‘He stumbled down the path he newly laid, loose papers falling from his messy ink-stained notebook. The Author’s heart was nearly beating out of his chest; frantically writing a way out of the woods and trying to hold back the searing pain of the bullet in his back was proving more difficult than he expected. But he still kept going, scribbling page after page after page to keep his path clear. He’d be out of the woods soon enough. He just need to keep going…
After a moment he… threw his notebook to the ground. He started to look around the woods, spinning on the spot, his eyes wide and scanning every detail around him.
He spoke suddenly.
“Who are you?! How are you doing this?! Stop it!”
His voice hurt after his screaming beforehand. The pain in his back increased suddenly and he flinched, clutching his back and hissing in agony.
He screamed. The pain subsided-
“STOP NARRATING ME!!”
“Nobody controls me!! Nobody!! I can write things into being!! I am the one in control!!”
How foolish the Author has become. How little he understands his own power. And how little he knows about how much danger he is currently in if he doesn’t keep moving-
“I don’t care!! Stop narrating me!!… I can write my own way out of this! I don’t need anyone’s help!”
The Author stared at his notebook, for an embarrassingly long time-
“SHUT UP!… Ok, ok.”
“The Author… looks up from his notebook to see the path continuing through the woods. The path weaved around trees… as not to give anything following him the chance to catch up with him!”
This was a foolish thing to write-
“Shut up!… he started to follow the path, safe in the knowledge that he would soon he out of the monster infested woods and back to civilisation!”
… The Author followed the path, unaware of what a stupid mistake he’d made.
“What do you mean?”
In the distance behind him was a hungry roar. The ground began to rumble as one of these ‘monsters’ caught his scent and would now proceed to chase him down on this new, completely obvious path.
He started to run. He ran much faster than before, as if the bullet in his back had completely vanished… but the monster was catching up to him. He started to weave around the trees the path had placed, but the monster merely thundered on, ploughing through the trees, and the weaving only slowed the poor Author down. The monster leaped at him- the Author suddenly stopped running- he headed back, trying to run past the monster in the other direction, thinking he could fool the creature…
The Author lay face first into the ground, his notebook torn and pages scattered around him. The monster had gone, thank goodness, but the Author… The monster’s hand had caught him on the way past, dragging its huge razor sharp claws across his face… shredding the skin around his eyes, and nearly his eyes themselves, to a gruesome and unfortunate result. He had his face in his hands, blood dripping through the gaps in his fingers…
He didn’t have to create the monsters. He could have left them out, made a simple path out of the woods. Not mentioned them at all. But he was greedy with his power, and this is what happens when you get greedy.
“…I couldn’t help it… I write horror for a living… I… I couldn’t help it.”
I step out from the darkness, revealing myself to him finally. I had searched for a raucous cry of betrayal that woke me, and I found him, lying in his own blood, growling his every breath in pain. I pitied him. He was betrayed. All he wanted was cooperation. All he wanted was his ‘characters’ to respect him. But he couldn’t control everything. And only now has he finally realised that…
He sat up and lowered his hand from his face. His eyes were a mess. His left eye was ruined; it was difficult to tell which bloody cut was the lip of his eyelid. His right eye… although he could open it, it stung to feel the air rest on his eyeball-
“STOP IT!! I KNOW HOW IT FEELS!! STOP IT STOP IT!!…”
He lay his hands on the ground suddenly. He started to grab at the air, fumble through the ground… He paused…
“I can’t see.”
It was hard to tell through the trickles of blood, but by his shuddering breath, it was clear he was crying.
“I can’t see…”
“I’m blind… I’m finished. I can’t write anymore. I’ve lost everything that means anything to me!!”
He continued to sob heavily.
Now more than ever before did I pity him. Such a wonderful talent should never go to waste. All he wanted was to express his abilities…
I could help him. You see… I have powers too. Like him, I can control what happens, not by writing, but by speaking. He saw for himself. I was the one who helped him get on his feet when he was shot down, I was the one who walked him out of the cabin, I was the one who got him so far… until he took control and screwed himself over- but anyway, I could help him… if he helped me.
