Happy Thanksgiving! Because I like being contrary, here’s a short horror story I wrote for school last year.
Write, Kill, Revenge
Just sent off the final draft of Robin Hood and the Twelfth Hour to my editor. Twenty freaking years worth of cat-and-mouse between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham finally come to an end. I’d open a bottle of champagne if the doctor hadn’t told me to cut back. Age may only go up, but it sure likes to bring you down.
Anyways, I’m going to bed. If Sharon isn’t asleep yet, I may just get lucky. More later.
My editor called. She loves everything about the new book—except for the part where Robin Hood dies. She wants me to rewrite it.
I told her everything in the series had been building up this to moment. Robin Hood is an anti-hero. He’s isn’t going to marry Maid Marian and go riding off into the sunset. His sacrifice is the purest expression of love he can manage.
She got really testy after that and said she had to consult her boss. I told her to take her time. Robin ain’t going anywhere, am I right?
As my editor has so fake-happily informed me, Robin Hood and the Twelfth Hour has been given the green light. I would’ve said “I told you so,” if I wasn’t scared she’d jab out my eyes with a nail file.
We talked a little while on cover design and minor revisions to speed up the pacing before hanging up. Right before the cut-off, she added, “You’re going break a lot of fans’ hearts, Joe,” then beep beep beep.
Jeez, Robin’s just a character. Ink and pressure on paper. If people want a happy ending so bad, they should rent Disney’s version. Anamorphized animals and musical numbers; should be right up their alley.
Had a weird dream last night. I was in the Sherwood Forest, attending Robin Hood’s funeral. All the Merry Men were crying and Maid Marian delivered a eulogy on Robin’s numerous good deeds. During the lowering of the casket, it suddenly burst open, revealing a blackened Robin Hood with his neck stretched unnaturally long from being hung at the gallows.
“This is your doing,” he’d hissed at me before lunging forward, fingers outstretched.
That’s was also when I woke up, sweaty and a little more than disturbed.
I spoke to Sharon about it and she said that dream was my subconscious speaking to me, saying I covertly didn’t want to kill Robin. I should probably mention here that she’s totally on my editor’s side and thinks I’m making a terrible mistake.
Well, I’m not changing a single thing. Take that, Freud!
Book came out yesterday and fan letters are already rolling in.
Unfortunately, most of them are negative. Here’s a sample of some of the wilder ones:
How could you kill off Robin Hood? He and Maid Marian should’ve gotten married! You’re going to bring him back to life, right? Please tell me it was all just a misunderstanding!
I’ve always been a huge fan of your work, but this is just unacceptable. Other than the shock factor, there’s no point in you killing off the main character. I would even rather the ending be left ambiguous than what you did.
I only have one thing to say: bring back Robin Hood. You’re the writer. You’re God of your own world. Just write him back to life, please.
This must be what Arthur Conan Doyle felt like when he killed off Sherlock Holmes in 1893. Least I don’t live in the Wizarding world or people would be sending me Howlers.
Had another weird dream about Robin Hood. This time, he chased me through the Sherwood Forest, claiming that he’d put an arrow through my heart if I didn’t write him back to life. When I refused, he did just that and I bolted upright.
Must be those stupid letters. I’ve stopped reading them altogether and just dumped them in the fireplace where they belong.
Oh, wait, I hear Sharon leaving for the grocery store. I need to remind her to pick up some ointment—I have an oddly shaped bruise on the left side of my chest. I must have bumped the bedside table in my sleep or something.
Well, that’s the last book signing I’ll ever do in the foreseeable future.
All my fans did was pester me with questions on the next Robin Hood book and I had tell them, through gritted teeth, that there wasn’t going to be another one because Robin Hood is dead. Gone. Food for the fishes.
A couple of them cried when they heard too. Jesus, if that’s how they get wherever a character dies, they’re going to be wrung dry before George R.R. Martin finishes A Song of Ice and Fire.
On a side note, I’ve reminded my gardener to take his shoes off if he needed to come in the house. I’ve been spotting muddy footprints all over the place lately. He denied it of course (he has to keep his job after all), but I gave him fair warning. Any more of that and I’m docking his pay.
Sharon’s changed her perfume. It’s a sort of musky smell that puts in mind tobacco and pine trees. I wouldn’t mind it so much if she didn’t do her walk-in perfume trick all over the house. Now the whole place seems like an evergreen forest.
To top off today, I had to fire the gardener. The dirt-tracking was getting out of control. I’ve even seen prints in my office, which he shouldn’t even be entering in the first place. He swore he’s never been in my office, but forensic evidence doesn’t lie. Who knows why he’s skunking around. Good riddance, I say.
