I walk back to my old wooden chair make myself comfortable, feet up chair tilted onto its back two legs, and give in to the curiosity.

“He knew of course that he shouldn’t allow the narrative to wash over him, as he was so likely to lose himself in the words, but for Doug every story was an adventure. Adventure which when stumbled onto could not be denied, for posterity sake he liked to think. This was slightly different though. This page, which had fallen so gracefully, was not from a leather bound ancient tome, or even from some dime store romance, it was just a page, filled from top to bottom and margin to margin. He was not even sure it contained a story either in its entirety or at all. Doug looked around the old study, hoping to find a folder or even a stack of papers, but there was no evidence to suggest that the page was a part of a larger whole. Intrigued he carried the page over to the desk chair, made himself comfortable, and began his journey into the unknown.”

The chair falling was as much of a surprise as realizing that my story was literally becoming my story. I never write about myself I reasoned internally. I must really be out of ideas if I wrote a pseudo biographical story…but it isn’t…is it? Because, this never happened. The thought was a disturbing one. Suddenly the stack of papers in my hand felt heavy, contaminated even, and the need to throw them across the room was building. Be reasonable. Yes, logic was the only course of action available, other than the fire that is. Let’s call that plan B I told myself. I could hear my own laughter softly in the recesses of my mind, and for the first time I paused.

I knew my methods were unusual, most people do not sit for days on end unable to stop the torrent of words till the story is truly spent only to quickly seal the typed pages in a box, but it had never really bothered me before. My shelves are filled with neatly organized cardboard boxes each complete with a date, not published books or articles, and I prefer it that way. I write as a form of catharsis, a way to force the poison from my soul, and I lock that muck away where no one will see it on purpose. I watch the pages in my hand as if they are alive and waiting for their chance to spring into action. Logic dictates that I have only to place this mess in a labeled box to be rid of it, but the piece of me I try to leach away with each written story isn’t listening. Already I’m righting the chair and straightening the pages so they are square. If you start this you might not be able to stop I warn myself, but its useless. I am drawn to these typed pages as a moth to the flame, and I fear the same sticky end.

“Doug read the page quickly as if afraid someone might appear at any instant to demand his purpose and deny him rights to the paper. By the end of the first paragraph his paranoia had intensified. His eyes, often, came off the page to dart back and forth or to glance over his shoulder. Paragraph three left him visibly sweety, and resulted in a tick like motion where in every 30 seconds, or so, he would rub his palm down the thigh of his trousers in triplicate. At some point Doug vacated his chair to pace angrily up and down the room while making sounds of derision.

“Humph…” stomp stomp stomp turn. “Well I never…” thud thud thud pivot. “The nerve!”

As his level of agitation rose his rate of reading slowed, and he began reading snippets aloud.

“Only logical course of action…same sticky end…”

Then he stopped. Doug, mid pace and mid sentence, stopped and sank down to the previously plush carpet now heavy with dust. There he remained as he finished off the page. When the last word had been read he let the slightly damp slice of paper slip from his grasp. The second the page hit the carpet his head shot up and his hand came up before him as if to ward something off.

“No, its…its not possible,” Doug said in tones that suggested his statement was actually more of a question. “It’s…No!”

Immediately he sprang into action. The chain on the door was latched, the sunny if dingy windows were shuttered, and the fireplace damper closed. Then he began searching the study. Every corner was investigated, each curtain panel pulled back, and all furniture was moved from the perimeter to the center of the room. Still not satisfied Doug even looked behind the framed paintings and photographs, however there was nothing to be found. Doug was alone with himself in the unused study as he had always been, but the story had put him I’ll at ease and even now he could not shake the feeling.”

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By Jeannette Woitzik

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If your interested in how this story started follow this link, or go backwards one post 🙂

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