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.”