She suddenly woke up and looked around, wildly confused.
'Where am I? Who am I?' she stammered.
'In bed, where else?', he replied sleepily, 'and you're my wife. Did you have a bad dream?'
'I think I did, but I mean... do I really exist?'
'What kind of question is that? Now go back to sleep. All is well. '
'No, seriously ... Who can prove that I really exist? Whether you exist? Whether everything exists around us? '
She sat up and continued excitedly: 'Actually nobody can! Maybe we are just living in someone's thoughts, only in the head of a creator who determines everything we do and think and see ... '
'Are you suddenly religious now?'
'I do not mean God ... I mean, maybe we are products of the consciousness of another. Just as my fictional characters are products of my imagination.'
'Have you recently read Sophie's World or what? The subject a bit too strenuous to me at this time of day. Just lay down and sleep, we can talk tomorrow if you want.'
But she was not planning on going back to sleep at all; she was obsessed with the idea that had come to her. Supposed it was true, she could impossibly prove it if not this creator would reveal himself. She decided to try something out. She went into her office, sat down at her computer and opened the file that should become her new book. It was going to be a historical novel, taking place in the 16th century. At the point of the story she was currently working on, her characters were in a salon and were chatting and enjoying lots of alcoholic beverages.
Bertrand wanted to let himself fall into the chair, but stopped before it and looked at it with a dazzled look.
'Tell me, wasn't your chair gray a minute ago?'
'Yes, of course it was. Why you ask, my friend? ' chuckled the addressee.
'Well, now it's made of brown leather.'
Henrik turned to the armchair in question.
'Upon my soul! You're right! Heaven, how can a chair transform so suddenly and without warning!'
He looked at his glass and put it away quietly. He had seen many things in a drunken state, but that a chair changed its structure, that really was something new.
'A very strange thing indeed...'
'Good heavens! Henrik, look up there, your ceiling is tearing apart!'
She had doubted whether she would just enter the salon like any other guest, but then she decided that it would me more convincing if she would literally appear out of the blue. She was, after all, a kind of god, at least she had created these two people; so it was only consequent if she would make a suitably impressive entrance. She continued writing.
In the void the ceiling had left behind appeared the face of a woman. The two men drove back uneasily.
'Good day, you two,' said the face.
The men looked at each other in silence and began to move backwards at the same time, but after three steps back they stood still.
'You shall not move further, because I do not want it.'
Now that she had entered her story herself, the awareness of her enormous power became clear to her. Indeed, she determined where and how far the men walked, whether they looked at each other, whether they were red or pale in the face, what they said...
'I cannot move indeed,' whispered Henrik over to his friend.
'Good grace! We should not drink so much! '
'I agree with you for once, this situation is truly uncomfortable.'
'Gentlemen, gentlemen ... Hush. I'll explain it to you. '
'She could at least treat us with a little more respect, since she has already took away my ceiling,' murmured Henrik.
'Do not worry about your ceiling - as soon as I'm done here, it will be whole again and you will no longer remember anything of this scene. And concerning the armchair - it will then always have been of brown leather. I only have to change the description on page 78, on which the chair is mentioned for the first time. '
'What are you talking about?'
The face grinned.
'I'm a writer. I have made you up. You only exist in my imagination, and as words in my manuscript, later in books, if luck is on my side.'
The men stood quiet. She had to make up their response, but she could not imagine a realistic reply. Disbelief would be the most natural, but the disappeared ceiling and altered constitution of the chair were things that the men could not deny, not even because of their excessive alcohol consumption. How would she react if such a thing would happen to her? She would probably only doubt herself and her mental state. And after that? If she had to admit that it was true what her so-called author, her creator, was telling her? Then she would know that she had determined nothing by herself in her whole life, and that her future was controlled by the hands of a stranger. But, she thought, what would be the difference to the current state anyway? She was one of those people who did not believe in free will. To her, it was clear that everything that lies in the future was a big secret. Furthermore: if her life was indeed determined by a higher authority, she had not sensed it so for: it had been a very consistent life. Why should that change? It would probably all go on as usual. In that case, it would actually make no difference if she'd know whether it she really existed or not. Perhaps she could better believe that she did not; for then she could make her decisions more easily, because in the end they would not be her decisions anyway. Now that she looked at it that way, it was actually quite pleasant. And if she should die, she knew that in another story she could come to life at any moment - just as it pleased her creator.
She changed the description of the chair on page 78, deleted everything she had written in the past half hour, and crept back to bed with a satisfied heart.
'What have you done?' murmured her husband, while he cuddled her close.
'I've played creator and now I know that I do not care whether we are real or not.'