Everyone looks up at the person who spoke. He's not much older than me, maybe fifteen, and really cute. Like, I-want-your-face-as-my-computer-desktop cute. Alynn told me that his name is Erik Gavinson, and she has a crush on him, too.
"Don't ya remember the last time you convinced everyone to play a joke on The Author?" asks John the pioneer guy. His girlfriend's pet raccoon is perched on his shoulder, and it starts protesting loudly as he pushes it off. "How we all got grounded for a week?"
"I'm certain that was a one-time event," Erik declares. "Tomorrow morning, when she's praying, we'll act out one of her favorite scenes. We'll have the grandest entertainment since The Author wrote her own fanfiction."
"That was an interim short story," John says. The raccoon squeals angrily, climbing up John's pant leg and biting his hand. "Ow! Dad-gum coon! Someone take it!"
"We shouldn't interrupt her while she's praying, lad," Lukas interjects.
Erik gives a haughty smile. "Aye, sir. But if you've any better ideas, I'd be honored to hear them." Lukas doesn't say anything, but he crosses his arms. I almost want to say something, but then I look at Erik's perfect blond hair and change my mind.
"Interruption it is, then," Alynn mutters next to me.
The next morning, the Internal Clock wakes everyone up at 6:50. But then, The Author rolls over and goes back to sleep. Her Imagination automatically sets a scene--it's cold and drizzling ever so lightly. We're in a clearing in the woods. The sun hasn't risen yet, but there's a reddish streak on the eastern horizon. I love this scene, because it's not recorded in Alynn's book.
Lukas pulls up his hood and starts walking, praying in Latin. Suddenly, he pauses. "Why have Ye been asking me to pray in Gaelic recently?" he asks God. He shrugs and starts walking again. "Lord, I'm glad Ye know what Ye're doing, because this is madness from my perspective. Why would Ye wake me up afore dawn, ride three hours through a thunderstorm into Barbarian territory--"
The Author looks at the clock. It's 7:02, and she immediately opens her curtain. She prays for a while, then takes a Bible off her nightstand.
"Now's our chance!" whispers Erik. "Keep doing your scene!"
"I won't interrupt her," Lukas insists.
"Fine, then. You've a spare tunic I can borrow, don't you?" Erik asks. "I'll act out your part."
All the Characters look at each other, and Selah is the only one with the boldness to speak up. "But you are so much shorter than him, Erik, and you have so much hair," she says. "Perhaps you should find another scene to act out. Or perhaps we could have a celebration instead, with feasting and dancing. Erik, The Author loves God. Perhaps it is wrong to force them apart."
"What do you know about The Author's God?" Erik sneers.
"I know much about Him," Selah replies. "And you are quite qualified to speak for me, as you worship the gods of Asgard and Vanaheim."
Rhett the time traveller's son laughs. "Burn!" he shouts.
Selah looks up and sniffs the air. "What is burned?" she asks.
"It's a figure of speech," Rhett mutters.
Lukas sighs. He keeps walking through the woods, praying quietly. I know that The Author's getting distracted, because the setting grows more vivid. Lukas groans, and he throws a quick "Lord, forgive me" into his murmurings.
He stops at the edge of the woods. "Now what?" he asks God. Fear and suspicion mount in his eyes as God reveals the answer to him, and he quickly looks around. Carefully, he runs half-bent-over for camouflage to a wooden pier and hides behind a barrel.
Lukas is too cautious to say anything. He's inside of the Barbarian village he's been hiding from his entire life. I can't blame him. But he trusts God, and gathers the courage to leave his hiding spot and stand on the very edge of the pier.
Then, he looks down.
"God, have mercy!" he exclaims, kneeling down and dragging a half-frozen Alynn onto the pier. "Can you hear me? Young lady!"
All of a sudden, the Imagination goes dark as The Author snaps out of her daydream. Her clock reads 7:13. "Erik, I hope you get in trouble," I say.
"Shut up," Erik scowls.
All of a sudden, The Author herself shows up, and she isn't very happy.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.