Phil Phorce: The Final Letter

The Phil Phorce is a fictional periodical featuring my favorite characters from my own writing.  It comes out in episodes, once every three months or so.  To find out more and to read previous episodes, please go to these two pages: About the Phils and the Phil Phorce.  Please enjoy and critique if possible.

I apologize– I have made a grievous mistake.  I should have put this section, the last scene of Episode Four of the Phil Phorce, with the scene about Feiron and Isaac I posted last week.  It would have been better for everyone.  I apologize for the relative inactivity of this scene as compared to the previous ones.  But please, enjoy the finale of episode four!


The night after the Castle’s death, Quirk found a thick yellow envelope sitting on his bed, sealed with genuine red sealing wax.  He opened it after briefly examining the imprint in the wax: a castle on a cloud.

My dear Quirk, the letter within began.

I never had a chance to apologize.  I ripped away your title and gave it to Percival.  You can’t have been happy about that.  I would have liked to do it in less unusual circumstances, but if I had waited, it would never have come about.

“I wish it had never come about,” muttered Quirk to himself.

If you are reading this, I am probably dead.  In order to kill the Castle, you must kill me, and I would be very much surprised if killing the Castle wasn’t your plan.  [Not cool, by the way.]

Quirk scanned the letter.  It was full of such inserts, in the Castle’s writing instead of Liam’s.  He kept reading.

My plan, however, was much more peaceful.  I wanted to retire at age sixteen and finally finish my book.  I’ve thought up an ending for it: “And he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days.”  [I think that’s been used before.]  But the Castle has put an end to my selfish plans, it seems.  It is fitting that I will die the death I’ve always admired most: the sacrifice of body and soul for my own creations, and my dearest friends.  (I would have liked to kill you off that way, in fact.  [And I would have liked to kill you any way I could.])  So if I never get the chance to speak to you again, know that you gave me the noblest death I could have asked for.  You haven’t disappointed me, Quirk.

But in all this talk of death and retirement, I haven’t reached my point.  In either case, a new Head Phil would have to be named.  This, too, is the root of my decision to make Percival Vice-Phil.

Quirk turned the page.

For though he is able and eager, he would not be a good Head Phil.  But over the past year, I have observed your interaction with him and realized how well you offset each other.  He will make a good right-hand man.  I made him your Vice-Phil so I could make you his Head Phil.

Not many of the Phils will like this, however.  I’m afraid many of them dislike you already.  [Gasp!  Shock!]  This gives you a difficult task.  You must be a better Head Phil than I ever was.  [Not difficult.]  You must win their support, starting with Percival.  You must, or the Phils will dissolve into anarchy.  [Yay!]  I need you to hold them together, Quirk.

I know that you have never felt a part of these Phils because all of them have stories but you.  [Insult material!]  As my last gift, I present to you your story.  Beginning on the next page, you can find your nearly complete history.  As you read, I have no doubt that your memories will fill in and confirm what I have written.  [Yes, that you’re a criminal and a ne’er-do-well.  I can read his mind.]  Enjoy it, Quirk.  I only wish I could know what you think.  [I knew what he thought for a full week, and it was horrible.  Don’t try it, Liam.]

Yours for the last time,
Liam, Head Phil

P.S.  Apologize to Isaac for me.  I confess, I didn’t want him to leave, so I wrote a plot bunny into his story that he wouldn’t like.  I hope he does some good for the Phils in the future.  Speaking of which, I hope he has rejoined you by now.  The refrigerator the Castle gave him as a ship didn’t look very safe.  [And it wasn’t.  Just about the only things that worked were the ejector seats.]

Quirk reread the letter.  He was Head Phil?  Impossible.  But who else could possibly be Head Phil?  Steve?  Feiron?  The old lady?  Perhaps it was for the best, but he didn’t like it.  He liked his old job of Vice-Phil.  Couldn’t Percival be Head Phil?  Quirk shuddered.  No, he didn’t like that idea either.

