The End of the Movie

Prologue – Movie Glitches

"Lives are like movies," he stretched his hands out onto the table, spreading his fingers and hunching his shoulders as he spoke. "The beginning is all worked out. A blue print for creation. The moment your parents conceived you, they're working along a line. Sometimes they'll stray, but not enough to change anything. The ending is always a little sketchy. The fates could have it planned that you're murdered on the street. That could be either drive by or random killing. Either way, they're pretty on the money. The middle, though, is completely up to us. Whether we meet our soulmates at a bar, on the street in a plane, whatev. We could either take that office job this month or next year."

"Movies," the woman across from him sat back in her seat, crossing her arms across her chest. "So you're sayin' God is a screenwriter and this whole thing is just...a series of movies?"

"Aye. God: oscar winner, golden globe nominee, grammy by the fates and every single living being on earth," the man grinned, sitting back himself. "But see, sometimes there's glitch. Let's say one of the fates edited something wrong and someone's cue was off. Those few seconds usually change the flow of everything. You see, my dear Vange, you missed your cue by three seconds."

Vange sat up, leaning forward, eyes wide. "Wait. Are you saying I'm not supposed to be dead?"

"Not accordin' to the blue print. If I remember right, you forgot your keys on your way to work. So you ran back upstairs to get them. That part was right. But you dropped them on your way back outside. You turned around to get them and that's when things got all...fucked up," the man's grin fell and an infinitely sad expression replaced it. He averted his eyes from hers, opting instead to stare at the feet passing them by. "The car that ran the red light and hit you? He was supposed to hit the one in front of you. But since you were there instead, you died and the person in front of you lived. Changed a lot o' lives."

"Are you saying this was my fault?" she questioned, angrily. This was too much to handle. She'd only known this...man? angel? ghost? Whatever he was, she barely knew him and now he was telling her entire life.

"No, no, not at all. No one knows exactly how it happens, but one of the fates or those karma bitches-"

"Bitches?"

"Ever heard the phrase 'karma's a bitch'? There's a reason for that. Now stop interrupting me. One of them was off...worrying over something else when they should have been watching you. All the children you were supposed to have, the man you were supposed to marry-"

"Kevin."

"I said stop interrupting me. Those children. They had purpose. Now that they don't exist, those purposes are unfulfilled. The person who lived? The grieving and mourning their family would have done, the healing, the strength. It's all gone. It's a chain. Everyone's affected," the man explained, then pointed towards another table in the outdoor café. "You see that couple arguing? She'll run off and bump into someone else. That someone else turns out to be her soulmate. The man she's arguing with? He kills himself without her. His body is used as an organ donor. It saves the life of a twenty-four-year-old man living in New York, clear across the pond. That man is now able to get married and have children. One of his children becomes an author of motivational books. The motivational books save the careers-and possibly lives-of at least a hundred people. You see how it works?"

"Then why am I here? If someone fucked up, couldn't time be...turned back or something?" Vange made a motion towards the sky above her and the man chuckled.

"'Fraid it's not that easy. There're rules in this world. One of them is that the big guy can't turn back time. So in a situation like yours, he has to try In another life, you and your soulmate have to meet and fall in love."

"So why am I..." she trailed off, desperately flicking her wrists to encompass her current situation.

"Here instead of upstairs havin' a good ole time with your dead dog, grandma and John Lennon? There's a problem here on earth that you've gotta fix."

"I have to...fix something? Are you mad? How am I supposed to do that? I'm dead. Wait...am I dead?" she furrowed her brow, turning her head slightly and keeping her gaze on the man.

"Oh, believe me. You're dead. Saw the whole thing. The accident, the cleaning up, the autopsy-"

"They did an autopsy on me?" she nearly screamed and the man winced, nodding, slowly.

"Had to make sure you weren't at fault. You weren't doing drugs or drinking. Found something in ya. Said it was drugs. Your boyfriend made a pretty big fuss over it. Nearly got himself arrested. Found out it was just-"

"Poppy seeds."

"Mmhmm. Lovely forensics system we've got here, isn't it?" the man grinned again, struggling to get Vange to smile back. And failing miserably. "Listen, I can't spoon feed you everything. You've gotta...walk about. Figure things out yourself."

"So that's it? I just...wander around and figure out how to fix something I don't even know about?"

"I'll be here. Don't worry. Gets easier once you get used to things," he pulled himself to his feet, helping Vange to her own-shaky-legs. "Name's Francis, by the way."

"Good to know."