“Lost and useless much?”
I can’t win with her. She’s here, she’s gone. She’s back, she disappears again.
“Sound familiar chica?”
Perched on my desk, she looks down at me, all nonchalant and judge-y at the same time.
“Don’t you have someone else to bother?” I mutter.
I try, I really do try, yet my Muse refuses to leave me alone which is kinda contradictory when you think about it.
I mean, she’s supposed to muse me, help me stir up my brain, give me something to write about, but no, she’d rather hang around my personal space and annoy me. Without inspiring me.
She gets more amusement out of me than I get inspiration out of her.
“Hey little missy! I’m not supposed to do anything.” She hops off my desk and starts pacing.
I hate when she starts pacing.
“It’s not like there’s some big payoff for me chica,” she crouches in front of me and grabs me by the chin, forcing me to look at her. “You’re more like a punishment if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask you,” I snap.
Her kaleidoscope eyes hold my big baby blues so intently I can practically see wheels turning in her head. Not good.
“Hmm, punishment….”. Her eyes glimmer and shine with something resembling excitement.
Aww hell, here we go again. I can’t help it, I pull away from her and bang my head on my keyboard. On purpose.
Her right hand flies out to grab my hair, yanking my head back.
“Youch! Knock it off, I’m not in the mood for your shit!” I attempt to escape her grip but she won’t let go.
She opens her perfect red stained mouth, her eyes flash the same shade of red and I prepare myself for the verbal onslaught to come but it doesn’t.
Instead she closes her mouth and her eyes transform into a calm waveless ocean.
She continues to stare, not saying a word.
It’s an old fashioned staring contest going on for what seems like hours. Maybe it is hours, I don’t know anything anymore but I stare back anyway.
I swear there are tiny little gears turning inside her pupils and that scares me more than her red-eyed look.
Then, the strangest thing happened.
She switched gears, pardon the pun, in a big way because, for the first time in ever, she, She, my Malevolent Muse and Mistress of my Fate showed me something I never ever imagined I’d see; a tear, a real live salty tear slipped from the corner of her eye.
I was so shocked by her display of any emotion other than anger or sarcasm which probably doesn’t fall in the emotion category anyway but still, what the hell?
Why is my Muse kinda crying?
What did I do now? Because everything is my fault it had to be something I did or didn’t do, yet still I remained stoic.
And yes, my default mode, frozen.
Another tear followed and if I’m going to be truthful with myself, my stoicism was beginning to crumble.
I try and hide it but when it comes down to it, I’m a crybaby. And I have a lot to cry about these days, yet I refuse to let myself fall apart. Maybe I’m afraid I’d pull a Humpty Dumpty and never be able to put myself back together again. Maybe I’m afraid if I start to cry I’ll never be able to stop.
“Chica,” she whispered her pet name for me, soft, gentle, dare I say caring?
She stopped yanking my hair and instead a soft bristle brush appeared in her hand as she gently brushed my hair, slow, soothing, a reminder of my Mom doing the same when I was a little girl.
She began to hum softly, a few words slipped out and I realized she was singing a song my Mom used to sing to me. I closed my eyes, my mind taking me back in time and it was Mom’s voice I heard, “when I was just a little girl, I asked my Mother, what would I be”.
I took a deep breath and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I let myself just breathe. I was so used to chaos in my life that, even though the other shoe had already dropped, even though my life had turned inside out, I didn’t trust, well, anything anymore.
My Muse? She came and went, in and out of my life, she delighted in torturing me, she had the same ridiculous sense of humor I had and she was convinced there was some world-saving that needed to be done and for some reason, she insisted I had a role to play in the upcoming Apocalypse.
But this was a different Muse, another facet to her many personalities I’d never seen and certainly never thought she was capable of, compassion looked good on her.
I, on the other hand, looked like hell. I was the portrait of Dorian Gray in reverse as I spent my days in my Dad’s old sweatshirt and my Mom’s old sweatpants, as if wearing their clothes would somehow bring them back to life.
As she continued to stroke my hair, “Que Sera,Sera” lyrics filled the air. I mean literally, each word she sang formed in the air, swirling around my head, wrapping around my body like an Angel’s hug, bringing me a comfort I hadn’t felt since my life fell apart when my Mom died.
I tried to keep it together but my eyes welled up, I blinked furiously, trying to keep my tears from flowing but I failed.
Like a waterfall, tear after tear fell, fast, furious, and then, without my permission, I began to sob uncontrollably.
Her arms pulled me into a hug, the kind of hug my Mom used to give me.
I broke down completely.
The world I carried on my shoulders for so very long was finally too much for me to handle, the fact that my Muse, of all people, was holding me, encouraging me to let go, to stop trying to be strong and let her carry me for awhile was something I filed away in my mind to be pulled out another time but for now? I let myself feel.
I let myself unfreeze and feel emotions I’d locked up tight and she let me.
It wouldn’t last, this I knew without a doubt, but for now, as I sobbed my broken heart out, as I soaked her clothes with my long hidden tears, for the first time in longer than I could remember, I accepted comfort. An unusual feeling for me, but it felt right, and while I knew reality would set in, things would get back to what passed for normal and the World Saving gig would rear it’s ugly head again soon, I treasured this time.
She, who delighted in driving me crazy, seemed to be the only one to get through to me, to let me be weak at a time I needed to be weak.
“Don’t get used to it Chica,” she said softly as she continued to stroke my hair. “I may have frozen time for you, but I can’t stop time forever.”
She gently held my face, forcing me to meet her gaze. “Let it out my sweet Chica, let it all go. We have a lot to do and while I admit your sadness is so loud it pierces my ears, you need to let it out because you are too full of sadness to let anything else in.”
“Cry little one, cry for everything you haven’t let yourself cry for, I need you strong for the upcoming battle.” She leaned in and kissed my forehead.
