Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks story like many started with a single line of dialog popping into my head. I don’t really know where the inspiration came from this week, but once the idea was there the dialog flowed freely.
“It’s brilliant.” My editor seemed to love my story pitch. He was smiling wider than I had ever seen and I could hear the glee in his voice. He wasn’t just giving me an approval he seemed genuinely excited by the idea.
“Really? I expected a bit more skepticism. I did just tell you I was writing an exposé claiming that one of the richest men alive is actually a vampire.”
“Your work is always top notch and your research unrivaled. If you say he is a vampire I’m sure you have plenty of evidence to support your claim.”
“It isn’t just that he is a vampire, I am revealing that vampires themselves exist. That is kind of a big deal and will be met with at least some challenge. No matter how much proof I have some people will never believe and it could hurt the paper’s reputation.”
He actually laughed at my statement. “Oh, this story isn’t going into the Times. I would lose all credibility if I ran it there. No, I’m launching a new tabloid I’m calling The Underground. This is going to be my headline”
I could not hide how offended I was from my voice. “You want my work to headline a tabloid? This is a real story not some work of fiction.”
“All the stories in The Underground will be real. Sure, most people won’t believe that, but the right people will know. That’s all that really matters.”
“Just who are the right people?” I still didn’t know quite what to think.
“Werewolves, other vampires, and anything else that goes bump in the night. They need their own source of news that covers things they care about. It is an untapped market.”
“Wait are you saying werewolves are real too? And other things?”
“Of course. Did you really write this story and not think about what else might be out there?”
“Well I was kind of floored just to learn vampires were real.” I still didn’t know what to think about his reaction and part of me thought he was playing a prank. He was never good at lying though and everything in his body language screamed genuine. He at very least believed what he was saying. His words also struck me. Why hadn’t I thought about what else might be out there?
“You have just taken your first step into a world much larger than you ever knew. There is no going back either. You can never unknow and simply knowing changes how you look at everything. For me it doesn’t hurt that the supernatural is an under-served demographic. Oh, and the crazies. Are they really that crazy though if they are actually at-least somewhat, right?”
“No?” It came out more as a question than an answer.
He laughed. “No most of them are still crazy. They may be right, but they’re right with no proof and for the wrong reasons. Their money still spends though.” He laughed again, but I just couldn’t join him in it. “Oh and you need a pen name.”
“Why would I need a pen name?”
“Well you don’t want to lose all credibility with the quote unquote serious news outlets. Plus, you don’t want these kind of people knowing that you are real.” He pointed to my story notes as he said it. “That would be a pretty quick way to wind up dead.”
“I guess I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Of course not. You’re too new to this. If you aren’t careful though you won’t live long enough to learn all the rules. Good thing you have me.”
I was still in a kind of shock from the conversation. I knew he was right, but I also still just didn’t understand what was happening. A big part of me wished I had never made my discovery. I couldn’t go back now though. I did know. I was a reporter, and I couldn’t deny my need to know the truth. The truth about everything. This was only just the beginning.