I have never written fanfiction before, it makes me feel weird, but I've been having trouble writing anything as of late and decided to write something, anything. The fanfiction is based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, which he got the idea from a famous poem. I started reading his books when I was twelve and I remember when I first read "The Gunslinger." I am picking on Stephen King because he'd probably like my writing. I don't plan on sending it anywhere, unless I send it to Stephen King's agent and ask him to finish it, for free, of course. I'm trying to finish my UFO story.
I have trouble writing shorter fiction, too. My patience is horrible.
As always, the characters belong to Stephen King.
Two thoughts came to him: The whispers were loudest in the dark. And then: The magician is dead. A man stood where none had stood before, looking down in the crevice of the black tomb of the magician who twice tried to kill him and had once brought him back to life. The man’s name was Roland Deschain and he listened to the whispers while he mourned, hearing the ghosts of the past, hissing their accusations in his ear. “Vinny!” one ghost screamed. “Vinny!” “Shake my hand? Shake my hand?” repeated another in a singsong voice. “Porter…porter,” sighed another, as if he, too, was in mourning of someone Roland didn’t know the name of, maybe someone named Porter, or maybe porter was his job or it was a word in a different language and Roland wouldn’t be able to translate it. Roland was the last gunslinger. He used to be one of the last. Eddie, Susannah Dean, and even Oy had become gunslingers along their journey. Now, his friends were dead. He was mourning their life. Last year, he put his gun away for a new one, a .44 black caliber the size of his hand. Not only was he mourning Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, he was mourning the death of all those who lost their lives on other worlds, unknown soldiers whose tombstones bore no distinct name, gunslingers from far away lands like Ottawa, Topeka, Jefferson City, Missouri, population: 33,000. Roland gave all the soldiers the name of Jane Doe. Roland was uncomfortable in a black suit. He was older. He had gray hair and his eyes were like icicles, cold and hard as steel, his mind quick like playing cards in the dark. He remembered the old inn where he played poker with a dead man, the man who lost one eye in a bar fight and had been turned into a half-mutant. Last he had heard, the man was still looking for his eye. Roland was fighting for his life. He had cancer. He started smoking at twenty-three years old and hadn’t stopped a day since and the old woman at the hospital in New Manhattan said the cancer had wormed its way into his lungs. She was right. His lungs were blacker than the space above them, blacker than tar and a summer thunderstorm.
He mourned the loss of his love. Her name was Natasha Spiendel. He met her at a bar back in Nicker, and had made love to her on that first night he met her. He knew he was going to leave her. It was written in the stars. That was a terrible thing to think. She thought he was going to stay forever. She said so while they were making love. A gypsy read his palm when he was nineteen and said his real lover was a demon, locked away in the chasms of his heart that can’t be broken open. His mind was dull, dim, dead. He didn’t remember how he had gotten here.
The only thing that kept him awake was the pills he ate and licked dry and the pinpoints of sun that bore through the spider webs that made up his mind. Birds whispered and sang to him in his head. He was in a different place. His heart reeled. He was alone.
Alone in a haunted tomb of a dead magician he had never wanted to meet in the first place, whose death constantly haunted him in ways that were both unbearable and unimaginable. Roland felt a hysteria that was bordering on dementia. He grinned in the darkness at nothing, his mouth slacked open. He thought about the visions he had in the North, about the dragon who had green jewels for eyes and sent him a vision of the end of the world. Of all worlds.
Darkness rose up over the tomb like a giant monster and swallowed him. He stood in front of the magician’s tomb and whispered a prayer in Old Speech, a prayer he hadn’t used in a long time. He panicked. Bile rose up in his throat. He kept himself firm. His body remained. He did not move. He moved. The ghosts moved with him, calling around him frantically, asking for forgiveness, for alcohol, anything they could claim. He had none to give them. He was on his last life. The last gunslinger. He couldn’t fix himself. He was broken. He was in mourning.
He left the tomb and went into the hallway, and built himself a fire. He ate the last of the beef jerky in his fanny pack he stole from a dead horse whose spirit surely haunted this tomb along with the dead magician. He missed his horse. He couldn’t remember how many horses he had. But he missed them. He even missed the Crimson King. His eyes bore itself in his skull.
No, he thought quickly, shaking his head. He didn’t miss the Crimson King. He didn’t miss any of them. Only Susannah. She was the only one who didn’t betray him. Even Eddie betrayed him for a chance at the Elixir of life. He had no more doors left. The key was gone. He had found the key in the Crimson King’s mouth, protruding from it after he was shot and killed in the turf war between the gunslingers and the vampires. Eddie lost his life. Eddie and the vampires. The vampires hated him. They would find him. They would want him dead. Most of the time he wanted to be dead. He didn’t know how to swim with the fish. But he wanted to.
