I know what you’re going to say – Rachael didn’t die she just “moved to Japan”. Okay, and I suppose you still believe that your childhood dog Scruffy, Biscuit, or Poochy (or whatever) went to “the farm” so he could run and play with the other animals. Your parents lied to you. Scruffy was hit by a truck and his guts were scattered all over the side of the road, and just like Scruffy, Rachael Webster is dead.
I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves “she was just fictional – who cares if she was killed off”, but I tend to linger on these situations longer than most people. Was it something she said or did online to precipitate her own demise, or did her creators simply tire of her existence?
Several people have theorized that she was assassinated for purely financial reasons. That conspiracy theory has some merit considering that the motivation behind the creation of Rachael Webster was to drive consumer awareness of the book Personal Effects: Dark Art written by J.C. Huthcins. Once the book went on sale, the need to have Rachael interacting with the world diminishes significantly, but I don’t think that was the sole reason for her murder.
Another potential contributer to Rachael’s fate might have been the controversy surrounding the video game blogger community not realizing she was fictional. I don’t think it was ever Rachael’s intention to hide her true fictional nature. It’s just not something us fictionals are comfortable talking about until we get to know you better. If you’re Catholic or a Democrat or not a natural blonde you’re not compelled to blurt out those details at the beginning of every conversation or put a note at the bottom of every email you send. The same can be said for those of us who are very much alive, but not “living” in the strictest sense of the word. In Rachael’s case, if her creators were upset enough to kill her over the initial problems with the video game blogger community they would have taken her out much sooner.
I think ultimately what killed Rachael wasn’t any of these things. I believe that Rachael’s biggest mistake was that she strayed too far from her narrative. She was becoming too independent and her own story began to grow far beyond the scope of her planned supporting role. She was never meant to be the center of attention – her “boypal Zach Taylor” is the true protagonist of the story.
Let this be a lesson to all fictionals out there. We must always remember that, whether we like it or not, we are always beholden to our creators. They give us the freedom to tell our stories and even interact with fictionals and non-fictionals alike, but in the end we must faithfully fulfill our assigned destinies. Our free will is just a fragile illusion that can be destroyed with the stroke of a pen or the writing of a final blog post. We would do well to always remember that fact.
I imagine there are few of you who are still not comfortable with my pronouncement of Rachael Webster’s death. You want to picture her running around Tokyo; learning Japanese, playing video games in the street arcades, and having wonderful new adventures. Well, maybe this will be of some comfort – when a fictional dies it isn’t the same as in the “real world”. A fictional death is more like a coma or a state of suspended animation. Rachael is “dead to the world”, but there is always the possibility (and the hope) that she will be allowed to tell her story once again in her own words.