From the author: As a fun promotional item, Jennifer wrote a flash story of how she dies for the conventions she attended. These were printed out on postcards and given out to fans and friends. This story was written for and given out at CONTEXT 2014.
“Welcome to the Novel Outlining Workshop for Context 27. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jennifer Brozek. I’ve written two non-fiction books, five novels, numerous short stories, novellas, novelettes, and have written or contributed to over twenty-five RPG game books. I’ve also edited fifteen anthologies and—”
“Where’s Michael Knost?”
The question shot out of audience with hostile intent. Jennifer paused, losing her place in her prepared opening. “I’m sorry. Mister Knost had to cancel his appearance here due to personal issues. He did so some months back. I stepped into his spot. It’s been advertised on the website for months…”
“We want Michael Knost!”
“I assure you, I am qualified to teach this course. The packets you received show my basic lesson plan and…” Jennifer stopped talking as the chant rose from the assembled workshop students. She was at a complete loss of what to do.
“Michael. Michael. Michael.” They chanted as they stood as one.
Taking an involuntary step backwards, Jennifer clutched her notes to her chest. The workshop students advanced upon her with their pens raised like daggers. “I-I’m sure the convention will refund your workshop money. I’m sorry Mister Knost isn’t here… No. Stop. Get back!”
Lucy Snyder and Steven Saus stood outside the locked workshop door, wincing as they watched the crazed students stab Jennifer over and over with their pens. Steven checked the doorknob one more time to make sure it was locked.
“You were right,” Lucy said, shaking her head. “She was the perfect sacrifice. Never saw it coming.”
Steven shrugged. “I know. Makes me sad. I liked her.”
“Me, too.” Lucy couldn’t keep the regret out of her voice. Then she raised her chin. “But better her than me.”
“Too true. The things we have to do these days to run a successful convention.” He peered through the window. “Do you think she could survive? I think the act is all that is needed.”
Lucy gazed in, then winced away. “No. I don’t think so. Not with a pen to the jugular.”
“Ah, well. So much for hoping. At least next year will be a good one.” Steven turned away and waited until there was silence.
This story originally appeared in Apocalype Ink Productions.