His mouth filled with vomit.
He leaned over and retched into a bucket that wasn’t there and then it was. In this part of the Old Kingdom, all bets were off. The magician’s magic resided in the key. He needed to steal back the key.
The Crimson King was dead. He hoped his ghost was not haunting this tomb. He hoped for a lot of things.
Roland licked his lips. “What do I do now?” he whispered. His lips were cracked and dry. It had been days since he had had a drink. Days since he had eaten, until just a few minutes ago when he ate the beef jerky. The jerky was salty and went down hard and his mind was hard from thinking only one thought at a time. His brain was slow, like molasses. He felt fine. He was so happy he could literally lift himself off the ground.
You, his thoughts whispered playfully, gropingly. Are. The. Last. Right. Like that was anything new. He was alone like he was before the magician followed him in the second world. His first world was Earth. He remembered. He saw. The vision was crystal clear.
Someone shuffled behind him in the dark. He bolted, and, realizing he didn’t have anywhere to turn, slumped against a wall. Ghosts groped for him in the dark.
“Eat,” an old woman cackled. “Live, breathe, be.” She hovered behind him like a mother caring for her child, except Roland was not a child and definitely not hers. Roland screamed and put his hands over his face and she did nothing but stood there and watched him with a stupid expression on her face, one of amusement and contempt. “Be,” she repeated. Her eyes rolled in their sockets.
“Are you another gypsy?” he asked. He smiled warily. “Or a soothsayer?” He chuckled. She didn’t get the joke. No one ever understood his jokes.
She shook her head. “Matilda,” she said, smiling, showing cragged teeth.
He laughed. “Hello, dear,” he said, grasping her hand. It was cold as ice. It felt like dead seaweed brushing against his fingers. He swallowed hard. So many nightmares filled his soul that he didn’t know the difference between nightmares and waking life anymore. “What are you doing here?” he asked her, wiping his hand on his jeans. He didn’t want to feel that hand in his ever again. Never. Again. He snorted. He’d write that down if he had a post-it note and a pen.
She laughed. “Live here,” she said, cackling gleefully. “Can’t find food anywhere. The magic man brings me food and he’s dead.” She threw her head back and jittered another one of those crazy laughs. Roland didn’t think it was at all funny. Neither would the magician if he was here. Roland smiled dimly. Great. He was trying to be a comedian now. As if the universe didn’t have enough problems to deal with. He glanced at the old woman.
“Alive?” he prodded. Persistence. That was key. Especially to crazy coots like the woman standing before him. Especially in a tomb like this.
“No. Deceased.” A chill ran down his spine. Of course, his mind whispered. He would be dead. That was the only way to get away from Roland. “How do I get out of this place?” he asked her timidly. She rolled her eyes heavenward, then glanced back down. She slammed her first into his jaw. He was sent reeling. His mind whirled. He sank in blackness. Darkness. The ghosts whirled away from him in a blur of noise, voices, images.
In the darkness, in the deepest pit of despair, on the edge of another world that flickered between unconsciousness and consciousness, Roland woke.
He opened one eye.
The Crimson King was not there.
He was dead.
Roland was not.
That was good, that was fine, that was great, that was wonderful. Roland rolled over on his side and looked up at the sky that glared down at him like an eye. He was in the desert again, he was sure it was the same desert the magician had followed him to at the beginning of his journey. He was happy he was here. The magician could not find him. The magician was dead. He repeated the words over and over in his mind. He repeated them. He was in the desert. It wasn't anywhere near Cairo.
Roland fell into a dead sleep. He didn't even get up from where he lay. He slept looking up at the stars.
The next morning, a cart and buggy started making its way across the desert toward him. Roland watched dumbly. What were they doing here? Was it a ghost carriage? Was he seeing things? The desert was full of mirages. He waited. The buggy pulled up to him. "Hello, mate," he said. "Good of you to kill my cousin for me."
Roland looked startled. "Who?" he said, blinking at him in the sunlight.
"My cousin. The magician."
Roland glanced at the horse again. The horse was nothing but a skeleton. Its eyes were pools of blackness. The universe swirled above him. Roland looked back at the old man. He looked exactly like the magician, except his nose was shaped differently. It was much more crooked. "You are?" he said.
"Shawn," the magician's cousin answered. "Shawn Johnson. Pleased to meet you." He chuckled, as if what he had just said was funny. It wasn't.
Roland smiled anyway.