They're everywhere. The voice haunts me, and tells me that this isn't the end. That the story will continue.
But I know better than that. I know that every story must end at one time, and just because this story will have a shitty end, that doesn't mean that it should go on forever.
Having written a few things in my life, I know some basic rules. The first rule of when to end your story is when you're all out of characters. No characters, no story. You may have a single character left, but a lone character doesn't make much of a story.
There's only me left. I'm the only character left in this story, and realistic as it may be, it's not a good story. A few years ago, it was a great story, but now things have changed. The main character has lost his job, and his wife left him with their kids. He begged for her to come back, and it ended with the wife moving to a faraway place, forever ruining his chances of seeing his children again.
Terrible story, isn't it?
Now, I'm trying to think of a way to end it, and that reminds me of the second rule of ending a story. The ending must always show the reader an earlier part of the story.
This is easy with this story. Five years ago, I wasted away my education because of drugs. Yes, glare at me, and accuse my story of being terribly unoriginal, but that's what happens in real life.
You may be wondering why I did drugs, but fact is that I don't know. Yes, it felt awesome to be stoned, but I doubt that's the only reason. Ah, screw this. I've never been much of a writer, and I'd be damned if I'd ever be smart enough to be a shrink. She might've been it, yes, but I would never have been anything fancy like that.
So, what does this have to do with the second rule of endings?
You see, since I've wasted my life away on drugs, it would only be fitting if they killed me. Naturally, I can't afford ecstasy or speed nowadays, but I do have some other pills. It's quite easy, you know. Swallow the glass, and the story will end.
An important rule when writing is never to finish anything with the number two. People want their trilogies, and they feel left out if they don't get it. So, here's the third and last rule of ending a story; the reader must be left wondering.
Wonder about what? A pathetic little writer who couldn't even keep bread on the family's table? There's nothing special about my story, you know, and I've chosen to end it since nothing special is going to happen. The character's parents died two years ago, and his wife left him right before that. Since then, he's been working on a book. His final masterpiece. However, two years of constant writing, editing and reading only made a paper-back. It has sold a thousand copies around the country, and it's not going to sell any more.
The character earned a hundred bucks on the book. More than enough to buy the pills.
Every story that has begun must also end. It's the law of the nature, you know. The character can only find comfort in a dreamless sleep, so the pills are necessary. Actually, I wanted to use acid to make sure that this pathetic corpse would be gone forever, but acid's way too expensive.
I look at the letter once more. '1000 copies sold. Blah, blah blah, not going to make any more copies, blah, blah, sorry, blah, attached $100, blah' This is what made me decide the ending. The character is a failure, anyway. True, the reader must have sympathy for the character, but a pathetic character will never work.
I decide on making a last book. I place a picture of myself when I was a baby on top of the letter. Then I place the restraining order on top of it, and I place my head resting on the papers. The story of my life, as one might say.
Taking the pills one at a time, my character sighs.
In a couple of weeks, people will start complaining about the smell, but in this place nobody is going to do anything about it. In a couple of months, the landlord will knock on my door, and yell something like 'Ey, mista, ya haven't paid ya rent!'. He'll walk in and find what's left of my character.
It's a fitting end. Just like they should be. A pathetic end for a pathetic character.
The pills are making everything unclear. I still know what's going on around me, but I feel sick. Suddenly, the door opens, and I know that it's time. Time for death to come and end my story. I'd never believed that death actually had a form, but surely something is here to pick me up. I exhale slowly, and I never breathe again. Before the end, I hear someone in the doorway.
"Dad," a small voice that I instantly recognize yells. "Dad, where are you? Mommy said I could visit you…"
And now that the pathetic character has died, a small kid walks into his apartment. He holds his mother's hand, looking forward into seeing his father.
One image will stay caught in his memory.