How we think it’d play out…
It was a beautiful day, and Neil Gaiman had decided that a walk outdoors in the nearby forest would provide some much-needed inspiration for a new short story. He had just stopped to write an idea down, when an arrow flew past his head, and a shout came from behind him.
“Gaiman! You’ve walked right into my trap!”
Gaiman turned just in time to see Suzanne Collins drop out of a nearby tree, bow and arrow raised and pointed directly toward him. Instinctively, he turned and ran, but he had hardly made it a few steps before grinding to a halt just inches from a large, buzzing cocoon in the branches ahead of him.
“Tracker jackers,” Collins called from behind him. “They’re genetically modified to track you down. Their stings contain a hallucinogen,” she added proudly, “so I wouldn’t go near it, if I were you. You’re in my territory now, Gaiman. Let’s get this over with.”
Before Gaiman could respond, another flurry of arrows soared towards him. He hit the ground and, rolling over, saw one arrow skim past the tracker jacker nest. He dived behind a nearby trunk, and scrambled to open his notebook. “Dream!” he called. “Help me!”
The sky around them dimmed. From the notebook a burst of darkness shot forward, landing between the two authors and spiralling, settling until there stood a tall, pale man, with hair like a crow’s nest and two distant stars looking out from hollow, sunken eye sockets. He turned toward Suzanne, who turned pale and dropped her bow in shock.
Dream reached a hand up, and touched the woman’s face. Quietly, he whispered “You remind me… of somebody I used to know…” Then he sighed. It began to rain.
“Oh, for Gods’ sake,” muttered Gaiman. Taking advantage of the distraction, he snapped his notebook closed and aimed it squarely at Collins’ head. It hit her between the eyes, throwing her off-balance, and Gaiman watched as she fell forward, cracking her head on a rock and landing unconscious on the floor. “Finally!”
He stepped forward, and carefully dragged her body as close to the tracker jacker nest as he dared. “Sleep well,” he said.
As he walked away, he heard voices in the trees. A small black bird flew past, repeating the words. “Sleep well. Sleep well.”
PREDICTED WINNER: NEIL GAIMAN
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