once, there was a woman who lived her entire life within a fictional story. this story, for the most part,
had no fantastical elements. it was a very mundane & realistic slice-of-life sort of piece which detailed
a working class American life, sporting social ups & downs. it featured only two fantastical elements,
the first of which was this: the woman was aware that she was living a fictional story

the woman wanted, more than anything, to be a real person living a real life. she recognized, of course, that
the life she lived now was in all ways identical to a real life. identical, that is, save for this awareness she
had been cursed with, which brewed in her a deep sense of metaphysical unease. she wanted desperately
to live a real life, & she also wanted desperately to somehow commune with her author

she didn't know what to do about it, though, so she simply went about living her life, aware with each step & word
that it had been dictated by her author. she had once read, though, something on the internet about the idea of
"physical determinism," the unspiritual idea that all physical interactions, including those of her body & the
neurons that facilitated her thoughts, were inevitable, & free will didn't exist even in the real world. she
was able to rationalize her author's dictation of her thoughts & actions about as well as someone in her
author's world would have been able to rationalize physical determinism. she was, at the times
when she could ignore the metaphysical unease, simply happy to be along for the ride,
to feel quite convincingly like she was feeling anything at all

she even recognized that most of the days she lived had never really happened, had not been explicitly described by
her author but left as a mountain of implications within the phrase "living her life." she knew she had no memories,
that only upon the act of trying to recollect anything would her author weave her memories on the fly. she reasoned
that this was merely an exaggerated version of the way real people lived, often feeling stranded in a present unmoored
from many of their memories, which ultimately only serve as stories for them to tell themselves about themselves

here was the second fantastical element of her story: she knew who her author was, a woman named
Alex. she even knew where Alex lived, & it happened to be only a block or two from her house.
she had never met or seen Alex, but she had always possessed a sort of sixth sense about
her physical location in the world, no matter how far apart the two became

early in her life, she had wondered why she possessed these curious awarenesses, but it quickly became obvious that
she had simply been written that way. there was nothing special about her, it was just that the story necessitated
a person with metatextual awareness who would then inevitably ponder that awareness, the same way people
tended to ponder the unlikeliness of the evolution of human life, yet there they were pondering

her incessant awareness of Alex's identity & location lived like a buzzing, tickling gnat embedded
in her grey matter. she had, of course, considered visiting Alex many many times over the years. it
was an endless temptation, especially when her life felt especially dull & directionless. every human
being she had ever met or heard of had desperately craved a sense of direction & purpose in
their life, but she was the only one in history who had actually had it

she reasoned this, though: a meeting between the two was only what Alex wanted, & it was why the woman had
also been cursed with this inexorable pull toward her home. it was why that home was so nearby. these were
pieces in place, serving the purpose Alex had had in mind when she began writing the story. if the woman
met Alex, it would spark some sort of denouement where their interaction served as an interesting
& abstract metatextual analysis of the woman's situation. it would serve as an exploration of
what Alex, in imagining a conversation with her curious creation, would have to say to her

& the woman also reasoned this: that the woman she would meet at that house would not really be
her author, but a fictionalized representation of her author that spoke in affected tones befitting of her
special, metatextual, climactic, fictionalized state. the woman knew that Alex, the real Alex above, could
do nothing to bring her into the real world or meaningfully have a conversation with her. the puppet
waiting in that house ultimately had nothing to offer her beyond a conversation which would
display a philosophical tone that she had already seized, had turned over & over
in her head for years, had explored from every angle

again: the puppet in that house had nothing to offer her. she didn't want to play along, & simply
forced it to the back of her mind & went about living, as stated before. she lived a fairly
happy life & passed away of natural causes on september 17th, 2007