[WAR XI] Just Me and My Voices [Judged]
The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre,
Don’t I know it, was my thought as I read the final lines. I folded the poem up carefully, tracing the old and worn lines on the paper, and slipped it into the back of my notebook. I then flipped across the pages until I came to my newest story, still unfinished and the sentences trailing off to no conclusion. Even though I could write little poetry myself, I kept a copy of that particular piece of Dickinson’s wherever I went; it was just like me, after all. It seems as if my life has never been dominated by people and the real world, but the spiritual and whatever I see in my own head. I’ve always had a foot planted firmly in each world, but I suppose that’s the consequence of being a writer.
You say that as if you regret it, the voice came to me, soft as rustling silk.
I glanced up from my story and there he was, not an inch from where I last saw him. A stately raven, large and holding his head up like a proud king, with glossy black feathers that gleamed as if they were covered in oil. He hadn’t been the one who had spoken, but whenever he was around that particular voice in my head got louder and harder to ignore, feeding off of all of the emotions that a simple bird could stir up.
I called him Nevermore, named after Poe’s own raven. It sounds cheesy and unoriginal, but I might have given him another name if he actual told me what it was. I’m sure he can speak, but he just doesn’t want to, and instead he just stares at me with his burning violet eyes that make me feel as if I’m being stripped down until he can see right into my heart. For a moment we simply stared at each other before he made this “awk” noise and hopped closer, landing on the edge of my desk. He peered curiously at my notebook as if he could read it and awked again, pecking at it.
“Stop that,” I muttered and pulled my book closer to my chest protectively. Muse or not, no one was allowed to touch my books without my permission. I scanned over what I had just written and had to quickly look away, rubbing my thumb across the corner of the paper nervously.
Another cry was torn out of his throat as he felt the gory mess of meat and blood that were once his eyes. Ew, ew, why did I ever write that? I was so sick. I put my hand to my forehead, looking at the words without really seeing them.
Didn’t you want to write it? Don’t tell me you regret it now. I looked at Nevermore again, but he was as silent as ever. It was only me talking, after all. I can’t blame him for talking to myself. He just… it was his presence that did this to me. Every time he was near I felt quieter and colder and more introverted than I usually was, and my thoughts always revolved around morbid things. My inner doubts and criticisms, which were just little whispers most of the time, acquired their own voice and always jabbed at me while I was trying to write.
No, I replied to it, and I meant what I said. Without Nevermore around I could never write even half of the stuff that I do, because I would get too attached and emotional to my characters and they would never have them getting blinded by artillery shrapnel. I chewed my lip, wondering how to phrase the next sentence.
Nevermore ruffled his feathers and stare at me with that piercing, unearthly gaze—and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming—and I felt a chill come over me. Not like the physical sense, where you get cold and you shiver, but as if my heart had been frozen and cut off my emotions, leaving nothing but a calm, rational logic behind. I looked at the paper again. Well, Gilbert is a very strong and confident character so how will he react to being blinded?
Nevermore swept out his wing dramatically and the words came to me: terrified, alone, panicking, questioning. Each popped into my head with their own little words and half-formed sentences floating around them like planets orbiting a sun. I filed them away for later.
How do you think he’s going to react? my voice snapped. Like any normal human being would if their most important sense was suddenly—and painfully, mind you,—ripped away from them in the middle of a battle.
Right, just like that. I started to write again, the words easily flowing across the paper. Gilbert would be scared, naturally, but he wasn’t the type who would lie on the ground in sheer panic while the enemy approached. He would find a weapon to defend himself with and try to run, more in tune with his character.
Hey, what are you doing? This is not scared! This is fending for yourself after being shot in the eyes with shrapnel. You don’t just get up from that. People are going to call you unrealistic!
My pen stopped scratching. Oh gods, it was right. What the hell was I doing? It couldn’t just have him running away like that, things don’t work like that. I set my pen down and looked at Nevermore for help. He looked back at me, never blinking, his eyes glowing and intense and so damn purple. Why the hell did I ever buy that stupid puppet?! I know that’s where he got the eyes from.
Alright, one: stop getting off topic. This is why your writing is taking forever, Criticism snapped at me. Two: you bought that puppet because you were a silly little girl who had money to spend, and you wanted one. Perhaps you thought the raven was the most realistic looking one there, or maybe it was the only one you could afford. You could have even done it because it was the “darkest” thing there and you liked dark things even then. Don’t ask me to try and explain your weird motives.
Thank you for your unwanted and unwelcome input, I said, trying not to roll my eyes.