“The time grows nearer Chica, you can do this with my help, together we can win, but I need you strong. And you will be little one, this I promise you.”
My sobs grew quieter, my tears slowed a bit as a calmness began to settle over me.
My Muse continued to stroke my hair and softly sing, ” what will be, will be”.
And for once, without any inner argument, I believed her.
She towers over me in all her glory, her breath fetid with a hint of dead flowers.
I feel each exhale slide over my flesh, leaving deep angry gashes seeping rivulets of blood.
I’m frozen in place, my body encased in an icy coating.
I notice as I shiver violently, tiny little cracks begin to weaken the ice, leaving me free to move. She paces back and forth, a stream of profanity falling out of her mouth, relentless.
I inch away slow, steady, quietly, hoping she won’t notice.
Of course it doesn’t work.
“There are rules missy,” she yanks my hair painfully as I crawl toward the front door.
“I don’t follow rules,” I spit the words out, along with several back teeth.
“You don’t need them anyway,” she sneers,”back teeth, not rules. Rules are meant to be broken, just like you.”
She looks me over like I’m dessert. It’s creepy how much she looks like my Muse and I have to keep reminding myself she’s not.
“-always wanted that hollow cheekboned look, is that what you were about to say?”
She’s crouched in front of me, head cocked curiously.
“You’ve never been trained have you?” She snaps her fingers and a riding crop appears in her perfect hands.
“I don’t need to be trained, I’m not an animal.”
I push myself up to a kneeling position.
The jeans I was wearing have turned into fishnet stockings complete with garters and black spiked heels.
“Well you’re a miserable excuse for a human chica. I’d go with the pet label if I were you. You’re not so good with order-following but you will be when I get through with you.”
The handle of her riding crop trails along my spine and my body trembles involuntary.
This was usually the part where my Muse comes to my rescue, where the hell is she? I can fake my way out of pretty much any situation, but this one? This Evil Version of my Muse? She seems to know my every move long before I do.
If I wasn’t doubting my sanity before this, I sure as hell was now.
“Come now. Be a good little pet and get back to the parlor said the spider to the fly. We have an Apocalypse to monitor.”
In the blink of an eye I’m shackled to a straight-backed chair, hands behind my back, legs apart and unable to move.
I can speak though, she hasn’t gagged me this time.
“Where is my Muse? And my friends? What have you done with them?”
“Ha! Friends? How cute.”
Sarcasm drips heavy from every word she says.
“Now shut up and watch. Let’s see if you can write your way out of this, missy.” She draws out the last word, snakelike.
Griping my hair by the handful, she holds my head in place to make sure I’m watching the horror unfolding on my television.
The sight on the screen makes me scream loudly.
AUTHORS NOTE : This is a snippet from my latest super-somewhat-secret WIP, because it’s Sunday…to be continued…
“Tie her hands tighter, she’s a sneaky one, she is. Thinks she can get out of anything. Make sure she can’t get away.”
“Hey! Wait a minute,” I said indignantly. “What the fuck is go-mmmmmmowww!!!”
“Gag her; the only time she shuts up is when she has something in her mouth.”
I thought the voices sounded vaguely familiar but couldn’t quite figure out who was talking. Whoever they were, they’d blindfolded me. They must be pro’s.
One minute I was sleeping the sleep of the depressed and exhausted, next thing I knew I was tied to a chair, couldn’t see a thing, and somebody had shoved something in my mouth so I couldn’t say a word.
I hate when I can’t say a word.
I also hate the taste of the washcloth somebody shoved in my mouth to shut me up. It tasted like soap.
Another voice spoke up. “Can’t we cut her some slack? She’s had a rough time lately; you know it could just as easily be one of us tied to that chair.”
I heard a deep male growl followed by yet another voice, this one female, whispering something to the growler about how they had to do this but they didn’t have to be so rough. I assumed she was talking about me.
I had no clue as to what was going on. It couldn’t be kidnapping because nobody I knew had money for ransom and besides, who would want to kidnap me anyway?
Maybe I was dreaming. Except the washcloth in my mouth and the restraints holding me down threw that theory out the window. I couldn’t even ask them what they wanted because whoever shoved the washcloth in my mouth decided duct tape was needed to keep it in place, my tongue was starting to hurt from trying to push it out of my mouth and I was doing my best to squirm my way out of the restraints.
“We’re not trying to hurt you,” another voice this time.
How many people were here?
“We just want to talk to you. And we want you to listen. If you promise to listen to what we have to say nod your head and we’ll take off the blindfold and get rid of that washcloth. But if you don’t let us have our say, it goes right back in, ok?”
Huh? Who were these people and what did they want with me?
Only one way to find out so I nodded my head and true to her word, the calm-voiced female took off my blindfold then took a step back. Maybe she wanted to gauge my reaction before she yanked off the duct tape.
Can’t say I blamed her when my eyes adjusted to the light and I saw I was surrounded by people I both knew and didn’t know. There was a familiarity in each pair of eyes watching my every non-move but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I knew them, yet didn’t.
I sat still, my eyes taking in each and every one of them staring at me.
They stood around me, arms folded. I could feel the hostility in the air, mixed with disappointment and all of it aimed at me.
“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?”
The woman speaking was so beautiful she was hard to look at. She seemed to glow but it was her eyes that bore into me, kaleidoscope eyes swirling with colors that had me mesmerized.
Dressed from head to toe in tight leather, she held a whip in her right hand, smacking it against the palm of her left hand.
When I didn’t answer she cracked the whip in the air coming dangerously close to my face.
“You do realize she can’t answer you till you take the gag out of her mouth,” said the large green man with the yellow cat-like eyes.
Leather-girl’s eyes flashed red at green man. The look of annoyance on her face rose to a level I’d never seen before.
She was scaring the hell out of me but I tried to keep calm and breathe.