“Couldn’t I have stabbed Liam somewhere nonfatal?” he groaned, running his hand through his hair.  His scalp felt warm and smooth, free of gravelpox.  “Not if I wanted the Castle dead,” he answered his own question.  “What would you have done?” he asked, turning abruptly to his dying houseplant.  “Liam needed to die, but he needed to live.  Couldn’t I go back in time and change the past?  No, Percival said it’s impossible within your own lifetime.  What would you do?” he asked the plant.  It drooped sadly.  “No, I can’t stay silent,” Quirk told it; “I have to say something to the Phils.  But they’re already in an uproar over Liam’s death.  Steve wants to hang me for murder.  Percival doesn’t want to claim the Head Phil-dom, but everyone else does.  What do I do?”  He took a drink of water, made a face, and poured the rest into the plant’s pot.  The plant straightened immediately.  “You’re right, of course,” he said.  “Be strong, follow Liam’s instructions, lead the Phils.”  He picked up the intercom and said, “Listen up, Phils.  I just found a final letter from Liam.  There are instructions there I think you all should see.”

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344 thoughts on “Phil Phorce: The Final Letter

  1. So it ends.
    Quirk, Head Phil. And he has a story, too.
    I’m thinking that there is a loop-hole somewhere and that you aren’t actually dead (story-wise– I know you aren’t dead in real life).
    I have one question. Did you tear up writing this scene? I will explain my question after I get an answer.

    1. Also, you left a lot of unanswered questions… since there is to be a sequel, I hope you will answer them.

      1. What happened to Sam? And the Blanks?

        I ask because someone (can’t think of the name and too lazy to look it up) said “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader”. I didn’t cry. But then, I know the dead one is alive. So…

      2. I’m not giving to you, I’m suggesting it. If you’re out, however, you could improvise with Listerine or shampoo.

      3. Write a good, emotional scene… I cried when Sam thought Frodo was dead in the end of The Two Towers (the book). If you can write something like that, you’ll have me crying.

      4. Done right, that would have me crying.

        Yeah… I am glad. I don’t want to cry.

      5. Thinking about it, I might cry if it’s a cheesy last words scene, too. Typical Disney Death stuff- Phoenix is bawling her eyes out, none of the other Phils have dry eyes, you are gasping in between words… you close your eyes, Phoenix starts sobbing… no true love conquers death here.
        This is depressing. Now, I am about to cry. Truly. No more Liam in Phil Phorce. Maybe i just had to think about it enough and realize that I was losing a wonderful character.

      6. WAIT HALF A MINUTE! IF YOU ARE DEAD AND ARE NOW NO LONGER THE HEAD PHIL……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. *gulp*………*sniff*……… are you changing your title?

      7. I had to realize that I wasn’t losing a blogger that I knew was alive anyway, I was losing a story character and he won’t be back (or maybe he will, but…). Letting that terrible fact sink in…

        Yeah, no cheese here, except maybe Quirk getting “be strong” from a plant.

        So… did you just get sick of Liam the character or did you think it’d be fun to try something like that? Or was he one of the bad characters you couldn’t do anything with? 😉 Smite until you can’t smite no more.

      8. I hope you were never really posessed by a Castle or had gravel-pox or had your hands superglued… this could go on a while. You had a crush on a firebird-girl, you learned to fly with centifugal force, you…

      9. With perfect characters, all you can do is lower their self-esteem (as I did with Percival in ep. 4). That would mean humiliating my fictional self. No.

  2. You… you…. you….wha….?
    YOU’RE DEAD?!?!?! YOU REALLY KILLED YOURSELF OFF??
    That was very strange to type.
    I really thought someone would come up with a plan to save you. I am totally floored. Applause! I’m a little crushed, and strangely enough I love it.

    Does, do I dare even say it? does this mean this was THE LAST Phil Phorce episode? Or will there be future installments with just the other Phils? Or are you going to post Quirk’s story instead? Or is there a non-time-travel-mess-up-the-world way to save you, and will that be the plot of the next one?

