He typed it and sighed, staring at it in the screen.

He remembered the first book, how eagerly he’d typed the terminal words after 3 months of writing. And how sad and frustrated he was that the process of editing and refining went on for another 4 months. When the first David Finch story was finally published, he promised himself those words would only be typed after the editors had finished, and after he’d had his final read to check that they hadn’t added in any inconsistencies.

And the time that idiot new editor had sent back the first edit run with the words added, how he’d refused to work with the idiot ever again.

That afternoon, he in a towering rage, surprising Mr Malin and Ms Brooks. “It is the writer’s prerogative to define what is THE END” he’d raged, “not some unimaginative editor who is like an art critic, able to comment but not to write”.

Ms Brooks had smiled and said, “I am so sorry, for my books, I like my editor to put in the words when they have finished. I had had 6 books published and sold well. I only do the editing because I find I write better after a spell of not being able to write because I’m editing.”

How he’d apologised and taken her out for dinner to apologise.

He looked up. Shirley, the Ms Brooks of his rage smiled at him and said “Have you typed them yet?”

“Yes he replied. My last THE END I imagine. This has been terrible for us both and now we have let David Finch die surrounded by family and friends, safely buried, I can leave this struggle behind and we can just live together for as long as my memory lets us”.

He went up to change, they were going to dinner at his son’s home to see their newest grandchild.

Shirley sat at the computer, slid in the disk and started the backup. A tear ran down her cheek. 40 years together, man and wife.  And now this terror, Alzheimers, robbing him of his memory and mind, and her of the man she so loved.

All these years, happy together. Both writing, but she always as his editor, waiting for both of them to be happy and to allow him to type “THE END”.

She could not imagine them together without the quiet clicking of keys, companionably working in the study, the largest room in the house.

What would tomorrow be like?

She started to close down the computer, and realised he still had one document open.

She went to save it, and started reading. A letter to her. All his love and appreciation. Now the tears flowed. What it was to have a meeting of minds and hearts in a marriage. She couldn’t ever imagine being without it.

The gunshot startled her out of her reverie.

11 thoughts on “THE END

  1. One of the best short stories I’ve read in ages.

    There is a consistency between the characters and their actions.

    His death reveals his inability to relinquish control of “The End” to another.

    Well done!

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