(I thought it would be amusing to write a story for the end of this challenge about a writer ending a book but I got a little stuck on how to let it play out. Luckily, my very creative friend Kevin James came to the rescue with a cool idea that turned into this story. Enjoy!(I hope))
The words leapt out at her from the bottom of the page. After six years, Cynthia was finally at the end of her novel and she was looking forward to being free of these characters for a while. Sure, she was going to have to do a lot of revision but she had a solid framework and she could stop worrying about what her heroine was going to get up to next. It was going to be weird to not carry them with her all the time but it would be nice to think about something else for a change. She sent the file to the printer and headed to the kitchen for a celebratory glass of wine.
“I suppose you think we’ll just be quiet and go away now, don’t you?” a woman’s voice bit off the words in Cynthia’s ear.
Cynthia whipped her head around but there was no one behind her. The TV wasn’t on and her windows were shut so it wasn’t a neighbour’s voice drifting in.
“I must be imagining things,” She laughed to herself. Usually she invented voices in her head, not outside of it – she gave her characters voices and imagined their conversations but she never actually heard them aloud.
“It’s different this time, hey?” the woman spoke again but Cynthia still didn’t see anyone. “You can actually hear me now, can’t you?”
“Um, yes. I can hear you. Who is this? Where are you?” If this was one of those TV show pranks, Cynthia was going to kill whoever had set her up. Their timing was terrible. She had just wanted to enjoy her glass of wine before binding her manuscript and putting it away for a week or two. Editing always went easier if you let your words sit for a while – they didn’t all seem so precious then.
“It’s Simone. You know, your “Character”?” She could hear the air quotes even though she couldn’t see the fingers making them.
“No, seriously. Simone is someone I invented, she can’t be talking in the real world. Who the hell is this? And where are you?” She threw back her glass of wine. If she was going to miss out on celebrating, she was at least going to get to finish her drink.
“I told you – this is Simone. And you’re right, I am in your head. However, once you bind that manuscript, I’ll be stuck inside on page 347 and I will never get any further than that.”
“You’re a character in a book! You’re supposed to stay in there.”
“Well, I don’t want to. You can’t bind that book, you have to keep writing. I don’t like anything about the ending you made up and I insist that you change it.”
Cynthia rolled her eyes. She didn’t know whether Simone could see her somehow but she was sure that the woman knew her author was annoyed.
“I have been writing about you for six years. I want to stop and there is nothing you can do about that.” She set her wine glass on the counter and took the stairs two at a time to get to the printer.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Cynthia.” Simone’s words were hate-laced and bitter. “I can stop you.”
“You can not. You’re a figment of my imagination. You’re in my head!” Cynthia took her manuscript off the printer and started tapping the pages against the top of her desk to get the edges straight.
“Well, Cynthia, it turns out that you are a VERY good writer and you bring your characters fully to life. So, you’re right that I am in your head but I am no longer just a figment of your imagination. I am very, very real.”
“Yeah? Prove it!” Cynthia was glad no one else was home to witness her talking to her self like this. She put the first stack of papers on the desk. She was reaching for the second so she could line up their edges when she felt a stabbing pain in her head just behind her ear. The sheer power of it drove her to her knees.
“Is that proof enough, Writer? Or shall I do it again?”
The pain ebbed and Cynthia stood up up. Could this really be happening? Was her character literally torturing her?
“Yes, yes, I am, Cynthia. Now, why don’t you turn your laptop back on and get back to work on my story. Let’s start by putting me in a different dress, I have always been partial to purple.”
Cynthia sat down in her chair, propped the pillow into the small of her back and reached for the power button on her computer. This was probably not going to end well for either of them.