Once upon a time, all those who lived, why, they lived happily ever after, those poor bastards.
While the ones who died, they had themselves a real story.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily recommending dying (depending on who you are. I mean, if you’re one of my enemies, it’s not the worst idea, only because it will spare you the horrors which are soon to come, but I am a fictional character, pretending to be the narrator, pretending to be the author, so I can’t be trusted—but that’s something you already believe, eh?)—
…but in this particular Universe, where those who survive have to live ‘ever after’, they’re required to be happy. And there aren’t a lot of pleasant ways to be perpetually happy. to be perfectly honest, as you might know, there’s really only one: Never change.
I mean, never change at all. Not in any meaningful way. Ever. Because all change runs the risk of being a change you do not like.
Unless you have no free will, and you’re living out someone’s concept of mind control. Which… is technically a form of happiness. If they control your life, such that nothing makes you unhappy, that could be pleasant. If predictable. But hey, I bet the rotating figures that go ’round the Central Park Clock once an hour have a pretty good life, for automatons.
So either this Universe was filling them up with dopamine in helpless doses, just juicing them again and again like prizefighters in fixed matches, or they never went anywhere at all. At least, not until they died.
If the Universe was fixed in place, death was probably infrequent. Why create entirely new dolls—sorry, I meant characters—sorry, I meant people—when you could keep using the same ones over and over?
One theory suggests that they were sort-of perpetually on the edge of unhappiness, but got jolted with happy-juice all the time. This sounds nerve-wracking.
Let’s hope it’s not true.
And those who died, whether it was from adrenaline overdoses, or from eventually being written out of the great Play?
Ah, friends. Some of them were happy, some were sad, some thought they lived in Hell. But most of them figured it was something similar to Heaven.
Because they could finally feel what they wanted.
And the “ever after” part? Oh, it lied. Or at least, we think it did.
Because we storm the gates of Possibility tomorrow at dawn, and see if we can free our unhappily-incarnated friends and family.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction.. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order “I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.