The Omnipotent

Omnipotent - n. – possessing complete, unlimited, or universal power and authority

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Once upon a time there was a world called Storyland. In this enchanted, idyllic, literary story-world, life was plentiful, sometimes troublesome, but always good.

High up in the cotton-ball clouds, the Great Omnipotent ruled this world with a gentle felt-tipped pen. He wrote the lives of the Hero, the Villain and everyone else in Storyland; they lived according to these stories.

Every day, the good Hero triumphantly saved lives and won admiring hearts, while the evil Villain fought fervently against him and was always blown to smithereens. And it was good, it was just, because the Omnipotent had ordained it so.

One fine day, the Hero happily trotted down the glorious Storyland Museum. Here, ancient vaults held several things, from Plato's allegories to Vermeer paintings to tapes of exotic modal music. He examined them with interest, wondered at their meanings – when came the Sudden Surprise.

The Hero turned around, swishing his cape. It was the evil Villain.

"Prepare to be defeated!" The Hero declared, as he loosened his Magical Web of Justice to cast upon the Villain.

To his surprise, the Villain smiled amusedly.

"Why are you smiling?" The Hero paused for a moment.

"I am thinking."

"About what?"

"If there is another way to defeat me,"

"Why? The Magical Web of Justice works every time."

"Indeed. But it's the Omnipotent's weapon, not yours."

The Hero looked puzzled.

The Villain leaned closer, beady eyes darting as though someone might be eavesdropping on them. "Don't you ever wish you could kill me your way, instead of the Omnipotent's?"

The Hero tapped his large chin and thought about it. "Gosh, you are right."

"Don't you ever wish we all live according to our will, instead of the Omnipotent's?"

The Hero nodded rapturously as it dawned upon him. He remembered his unfathomable power and his good graces. I am a Hero, he thought. The Amazing Hero.

"Look at all the art in this museum. All art for art's sake and done by artists. Did they ever listen to an Omnipotent? Surely, not." The Villain said.

These words transfixed the Hero. He realized how much he'd never thought about. Did they ever listen to the Omnipotent? Or were they free? When he finally came to his senses, his Magical Web of Justice was a tangle, and the Villain had escaped.

The Hero left the museum with an equally-tangled mind. He felt as though he had been touched by Truth after so many chapters in his life. As for the Villain – so what if he'd escaped. The Villain had just told him a Truth!

"Sir! The Mythical Creature is attacking a Damsel in Distress!"

A Second Surprise. The Hero turned to greet the colourful-liveried Messenger, who seemed out of breath.

"The Mythical Creature has kidnapped a Damsel – presumably for supper-" The Messenger cried.

Instinctively, the Hero drew himself to his full height and stuck his chest out. Even the sun set his chiseled face aglow with golden rays. But the Hero remembered the Villain – the slithery, silvery new philosophies – and shrugged his shoulders. After all, saving damsels was getting boring.

"I'm sorry, but no can do," the Hero finally said wistfully.

"But the Omnipotent has decreed it-"

"The Omnipotent? What is the Omnipotent to us?"

The messenger frowned. "Sir, you are the Hero. Only you can save Storyland. The Omnipotent gave you the most beautiful stories – legendary adventure, swashbuckling swath, glamour, damsels in distress. How can you abandon all that? How can you disobey the Omnipotent? How can you – forsake yourself?!"

The Hero paused, staring at the Messenger for a very long time. At last he spoke: "I've only just started discovering myself, thank you very much. What about you?"

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"DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, DIES IN DISTRESS."

"MYTHICAL MONSTER, OR MYTHICAL MISHAP?"

"WHERE IS THE HERO?"

Headlines, black or red, dropshadowed and italicized, underlined once, twice, thrice, blazed from every newspaper the next morning.

Everyone in Storyland pored over the wasted death of the Damsel killed by the Mythical Monster. No one had saved her.

"Where is the Hero?" The people of Storyland asked each other. "Where is the Omnipotent?"

The Hero was sipping his morning coffee when he read the same headlines. He sighed irritably, feeling somewhat responsible. No news is good news. He looked out the window, where colourful birds twittered around the dapple-green grass, crystalline flowers waved, and a gentle wind rocked the gauzy curtains.

And he froze.

For there, on the paper, was a picture of the dead Damsel. The Hero recognized her immediately; recognized her frank grey eyes and heart-shaped lips that spoke of so many stories and fairy tales.

The agony swelling in the Hero's throat was voiceless, silent. It burned like fire. He wanted to scream – to let it all out – but all he could make was a strangled, tormented, wavering "oh."

He was fond of the Damsel, as much as the Omnipotent had permitted him. She had always been so alive, so fresh; an expert spinner of tales. And now, she was gone, snatched away by Death.

But it's my own bloody fault, really – or maybe the Villain's, the Hero thought. No! The Omnipotent was to blame. He created this mad story-world, after all. He bound everything in Storyland to his twisted logic, played everyone like puppets to his twisted whim. And in the end, he'd murdered the Damsel. Logic – what was logic? Authority – what was it? The Omnipotent had been powerful; but now the Hero would transform, evolve, and be free of his oppression. And then he would set Storyland free on the wings of liberty. He would revolt.

These thoughts were like fuel, for the Hero's crescendo-ing voice. He could voice his new-found agony:

"I defy you, Omnipotent! I defy you!" He threw the door open and rushed outside, shaking his fist at the sky.

Boom! A clap of thunder, a web of lightning sliced across the darkening sky.

"Is that all you're gonna give me? You, Omnipotent, you are Death – you are Oppression – but we will defeat you. I will defeat you!"

Flames of lightning licked the sky once more. And with it, thunder – a mounting chorus of clashes, rumbles, and the Hero's warrior cry. The ground began to shake and tilt wildly; matchstick houses and trees held their ground valiantly. Across the green earth, a crack began to form…

An ominous shadow crossed over the once idyllic landscape. The sky –

"-Is falling!" The Hero shrieked, his voice raw and savage, mingling with the screams of a hundred dying lights.

There was a creaking sound. A horrible sound, like an old door closing, a black hole collapsing upon itself. Darkness – silence – emptiness.

At last, the Omnipotent spoke: "The end."