Six of them stood under a sky crackling with frequent lightning.
Five of them stared at the ramshackle framework of the novel from which they’d been excised.
‘What’s he going to do without a cheerful character?’ asked Shoat, a man in a heavy raincoat (it rained often in his country). ‘I was the best he had. That other bloke’s a villain.’
The woman to his right ignored his question, glared ahead. ‘I was coping with the sour, self-focused dialogue he gave me...’ She spat on the ground, to Shoat’s surprise. He’d thought her genteel. ‘But killing me off with cancer was the last straw. Before the book even started. Obliterating my name!’ She strode off amidst thunder, after sending a long, thick spittle at the building.
Bemused, the wizard Mukkeljugson half-heartedly cursed the framework.
It was oblivious to his magic, although it shivered. Its appearance altered continually.
Shoat’s enormous draught horse, Arnold, said nothing ˗ as you’d expect ˗ though he nodded in agreement with the others’ complaints. He nudged Mukkeljugson, who, not being familiar with horses, jumped back, unsure if it was a warning or an encouragement.
The last two, a middle-aged man and woman seemingly joined at the hip, scowled like souls lost, silent. Then the woman burst out at no one in particular, ‘The whole idea began with us, you fool!’ She hammered at her mild-mannered husband with her fists. He knew her anger was directed at the author.
The downpour began.
This story was originally published in Flash Frontier, November 2015. The characters had all begun life in a children's fantasy I was writing at that time: The Disenchanted Wizard, and had all been cut from the finished novel.