Nevermore raised his head and once again I was amazed by how regal he looked. I could easily imagine him as some sort of aristocrat dressed in court clothes, dancing at a ball. With all the solemnness of a priest intoning the committal of a funeral, he cawed at me and flew off my desk, circling above my head with his shadow passing over every time he passed the window. Thoughts came to me, as if they had always been there and I was only now remembering them. What happens when you are standing up and you decide to close your eyes? You get dizzy—I had a vision of Gilbert stumbling to his feet, trying to keep his balance—and you trip over things which you can’t see—and immediately falling over a body. He didn’t even take two steps.
Hey, Criticism piped up. Have him almost stab himself as he falls. Remind the readers that’s he’s still wielding a weapon.
Now I could see what happened next, it was all playing out in my head like a movie. I picked up my pen and started to write again. It was actually going rather well for once, since I had a habit of writing a paragraph and then stopping, but here I just kept writing and writing. I knew how I wanted this story to end and was on my final few paragraphs went my voice stopped me again.
You know, it’s funny how you can write stuff like this and not even bat an eyelash. Cold as ice.
I didn’t even stop writing. Funny? I asked absently. A strange sense of humor you have there.
Your humor, since I am you, it shot back. But you do have a point. Funny isn’t the proper word, I suppose sick would be closer to the truth, or even twisted. Oh, that fits perfectly. Sick and twisted, a twisted mind writing twisted things for her own warped sense of pleasure.
I was so busy paying attention to what it was saying that I misspelled a word. Cursing under my breath, I reached for my white-out pen. Stop it, I said, quickly scribbling out my mistake.
Oh quit complaining. You’re going to get a little criticism, that’s part of being a writer, along with the occasional distractions.
Like you? I said, trying to focus on the story. It was getting harder because the voice was now felt as if sand was rubbing into every crevice of my brain.
Haha, very funny. You know that people would get thrown into insane asylums over this? By the way it’s spelled “hooves,” not “hoofs.”
Son of a—I quickly corrected it, grinding my teeth in anger and shame. That was a stupid, silly mistake, I should have known better than to make it. Nevermore clacked his beak, watching me from his new perch on top of a bookshelf. Brains dripping out of his head. The phrase shot through my head within a second, like a bullet. “What?” I demanded, almost yelped, actually.
That sounds pretty cool, actually, my voice said.
No it doesn’t, I argued. It’s silly and unrealistic. It’s just his eyes and face that have been injured, not his brain.
Well duh, the voice said, annoyance clear. It’s a bit of dark humor for people. Did you not thrown in a King Lear quote a few pages back for a chuckle? Come on, just one more.
Fine, fine, I said, mentally putting a sentence together. Your fault if it sounds stupid.
Already it’s twisted and sick, and you’re not making it better, Criticism snapped. Stupid wouldn’t be too bad of an improvement. Besides since I am just another part of you then won’t you be the one who is making it stupid?
I swallowed hard. All of the words hit me right in the heart and a lump formed in my throat. I tried to ignore it and keep on writing, but my fine strokes turned into erratic scratching.
You know I’m right, Criticism whispered, the words like claws wrapped in velvet. No one is going to like it because it’ stupid, twisted, and sick. Written by a silly and talentless amateur to make it all worse.
“Shut up!” I yelled, grabbing my notebook and throwing it as hard as I could. It missed Nevermore by an inch and there was an explosion of feathers as he flew off, going to my bedpost as a new refuge. He glared at me and I felt my rage being snuffed out like a candle. “I’m sorry,” I murmured and looked away from him.
Brilliant move. Blame him for the voice in your head, which is really you, for causing all of your problems, which you made. Genius.
I bit my lip and stared at the wood of my desk, twiddling my thumbs and hooking them together tightly. There was no way I could write like this, not with the voice, and it was so—damn—frustrating—a brush of air against my cheek made me look up, my thoughts suddenly stopping in their downward smile. Nevermore was on my desk again, looking at me in a mixture of confusion and expectancy with my notebook clasped in his beak. He set it down in front of me and then hopped over to the edge of my desk and tapped one of the drawers with his beak. I raised an eyebrow at him but obediently opened the drawer anyway. The first thing I noticed among the threads and stones and cards scattered inside was my mp3, nestled comfortably on top of my black leather gloves. I felt my lips break into a huge smile. “Thanks, “ I said, grabbing it and unwinding the headphones.
I heard a quiet croak before I pushed them into my ears and pressed play, and that maddening voice was washed away in a wave of sound. With it gone everything became clearer and I could actually think for once. I almost laughed in relief and picked up my pen, giving Nevermore a quick stroke on the neck before I started to finish my story.
Guy 1: I wasn't that drunk
Guy 2: Dude, you were in my fireplace yelling "Diagon Alley"
C/ ▪ |▪|░✧░
███ █░░░ This comment reminds me of a puzzle...
Dear Edward Cullen,
You sneak into little girls' rooms and you live forever.