    I loved how you gave Quirk what he wanted in a way that made him sick. Brilliant. And the Castle’s notes were great.

    And I disagree about your timing of this post. I like that you waited the week. It gave me a whole week to wonder whether you and Feiron could live or not.

    1. I really killed myself off. It was fun. I’m glad you liked it.

      It is not THE LAST Phil Phorce episode. There will be a fifth starring Quirk, Head Phil and Percival, Vice-Phil.

      I’m glad you didn’t mind the timing. If it was a regular book, this would have been a separate chapter, but I think with the overall structure of these plot twists and things, I should have brought these last two together. But I’m glad you didn’t mind.

  3. Did you just seriously….but you can’t have….no, this did not just happen. It did not just happen!

    It just happened.

    I’ll admit, I got a wee bit sniffly as I read, so nice work with that. I never really thought that you’d actually die. I thought that in some strange way you’d come back and be all triumphant (like what happened in Harry Potter). But then again, in the back of my mind I thought that you actually would die so as not to be cliche.

    So, it has come to this. The final episode of Phil Phorce. I really dislike you for ending it like this, and I must insist you post Quirk’s story sometime and write more Phil Phorce. Now that it’s ov—okay. I took a minute to scroll through the comments, and now apparently this is NOT the last episode! YAY! (Cue the marching band and kazoos!) Now then…what was I saying? Ah, yes, I remember. Now that this Phil Phorce is nearly over, what do you plan on writing next?

    Question: How are you answering comments and posting if you’re dead?

    1. That was one thing about HP that I didn’t like. I wish Potter had stayed dead.

      Nope, it isn’t the end, though this would be a great way to end it if I wanted to. But I don’t. I want more Quirk. Quirk is probably my favorite character by now.

      What do I plan on writing next? I plan on finishing the second draft of Fathoming Egression, which seems promising right now.

      Of course, I the blogger am different from I the fictional character who regularly does awesome stuff. I do awesome stuff too, but I’m still different from me. The other me. The one that isn’t– well, you get it.

      1. I like Qurik, too.

        Hooray for Fathoming Egreession! May your editing be easy and quick!

      2. Yes… near finished drafts do “smell” lovely. Kind of like homemade banana bread.

      3. *digs in pocket, finds a chocolate bar, holds it out to Liam* I am trying to fix it with chocolate.

      4. *pats shoulder* There, there, Seana. Come, make yourself available for chat on Google+ and I will tell you how this chocolate-insanity will work to our advantage.

      5. As soon as he realizes that I have a clever plan, he goes and ruins it. Curses.

      6. Waiting on two replies from more or less the same person, while I clutter up his blog with comments like this.
        The spider on the wall…

      7. But at least he’s not saying “With chocolate.” anymore. So… one mission sucessful.

      8. Don’t say a thing about that spider I mentioned.
        It’s not dead. It’s pining!

      9. I didn’t mean to kill it (or have these comments swapped. This one should be first.).

      10. First chapter of Phil Phorce, then. Funny that you haven’t mentioned it before.

      11. Ah. That’s not flying, it’s falling with style.
        Faith, trust, and pixie dust, then? Is that how?

      12. Pixie dust is cheating or I’m cheating by quoting Toy Story?
        So, did you grow feathers like Phoenix and just started flapping your arms and it worked?

      13. They fall with style. They get flung through the air with the help of Hot Wheels tracks.

    2. SPIDER-LIAM! No, nevermind. That’s not really flying, either.

      You are a vampire and you turn into a bat and fly that way.

      1. I’ve got it! You were born on Krypton! Take off the glasses, put on tights and a cape, and Behold! You are Superman and know one recogonizes you as Liam!

      2. Les-Mis is still in progress and Artemis Fowl is the next thing when I get to library.

        So… are you an angel?