They’ve started a Bring Robin Back petition. I’m sad to say it’s actually gaining media attention and now signatures are pouring in from all over the world. The phone’s been ringing nonstop from nosy reporters so I disabled it. Sharon isn’t happy about it, but she grudgingly conceded after I pointed out she still had her cell phone.
I fired the maid today too. She keeps shadowing me for some reason. When I confronted her, she denied it just like the gardener, but I wasn’t taking any chances. For all I know, she’s taken money from those Robin-lovers to spy on me.
Who’s laughing now, losers?
Sharon says I’ve been acting strange. It’s not me who’s strange; it’s those crazy Robin-lovers. They’ve started camping out on the lawn, holding up signs proclaiming Robin’s likeliness and slapped on the bottom are slogans like: ‘WE WANT ROBIN’, ‘BRING BACK ROBIN’ and ‘ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE BROUGHT SHERLOCK BACK. WHY CAN’T YOU?’
I want to go out and yell at them to get a life. Robin Hood’s just a freaking character! He’s not even real, for God’s sake!
Plus, the bastard has been single-handedly responsible for the dark circles under my eyes the past few days. Just for that, I’m not writing him back to life. Not now, not ever.
Shoot all the arrows you want, punk.
The Robin-lovers have broken into the house. I can hear them. Smell the wood of their signs. Creeping around, tracking mud all over the place. Inconsiderate jerks don’t even have the decency to wipe their shoes.
Well, I’ll take care of them. I had a friend of mine mail me his Smith & Wesson. It’s not murder if it’s in self-defense.
They started it, officers!
Sharon’s left for her mother’s. She says she’ll come back after I’ve screwed my head back on straight again. My head’s on straight, it’s her head that isn’t on straight. She was wearing a crooked hat. A CROOKED HAT! HA!
Sharon’s back and she’s working with the Robin-lovers. She was always on Robin’s side, never my side. Wedding vows? What wedding vows? I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals and betray you. BETRAY YOU! GEDDIT?
She must have been the one to give them a key to the house in the first place. She’s plotting against me. They’re all plotting against me. Robin was always good at gathering followers. Smarmy sounds like slimy. He’s a slimy one.
The Robin-lovers have taken it one step further by dressing up as their hero. I saw one of them today. He even had a bow, the nerve. He smells of my wife’s perfume too. They’re probably sleeping together. She ain’t getting one cent of money after the divorce. Let her cosplay with the vagrants. The whore.
That particular Robin-lover is sneaky. I can feel him following me, but I can never catch him. Every time I whip around, he’s gone. Gone like the wind, hehe.
But I’ll get him. Turn my wife against me, will you? Turn my whole fanbase against me, will you?! I’m getting rid of him, once and for all. Self-defense be damned.
Cheeky scumbag pulled a Robin Hood—left me a note on the dining table. Robin Hood and the Four Crossroads, chapter 15. No originality whatsoever.
He’s challenged me to a duel at midnight in my old office. If I lose, I have to write Robin Hood back to life. If I win, he’ll go back to where he belongs. Screw that. If I win, I’ll send him back to his maker. Once and for all.
It’s 11:55pm. I have my Smith & Wesson and from what I’ve glimpsed, dork only has a bow.
11:59. C’mon, Robin Hood. You wanna play hardball? Let’s play hardball.
FAMOUS WRITER JOE EPSTEIN FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME
American writer Joe Epstein, most famous for his 12-book Robin Hood series, was found dead at his residence at 9:34am this morning. The cause of his death is internal bleeding and excessive blood loss from what appears to be two gunshot wounds to his left lung and heart respectively. A Smith & Wesson was collected at the scene with Epstein’s fingerprints on it.
Epstein’s spouse, Sharon Epstein, claimed her husband had been acting “strange” before the time of his death. “He thought everyone was against him and pointing out ‘evidence’ that wasn’t there. I know he was under a lot of stress because his fans wanted him to bring Robin,” she wept, “but I never thought he’d go as far as to take his own life!”
The Robin Hood series is arguably Epstein’s most renowned work, having garnered numerous literary awards and been on many bestsellers’ lists. The last book, chronicling the character’s noble sacrifice and ultimate demise, sparked outrage among the public and many called for the writer to write him back to life. When Epstein stood by his decision, protests and “BRING ROBIN BACK” campaigns followed, including an online petition, which currently stands at 10,894 signatures, and a sit-in in front of his house.
The sit-in was going on at the time of Epstein’s death, but the police suspect no foul play.
“It’s most likely suicide,” the head of case stated. “The man wasn’t in his right mind. We found a journal in his computer and the entries are quite…disturbing. He actually thought someone, or Robin Hood, was out to get him. We found a note, calling for a ‘duel’, which may be his version of a suicide note.”
So far, the police are ruling Epstein’s expiration as suicide. Coroner’s report will come out on Tuesday.