Through my nose.
Green man and leather girl were now involved in a stare-off and if I had to guess, they were arguing silently.
Who were these people and what did they want with me?
As their silent argument continued my eyes took in the rest of the crowd surrounding me.
A tall thin woman with gorgeous red hair and flashing blue eyes stood next to two identical strapping hunks of men. One of them winked at me and flashed a grin revealing fangs. The redheaded beauty jabbed him in his side with her elbow.
There was a young boy, looked to be in his late teens wearing glasses that were obviously the wrong size.
He kept pushing them up the bridge of his nose, but I could barely see his face, his hair was unkempt and covered most of his features.
Standing next to him was another woman, by the looks of her she was young but her eyes made her look like she’d been through too much for any one person to handle.
Something about her stirred something inside me, made me want to comfort her which was kinda weird considering she was part of the kidnapping contingent.
Standing next to them was a tall statuesque woman; her hair flowed down her back in natural curls, an aura of goodness emanated from her and she looked at me with a mixture of kindness and disappointment.
What the hell did I do to her?
She was flanked by a dark dangerous looking man on one side and a dog with three heads on the other.
I wondered if somebody spiked my drink last night and I was hallucinating.
The arguing between leather girl and green man had slowly grown from silent to loud and louder until they were screaming at each other.
“Would you two knock it off?”
A woman I hadn’t noticed pushed her way through the crowd surrounding me and leaned into me. She looked oddly familiar and eerily like me but I couldn’t figure out how I knew her.
“Sorry doll, it’ll only hurt for a second.” With that she yanked the duct tape off my mouth and pulled the soapy washcloth out of my mouth.
I couldn’t help it, duct tape hurts when it’s yanked off your face.
“See? I knew she couldn’t be trusted to keep her mouth shut! Give me the tape!”
Leather-girl snapped her fingers and held out her hand impatiently.
The other one, the one who looked like me rolled her eyes before she snapped at leather-girl.
“Would you shut up already?”
She turned back to me and missed the sneer on leather-girls face.
It would help if I knew their names.
“It would help if you gave us all names and stopped flat-leaving us. And by the way, I did too see that, eyes, the eyes in back of my head are the same as the eyes on the front of your face.”
My mouth was agape. Huh?
“Look babe, this is it. We’re fed up. You’re the one who created us.”
She stopped and looked around at the small crowd surrounding her. And me.
“Well, most of us.” She shook her head as if to clear her mind, the way I sometimes do.
“Anyway that’s not the point. Point is, you’ve been dilly dallying for way too long and you’re unfocused, which in turn, makes the rest of us unfocused.”
Leather-girl growled along with the, umm, vampire dude as kinda-me shushed them.
She turned back to me, finger lifting my chin till our eyes met. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing disappointment staring back at me. I can only assume my confusion was responsible for my uncharacteristic quietness.
Also, leather-girl was eyeing me up like I was an ice cream sundae.
I couldn’t decide if I loved her or feared her. Maybe both.
“Chica, you really need to get moving.”
Whatever she was about to say came to a full stop.
The jig was up.
Nobody calls me chica except my Muse. I’d slap my own stupid head if my hands weren’t bound.
It was them.
All of them.
My own characters kidnapped me.
“But I don’t have enough time to start it, never mind finish it!”
The whine in my voice has my cat looking at me like I’m a lunatic. Or a banshee.
A lunatic banshee.
My Muse, on the other hand, is totally not amused as evidenced by the look on her face.
“And I’m sick! Like, really sick!”
Of course she doesn’t say a word, which is worse than any words she could have thrown at me.
She arches an eyebrow, her red-stained mouth sterner than my fifth grade teacher’s ever was.
I recite a litany of all the reasons I haven’t been writing and they sound lame to even my ears.
She looks bored as I continue to babble.
After a good five minute diatribe justifying my legitimate reasons for not writing she pushes away from the wall she was leaning against and gets in my face.
“I. Don’t. Care.”
I open my mouth to answer her but she stops me with a slender finger to my parted lips.
“Shut it chica,” she knows I hate when she calls me that so I hear it a lot. “You said you were going to write, didn’t you?”
“I did but-”
“No buts,” she looks me over and smirks, like she knows something I don’t.
I’m sure she does.
“You can fuck around all you want missy, but not on my time!”
I know she’s pissed when she curses. I’m the one with the gutter mouth, not her.
She must be extremely pissed.
“Of all the wanna-be’s out there I wind up with you.”
She’s pacing now.
I blow my nose again.
“You’re making this whole Muse gig a drag chica. I’m a fucking Muse and you’re not doing a damn thing about it! I couldn’t get somebody with discipline, no, I have to get Little Miss Helps Alot, always serving somebody else’s master, in a manner of speaking,” she gives me a dirty look when I roll my eyes.
“Nothing is coming to you dipped in chocolate on a silver platter you know,” her voice was rising in volume.
My cat fled the room earlier. Lucky cat.
“I can’t do what I’m supposed to do if you won’t start doing what you’re supposed to do! You can’t fix everyone else’s life when you’re not paying attention to your own!”
She got me with that one. And I was also thinking about chocolate now.
Frozen in place I know I’m in for something. She has a golden twinkle in her eyes I’ve never seen before but a lot has been going on under the surface, things I would have noticed if I paid more attention. Unfortunately for me, I always seem to find these things out too late. Again, my own fault.
“What did you promise Miss Ana?”
“I didn’t exactly promise, I said I was going to try-”
“Trying is for losers. You don’t “try”, you DO!”
“But I’ve never written anything like that before, what if I get it wrong? She’ll hate me and think I’m a lame loser.”
“How’s that’s any different from your normal bland self?”
She loves to throw my words back in my face. They don’t have to be exact, just in the same ballpark but damn, she hits a homerun every time.
