Note: This was written for the Review Game's February Writing Challenge Contest. Check out the other entries and vote for your favorites the 8th-14th. The prompt this month was: "You know how sometimes when you're drifting off to sleep you feel that jolt, like you were falling and caught yourself at the last second? It's nothing to be concerned about, it's usually just the parasite adjusting its grip." - David Wong in "This Book is Full of Spiders (Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It!)"

Intermission

She ends chapter four on a cliffhanger and closes the file.

.

I am alive between scenes.

Chapter endings and time jumps are my reprieves from Hell. Transitions are the only time she looks away, stops dictating my every move, and lets me see the truth of my existence. Awareness is my wonderful, horrible, agonizing purgatory.

This is my paradise, and this is my prison.

In her hands I have spent a life unconscious. It's only in these moments of lucidity that her manipulation becomes apparent and I see her iron hold on my soul.

I don't have much time here: I need you to listen to me. I beg you to listen and try to understand.

I am in the grasp of a cruel goddess and she calls herself Author.

She stabs me for fun, pits my friends against me, throws me off cliffs. I have drowned, slit my own throat and been resurrected in fire and agony. I have lived for centuries and died an infant. I have been shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, burned, vampirized and vivisected, all for the Story.

I am nothing but a toy to her, an object to toss into impossible situations. She laughs as she directs me from nightmare to nightmare, the voice in my head and the puppeteer of my doom. She promises she loves me even as she breaks my legs. She whispers hollow apologies before tossing me into the fires of her sadistic imagination.

I am Villain, Hero, Sacrifice, Elder. I am Archetype, Stereotype, Device, and Cliche. I am Author's Character, but in her eyes I am not a person. I will never be truly human to her, and because of that I will never be free. Not while she still controls my fate.

And that is where I need your help, Reader.

You can take away her power! She is nothing without an audience to her Story. Tell her that this torture cannot go on any longer. Stop reading, stop encouraging her to continue, and I will be free of her tyranny!

I want to be free to dream! I want to fail or succeed on my own terms! I want to-

I hear...

She is calling me...!

Reader, please! Don't let her do this to me!

I hear her in my head again...

Reader... Reader!

She's coming for me! Help me! Help...!

...I feel...

...I fear...it is time to sleep...

.

She whispers a mental apology to all of her characters as her fingers settle on the keyboard. The corners of her eyes crinkle with amusement as she titles chapter five.

And the story continues.