This is a shared anthology with ArmandsArdour, and, now that I've got you across the threshold, I might add, is also my first REAL attempt at horror. So, please, bear with me.
Having the story wasn't the dangers, not having it was.
I look up from my blank page, past my steaming mug of tea, and the cafe's glass window at the young man. He stands on the inside edge of the Charles Bridge, taking each statue by the hand to keep his balance, his white teeth showing as he tosses his raven tresses back in laughter, at his friends who keep up with his progress from the few feet below on the actual bridge. I allow myself the taste of the view and a vague smile.
What a shame daylight will have to come to an end soon, and my eye candy will go home, and cafe will close, and I'll be left alone with my thoughts, and-
I take a mouthful of tea, feeling instant rejuvenation flood my veins beyond its bitter, dark flavor.
You work so hard, all the time, they'd said. Why don't you take a break, they'd suggested.
What a grand idea, I've never been to Europe!
On top of that, my friend had been kind enough to lend me the keys to her one-bedroom cottage just outside of Prague.
What they, my friends, hadn't known, was that I had no intention of relaxing, the stray pencil marks on the otherwise blank notebook page before me possibly a poor example; but the rest of the notebook was teeming and the cabin in which I was staying was overfilled with prose.
What I hadn't know, hadn't remembered, was that it was the one-year anniversary.
I swig more tea and signal my mignon et petit garcon with a wink, the only foreign language besides French that I know, and the only one that actually seemed to work here.
Refilled, my eyes fall back upon the boy on the bridge.
Soon the sun would crumble beneath the horizon and I'd have to walk back through twisting alleys, past the city gates, and out into the slightly mountainous terrain surrounding the city, back to my temporary home. I'd have to start walking before that, and by the time I got there it would be dark.
I blame my frugalness for refusing to take a taxi or pay for a hotel room nestled in the city. Besides, how else was a writer who sits on her bum all day supposed to get exercise? And it would take more than a hotel room to stop him. . .
Perhaps a priest?
It had been a year ago, now that I thought about it, a year since I'd killed him, tore and burnt him, my muse-- The edges of his story curling, the typed ink of his dialogue seeping through the paper, to bubble away its short life in the flames of the very Inferno Dante had warned the living about in elegant verse.
Being in the occupation I was, I wasn't one to believe in ghost stories, particularly in ghost stories about fictitious ghosts. Yet--
The 'bumps in the night' thing was getting to me. Two nights in a row, weird noises, things moved, opened-- Things I hadn't touched-- It got to a person after a while. I'd written thousands upon thousands of stories since, and I wouldn't have even realized what it was, had his name not popped up in my head-- Amato.
Well, maybe there was just a big 'hubbub' because it was the first anniversary; it made sense. It'd probably blow over in, what? A week? I could handle a week.
But what if that week stretched on to a month? Two months?
What if it stretched on forever, or until he exacted his revenge, like the Crow?
Another groan. I knew, from the way I had made him, that that would be closer to the case.
My wordless page stares up at me. Having lost my pen, the dull pencil I use to scrawl with now doesn't help matters. I unfold the book with angry flourish, flipping to a new page, then back at recent writings. I stop, eyes unbelieving, mouth speechless, and allow my fingers to do the searching. A page too far, two pages too recent-- There.
It was a brief segment of a recent horror-story-in-progress, a scene where the main character, or villain, is telling a little girl- possibly the only character her spares from his fright crusade- the reality of dreams.
Underlined throughout the passage, were seemingly random letters, in the same ink it had been written in. I know I hadn't, but there were the underscores, as physical proof as anything else.
I, t, apostrophe--
I go back and string the letters together, myself.
I'm left staring down, in terror, at my own work.
It's all in your head until dark, Love.