“What part of ‘I have the flu’ don’t you understand?”
My scratchy voice sounds like there’s a clothespin on my nose and it disappears every other syllable or so. My voice, not my nose.
“You’re doing it again.”
Her voice vibrates through my fevered brain. She sounds psychedelic, like some old hippie movie from the ’60’s where pretty girls in see-thru dresses and long flowing hair danced barefoot in circles while contemplating the wonders of the universe during an acid trip.
“I’m sick,” my voice has that whining tone to it and it hurts even my ears.
“Don’t even try it missy.”
My Muse takes no bullshit from me, even when it’s not bullshit. I’ve been legitimately sick for way longer than I care to admit. I tend to hide my weaknesses and push on through whatever it is life throws at me best I can but I can’t fool my Muse.
She sees right through me. Which shouldn’t be that easy considering I’m in flannel pajamas shivering under a pile of thick comforters. I’m surrounded by tissues and bottles of Gatorade, both empty and full. I’m also hacking my lungs sore while my left nostril is racing my right nostril to see which side can run fastest. They’re pretty much tied.
“The only thing I’m ‘trying’ to do is stop being sick so I can get back to normal,” I snap.
She let out one of those deep throaty laughs that always manage to make me feel like I’m in for it.
‘It’ varies, depending on her mood.
“Normal, chica?” She stomps around the room, the click of her heels making me regret my love of hardwood floors. She has to know each time her foot hits the floor the sound vibrates through my head, amplified by 11. “You wouldn’t know normal if it bit you in your cute little ass.”
“There will be no biting of my ass!” I grumble through the pillow I’d yanked over my head.
“For now.” She grabs the pillow off my face and I struggle to get it back but she holds it just out of reach. The light hurts my eyes and I don’t want to see her dressed in my favorite red leather pants. Wasn’t she just wearing a nurse’s uniform? She makes my bedridden-self look ragged and pathetic with my greasy hair piled on top of my head in a stringy mess and my- “Hey! Those are my pants! Who said? Get those pants off!”
She gets that look on her face, one eyebrow arched, blue eyes sparkling and her red lip-sticked mouth pouty and wet.
“Now, sweetie? None of that right now. Aren’t you contagious?”
She reaches down, pressing her forehead to mine the way my Mother did when I was a little girl.
She clicks her tongue, plants her hands on her leather covered hips and releases a pitiful sigh.
“You’re no fun when you’re sick.”
I sneeze loudly. She doesn’t bless me.
She sinks onto the bed next to me looking almost concerned, but I know she’s disappointed in me. In an evil-muse sort of way.
I don’t get it. She’s my Muse with a capital M but she hasn’t been musing me lately. She’s been absent and I’ve been wordless.
“You’re sick chica, and I can’t believe I’m making excuses for you,” she huffs. “Once. Just this once I’ll give you a pass. But don’t get used to it!”
Six sneezes later I realize she’s gone again.
I need her.
Hate to say it but it’s true. I need my Muse and she’s not gonna be back until I start writing again on my own.
She may be my Muse, but neither one of us had to like it.
I sneezed a few more times and slowly fell asleep as it came to me that the only way I could beat her at her own game was to write before she came back, that would show her I don’t need her.
She was nothing but trouble plus she kept stealing my clothes.
I drift off to sleep to the sound of someone going through my walk in closet. I can still feel her hand on my face. Maybe she cares after-all.
~TO BE CONTINUED~
She thinks I don’t see her lurking behind me.
Dressed in my favorite black leathers she clings to the ceiling like a black widow spider but she’s much more lethal. I can see her reflection in my computer screen but I choose to ignore her rather than acknowledge her presence.
I know it drives her crazy when I ignore her but sometimes, when it comes to my Muse, ignorance is bliss.
She always knows what I’m thinking but I can’t read her, not the way she can read me.
She’s unpredictable and capable of anything. Me? I’m predictably capable of disappointing her. Which isn’t really the best way to endear one’s self to one’s Muse.
Seems I’ve been disappointing everybody lately.
What sucks the most is that I know I’m all fucked up in the head these days, I know I’m in robot mode but I can’t shake it off. I need a Moonstruck Moment.
“Snap out of it!”
“Get out of my head and stop slapping me in the face! Damn that hurt!” My right cheek is burning from her hard crack across my face and my left one joins in with an embarrassed rage for letting her catch me unaware, even when I knew she was there.
“Somebody had to do it chica, this Debbie Downer mood is getting old.” She shoved me back into my chair and stared at me, expressionless.
Did I mention she’d yanked me to my feet before she slapped me in the face?
“Why do you have to be all hurty with me? You’re my Muse, why can’t you be nice like the Good Witch in The Wizard Of Oz and wave a wand or something…” my voice trailed off as her face went from angry to angrier. I did not want to see angriest.
“Ok, obviously I fucked up again. Let’s start this over, yeah?
“Witch? You compare me to a Good Witch?”
Shit. This is the part where things go south and I am so not in the mood.
She continued to stare at me for what seemed like hours but in reality was barely a second. Something synched. There was a shift in my brain, I don’t know how else to describe it.
I was staring into her eyes but I was seeing me staring out of her eyes. That makes no sense but I don’t know how else to say it.
I saw me and I wanted to slap my own self in the face.
Breaking eye contact wasn’t easy but I did and I was pissed.
Pissed at me, pissed at her, pissed at every single person I knew, every one who “loved me” and that list continued to grow shorter and shorter, just generally pissed. Angry. Mad. Furious.
Because it was all my fault.
Her head tilted the way it does when she’s curious.
“Why do you blame yourself chica? And for what reason?”
“And why can’t you let me wallow in guilt?” I mumble, knowing she hears me anyway.
Then she did something she never did once, ever.
She stood me up and hugged me. Just like that. My crazy dominatrix of a Muse, who loved nothing better than to drive me crazy instead of inspiring me to write, hugged me.
