By Dan Seavers
He lifted his hands from the typewriter and spooled up the paper to re-read what he had written. Finally, finally, he had finished his story. It had taken, well, now that he came to think about it, he couldn’t remember how long he’d been working on it. Months maybe? Years? It seemed a lifetime ago when he’d first sat down at his desk to write.
And then he’d lost himself. The rhythmic clack of the keys had lulled him into a daydream, and his mind had roamed to all sorts of places. Now that he was finished, he felt himself awakening, as if for the first time. He felt confused, like he didn’t really belong in his body anymore.
He looked down at his hands. At least, he thought they were his. He couldn’t remember them being so thin and bony, the hairs on his knuckles greying. And they ached so much. How long had that been?
He rubbed his hand across his chin and found a thick, matted beard there. Yet, he had shaved every day. At least, he used too. Had he been so focused on his story so long that it had slipped his mind?
He lifted himself from his chair. His knees were stiff, and his back cracked as he stood. He shuffled to the bathroom.
And he found a stranger looking back at him from the mirror. It was him, for certain. He could see his steel blue eyes, but they were heavy and ringed by blackened bags. His face was valleyed with wrinkles, and his beard, his long grey beard, looked unshaven for months. If not years.
He returned to his study and peered at the typewriter. It was hard. His sight wasn’t as it used to be. Or his hearing. He thought at the edge of hearing he could hear a whisper calling him.
He was almost certain it was the typewriter talking.
But no. That was foolish. He was still a little dazed. A little dreamy, surely. He just needed to step outside for five. Or nip into town. Maybe call a friend and have a chat. Something to escape his own thoughts for a minute. He’d been alone for some time, and it must have got to him.
Yet, he wasn’t sure he could make it downstairs. And he couldn’t remember where the town was. And the only friends he could think of, he was pretty sure were dead.
And anyway, his chair looked so inviting. And his legs did ache so much.
So he sat back at his desk.
He looked at the typewriter. It was its fault, he was sure.
“I’ve put my life into that story,” he said. His voice was coarse and dry, unused for so long.
Imagine that, he thought. A magic typewriter. No, wait, a cursed typewriter. One that takes your soul and uses it to feed the story you’re writing. Where you sit down at your desk as a young man, and finish old and drained. Unable to escape until your story was finished.
He laughed. What a ridiculous idea. It couldn’t be true.
Though it could make for an interesting tale, at least.
He pulled himself up to the desk and lined up a fresh sheet of paper. Then he started writing again.
And he was alone once more with the clacking of keys, and the typewriter whispering happily into his ear.
© Dan Seavers 2016