R. Michael lives in rural Minnesota and is happily married. He has one son and a border collie foot warmer. He has four books published on Amazon and has works published in “365 Tomorrows,” “Theme of Absence,” and “Ink & Fairydust Magazine.”
THE STORM AND THE PEN
Storm clouds barreled across the sky, bringing darkness in the middle of the day. Marcie watched lightning flicker through the window, chewing on the end of a pen. She had stared at the blank tablet of paper longer than she cared to admit.
“It’s been too long,” she mumbled to herself. Marcie knew waiting for inspiration didn’t usually work, but she was doing it anyway. An especially loud rumble of thunder caused her to jump. As the sky continued to darken, Marcie switched on her desk lamp and started writing.
Green sparks began to shoot from the ball tip dancing across the page. I still got it. She smiled. The walls around her disintegrated, and in a blink the storm was gone.
Her desk sat in a soft blanket of freshly fallen snow. Bright orange trees greeted her, their spider web shaped leaves glistening like diamonds. It wasn’t long before the puffy clouds moved out, revealing two suns, one of which was larger and redder than its brother. Marcie stood up and stretched, still clutching the pen in her left hand. Her nostrils flared as she took in a deep breath of the sweet, scented air.
Marcie walked around her desk and reached for one of the oddly shaped leaves. Marcie smiled as the velvety texture tickled her fingertips. The sky turned dark purple with a sudden thunderous roar. Marcie jerked her head up and gasped. “No, it’s too soon!” She yelled. Rushing back to the desk, she hastily turned the page and scribbled as fast as possible.
Still, the purple continued to spread and darken. Not again. Her mind spun, and Marcie pushed herself to write faster. Her hand cramped, her mouth dried, and she barely breathed, only aware of her thoughts and the pen. Within minutes, the snowy, alien landscape was consumed by darkness. Still she wrote, knowing if the pen slowed even a little, she would have no chance of escape.
Marcie closed her eyes, and when they opened, the familiarity of her home office greeted her. The storm outside was letting up, and the purply-darkness was gone. Marcie sighed in relief as her trembling hand dropped the pen. The pages she had scrawled curled inward and darkened to ash before disintegrating entirely. The woman’s hand trembled as it reached for the pen, which was strangely hot to the touch. Where the paper had been, a black flame abruptly flared.
“No, no,” Marcie gasped, backing away from the desk as a void grew within the blaze’s center. She could hear her mother’s voice saying, “Honey, we have a great power to experience our own stories, but you must be careful. There are formless entities waiting for weaknesses in the fabric of reality, and every time we use our gift, it frays the universe.” Marcie backed into the corner of the room, watching helplessly as the void consumed the desk. From the heart of blackness, a raspy breathing emanated. As quickly as the flames came, they suddenly died out. The void lingered momentarily before the desk gradually rematerialized.
“That was too close,” she sighed.