Alrighty now… this is a short story I wrote about five months ago. My younger sister who also writes was getting attacked by a plot cobra (see Erin’s Blog, Definitions. Sorry, I haven’t figured out links yet ;-P ) and was inspired.
I felt the slick reptilian coils close around my head, writhing and slithering tighter around me, squeezing the very life from my being. Images, snippets of conversation, and names ran through my mind, unbidden and unwanted. I could feel the beast’s hold on my tightening, and I was oh so tempted to give into it, let everything go. Then there was a knock on my door. With a gasp, I found myself back in my own room, sitting at my desk with a pencil in hand. The knock came again.
“Come in,” I called, my voice a bit shaky. I set the pencil down as my sister poked her head into my room.
“Hey, Erin’s on the phone for you,” she said, looking me over curiously. “What are you doing?”
“None of your business,” I snapped, still a bit shaky from my close escape of my latest tormentor. With a shrug my sister closed the door again, leaving me alone. I quickly grabbed the phone from my desk.
“Iris!” came the greeting from the other end. “What’s up?”
“It’s getting stronger! I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up…”
“Calm down,” Erin said quickly, “what’s happened? Isn’t the ink working?”
“No! And I’ve been using it since it was a bunny! Then it got bigger…”
“It’s a cobra now?”
“More like a boa constrictor!” I groan. “I can’t even get my math done without filling my notebook with names and notes… I promised myself I wouldn’t give in to it!”
“I know,” Erin says calmly, patiently. “Remember, you are an author. You can fight this. You will not start writing a new story till you finish at least the first draft of the one you are working on.”
“I can’t wait, Erin… When I tried writing my novel, I ended up writing IT instead!”
There was a silence over the phone as I waited for my best friend, and thankfully more senior author, to reply.
“This is serious,” Erin agreed after a moment. “There is something you can do, but it is very drastic, and only to be used in the most serious of cases. I myself have only used it once.”
“What is it?” I asked eagerly, desperate to rid myself of the story I knew I could not let myself write.
“There is a little shop no one goes to, not often anyway,” Erin explained as I jotted down her words eagerly. “It is on the main street of town, just a block from the library, right across from the Classic’s cafe and bookstore. You go in, and it will look like a stationary shop. But the owner is a specialist. You go in, and ask for a cure. The shop keeper will ask how serious your ailment. In your case I suggest asking for a cure for insanity. They will take you to a back room and talk you through the procedure from there. You won’t be tortured by your story again.”
“Thank you!” I cried in relief. “Do you mind if I call you back in an hour?”
“Not at all. Go rid yourself of your ghost story!”
Usually on such blustery days I would be shouting defiance to the wind, my creaky bike brakes, and various other offenders. Not that day. No, I was to relived I was so close to relief that all I could do was pedal faster and faster. Past the library I went, left on main street…. and then there it was. A tiny stationary store. I pulled my bike into the bike rack at the cafe across the street, and then walked across to the store. I pushed the door open, and breathed in the musty and welcoming smell of ink and paper. Agony seared through my mind as an image of troll drenched in honey invaded my consciousness. I walked as quickly as I could up to the deserted front desk and desperately rang the bell. a young man, probably about 20 or so, walked out of a back room and approached me. In a flash of pure torture, I saw him in armor battling the troll from before. This had to stop.
He gave me a welcoming smile that, I won’t deny, caused my heart to do a somersault.
“Hello, how may I help?” he asked, cordial as can be.
“I need a cure, fast,” I said quickly.
“Ah, what kind of cure are you looking for?” he inquired, and he pulled a form out from under the counter.
“A cure for insanity,” I said. He nodded, scratching a few notes down before going through the back door once more. I waited. My foot tapped against the ancient oak floor. At last, the young man returned, and nodded me through.
“Just in back please, miss,” he said, pointing the way for me. “First door on the left.”
I stepped into the back, shivers beginning to run up and down my spine. as I went, the hall seemed to lengthen, and then shorten, stretching out like a snake. I practically dove into the first door, at the very end of the hall. I was surprised by what I found. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t a dentists chair. The shivers grew more violent. I hated going to the dentist. I hated fillings. I pretty much hated anyone messing with my teeth, and that chair was a shining symbol of that kind of thing. Out of the shadows stepped a man. He certainly was no dentist, that I could tell. He was tall, and quite old. He had thin gray hair and a long French mustache on his lip. He looked down at me with cold gray eyes.
“You are in need of a cure for insanity, are you?” he asked, his voice gruff .
Having lost all ability to form my own words, I nodded. He motioned me to the chair.
“Just sit here, my dear,” he said. I sat down. He pulled a kind of apron around me, and then took a pair of glasses from a nearby table. He held them before me.
“These will pull from your mind any trace of the plot that so torments you,” he explained. “Whenever you finish your current novel, these glasses will be automatically shipped to you location. When you put them on, all memory of your plot will return to you, and you will be free to proceed in writing it. Do you wish to continue?”
“Yes,” I croak. The man nods, and places the glasses on my. I was jerked away from the world of reality, and into my own mind.
I saw the story, just as I envisioned it. There was the troll turning cows into jelly beans, and there was the knight who’s sword was made out of plastic, a magic plastic that could make anything dance the chicken dance with just one touch. Ah, and there was the talking pig who spoke 47 different languages from ancient Arabic to pig Latin. The final battle, between the jelly bean troll and the knight of chicken dances. I knew just how it would end. I knew it all. The knight was going to… wait, what was who going to do? Darkness enveloped my mind, and I fell.
When I woke up, I had the oddest sensation. I had been thinking about something… but what? It slipped from my mind like jelly from a half eaten donut. I couldn’t remember. The door behind me opened and the young man I had first spoken to entered.
“How do you feel?” he asked, as he took the apron off of me. I briefly wondered what had happened to the glasses I’d been wearing, but discarded the thought shortly after.
“Fine,” I said, quite cheerfully.
“Do you remember anything?” he asked me. I frowned, searching my memory.
“I remember there was something that kept tormenting me,” I said. “I can’t remember what, though.”
“Good,” he said with a grin. “Your plot will be shipped to you when you have need of it. Thank for you for using The Author’s Relief Plot Attack Defense program.”
I grinned back at him, and then walked back down the hallway. It was just a regular hallway this time, nothing weird or sinister about it, and I happily skipped out of the shop, racing over to the nearest pay phone. I scrambled for a quarter, and then phoned Erin.
“Guess what!” I cried as soon as she answered.
“You’re free?” she guessed.
“Yes!” I shrieked.
“That’s great!” she said. “Now that you are, how were you planning on getting your MC out of the vat of caramel?”
“Ummm… what would it be called when you don’t know what to do next?”
“You mean writer’s block?”
“Yeah, I think I have that. Do you have a cure?”
A moment of silence.
“Yes,” Erin says at last. “It’s a pill called get-in-front-of-your-computer-lazy-pants-and-write!”