In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, I thought I’d share a tale I wrote about an Irish warrior trapped by witche’s curse. The following is an excerpt from SCARY MONDAYS, an anthology of flash fiction and poems written by me and my daughter KT, now available at www.amazon.com
“Writers write. Only undisciplined or unfocused ones get writer’s block.”
Natalie paced the cramped space between her desk and bookcase. With each step, she muttered, chastised, and scolded herself. Every bit of free space, the shelves lining the walls, the floor, even her desk, was cluttered with books, romances mostly. They were her passion and livelihood.
Irritation crawled across her shoulders. She made a living writing romantic suspense. Yet for weeks, the story that circled her head and drove all others out was a fantasy. Or perhaps it fit in the paranormal category? The tale dogged her. It kept her up at night. Like a living being, each time she left her desk to feed the dogs, walk to the mailbox, or just make a sandwich, it followed her as if impatient for her to get the words out of her head.
She could see it hear it, plainly in her mind. Or more precisely, she could see him– he hero of her story. She could hear him, damned near touch him. Rory, an Irish rebel, hexed by a witch, destined to spend eternity confined alone in shadow world until some magical person came along to lift the curse.
He was so real.
Never had a character been so alive in her imagination, so vibrant, and dynamic. Yet each time she sat down to write the book, it was as if some real physical presence blocked her muse. She never had writer’s block. She simply didn’t believe in it, didn’t allow it. Nevertheless, she just couldn’t seem to get this tale out of her head!
Frustrated, she took her seat in front of her laptop. She booted up, then opened a Word document. A blank white page stared back at her. She could’ve sworn it sneered at her.
She clasped her hands in her lap, sent a silent prayer to St. John the Apostle, the patron saint of authors. For good measure, she added St. Patrick as well. It couldn’t hurt. She opened her eyes, then watched in fascinated wonder. With her fingers still linked on her thighs, words began to crawl across the page.
Bring me to life.
She swallowed, shook off the moment. “Be sensible,” she muttered. She lifted the laptop, checked the connections hoping to find some rational explanation for how words could just appear on the screen. Perplexed, she sat back with frown and stared at the nearly blank screen. Cold terror traced the line of her neck as the letters edged across the screen.
B…r…i…n…g m…e t…o l…i…f…e
This is a trick.” Natalie reached for her cell phone. Her friend Sandy, the techno geek, would probably tell her she’d been hacked, or attacked by some freak computer virus that allowed an anonymous creep to run her laptop remotely. Somewhere out there some dweeb little nerd was laughing his ass off.
She punched in the number, waited for the call to connect. Static screeched through the phone. Then clearly, she heard a voice, one that filled her head with images of misty bogs and peat fed hearths.
“Bring me to life.”
She dropped the phone on the carpet. She scanned the room. Except for a pair of beagles named Sid and Nancy, she lived alone. Yet she felt a presence.
She felt it.
Or rather him.
Veil thin and yet tangible.
His breath caressed the shell of her ear. “Tell my story. Save me from the nothing I’ve become.”
Maybe she was psychotic. Perhaps the hours of self-imposed isolation required by her craft had finally taken its toll. Or maybe she had one of hell of an imagination. Natalie grinned. The block was gone. Whatever had been holding her back, shifted to let her mind fill with images, phrases, and dialogue…and her fingers did the talking. Filled with the one-of-a-kind joy that came from knowing she had a great story to tell, Natalie finally began to write.
As the days and weeks passed, she got lost in time and space, in a world filled with faeries, witches, and a handsome Irish warrior named, Rory. With each chapter, he became more real. And with each chapter, she fell in love. She imagined that he fell in love with her too. Or at least the heroine she’d created whose description fit her own. Some days the story flowed. Other days it seemed as though some dark being barred the path. Each time Natalie fought it, or her, since she’d come to think of this particular writer’s block as a witch in need of a serious ass kickin’.
The night she wrote the final paragraph, the wind howled, the lights flickered. Lightning flashed followed by thunder so close, so loud it rattled windows and floors. Her dogs cowered under the desk. She hit “Save.” She stood, stretched her hands high above her head, decided she’d earned a long hot soak, and longer nap. She turned toward the doorway, jumped back and yelped.
He stood in the door, her handsome, dark-eyed, dark haired warrior.
He pointed toward the computer. “You lifted the curse.”
Maybe she had truly, finally, gone around the bend. It was one thing to have a character live in her head, something else altogether to find him standing in her office. She rolled her shoulder. “I wrote a story.”
He stepped toward her. “And it was magic.”
Months later at a book signing, a fan gushed, “I love Mystic Warrior, and I love Rory. He seems so real. How do you write characters like him?”
Natalie cast a glance at the man standing near the magazine aisle. Her Irish warrior had traded his sword and shield for a pair of Levis. And he looked pretty damned good in them. She turned back to the woman in front of her, tried hard not to seem too smug.
“Sometimes they just come to me.”