      3. What’s so great about the Flying Dutchman trilogy?

        My next theory if you are indeed not an angel–

        You and your dad were held hostage by a wicked king. To escape, you and your dad made wings of feathers from pillows and the matress and candle wax. Then you learned to fly. Once you had become skilled enough, you and your dad jumped out the window and flew toward home. But you didn’t listen to your dad and you flew too close to the sun. The heat of the sun melted the wax, your wings fell apart, and you fell into the sea to your watery grave. And that is how it happened.

      4. Then I would be dead, and all of this would be a lie.

        The Flying Dutchman Trilogy is about a mute boy who is forced aboard a ship called The Flying Dutchman, captained by Captain Vanderdecken, the Dutchman himself. When trying to round Cape Horn (notorious for its near-impassability), Vanderdecken curses heaven. In return, he is cursed to sail the seas forever, half dead, half alive, with all his crew. Being innocent, the boy and his dog, another stowaway, are thrown from the ship and washed ashore. They have been blessed and cursed; blessed to live forever, but cursed to move on from all their friendships at the angel’s command. It’s a brilliant story.

      5. You put 4 seeds under your tongue (don’t swallow them) and it turns you into a bird.

      6. No. Death can only fly if I am Death, which means that I lend the ability to fly to him, not the other way around. Thus, I still have the ability to fly, and it isn’t through Death.

      7. Wait… do you mean to tell me you’re not all powerful? I’ve been cruelly mistaken?

      8. Okay. You really don’t know how you do it and you are just saying no until I give up or come up with a theory you like and adopt.

      9. You… have a bungee cord that comes from the heavens (maybe attatched to a cloud) giving the impression that you can fly.

      10. I don’t want to fly, anyway. I’ll take the telepathic ability over flying.

        Um… you’re just a little black rain cloud.

      11. Dumbo both times.
        See the above caterpillar guess.
        Your guard penguin taught you.

      12. May i remind you that you are dead (and Death), so the Icarus theory isn’t implausable?

      13. You have been drugged with something really strong and you are the only one who thinks you can fly.

      14. You know the song “You Can Fly” from Peter Pan? You heard that song a time too many and convinced yourself that you can fly.

      15. Nothing less for the boy whose left half has a personality.

        You’re a shape-shifter.

      16. Quirk pushed you off a cliff, so you did what the cartoons do and started flapping your arms. By some miracle, it worked… even if only for a few seconds.

      17. Dearest Amanda, one cannot possibly think that someone who would reforge the One Ring would be on the level. (Congratulations, by the way, Head Phil. And thank you.)

        You are Buuz Lightyear.

      18. He’s not too forgiving about typos, either. But then, neither am I, usually. *grins sheepishly*

        I’m not sure what to think about whether or not he can be trusted.

      19. Actually, after thinking about it for a bit, I think I trust him. After all, I obviously trust him not to blow me up or report my blog or spam me or anything. So do you (with the exception of the blog reporting).

      20. Yay!

        By the way, guys, I’d like to close commenting on this post for a while. It’s been fun, but I think 300 comments is more than enough for a single post.

      21. It’s a very complicated process involving sneezing the whole of your body out through your nostrils. It gets rather unpleasant when you turn inside-out, at which point you must do it again. It’s a backwards sort of jet propulsion, akin to that used by squids.

      1. So… are you Quirk’s opposite– you are right-handed, whatever the opposite of OCD is, not dyslexic, wouldn’t be caught dead in pink t-shirt and fuzzy socks (posessed or not), gets along with Percival…

  4. Well, that didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but I couldn’t help it. I read it anyway…and it was very interesting. Good job with that.

    1. Well, I’m glad you liked it. You still ought to read the whole thing if you have the time, but perhaps you can start with the next episode. There will be some things you won’t understand unless you read the earlier ones, but not many.

  5. I said I would write a eulogy and a eulogy I have written.

    Liam the Head Phil
    His death was necessary
    May he rest in peace.

    Stick it on his tombstone, if you want.

    Okay, the time of mourning is over.

    ALL HAIL QUIRK, HEAD PHIL! MAY HE LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!

  6. This may be the longest-lasting comment war. Even the spoons didn’t last this long.

    Maybe there’s just something about final letters that does this.

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