Like Answering a Payphone

Robert Quick

Where the -@!# did my muse go?

Writer, dreamer, knight, shackled by entertainment . . . and people.

In the dark my hands made twisted shapes, more through intuition than direction. They danced like they belonged to a conductor, while my fingers played the air in long strokes like a pianist's. I was aware of their movements but I couldn't see them. They belonged to another now. But the pain was mine.

I don't know how much time had passed before they dropped useless and cramping to my side. It was finished.

An acrid smell wafted around me carried by the softest of noises that should have been drowned out by my labored breathing. It was the sound of ash being brushed across pristine ice. In my mind, it conjured the image of a long streak of sooty grit sliding forever into the horizon.

The hairs on my arms stood up and my skin tingled as a chill washed over me. Somewhere between the last breath and this one, I was no longer alone.

"ssThank you for ansswering my call. ssIt'ss been sso very long."

"It was an accident."

"ssThen it wass the happiesst of accidentss. ssLet uss be friendss and sshare ssecretss."


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