Summary: As the end of his existence draws nearer, Thomas Zane realizes that the Dark Presence cannot be kept at bay forever. A successor is needed. Thus, he creates Alan.

Author's Note: Based on a fan theory that I found too interesting to leave alone. Thanks to Meowen for beta-reading this, your comments were very interesting and enlightening.

As page was added to page of the eradication of his existence, Thomas Zane realized that the Dark Presence could not be kept at bay forever. He needed a successor, someone to pass on the torch to when he was gone.

But he was through toying with real people's lives. Altering Cynthia Weaver's life and personality had been bad enough. He refused to drag another familiar face into this and make them fight the supernatural force – fully, ultimately, head-on alone.

He'd have to write that person into existence.

Tom reached for a sheet of paper and began scribbling. This loophole ending must be as detached from the story, Bright Falls and the Dark Presence as possible. A twist the monster could not sense beforehand, a turn that fit in one last page guarded by Weaver inside the Well-Lit Room.

An hour passed. The light from the kerosene lamp weakened. Thomas got up and poured more oil in it, made a round in the cabin to make sure every room was illuminated. The monster wearing his dead love's face stirred against its bonds, tied to the same chair as when he cut its heart out. The thought of its babbling while he carved through skin and bone still made him sick.

"What are you writing?" It crooned. "You seem stuck on something. If you untie me, Tom dear, I'll-"

"Clam up". He pulled the lamp closer and turned up the flame. Not a word on the last page would he let the monster know, especially not one this important. Thomas had a premonition – a conviction - that if it knew the name of his successor, it would directly influence the man's fate.

Alan Wake. Thomas had jotted it down in haste, but it stuck. He liked the tone of word game and dormant meaning in it. With the name in place, everything else seemed to follow. Wake would be a writer of thriller novels, born and bred in New York. Though Alan earned his living on people's thrills, as a child, he himself had suffered from a fear of monsters lurking in the dark. If sleep ever overwhelmed him he soon woke up, screaming from nightmares. This went on until one evening when Alan's mother, sitting at his bedside, gave him The Clicker. It was only an old broken-off light switch, but in the hands of someone with a strong power of imagination its light could banish even the deepest of shadows. With it clasped in his hand, Alan finally found peace in his dreams.

A part of Thomas wanted to write himself into that loophole ending, so far away from the horror he'd unleashed. But he was a link to Lake Cauldron; the risk was too great that the darkness would spread with him like a disease into Alan's life, where it would slowly infect everything. Wake must be out of its reach until he arrived in Bright Falls.

Thomas sat up straighter, pondering how to word the last paragraph. He felt the monster watch him from Barbara's eyes. A sudden surge of bitterness - toward the dark presence for taking her, toward Emil for convincing him to write her back, toward himself for believing it would work - overcame the poet.

In days past, Barbara would have given thoughtful suggestions on how to carry on. In days past, Thomas would have dedicated a whole book to telling her the story of Alan Wake. His fingers felt slow and heavy when he typed the concluding lines:

"Now, almost thirty years later, Alan thought of this as he stood on the rim of Cauldron Lake, the Clicker in his hand. He took a deep breath and jumped."

Thomas pulled the paper sheet out of the typewriter and placed it along with the Clicker in a shoebox. After the volcano eruption had sunk Diver's Isle, Cynthia Weaver would find this lying miraculously undamaged on the shore.

The poet felt washed out and translucent, as if the words had sapped all his strength. He read through the page one last time to ensure it contained everything Wake needed to know when his creator was gone. It was too late for Thomas to change his own fate, but he had written a successor into existence, given the man a weapon that would harm the dark presence. Writing the horror story had taught the poet one thing: you could not cut corners with the Dark Presence. For there to be light there must be dark, and to give the Clicker great power, he must take something else away. Thus, he'd written the one role he could have seen himself in out of the story.

"…To imbue the talisman with all possible power, she added that it had been given to her by Alan's father. Alan never knew him, and anything of his took on mythical proportions. With the Clicker firmly in his hand, Alan finally slept like a baby."

Thomas closed the box lid. He might not be remembered, but it was a comfort to know that he would be missed.