Ch. 9

When I woke up the next morning, all I did was write. I didn't even eat until I found myself unable to sit upright, I was so fatigued. I wrote for hours.

By the time I had to stop and get some bandages for my fingers -as they'd begun to bleed from the constant chafing of the pen-, I realized that I had been writing for three days. Without sleep, without eating practically anything, I'd spent three whole days doing nothing but writing.

After realizing this, I ran to my room and grabbed the pages off my desk.

Hundreds of them, inked from top to bottom, front and back, scattered as I clawed at them manically.

How could I have succumbed to what my characters had been plotting for me this whole time?! I'd lost myself completely and done nothing but write. Holding the papers up to the light, I read them, determining that they were all continuations of my neglected stories. Written exactly how I'd planned for them to be written, but it was different. Mechanical. The words held none of my own voice, it was all spoken as if someone else had written it.

This is madness. I couldn't let them win. If I did nothing but write their stories for the rest of my life, I'd go insane. I wouldn't be myself.

It only took me a second to determine what I had to do. Rushing to the bathroom, I threw open my medicine cabinet and tossed aside bottles and tubes of cream, searching for what I needed.

When I found the sleeping pills I popped two into my mouth, swallowing them dry.

No, that wasn't enough. I needed to sleep now. I popped a few more, grimacing as I did so. It wasn't a good thing to do to your body, and I'd surely regret it in the morning, but I needed to reach my characters. By inducing sleep, maybe I could reach the characters I wanted to and skim past the less friendly ones like pages in a book.

Keeping the visual of a book, the pages filled with the characters and the analysis of each of them, I went back into my bedroom, shutting the door and pulling the curtains in tight against the light outside. Curling up comfortably in my bed, I embraced the fogginess clouding my mind. I felt my body rocking on an imaginary wind, sliding downhill quickly.

Before I knew it, there were bright lights spinning behind my eyelids, and I opened them to find myself lying on a bench. The sound of laughter and screaming punctuated the cheerful music coming at me from every side.

Rubbing my eyes and taking a closer look, I realized that I was at a fair. It was night, and the colorful lights rising high up into the air with the sound of excited shrieks reminded me of Rodeo in my home town. Something you went to with friends, spending the whole night making yourself sick with terrifying rides and sweets you can't get anywhere else.

"I see you found your way back."

I turned in my seat to find a girl a sliding off the back off a thoroughbred, adjusting her cowgirl hat as she approached me.

"You know, after everything they said to you, I thought for sure you'd go to a therapist or something," she said laughingly, putting one boot up beside me on the bench.

"I remember you," I said. "Your name's Nina, right?"

She nodded.

"But most everyone calls you Baby Girl," I continued. "Or 'Sugar'. Not that you're sweet, you just look it."

She nodded again, smiling and taking a seat beside me.

"You know, Emily," she whispered. "We don't all hate you. I mean, sure it'd be nice if you spent all your talent on our stories, but some of us...the one's you gave the most of yourself to...understand."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well," she sighed. "There's a difference between being an author and being a parent. You're a kid, just like us. Sure, you made us, but you put your blood, sweat, and tears into making us real people with lives and feelings. There's no way you can wrestle all that with what you've got going on now in your own life, anyway."

I looked at her quizzically. "It just doesn't make sense. You are me. All of you are me, and yet you're...mad at me? I don't get it."

"That's exactly it," she said. "You're mad at you."

"Speak English, please..."

"You better figure this out, girl," she said, tipping her hat at me and skipping back to her horse. "Before you lose it all together."

I watched as she mounted the saddle and sidled off into the thinning crowd of citizens, disappearing as the lights grew brighter and brighter.

All of the sudden, the lights weren't lights, but thousands of glowing sheets of blank paper flying at me. I threw my arms up to protect my face, but they blinked out, switching off like a flashlight.

I found myself in my own bed, sheets kicked off, with my arms covering my face.