Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)
TITLE: Expunging Muck
By Catrina Bradley
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A pebble of ink quivers under my trembling pen.
Blaire screams at me, and Peter curses. My hand jerks, smearing ink across the pure white page.
I grab my hair and pull. My shout rattles the windows. "I can't!"
Blaire's screams morphs into a banshee's wail, and Peter demands I set him free.
My growled command for silence does no good.
The morass burying me in this miry pit has entrapped with me the two lives I birthed.
I tear a page from the back of my notebook and slash the blankness with angry blue strokes. Maybe if I can expunge some muck from my mood, the would-be lovers can be set free to embrace their fate. And maybe I'll be set free with them.
<i>words Words WORDS!
Words all around me
Words surround me
my search for words
to articulate the thoughts
swirling like a cyclone
touching down for a moment
to deposit a modifier
or dangle a participle
in the peripheral vision
of my mind's eye
comes up dry</i>
"GARBAGE." Peter's commanding voice shook me from my vain scribblings.
Blaire was no longer wailing, but her words warble with sobs. "That's not it."
"I'm just warming up...getting a flow going." I take a deep breath. <i>It's just for me. No one has to see.</i>
A shuddering line slowly carves out cursive letters, spilling my guts onto the paper.
<i>Where am I?
I can't find me.
All I see
is a smiling visage
The mirror says
that I am me
but mirrors lie;
they don't reveal
what lies beneath
the mortal seal.
Ebon sea and endless night
play hide and seek
with me and I
waste endless days
and sleepless nights
mulling over life
the sunshine went away
and where I might be hiding
A groan escapes my lungs and I'm torn between flinging my pen across the room and snapping it in two. <i>Hideous excuse for poetry.</i>
"Poetry schmoetry. You're avoiding the question."
My joy at hearing coherent words spoken by my female lead is increased exponentially by a hint of the melodious tinkle usually accompanying her voice. I search for Peter, but he's retreated to his room and shut me out. I know better than to pry when he disappears like that.
"Hello-o, anyone home? Forget the bad poetry. No one cares. You asked the right question, though; now answer it."
I was used to hearing Blaire talk to Peter this way, but rarely did she address me directly, let alone in such a forward manner.
"You mean, 'Why?'"
"Yeah. 'Why?' And speaking of Peter, he's too under-developed, you know."
I'm taken aback. "Under-developed? You mean scrawny? And who was speaking of Peter?"
"Speaking, thinking, same thing. We're all in here together. Except when you guys are in your rooms. I'm getting kind of tired of that, you know. I get lonely."
"You guys...you mean me and Peter?"
"Well, yah, duh. Who else is here? Wait--don't answer that. You don't know Peter at all, do you?"
"What do you mean?" I pick up my pen in a huff, tempted to conjure up an horrific natural disaster to befall her. "I created Peter."
"Yeah? Why is he in his room right now, ignoring us? Ignoring ME? Aren't I going to be the love of his life?"
"Yeah, but he doesn't know that yet."
"Which brings us back to 'why' and to Peter. Underdeveloped. Maybe it's time you got to know him. Knock on his door; demand he talk to you. And ask <i>him</i> why."
This might officially constitute the longest conversation I've ever had with one of my creations.
I'm not mad, of course. I know they live only in my head. I'm also sane enough to realize they speak only what is already known to me on some level, conscious or no.
"Exactly!" Blaire says. "So make Peter speak. He is you, you know. We all are."
"And you, Blaire? Why do I know you and not Peter?"
"I'm easy--I'm joy; I was created with light only touched by shadows.
"Peter was created from the dark that hides in you. That part of you is afraid of the light. He hides. If you can find him, get him to speak, you'll find the part of you you've hidden.
"Only then can you be set free.
"Come on, let's write more bad poetry. We've got some muck to expunge."
I pick up my pen.
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