips stopped suddenly and looked up to the sky.

“Don’t make me do this.”

“DON’T make me do this. I KNOW what you’re about to make me do.

“You’re going to make me go in there and kill 24 villagers.”

Ahem…uh, well, hullo there, Phillips. Rather embarrassing.

“Nice of you to actually address me, FINALLY.”

Well, I didn’t really know you knew I was here.

“Oh, I KNOW you’re there. My wife, Gomez, McGarder, we ALL know you’re out there.”

               Jeeze. Well, why didn’t any of you say anything before? I’ve been writing you guys for quite…wait, this is absurd. How are you even talking                 without me writing your dialogue?

That’s a question we all ask ourselves. It’s one of the great mysteries of life.

You mean, the life I wrote for you?

You gave us life, yeah. But, it’s absurd to think we ONLY do what you write for us. You created us, and we do what you write when you write it, but most of the time we’re on our own. You wrote a scene about me and my wife in-between my third and fourth tours, then you skipped ahead to me in Afghanistan. What do you think I was doing in the meantime? Lying in a box like some marionette? We’re FAR more advanced than that.

Oh. Good to know. What were you doing in-between my scenes?

Do you really care? You didn’t bother to write me doing anything for more than a year.

Well, it wasn’t a year for ME.

It was for me.


But, to answer your question, I did a lot. I made up with my mother, who I had been estranged from for more than four years, for instance.

Well, that sounds nice.

I also saved an Afghan boy’s life by tackling him as he was about to step on a mine. Coulda blown us both up, knock on wood. Bet you wouldn’ta written me doing something THAT altruistic. I think you’re just anti-military.

Well, I guess I kind of am…

And you bring these biases to your stories!

Can’t help it.

Oh, you can help a LOT more than you think. YOU, with your negativity. I’ve talked to people in your other stories, and they all say the same thing: the worlds you create are SO depressing. There is such a thing as positive drama, you know.

That’s not how I see the world.

I don’t really CARE how you see the world. The worlds you create are horrifying. Putting the people you create through so much pain. All for your drama.

               Look, but this story is based on fact. That marine went into that village and killed those 24 civilians. He did it. End of story.

End of THAT story.


I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Perhaps something like that happened up in your world. But I’m Phillips, I’m myself, and I would never do such a thing.

I mean, you had that fucked-up fantasy about your wife.

…and do you realize how regretful I was about that? I didn’t put those thoughts into my head! They just appeared and, after the scene ended, I felt horrible for them having shown up.

Well, now I feel guilty.

That’s a first. You should take responsibility for what you create. Just think about how guilty I’M going to feel after you make me slaughter those villagers.

How…how does it feel when I’m writing you and you’re not…just doing your own thing?

It’s not like we don’t have control over our bodies, like my hand was jerking my schlong in that one scene without me meaning it to. It’s like…most of the time, we just think it’s a good idea in the moment, though sometimes it’s compulsive…of course, then there’s the people who just have voices in their heads. They’re in pieces with first-person narratives.

I’ve done first-person narratives.

And my, have you created some tortured souls.



But seriously, could you NOT have me kill those 24 villagers? I’ll be tortured for the rest of my life if you make me do it. And I very much doubt you’ll be around for it.

Please? There’s nothing material I can offer you, because you create all things, but I could praise you maybe? Forever, maybe?

Phillips took aim at the guard and squeezed the trigger. The villager’s head…

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