Hello. I went and saw Stranger Than Fiction the day it came out Friday, and I really enjoyed it, especially the storyline. I had a sudden 'deleted scene' idea pop into my head afterwards, and this is it. Please tell me honestly what you think about it, in a review preferably. Thank you so much!
x x x
It was night. The darkness in Harold Crick's hospital room was blinding outside of the white aura of light from the television on the wall. He moved his head stiffly to look down at Ana who was sound asleep. He wished he could kiss her forehead, but it was out of reach, the pain limiting him. He looked back up at the television boredly with dry eyes and the makings of an itchy nose coming. He felt it. The wriggling of his nose was doing nothing however.
Then, a knock came at his hospital door. He moaned for the doctor to enter and shifted his head barely. The door opened, and a nurse stepped inside briefly.
"Mr. Crick? Are you awake?" the nurse asked quietly.
"No," he said in a light, tired voice. "I'm up."
"I know it is passed eight o'clock, but you have a visitor that wishes to speak with you. She says it's urgent."
"Who is it?" he mumbled. "Mom?"
"Miss Eiffel, sir?" the nurse said carefully. "Karen Eiffel?"
Harold captured a dim light in his eyes. She was here.
"Come in," he said eagerly in exhaustion, looking back to the television. "Let her in. Let her… let her…"
The nurse vanished, and Karen Eiffel shuffled into the room looking at Harold in a very sad and apologetic way, a smile faintly present. Harold stopped stammering on his tired words upon seeing her and somehow felt calm, even at her less than radiant appearance.
"Hello, Harold," she said. "Are you… comfortable?"
Harold saw her eyes on Ana, and he simply gave a lopsided grin at the girl sprawled over him.
"I'm fine," he said.
"How's your…" Karen gestured to his arm, head, leg, and Harold understood.
"Nothing some physical therapy, rest, and a shard of my watch won't fix," he said.
He gave her a meaningful and expectant look, and she glanced at the floor, still feeling weak at the thought of this man being a real person and having almost killed him. He understood her silence, but nothing else. He proceeded to talk in a quiet voice.
"Why didn't you kill me, Miss Eiffel?" he asked gently. "I was ready. I went."
"I know you did, Harold," she said, already in tears. She pulled up the green chair next to his bed and sat facing him, wiping her eyes. "But I just couldn't. I could not bring myself to kill a man like you. You are much more than a character in one of my books, and I'll be damned if I murdered you as such."
Harold lifted his head to reposition it towards her more, a small pain shooting down his back. Resting it back into the pillow, he gave her a long look, taking in her sharp dress but dishelved face and her shaking hands that gripped a twisted and torn used tissue.
"You can always write a sequel," he suggested off the top of his head. "Maybe when I'm eighty and dying from cancer you can hurry along the whole suffering thing and kill me then."
"I won't be able to type by then," Karen said. "I'll be dead myself. I'm probably a good twenty years older than you, Harold."
"Well… how about you keep writing about Harold Crick, but he has a different middle name or something?" He kept speaking his idea even as the author before him shook her head in refusal of such an idea. "You can use any middle name you want. Just not Christopher because that's my middle name." He nodded to reassure her it was completely fine with him.
"It would not be the same story then, and it doesn't matter now," she said firmly. "You are alive and happy. Who would ever imagine the story of an IRS man living happily ever after?" she mused with a fond smile on him.
"But I don't," he said. "I shouldn't have."
Karen was confused at his remarks. She folded her hands and leaned forward in the chair. "Harold, you sound as if you wanted me to finish that last word."
He thought about it a moment, watching her stare at him.
"I would've done it. So long as the boy would've been okay."
"He would've," she said positively. "But why? For the sake of my book?"
"And as long as a little boy doesn't grow up to be a butthead IRS agent like me wasting his life," he said. "I'd do it even if you hadn't typed it. Or wrote about me. Or cared."
She bestowed a motherly look upon his face small amongst the bandages surrounding it. "I believe you would have," she said confidently.
"Can I do it in the sequel?" Harold asked. "Now that I think about it, it is a pretty good way to go out."
She looked at him patiently with red puffy eyes during the silence. "I will not be writing anymore, Harold," she declared. "My whole career I've been controlling the lives of others carelessly without thought or-"
"But with good word usage-"
"No, damn it, Harold!" she yelled over him in frustration. "I am not writing anymore! That's it!"
Harold hushed and laid there without a sound as she fumed, mad about herself and racked with guilt. He watched her whole body rattle with a shiver and a sob.
"I will not be writing anymore," she said in a much calmer tone and quieter voice. "I refuse to type one more word about one more person I claim to be fictitious and place my copyright on."
He respected her decision but said, "You did write a wonderful book. I was ready to jump in front of a bus for it." He paused in thought. "I did jump in front of a bus for it."
"And so bravely, too," Karen said admirably. "You are one hero that did more than save a boy falling off a bike. You converted an author bound to tragic tales to see that I cannot go about writing my dramatic, agonizing books and perfected deaths to those undeserving of them. You were an innocent victim of literary writing based on the lifelong feelings of a narcotic author with writers' block, if that at all makes sense."
Harold nodded blankly. "Believe me," he said, "it makes perfect sense."
"It doesn't really matter if it makes sense or not, does it?" Karen half-laughed. "It's fiction after all."
"But it does matter," Harold said. "At least when you write about me."
"It was never intended, you know," she said. "I had to tell you."
"Miss Eiffel, it never crossed my mind that you were aware of what you were doing to me," he said. "The real me. I… I still can believe that what you write comes true. Like magic."
"A power such as that is a dangerous thing, hence my refusal to continue writing."
"Write a happy book," Harold said quickly. "Like a children's book. The world could use more talking bunnies and- and fairies and big green meadows with lots of flowers-"
"You were my happy book, Harold," Karen said. "You lived. The bond between us ends at the period of the last sentence in the book."
"Does it?" Harold asked curiously.
Karen watched him carefully, not finding it all that amusing. She stood up. "I have to go. Goodbye, Harold Crick."
She left without another glance over her shoulder, never giving her main character the chance to respond.
X x x
Once the shaken author returned to her apartment after her visit with Mr. Crick, she gazed out of the window at empty spaces and thought about the passed month. Thoughts of her conversation in the hospital did not stray away as she had hoped; she kept thinking about the power she had to rule over another's life in words. She had almost destroyed Harold Crick's life (and still more she believed), and if she did have a power over him with words, she decided to write only one more sentence about him.
Confidently, she walked over to her typewriter on the lonely desktop and sat, staring at the paper and what she was to put on it. Back in the hospital, Harold was dozing off with Ana as The Late Show ended. However, the keys were stuck forcibly and willingly with a message simply put as Harold had said.
Write a children's book.
She would have none of that, but she would give Harold his happy ending, as hard as it was for a woman of tragedy and death to type.
'Harold Crick lived happily ever after.'
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