April Fool's Bonus: The Surprising Life and Death of Pretty Much Everybody

The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

I woke up, finding myself in a bed.

I was in the same room I'd been in since arriving at Tree of Life--however long ago that had been. It had the same empty bookcases, the same narrow windows, the desk I'd been using to write in my notebook.

It seemed the same as ever with one significant addition.

Someone was sitting at my desk.

He looked military--brushcut, blonde hair, muscular arms, combat fatigues... He wore a pistol on his belt, and smirked at me. A duffel bag lay at the floor near his feet.

"Wake up sleepyhead. Today, you win."

"What the hell?" I asked.

I threw off my sheets, and got out of bed. "Who are you, and what are you doing in my room?"

"Call me Gunther. Some people hired me to solve your problems."

"What problems?"

"Your problems with the Sons of Thunder--Zebediah, and all his buddies."

I checked my door. It was shut.

“Solve my problems how?”

“How does it look like I solve problems?” He got up, and before I could stop him, he was out the door, duffel bag in his left hand.

I ran after him, but he stayed ahead of me. He’d have completely outdistanced me if Yakovitch hadn’t been in the hall.

“Doc!” Gunther said, “You’re just the man I wanted to see.”

A knife appeared in his right hand, and he stabbed Yakovitch in the stomach. Yakovitch fell over, moaning.

I wondered where the knife had come from. It was too big to hide in his clothes, less a knife than a short sword.

Gunther didn’t stop, and I ran after him.

We ran down the halls until we reached doors to the cafeteria. He threw them open, finding Agent Johnson standing there. Gunther punched him in the face, and he fell backward, unconscious on the floor.

After that he became a blur of motion, knives flashing from his hands to hit Agent Jackson, and a few other people I’d seen but didn’t recognize.

The people he hadn’t killed or knocked unconscious ran out the other doors, screaming and shouting.

After knocking over a table to grab and choke the last of them, he turned back to face me.

“Well, that’s it. Everything’s taken care of.”

He slid the duffel bag across the floor toward me. “Take a look at this.”

I had a bad feeling about it, but I opened the duffel bag anyway.

Zebediah’s head was inside.

Looking up, I started shouting at him. “This is insane! Who told you to do this? Now I’m never going to find out what’s going on.”

“Sorry, man. I can’t help you there. I don’t know what’s going on either. All they ever told me was that I needed to take out Zebadiah and his people which was anyone named James and John, and any derived names like Jameson, Johnson, Jacobsen, and what have you.

“I mean seriously, do you have any idea how long it takes to kill off every James and John on the planet when you includes last names? I felt bad about a few of them. Jack Nicholson, for example. Chinatown and The Shining were great films. But... Jack’s a nickname for John, and it might be derived from Jacob, so obviously he had to go. At least that’s the way it sounded in my orders.”

“Orders? I keep on asking, but you don’t tell me. Whose orders?”

“I may as well tell you now. It’s the readers. They took up a collection. They don’t want to see you suffer any more.”

And then he disappeared.

Hope you enjoyed this April Fool's Day chapter, we'll get back to regularly scheduled programming next week. In the meantime, a big thank you to Jim Zoetewey for writing this, I had a lot of fun reading it! Check out Jim's "Legion of Nothing" at www.inmydaydreams.com.

For my contribution to the fooling, check out Allan T. Michael's fantasy story "An Empire at War" here: http://allantmichaels.digitalnovelists.com/AEAW-Chapter%2020

and for the full list of participating writers, here's the WFG link:


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So, the only words in my mind as I read that final line (8 times)... were:

Ohh... man. Just.... Yeah,

Ohh... man. Just.... Yeah, you got me. I bow before a master.


I'm totally enjoying watching him suffer through this. I guess I'm a bad reader :D

That was fun!

I think this is the first April Fool's Prank I've ever really pulled, and it was a blast!

Thanks to Jim Zoetewey of The Legion of Nothing (http://inmydaydreams.com/) for writing this amazing chapter. Check out his superhero fiction, you'll be glad you did!

We took part in a April Fool's writing circle. My contribution was to Allan T. Michael's "An Empire at War," and you can find it here: http://allantmichaels.digitalnovelists.com/AEAW-Chapter%2020 . I had a lot of fun writing for his story, and I hope you all enjoy it also.

Allan's story is an epic fantasty story featuring battles, magic, and political intrigue. Check that out too!


I have no words! Excellent prank!


The whole idea of the prank is to start out making it something that could actually happen, and then go far enough that it can't possibly be real.

My hope was that by the time people got to the last line, everyone would realize what was going on. Dunno if it worked out that way, but it amused me to write it.

Loved it

The first time I read Jim's version of a Diggory chapter I was thrilled -- it actually seemed like it could have been a chapter I'd written to follow the one before it, if I had wanted to be intolerably cruel to my readers. :) For those of you who follow Jim's "Legion of Nothing," I'm sure you recognize Gunther.

The ironic thing is, if he was hired to kill all the James and Johns out there, Jim himself would have been executed by his own character!

I thought about that...

Yeah. And for those of you who don't read my serial, Gunther's a recurring character there. He goes under several different names. Gunther's a commonly used alias.

As for writing something that fit... It was easy. I read Diggory anyway, and I think Gavin and I have some stylistic similarities.

By that I mean that we're both closer to the Hemingway end of the Hemingway vs. Faulkner sentence construction styles.

Ha! that was my thought...he

Ha! that was my thought...he did a great job of imitating Gavin's style...maybe not such a stretch!

That was great!

Jim did a great job with this! And thanks again for your chapter over at my book.

Fun experience

It was amazing for me to have Jim visit Diggory's story while I popped over to Allan's. I've had ongoing correspondence and friendships with both of them through the former Pages Unbound and hanging out at the Web Fiction Guide, so it was really enjoyable to collaborate with them this way. I'm pretty sure if you follow the links to their sites, readers will be able to see who was writing for Jim and read what Allan was up to today.

Indeed, I bought this hook,

Indeed, I bought this hook, line, and sinker... Right up until the date fully sunk in. lol
I personally thoroughly enjoyed it!

Masterfully done

I didn't catch on until "the readers" were mentioned. I was 'got good'.

Me too..although I did think

Me too..although I did think it was probably a hallucination rather than actually happening in the storyverse. My fear throughout reading it as soon as Yakovitch was killed was that Diggory was being set up for the murders - It was going to look like he was the one who went on a murderous rampage, confirming that he was "insane" and perhaps leading to his predicted death :-(

So phew!!! was my reaction ;-)

Hee hee

I intentionally had my chapter 24 leave the possibility open for this chapter 25 to seem like Diggory had been dreaming, hallucinating, or tricked through a time transition once again. That way it would be more fun and make the punchlines at the end hilarious -- that was my hope, anyway.

Because Jim didn't get his chapter in the circle, I wrote one that ties into this one so that's up on his site now for those who are interested.

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