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The Inkwell

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Inkwell

The words flow from my fingertips, producing sentences and paragraphs. The dim light of my computer monitor is a strain on my eyes - and I'm finding it difficult to continue. I sit here in my study, nursing a scotch, writing my next story in this familiar environment. I'll soon be unable to write, for I fear my time is coming to an end. This all happened because of the inkwell. It's pure evil. No matter how much it helps you, it's a curse. I write this, in hopes that you can avoid the same mistakes I made. Trust me... you don't want to end up like me. No matter the reward, the ends will never justify the means. Dreams are fun... but they always come at a price when you take shortcuts. I know this now. Please... just stay away from the inkwell’s call. It’s the voice of a devil, masquerading as your guardian angel and muse.

Let's start with who I am - my name is Sam, and I'm a writer. I've been a writer for a while now, but I've always aspired to it. I wrote a little bit in college, but largely never had time. I was always kept busy with my studies, and socializing with others. I finally found the time to write at my boring office job - where I occupy a space for a living. I spent half of my days there staring at a blank page, attempting to make progress on my long sought after dream. But, I'm no wordsmith. It didn't come easy, and I needed inspiration in my uninspiring environment. I read forums on the internet from other writers.. none of which were helpful. They talk about having a type of source for your material, a type of idea, genre, or just writing about things in your life, or near you. Frankly, these ideas seemed terrible, and I just wanted to write something worth reading. I wanted... no - craved to be like the greats. Well respected authors who were revered for their originality, and creativity. Their ability to write makes them respected and worshipped. Anyhow... I was frustrated and dejected for quite a while... I gave up on writing anything for many months. "I'm just not meant to be a writer", I thought. Maybe some people just aren't meant to do anything significant with their lives. I've given up on so many dreams at this point - what's one more? I stayed that way... until last April.

I was walking home from the office, down a lonely decrepit sidewalk. I felt a chill run down my spine as I walked, and I felt ice in my veins, like I was being watched. I figured it was just the cool fall air... but my unease was instinctive. This caused me to give pause on my trek home, and as I did, I noticed it almost right away, plain as day. An antique shop that I passed regularly on my walks to and from work, seemed to... stand out. Its presence looming over the lonely sidewalk, a guardian to all passerby. It's hard to explain but I swear, it appeared to be in focus when everything else I was blind to. I was drawn to it... no... mesmerized by its mere appearance. I slowly approached the display window of the shop -- noticing a few uninteresting old vases, an antique desk... and... there it was. Laying flatly atop the desk was a black... ceramic inkwell. The desk appeared insignificant thinking about it now, but it was... fairly old. But the inkwell adorning the top was... well... beautiful. Its smooth, polished outer surface, pitch black - as if it absorbed any light brave enough to touch its surface. The lid was a silvery metal, with a design of what appeared to be some sort of unfamiliar symbol stylized onto it. It appeared to be the image of a book... except the book appeared to be dripping some sort of liquid from its closed pages. I couldn't tell what it meant, or its origin... but I thought it was unique looking. Simple, but elegant, and with interesting design. I went inside and promptly asked the kindly old man minding the store about it, and he seemed to have no idea of how old it was. It lacked labels, or maker's marks of any kind, but it looked quite worn. He was also uncertain of the symbol's origin. Now - you see, I'm not a collector or even really have been inside an antique shop before. But this inkwell - its smooth black surface called to me, like a siren song, leading me into dark... treacherous waters. I was enamored with it by its very presence. He wasn't asking for much, so I decided to purchase it. I enjoyed seeing little mementos and things adorning my desk, and I figured... this thing would motivate me to write every time I'd sit at my desk.

It did more than just motivate me to write. Once the inkwell lay atop my desk, I felt a surge of - what I can only describe as pure energy. The fire inside my belly that had been quiet and quelled ever since I’d dropped out of college. Suddenly, I felt like I could see everything clearly - like the fog enveloping my mind had all been cleared in one instant. The feeling was both motivating and... terrifying - every bone in my body begged for me to sit at my desk and write until my fingers bled. It was nothing like before. I felt words turn into sentences, and sentences turn to paragraphs. Then before I knew it, page after page of words were before me. My hands were sore from typing so vigorously. I was in shock at how long I had been staring blankly while I wrote. It came so easily to me now. I felt like I'd finally just gotten better. This is what it felt like to be a writer. Pure joy showed itself on my face in the form of a manic grin. Nothing else mattered but writing. A constant stream of pages... then... more. Story, after story, I kept going. It was like every single idea I'd ever had in all my lifetime was coming back to me. Those... in-the-shower moments where you know you thought of something incredible, all came flooding back. Every single idea came back. I was amazed. I was happier than I'd ever been. My head was a constant flow of ideas and words.

A couple of months in... after I'd written a few stories... I started to notice things. I couldn't turn this ability... off. I seemed to be hearing things now - like my ideas were being whispered into my ear, instead of coming from inside me. I wouldn't leave my apartment for days. I would write nonstop, until passing out from exhaustion. I barely found time for meals. The whispers grew louder, and louder. When sitting at my desk, I could swear they were coming from the direction of the inkwell. My muse. I started remembering... not just the good ideas I'd forgotten. I started remembering every idea - no matter the subject.

Thoughts of violent crimes; detailed descriptions of the unsettling things I'd repressed. Whispering to me from the inkwell, I could hear everything. Excruciating, detailed accounts of torture, murder, and gore. Sentence after sentence, page after page - the words came all the same. The only sleep I get now is when I drink. Heavily. When I wake, the whispers start all over again. I just want to be free of this nightmare. The delusions have grown, and reality is now near impossible to discern. I can no longer tell if the whispers are my actual thoughts... or if they're what the inkwell wants me to think. The very thought makes me shudder.

I write this now... because lately.... the whispers from the inkwell have been... disturbingly specific. It talked about people I knew. My family members. My friends. Even acquaintances. It told me about the middle-aged woman who bagged my groceries the other day being... brutally murdered. I heard the horrifying details as the inkwell whispered into my ear. Upon walking to her car after a late-night shift at the supermarket, a mugger stabbed and savagely beat her for the 40 dollars in her purse. The descriptions were... horrifying. I saw her death on the news the very next day... and I knew details not released to the press. The people I were hearing about were... going missing or showing up dead. The next day after hearing about these nightmares happening to my loved ones, friends and acquaintances... they would be gone. The inkwell killed them. It must be responsible. Or... No. Did I kill them? Am I culpable because these thoughts were originally mine but long lost? All the other ideas for stories were just repressed or forgotten ideas... are these the same? I can't tell what's real anymore. The whispers... they won't stop. I spend nights staring at the black surface of the inkwell I felt so enamored with before. It calls to me, whispering to me. Taunting me with its endless words.

The story it's regaling now is what I'm truly afraid of... for I know now the end is here. As I write this, it tells me the story of a young man, who on the 23rd of September, was found dead in his study, while working on his latest story. His body lying cold on the floor, a glass of scotch still on the desk next to an old inkwell. His eyes were solid black, as if they'd been turned to darkness itself. His wrists had been slit, and the carpet was soaked thickly with layers of what appeared to be... black ink. His computer desktop was still open to a Microsoft word document when the body was discovered.

It read:

"Let the blood of the writer be his ink, and let the ideas flow out from him, as blood from a wound. His words will seep out and poison the well, just as his thoughts poison his life. The whispers of words are a gift, but humanity is his curse. The blood of the writer flows free, and so shall his words too, flow free."

Written by C.Alexander
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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