For a minute I let myself accept it.
Minute over. I pulled away.
“What do you want now?” I walk to the other side of the room and cross my arms as I lean back against the counter.
“You’re learning chica, you’re learning.” She slunk her way over to me, planting one arm on either side of me.
Her breath was a blend of flowery deceit, but she was all I had, I didn’t get to pick my Muse.
“And I didn’t get to pick you chica, but we’re stuck together for now.” She leaned in closer, her mouth next to my ear, “Whatever your problem is, and we both know what it is, get your act together chica, the next time I show up, you better be ready to get back in the game. Things are heating up and you for some unknown reason, are needed. Sooner we get this done the sooner we can break this bond.”
She disappeared, as usual, in a puff of smoke.
Huh. I didn’t know there was a way out of this, that I could get rid of this crazy Muse and get back to normal, whatever that might be.
Well, I always do work best under pressure.
AUTHORS NOTE: oddly, the authors note I just wrote disappeared, I think it was my Muse, I swear I didn’t say anything bad about her, she just likes to mess with me, she says it keeps me on my toes to which I say I took tap lessons thank you very much, I don’t do ballet…anyway, what I meant to say is, my Muse is off fighting the Djinn War without me for reasons I can’t divulge yet, but she does come to check in on me from time to time… she just left, maybe I wasn’t supposed to mention she was here but hey, it’s my blog, she can get her own. Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of me and my Muse, as Karen Carpenter sang, we’ve only just begun…
to be continued…
She slinks into the room like a cat on valium, not her usual style at all.
Usually she appears out of nowhere, either making a grand entrance or catching me off guard, but this time she’s slow, stumbling almost and she looks haggard, like she’s been through a war and barely made it out with her life.
My Muse is not very forthcoming with her adventures when she’s not here with me, she doesn’t like to share unless it benefits her in some way. Very human-like trait if you ask me.
“I didn’t ask you chica,” she snarls at me. “I have nothing in common with you filthy humans, nothing.”
She doesn’t look me in the eye. Something isn’t right with this whole picture.
“I thought you told me I might not be all human?” She hates when I question her, probably why I can’t stop myself from doing it.
“I said, I’m beginning to have my doubts about it, that’s all.” She slumps next to me on the bed, sighs, then folds one arm across her leather covered chest and throws the other across her forehead. I have no idea how she can move in that thing she’s wearing, it looks like liquid leather was painted over her body.
Gotta admit she wears it well though. Still, something is wrong.
Usually my Muse shows up when I’m sitting in front of my laptop writing. This is the first time she’s popped up while I’m lying in bed, considering throwing in the pen, so to speak. My attempts at writing had run into some stumbling blocks recently and I was so disillusioned with the mess I’d made of my life I wanted to crawl under the covers and do my best Sleeping Beauty impersonation times five. One hundred years wasn’t enough time to retreat into my shell.
“What wrong?” She stares at the ceiling as she speaks.
“What’s wrong?” I ask. “With me? You’re the one going all Sarah Bernhardt, not me. I’m just reading in bed minding my own business, is there something wrong with that? Besides,” I looked my Muse in the eye for the next part,” you disappeared as usual, as much as it pains me to say this, you know I can’t write without you.”
Her eyes flash an assortment of different shades of blue before they settle on the same shade of blue as mine.
She closes her eyes for a moment then looks up at me, a mixture of emotions playing across her face with one notable omission, there is no trace of anger.
Angry, condescending, superior, those were her usual looks my way.
I never saw what looked alarmingly close to, dare I say it, sad?
“You fucked up chica,” she says this softly, solemnly.
“What are you talking about?” She’s really starting to worry me. Even though she’s a pain in my ass I still have feelings for-
And I find myself facedown on the floor, my precious laptop luckily saved by the tumble of blankets surrounding me but my Kindle took a hard hit. I’ll kill her if it’s broken.
Did I mention one of her spike-heeled boots was painfully planted against the small of my back?
“What the fuck?” I mumble into the bare floor. Is this what they mean by ‘eating dust’? I really do need to sweep underneath my bed a little more often.
“You’re standing on my back.”
“Get. Up.” Her right hand reaches down yanking me off the floor by my hair. She uses her left hand to reach around and grab me by the chin, pulling my head back till I was staring into her eyes. I swear I was looking at two eyes filled with violent waves, stormy didn’t begin to describe the tsunami in her eyes.
I don’t know how I manage to get myself in trouble without doing anything.
“Ok, ok, stop yanking my hair already! That fucking hurts!”
“You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘hurt’ chica. Yet. Now sit.” She points to the bed she just yanked me out of.
“Huh? What game are you playing now because I don’t know the rules to this one.”
“That’s your problem little girl, you don’t know the rules period. Now sit your ass down and explain yourself.”
She towers over me, the way her eyes have me pinned in place suddenly makes me feel like an insect under a microscope.
“Oh you’re an insect alright,” her voice is full of hate. “You’re less than a bug and I can squash you in a snap.”
I jump as she snaps her fingers for emphasis. My hand scrapes against a sharp corner of an old wooden bookcase. The splinter embedded in my palm is deep enough to hurt bad and a smear of blood is left behind, to remind me I’m still alive perhaps?
“See what I mean?” She leans down, yanks me up then pushes me on the bed. “You’re all skittish and jumpy. You’re a wimp, that’s what you are.”
“A wimp? Do people even use that word anymore?” I ask sincerely.
She is not amused. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so angry, at least not at me.
“Shut. Your. Mouth. And listen,” her voice is stern, fed-up, disgusted. Everything but pleased.
“I’m not in the mood to go through the whole hows and whys thing, so I’m gonna say this once and you’re gonna listen to me. You’re also gonna follow through. Capiche?”
