I sit at my desk, hunched over papers scattered all around the wooden surface, scribbling madly, struggling to make sense of what my mind’s dictating me.
I shake my head with frustration. Dissatisfied with my work, I rip off yet another page, crumple it into a ball and toss it across the room. Seconds later, I run to pick it up off the floor, feeling almost obliged to apologize to the piece of paper, as if it was sacred.
“Is there any sanity left in you?” I jump at the sound of someone’s voice. I turn to see Alice, my roommate, leaning against the doorframe. “If writing’s such a torture, then why do you keep doing it?”
“I have to,” I say and go back to my work.
“You’ve been sitting at this desk for an eternity. It’s not good for you.”
I roll my eyes.
“Not sitting at this desk would be not good for me.”
“What are you even writing this for? No one’s gonna publish your scribblings. No one’s even gonna read them,” she says. “Don’t you have anything else to do with your time? You could look for a job. A real one.”
“I don’t care what you think, Alice. My job is very real to me.”
“Whatever,” she’s the one rolling her eyes now. “You should stop for at least a moment. Have you even eaten?”
“You don’t understand. I can’t stop.”
“Why? Because paper police will come and arrest you if you fail to do your job?”
She says it mockingly, but it’s partially true.
“I can’t abandon them.”
“My characters,” I say through gritted teeth, about to lose my patience. “I have to write their lives so they can live within my words.”
She stares at me for a moment.
“You really are a freak,” is all she says before she finally leaves the room.
I’m not a freak, I tell myself. I’m a believer. I believe in the magic that happens when pen meets paper. When I hold it firmly in my hand like a magic wand, everything’s possible. In the reality of paper and ink, every wildest idea comes to life.
Alice may call me a loner and tell me I have no life. But I’ve lived hundreds of lives, seen places no one’s ever dreamed of. And with the company of the many voices and faces in my head, I’m never alone.
I am a storyteller. Every second, there’s a different story going on in a parallel world I’ve built up in my head. I’ve got the power to create and destroy, give new lives or take them…
The only drawback is, I can’t stop.
If I stop, they come after me.
It happened for the first time when I was working on my debut novel. The words were a chaos and I needed to clear my head, so I headed to the nearby forest in hopes of restoring my inspiration.
I inhaled slowly and let the fresh air fill my lungs as I walked. A strange feeling crept into my mind, like I was betraying someone by finding some time just for me.
I paused when I sensed movement somewhere near me. I scanned the area with my eyes and listened carefully but nothing seemed out of place.
I wasn’t sure how far I’d wandered off. Probably far enough, so I started walking in the opposite direction. Unconsciously, I picked up my pace.
I didn’t mind being alone in the forest, did I?
“You’re never alone.”
I stopped, paralysed, not knowing whether the words were spoken out loud or were they just in my head.
Come on, Sophie, don’t be ridiculous. I ordered myself to move.
I only managed to take a few steps before a shadow rose directly in front of me.
I thought I was having a déjà vu. I’d seen this scene before. I’d witnessed it. I’d written it.
Now I was the victim.
The shadow came closer and I could see his face, a face way too familiar.
“Impossible,” I gasped. It can’t be happening!
“Oh, but it is happening,” he said, his mouth curling up into a devilish grin.
I closed my eyes and tried to blink myself out of this painfully realistic dream.
It’s not real, it can’t be real, I kept repeating in my head. It was just a scene from one of my stories playing out in front of my eyes. I made it up. I was in control, right?
“Not exactly,” his grin widened as he answered my thoughts. “Where’s your magic wand?”
My pen. My notebook. All of my superpowers were safely left in my room. Without them, I was nothing. I was powerless.
I could feel the panic start to rise. Think, Sophie! I knew my villains, I should’ve known how to defeat them.
“Relax. I’m not here to kill you,” he announced, amused. “Tempting as is is, I can’t wipe out my own creator.”
If it was supposed to calm my nerves, it didn’t work. I glanced around, estimating my chances of escape.
“Don’t even think about it,” he laughed. “You wrote me. You know exactly what I’m capable of. There’s no point in running.”
“How— how are you even here?” I finally asked, my voice shaky.
“You,” he said. “You brought me to life.”
“But it’s not possible.”
“You’re repeating yourself” he faked a yawn. “Everything’s possible, my dear Sophie. These are your own words.”
Those, indeed, were my words.
They used to be my passion. Then they turned into my curse.
Others visit me, too. It rarely happens now, since I’m more careful not to leave any story unfinished. But whenever they sniff the possibility, they take it. They all want similar things—happy endings, mostly, or plot twists they could use to their advantage.
I used to be in control, now I’m controlled. They’re like the paper police my rommate mentioned to make fun of me. They have me under the paper arrest, in the paper prison where they make sure I keep working…
See, I never meant for this piece to turn out so awfully long. But shhh, don’t tell them I said that. I’m not allowed to stop writing.
Written for this week’s Inspiration Monday. I hope you enjoyed it, because I sure did!
PS. This is my 50th post here. Such a ‘dear diary’ moment for me and my blog! 😉