Sunday, September 30, 2012

Where They Come From

My entry for  Emily Suess' Writers Week 2012 writing contest 

Inside the notebook were the words that would revive her.  She gotten a few lines written during lunch.  Once at home she could get back to her real love.

 Dorothy climbed the last few stairs leading to her efficiency apartment. She spent the half hour walk home from her monotonous office job composing the next piece of her personal world.

By the time she opened the door, she had a crowd of characters following her. All telling their stories, and where they fit, and what place they lived, and how they dressed. She shooed them off for a moment as she went to the “almost a kitchen” and started her coffee pot.

After changing to sweats and pouring the fresh coffee into a mug, Dorothy headed to her cluttered desk. Several well used notebooks shared space with a sleeping laptop and plain lamp that she’d left on before she’d gone to work.

She settled into her chair and flipped though a few pages before deciding where to start. Before she picked up her pen, she lit a tall candle. Once the flame bloomed steadily, she switched the lamp off.

She began to write. From behind the candle holder a tiny gargoyle peeked out. He’d been in hiding since the harsh incandescence of the lamp had chased away the shadows. Dorothy smiled indulgently as the little creature played atop the piles of unpaid bills and grocery ads. She continued to write.

As a castle began to erect itself next to the silent laptop, the gargoyle found a scaly tail beneath an overdue notice for the electric. A small puff of smoky annoyance reminded Dorothy she needed to take care of that. Tomorrow.

Scratch and scribble, the pen picked up speed. The ink on paper barely keeping up with the flow of words from Dorothy’s world. The gargoyle, worn out with aggravating the dragon, curled up around a pencil holder and drifted off to sleep. A knight leaned on his broadsword, watching the tale grow over Dorothy’s shoulder. The castle completed its wardrobe with a colorful pennant on its uppermost tower.

There was one last flicker as the candle wick finally gave in to the puddle of wax at its base. Dorothy looked up, startled by the dark. The pen in her hand still on the page. The river of thoughts coming to a stop.

She flipped the lamp on sadly. The castle faded, the little gargoyle jumped up in a huff and climbed inside the pencil holder. The knight sheathed his sword and disappeared with the blade. Dorothy took time to grab a sandwich, then showered and headed to bed. Her dream peppered sleep bringing new characters and creatures to fill more notebooks.

As she readied to leave for work the next morning, Dorothy gazed longingly at her desk. The gargoyle braved a hopeful peek from the pencil holder, blinking in the glare. When Dorothy grabbed her purse and turned to the door, he slid back down in a pout.

She started her trip and let her mind slip into her other world. The shadow of the knight walked beside her. A bubbling cauldron rolled along behind, trying to catch her attention. A gaggle of fairies flitted around her head, giggling at some inside fairy joke.

Whether or not it was the knight, the cauldron, or the fairies that distracted Dorothy, she didn't see the light change. She stepped off the side-walk in front of the car.

The people gathered around didn't notice the crying knight kneeling next to her, or the fairies sitting in uncharacteristic silence on the lip of the cauldron. They were completely unaware of the grief-stricken gargoyle that had arrived within minutes on the back of miniature dragon.

Nor did they see the figure of a matronly woman in ancient robes reach gently to take Dorothy’s hand and pull her upright. The woman looked at her skeptically.

“I don’t know” she said.

“Don’t know what?” asked Dorothy. The gargoyle had perched protectively on her shoulder and was glaring at the other woman.

“This creature says you write. Is that so?”

Dorothy thought about the many notebooks full of half finished stories that covered her desk and filled its drawers. “Well, yes. Sort of. Mostly I guess I just scribble.” She thought sadly of her unfinished novels and the characters she’d be leaving behind.

“Scribbles, eh.” The woman reached over and scratched the little gargoyle’s ears. “Well, Dottie, I suppose you'll do.”

“Uh, my name is Dorothy. And I'll do what?”

“Your new job, Dottie Scribbles. I got your resume, you're hired.”


“On a probationary basis of course. But, yes, you are now a Muse.”

writers' week writing contest

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