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Ink Form! Story Showcase #2


Hi everyone! This is just another story that I wrote, but I actually got inspiration for it over the long weekend, so I thought I'd share it with you here! Please comment which part you liked, or what I could improve on. Anything is appreciated. Thank you, and here is my story...




Ink Form


My arms were sore beyond repair or consolation. Particularly my left arm did flip-flops as if it had no bones, or all of the bones were still there but broken. At least I wouldn’t have to pick up a pencil to write again. I had stopped writing against creased notebook paper a while back because everything was already behind a screen, and even though I was hunched over a desktop for two hours, it didn’t spatter my ink with tears. Paper did. At least my fingers weren’t sore, so I could type isolated letters on a keyboard. Aren’t I a lucky one?


Hello, again. Did my slumber scare you--because you haven’t changed. You haven’t changed since you sat at your desk.


No, I didn’t want to talk to her, especially not now. She had a way of popping out from the pages of a book in between the lines of text. The front door that I had never ventured through was locked and bolted, as usual, but I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the brass and brown.


Once, there used to be a pot of flowers, indoor plants, as the label stated, which was still stuck to the carpeting. Nothing from the past ever washed out except memories.


We have to get back up-to-date, you know. My adventures have come to a close for a long time, even though we still speak...occasionally.


They had, they really had come to a close, but I didn’t admit that I had never created such a beautiful, strong, perfect-but-imperfect character as she. Who cared that the notebook wasn’t mine, to begin with; it was surely a sign since it lay there on my doorstep, a few inches from the mat on a rainy day. She was one of my only memories.


Oh, you’re wondering again. You’re thinking about that day, the day where we met, you miserable wretch.


Of course, I’m thinking! I snapped at the air, atoms collecting around my desk. I’d be dead otherwise! But the air had no response, and neither did I, so I tried to gather up my thoughts, though they often flickered to the front door, aimlessly wandering about useless things like the weather. Mirnolini the huntress. A woman with a lanky frame, specializing in the bow and arrow. Secretly, she was a spy involved in the mystic arts. That much I had put together from a character generator, my mind still flickering about the room. Who knew there were so many distractions in the world?


I could tell it was her, whispering from the clutter of notebooks tossed in the trash, which I still hadn’t taken out, despite myself. Those were the days I used to get upset when my pencil’s lead cracked down the middle, so I switched to ink. (Pen ink; I wasn’t that old in my human form.) I couldn’t remember


The notebook pages were pleading, tugging at me to answer.


Mage.


Riya! The room quieted, and so did my mind. I didn’t want to think, not anymore. I didn’t want to think of the door, the past, my loss. I am not your mage.


You used to be. And that is what counted, mage.


*****


He kept on changing tenses. He knew it would confuse the readers as to why the author insisted on switching again and again, but his work was never about the readers. It was all perfectly done for his characters, and himself. They both wanted to isolate themselves, and after all, sometimes her suggestions weren’t completely mortifying. She still jerked quite a bit, a little testy, always wanting to veer the opposite direction he started in. Today, his characters didn’t desire the burdens of personification. They were the ones who made mistakes, in ink form at least.


Carrying them to real life, or perhaps, owning up to their mistakes through first-person would be too much.


Do you want me to show you your old staff again; the one you used to turn into a pen whenever you were at it on the desk, mage?


He pushed away from his computer, where yet another heroine died on the cursor’s blade. Death by backspace button was a common way for his characters to go, but he himself didn’t know how he went, his memories snatched from the middle of an unfinished story.


Maaage.


My friend, can I have another memory tonight, if you’re willing? She seemed to float from the pages, fluttering wildly.


Well then, rush me to the living room; it’s cold down here in the backpack!


So, he did, gently carrying the loose-leaf papers and placing them on the coffee table in another doom.


Did you call me--your words, your heroine-- a friend?


You’re welcome, Riya.


No, I’m welcome. I’m welcome for keeping you grounded, old man. Anyways, about the staff.


He strained his eyes, searching each spot for the pen, and there it was, rolled under a chair of some sort. He’d rediscovered the item dozens of times but never seemed to get it open. Maybe it required some sort of code, grip, or face scan? He was becoming too modernized for his own good.


Go on then, try! Try for all the things you wish to remember, mage!


Had her voice gotten louder, or was it his own getting softer under her influence. But he so desperately wanted to remember, and his heroine was the one who had witnessed the memory wipe. Did I get cursed by someone, and could I do spells with my staff? Riya, we’ve been at this for a year now, maybe more than that! Just tell me, friend, tell me who I am!


If someone would enter his home at the very moment, they would find him shrieking at an uncapped pen and a disheveled notebook. As usual, neither of them responded, and he growled with rage, rage at his unanswered questions, and stifled inspiration. Nobody would rival Riya, and Riya would never get past his first question!


Throwing the pen against a wall, he watched in awe as it unshackled, revealing a 3-foot tall black staff, a clear sheen illuminating the blue stone perched in the center.


You and I, we are meant for each other, mage. The information will come when you’re ready.


*****


On the fateful day you discovered the notebook, it was rainy. That much, you could remember. Surprisingly, the book wasn’t wet in the slightest, and you were smiling, perhaps walking to a home blurred in your present eyes. You can see just fine, but not into your old memories.


You kept the notebook on a shelf for a while, along with the others you collected. Were you a writer at the time, including a mage? Either way, the notebook was one of your only memories of before.