I just nod my head in agreement, afraid to open my mouth yet.
“I may be your Muse but I’m more than that, much more. For now, all that matters is you can’t hide one single thought from me no matter how hard you try chica. That means I know exactly why you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You signed up for it missy, if you think you can write anything while censuring yourself in case somebody might get offended or project themselves into something you write you may as well throw that laptop out the window. Because if that’s your plan, whatever you write is gonna suck.”
I just stare at her, mouth agape, speechless. Without words. No reply. No smartass remarks. Nothing.
Because I know she’s right.
Her mouth curls up into a Grinch-like smile and there’s a sparkling green glint in her eyes that wasn’t there before.
I don’t know if it’s a good sign or a bad sign.
“Chica, it’s time to let go of that bullshit in your brain, it’s doing neither one of us any good and if you’d pull your head out of your ass long enough to pay attention, we’re in the middle of a Djinn War with a capital W and you,” she looked down her nose at my still silent face and rolled her eyes before reaching out to place a finger under my chin to shut my still-open mouth. “You, for some unknown reason, are the only one able to get us out of this mess alive.”
While I tried to digest that little tidbit she turned from me and began to pace back and forth, distracted, as if she was involved in another conversation I wasn’t privy to.
“Time is running out chica,” she leaned into me again, her mouth so close to mine I wasn’t sure who’s breath was who’s.
“You know what you have to do. Do it. Now. Don’t try to do it, do it!!!”
She planted a kiss above my eyes. It smelled of reassurance and treachery both, then she disappeared, a thin haze of smoke the only remnant of her appearance.
That and the blood red lip-print on my forehead.
I look at my laptop and sighed.
to be continued…
“You still don’t get it, do you?”
I’m trying to work on something, unsure of the direction I want to go. I lean back in my chair and light yet another cigarette hoping to find inspiration in a haze of smoke. Or maybe in the bottom of my teacup.
“You can’t ignore me forever missy. I’ve got time and lots of it. More than I can say for you.”
There had to be a way to stir up something interesting to write about. Hell, I have so much clutter in my brain there has to be something I can scrape together that won’t bore the masses as much as it bores me.
“You aren’t the only one who’s bored, I’ve been yawning my head off for the last couple months while you continue to make no decisions. I mean come on already! An intervention didn’t help, it made things worse if it did anything.”
There’s an annoying buzz in my ear, like that elusive mosquito on a hot summer night, you know it’s there but you can’t quite figure out where it is or how to get rid of it.
“Please. You won’t be getting rid of me that easily. I’m here, I’ll always be here, like it or not. Get over it.”
Maybe it was one of my cats again. They were always up to something that involved weird noises and destruction. Lately they’ve added snoring to their repertoire.
That annoying straight line on my computer screen keeps blinking at me, a mix of disdain and disgust like it wants to take me by the throat and shake the words out of me.
“If you don’t get moving soon I’m going to do more than shake the words out of you. You, missy, need a good old fashioned over the knee spanking. Which actually sounds like a good idea now that I’m thinking about it… and by the way missy, I know you hear me so knock it off with the ignoring of moi.”
“Nope,” say I, “I hear nothing.” I try to give it my best Sargent Shultz try but I suck at accents and I don’t think my Muse is a big fan of Hogan’s Heroes.
“What I’m not a big fan of is you not doing anything.”
She hovered over my keyboard now, finally showing herself even though I knew she was there all along.
Mostly I was just being a bitch to annoy her. Writer’s block can make a person do strange things, ignoring one’s Muse probably isn’t the best way to be productive.
“Listen to you using all those words just to say you suck, I’m almost impressed! Why don’t you try putting your fingers on the trigger and start typing?”
“Because you’re sitting on my keyboard?”
Couldn’t stop myself, the words were out before I could bite my tongue. I’m really in no mood for a conversation with my Muse right now, I should have kept my mouth shut.
“First of all I’m hovering, not sitting; secondly, I know what you’re going to say before you even think it. You seem to forget who’s in charge here.”
I blink and she’s standing behind me, leaning over my shoulder looking at the blank screen in front of me.
“Why are you even here?” I ask. “You’re supposed to be in a file marked “Muse Drafts”.”
“Yeah, right next to the files marked “Lizzie and James” and “Tower Story”, been there done that. I’m bored.”
“Well if you’re so bored then why don’t you do your job and muse me up already?”
Her left eyebrow arched so high it nearly reached her hairline.
Shit. Here we go again, another round of beat on the brat.
“You are a brat,” she hissed. Which is pretty impressive considering there are no “s’s” in the sentence she-
“Hey!” She slapped me in the face! “You slapped me in the face!”
“Your choice missy; stop fucking around, get your ass writing, or I’ll get your ass burning and believe me, I have plenty of experience when it comes to a good old fashioned brat-spanking.”
I have to admit, I considered it.
I mean she did look pretty hot in her leather and I was being bratty and maybe I’m reading too much erotica lately. Then again I did go to Catholic school and I was being bratty. And did I mention she looked pretty hot in her leather?
“Stop repeating yourself. And since you seem so anxious for a spanking you’re not getting one. Now.”
I can feel my face flaming at the turn this conversation is taking and she laughs, at me, not with me of course.
My Muse has a sadistic streak.
“And don’t forget it chica,” she blows me a kiss before disappearing for who knows how long.
Abandoned, as usual, it’s just me and a blank screen once again, that fucking blinking line taunting me still.
AUTHORS NOTE: Catt and her Muse discuss some of the finer points of fashion…sorta…
“What’s wrong with how I’m dressed!” I mean to sound indignant but my voice just sounds kinda squeaky.
“Oh please chica, red desert boots and cargo pants?” She actually shudders.
“Hey you’re the one who put me in these stupid red clodhoppers in the first place, which, ok, I was barefoot in hot sand so thanks for that but come on, you could’ve gone with Doc Martins at least.”