When you cracked open the crisp paper, you saw a sketch on the first page. The sketch was of a girl, Riya. Her name blazed the top corner, her body curved and strong-built. Her hair was swept in elaborate braids, brown skin gleaming on the paper. Her weapon: an electric spear, a crescent-shaped crown atop her head. You deemed her the moon queen, started on a new page and began to write.


At first, she was merely thought on paper, then a fantasy, then an alter ego, and then a true companion you knew by the back of your hand. And then, underneath what was now a distorted vision of your old home in some faraway land, you woke up to a strange house, her voice ringing through it. She was now alive, and the only thing you remembered of your old life.


You still had all your notebooks containing her stories; a heroine named Riya. You did not know who you were, but she did. She knew so very much.


Right now, you ignore the grimy mirror, scratching at the stubble on your face, confused. Each time you tried peering out the front door, a blast of white overtook your senses, a thundering pound of her voice dragging you back to where you started. How were you still alive if you had never eaten or set foot outside?


From the beginning, you were sure of two things.

1. You are a writer.

2. Trust her. She is your creation, your only friend.


But yes, you were thinking of that differently now. Was this a prison tailored to you? Who was the person who owned the staff, really? Who were you...really?


*****


I write to calm my amnesia. I write to preserve my identity, or scraps of it, from being devoured by whatever unspoken force had chained me from the rest of my life. Riya’s silence was a stranger to the morning as I plopped down, unearthing the works of adventures we’d gone on together through paper. I remembered a time when we were so close, we could read each other’s thoughts. It wasn’t a once-upon-a-time, just any old time.


Of course, I wasn’t supplied with a calendar/watch, so I had no real approximation of time. Some mage I was.


Drowning out my thoughts, I set for the backpack once more. Thinking was useless when you couldn’t control your mind or navigate through it due to an overflow of questions. Questions were not her style-- they never got answered, which was infuriating to me. A year had probably passed, and I still did not know my own name, or why she had magically appeared in life. I was ready to know, but was she ready to tell?


Good morning mage. You know, I feel a sense of displeasure about the room. Are you displeased with my flow of knowledge? We did get the staff open, did we not?


Her voice was teasing, and I had to bite down on my tongue, curl my fists to keep from tossing the notebook into a trash can. Oh, no harsh words, my friend. I’m just waiting for the answers you promised me. The memories of my past, where I was your mage.


In time, in time, everything will be shared.


I bristled, the word ‘friend’ having a sharp aftertaste. Time as in forever, time as in neverending was what she meant. If I could, I would take up my staff and fire a blast into the front door to find my own answers, but her voice would latch onto me everywhere. Wherever I went, she’d be there, curving my choices into her own.


Riya, what does ‘time’ mean? I want answers now!


Mage…


Stop calling me that! What is my real name; what is it, woman of my creation?! You are my character.


Riya’s notebook fluttered, and with a grunt of effort, she floated out, almost entirely transparent.


I am the only one of you in ink form.


*****


He wakes up in bed all over again. For a split second, he thinks he has forgotten everything, but that is not true. Unfortunately, all of Riya’s agonizing voices enter his mind. Before, that very noise was music to his ears because it meant he had a chance. Now, it is agony, a curse, a being of his own ink throttling his existence every day.


Please, don’t do this to me. I want answers. Those words have been his mantra since he woke for the first time. Riya had told him that questions ate at the soul, but nothing of his long-sought answers.


Not bothering to check up on his appearance, he walks against the creaking floorboards to the blue-crystaled staff. When he picks it up, he concentrates, and it folds back into a pen. His ink.


Yesterday was quite the spectacle, mage. Bad behavior costs you a month.


He feels like walking right up to the front door, but Riya still has information on who he was before.


What are you going to do Mage, it’s torture both ways. Deal with me forever, or deal with your questions. I can give you ease. After all, I am your character, your inner turmoil.


He silently whispers to the room, to the empty room with bare furniture and objects that are supposed to mean something to him, but have no value. It is the past he is running from, but a future Riya is holding him back from running to. He eyes a trash bag, then the front door. He doesn’t know who he was, but he has a vague idea of who he is.


He writes on loose leaf paper with pen ink. He doesn’t use character generators. He’s a writer, not a mage, and he’ll be okay with starting over if he can get rid of her.


Time to take the trash out.


****


You are not willing to let the obstacle stop you-- the brass-and-brownness front door. You don’t know whether she’ll follow you, but the same garbage bags lie in a corner from your first day. They haven’t been removed, and neither have you.


Mage, what do you think you’re doing? You can’t possibly throw me away! I’ll always be a part of you, whether you like it or not; I am a part of your obsessive thoughts!!


You pick up a pen, flipping to the first page, her illustration. I am not a character in a story. I am not your mage. And then, gloriously, you scribble over her queen attire and her spear. Tomorrow, she would not wake to haunt you of a past you discovered you had no intention of knowing--if it means you must endure her.



The silence is new to you, but you’ll get used to it. Finally, you have a fresh start.


Dumping the mess of a notebook into the bag, along with all of her adventures, you twist open the front door, somewhat bracing yourself for her eerie voice.


But it doesn’t come, and instead, a brilliant brightness overcomes your senses. Sunlight. Instead of ink, you bleed happiness for the first time.




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