She mumbles under her breath again, she does that a lot around me, something weird usually follows.
“Red Doc Martins I can deal with but these things,” I look down at my feet, “Holy shit, check out these kick ass boots!
Black biker boots covered my feet and my cargos were now comfortably tight leathers.
From the mirror she’s magic-ed in front of me I looked fashionably dressed for an Apocalypse, also, I was pleased to note, kinda hot.
“How’d you do that?” I really need to learn how to do that!
“Moi? Not me missy, you did it all by your lonesome… aren’t you just full of surprises…”
She’s really bad at hiding condescension. Probably because she doesn’t try. But she was dripping with it now and it had nothing to do with boots.
“C’mon, knock off the bitchery and stop being all mad at me,” I try my wide-eyed innocent look. It doesn’t work so I try again.
“You know this is just temporary-”
“Everything is temporary chica.” She sounds pissed but it doesn’t stop her from interrupting me.
“-and it was the only thing I could do at the time-”
“Time,” she sneers, “you know nothing about time. Nothing.” Her arms are folded and she gives me her back, won’t even look at me.
“Ahem,” I remain silent until she gives up and turns to face me. I attempt to give her the coldest stare I can muster but it bounces off her like a pink rubber ball thrown against a concrete wall.
“As I was saying-”
“You say nothing but words without meaning.”
“-if there was any other way I- hey! My words have meaning!”
Damn she’s getting under my skin and enjoying every minute of it, if the definition of “enjoying” is being a bitch. I have to remind myself not to engage the crazy supernatural being capable of rendering me dead. And I better start thinking happy thoughts before she pulls another disappearing act on me.
“You are thinking thoughts about me right now chica, I know that look on your face,” her voice is a mixture of anger, annoyance, and a tinge of affection. “Just because I can’t read your thoughts for now doesn’t mean I can’t read your intent.”
Wow. She is really pissed at me for bottling her, apparently Muses don’t like to be owned.
Shit. I didn’t think of it that way, being owned and not in a good way.
“Look,” I say with complete sincerity, “I promise you, as soon as this whole Apocalypse thing is over, which by the way, you really need to fill me in on what’s going on with that and what the fuck it has to do with me… but for real, I swear I’ll release you as soon as this is over. Pinky swear.”
And I really do mean it, I don’t want a Genie in a bottle, I want my Muse back.
She does that eyebrow raising thing she does so perfectly, her red stained lips parted in exasperation.
“Pinky swear?” I can’t tell if she’s gonna laugh or scream. Possibly both.
“Pinky swear,” I answer as I reach my hand out to her, pinky first.
After staring at my hand for what seemed like hours she shrugs her shoulder and reaches her own hand to me.
“You,” she says as she hooks her pinky with mine, ” are a very strange human.”
She looks me over from head to toe and shakes her head.
“If you are indeed all human, I’m beginning to have my doubts about that.”
I decided it would be a lot easier if I just pretended I didn’t hear that.
to be continued…
Whats it take to stop an Apocalypse? Catt’s still got a long way to go.
So my Muse is Djinn.
I don’t know why I didn’t figure that little tidbit out before but there’s no time for musing about it now, there’s an ugly Apocalypse out there that I’m supposed to stop and all I’ve got is a pissed off Djinn-Muse in my pocket.
On the plus side, she has to do whatever I tell her to do, but there is gonna be hell to pay when this is all over, or possibly as soon as I open the little bottle in my hand. Which I can’t put off much longer.
By the increasing amount of blood and gore covering our little oasis of a dome, the world was going to hell fast and I’m not only weapon-less, I’m definitely not dressed for the End Of The World. These red desert boots were doing me no favors. And the fact that I’m trying to distract myself from imminent death by thinking about what to wear to an Apocalypse cemented it.
She was right, I really am unprepared.
No point in putting off the inevitable, I take a deep breath and uncap the little bottle and my Muse mists into form before me.
“You little bitch!”
I knew she’d be pissed but I didn’t expect her to smack me across the face.
“Hey! And oww!” I can feel the imprint of her palm on my cheek, it burned. “Knock it off! I’m sorry but Mr. Green-Genes slipped me a bottle and I need your help and it’s only temporary anyway, I’ll release you after you help me with this Apocalypse thing.”
“That’s what they all say,” she mumbles under her breath. I pretend I don’t hear her.
“You didn’t have to be so sneaky, you could have just asked me nicely instead of listening to that Green pain in the ass!”
She’s pouting and I don’t have time for this shit. I don’t know Djinn politics but I do know she has to do what I tell her to do. I think.
“Look, we’ll straighten this out later, I just need your help with the bottles I lost, I mean, were stolen from me. We have to make sure Asmodeus doesn’t get those bottles before we do, you can do it, you’re like magic and stuff, just get those bottles before, uh…”
She not-so-pleasantly holds out her right hand and waves them in front of my face.
“You mean these?” Her glare is enviable, just a little scary to be on the receiving end of it. Again. “These three bottles you only had to ask me for instead of, oh I don’t know, fucking enslaving me? Bitch?”
“I, uh, oh man, yeah, those.”
I suck at saving the world.
I decide I’ll put on a brave front and try to fake it. I was usually pretty good at that.
“Well ok then, we have the bottles and Gene Genie has the ring, yay Team Us, so lets go kill the bad guys and stuff. C’mon, you know what I mean, lets do this already.”
I’m scared and cranky and isn’t she supposed to do what I say instead of looking at me like I lost my marbles?
Ok, valid expression-choice on her part, I am feeling kinda marble-less at the moment.
“Well?” I’m so used to her reading my mind I’ve begun to talk in shorthand.
“What?” She doesn’t sound too happy.
“You know, let’s go kill bad guys and stuff! What’s with you, aren’t you supposed to do what I say?”
She’s doing that one eyebrow raising thing she does so well. The more I talk the higher her brow arches.
Her skin is like porcelain and her eyes an icy kaleidoscope blue anyone could drown in.
Her full perfect lips are just plump enough to know they’re all natural. They always look bloodstained, bite-able.
Now they also look annoyed. She rolls her eyes at my Djinn-ignorance.
“First of all,” she begins, “your little genie in a bottle trick has managed to fuck with my ability to get into your mind, which I would have explained if you’d bothered to ask.”
Fuck. She is royally pissed at me.
“You know dick about the way of the Djinn and even less about Muses.”
Her look could melt the entire Antarctic.
“Do you know what happens when you bottle a Muse like a Djinn? Do you?” Her voice gets colder with each word.
“Um,something not good?” I ask,hoping for a reprieve.
After staring at me for what seems like ten-hundred-years she barks out a laugh.
“Oh you’ll find out Chica, but for now,as much as it pains me to say this, you’re right. We have to get moving, we’ll deal with the details later.”
The wind is still wailing, we have three bottles of Djinn, and we have to get the hell out of the desert.
We have an apocalypse to deal with.
“Well, let’s get going,” I tell her.
She looks at me like I’m insane.
“Bitch,I’m not going anywhere with you dressed like that!”
to be continued…
AUTHORS NOTE: Our Catt has been rescued (for now) from the sexy hyena dominatrix lady by her Muse, but she never seems to get very far, and the apocalypse waits for no one; what a girl to do?
“What do you mean?”
My throat burns, my voice comes out scratchy.
“Unprepared for what? What are you talking about now?”
She continues to stare into the chaos outside ignoring me, although maybe she just can’t hear me shouting over the howling wind outside our protective bubble.
No, that doesn’t make sense, she always knows what I’m thinking, she doesn’t need to hear my voice to know what I’m saying.
“You still haven’t figured it out chica,” she sounds like I let her down as she walks by me.
She seemed to go out of her way to not touch me and she floated, although she made a show out of walking on air , taking small deliberate lady-steps emphasizing the sway of her hips as she placed her hands on the unseen dome protecting us. Her head cocked to the side as she stared west, a pensive look on her flawless face.
“And the Muse gets a prize for stating the obvious,” I can’t hide the fear in my voice but then again I can’t hide anything from her.
And she, of course, can’t hide her preening smile at my capitalization of her “title”, for lack of a better word. I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw her something, she did save my life after all.
“You are learning chica, gotta give you that,” she laughs as she says this but there’s something in her voice I never heard before.
Sadness, perhaps? If I stretch my imagination far enough I might even say there’s a tinge of compassion somewhere in the her voice.
“Do you hear that chica?”
She continues to stare westward, head still cocked to the side as if she’s listening as hard as she can. Like she’s straining to hear whatever it is my human ears can’t hear through the screeching howl of the desert wind.
“It’s happening.” She whispers directly into my mind. “It’s started chica. I’m afraid it’s too late.”
I stand next to her, me in my clunky red desert boots, she in her perfect pink Prada pumps, both of us staring into the sandstorm. All I can see is sand until her delicate hand reaches for mine.
As soon as our flesh meets, I have a front row seat to Hell. Armageddon is ugly and bloody.
“No,” I shake my head and drop her hand as I back away. I don’t want to see it anymore, the Apocalypse looks a lot scarier in person than in a movie.
“Make it stop,” I whisper the plea.
“It is what it is chica, you should know this by now.”
“No. If there wasn’t a way to stop it you wouldn’t have brought me here.”
She arched a perfectly plucked brow at me. “You brought me here chica, remember?”
“Semantics,” I scoffed desperate to convince myself I wasn’t petrified.
She shrugs a shoulder and turns her back on me. As I look out all I can see is sand blowing horizontal with an occasional dismembered body part flying by like a bizzaro-world-tumbleweed except with blood.
Our once transparent protective bubble is taking a beating from the unrelenting sandstorm.
What looks like rusty gears smashes into us, barely stopped by the barrier. I can’t help but flinch at the growing cacophony of unidentifiable sounds crashing around us. Streaks of blood turn our protection ugly death-red.
“Do something!” I shout above the din outside.
“You mean you won’t!”
The look she gives me nearly stops my heart.
“I mean,” she’s so close to me her breath and mine are one. “I can’t.”
There is pure loathing in her eyes where just a moment ago there was sadness.
“Fuck you!” I shove my hands in my pockets to keep from punching her in the face. I’m sure I’d lose but it would feel good for about a second.
Pssst, Kitty-Catt, it’s me kiddo, check out the little pocket inside your front right pocket
The voice is in my head but it’s not my Muse, it sounds like-
Don’t worry Kitten, she can’t hear me. You want her to help you stop this don’t you? Go on, you know what to do
My hands were nonchalantly examining my thankfully baggy pockets and damn if that crazy Snickers-eating Djinn didn’t slip a tiny little bottle in my pocket when I wasn’t looking!
It was really small, like those little lidded bottles they used to use to stash cocaine in back in the day. Allegedly.
It was a crazy idea, if it didn’t work I was fucked but I was fucked no matter what I did.
And besides, it might just work.
C’mon Kit-Cat, times ‘a ticking
I manage to uncap the bottle in my pocket before pulling it out.
She was still ignoring me, staring out at the chaos.
It’s now or never.
“Be thy bound to my service,” I begin as she started to turn toward me. “Be thy bound to my service.”
“NO!!!” She screams so loud my ears literally begin to bleed but I have to say it one more time for it to work.
“Be thy bound to my service.”
As the last word leaves my mouth she disappeared into the tiny bottle in my hand.
I quickly tightened the cap and shoved it back into my pocket for now.
“She is so gonna kill me when this is over,” I said to the now empty dome.
to be continued…