I have this power because I am not human, as he guessed. My kind are born with this power… Our name is unpronounceable and our species is unknown. But I guess the best way to describe our kind is… a parasite. Sounds off-putting, I know, but it is true. A parasite meaning, an organism that can only live by the means of another creature…
The Author’s head raised from his hands. I peaked his interest.
I can give you back your power to bring whatever you want into being. Although you can’t write anymore, you could still narrate! You would become omnipresent, you would know everything that will happen, even without seeing it! You could proudly state what would happen in the next minute, 5 minutes, 5 days, weeks, even 5 years and know you will be correct, for whatever you say will happen will happen! You can get everything back… just let me in.
Thank you, Author.
“The Host took a deep breath in… and out. He stood up, tall and proud, taking in another few breaths… it felt good to feel cold crisp air filling his lungs. He took a long look around him. Through these new eyes… he saw everything. Everything that was going to happen. Everything that will happen. The Host smiled, knowing he would find a new place to start over, new… friends to meet, new places to go, new goals to accomplish.
He turned and walked down the path leading directly out of the woods, leaving the scattered pages of his notebook behind.
JEUSS FUCKIN G CHRIST IM STILL CLEANING AND I SPILLED SOME MARBLE POLISH ON MY COUNTER SO I LAID A PAPER TOWL ON IT TO SOAK IT UP AND THESE PAPER TOWELS HAPPEN TO BE FROM WHEN FINDING DORY WAS BEING ADVERTISED AND I LOOK DOWN AND
the earth beneath your fingernails after a long day, waking up feeling full of light and ready to get up, summer evenings, the press of a friend’s hand into yours, tan lines that pop on your skin, the chill of rainwater as it slides through your hair, feet sticking out of car windows, running around backyards as the sunlight fades
the jarring echo of a microphone when bumped, mowed grass, a newly immaculate room with everything accessible, the fresh smell of rental cars, neat calendars pinned above desks, new school supplies stacked up in your room, monopoly games, sliding into a perfectly made bed at the end of a long day, unpacking in a hotel room, taking yourself out for dinner
throwing your arm around a friend, gaudy beaded bracelets put together by your little cousin, the quick pant of an excited dog, the smell of campfires, paint stuck in the crevices of your hand, taking neat notes for the kid who’s absent, an instagram full of pictures of you and your friends, screaming the lyrics to songs as you ride down the highway
staying after school to help a teacher clean up, biting your tongue to try to stop laughing during class, a sticky kiss from a child, kindergarten art rooms, listening patiently to stories you’ve heard before, staggering around in your mom’s high heels as a kid, walking around town with ice cream and friends, squeezing lemon juice into your hair
having to do a group project by yourself, walking back and forth to calm your excitement, desks cluttered with papers, the sound of quick typing, the rush of relief after walking out of uncomfortable situations, lying to get a reaction out of someone, the sting of tears brought on by anger, the perfect comeback, mascara smeared down your face
protest signs, pinning magazine cut outs to your wall, walking to the front of a room to give a presentation, the click of high heels, tilting your chair back and crossing your arms to show your disapproval, the smell of paint, friendly debates with loud words and wide gestures, losing track of time and blinking tiredly at the clock, perfectly tailored suits left wrinkled on bedroom floors
bulletin boards with inspiring quotes, humming along off-key beneath your breath, bare feet on hot sand, pinterest projects, curling ribbon with scissors, sewing your own clothes, improvised road trips, bubblegum pink lipstick, convincing a friend to buy themself that new outfit, silly nicknames, candy wrappers littered on the floor, compliments from strangers in public restrooms, good morning texts
cute notes left in people’s lockers, talking a friend through their self confidence issues, cleaning your room at two in the morning, dark thoughts that only slip into your mind late at night, the press of a kiss to your forehead, picking out your clothes the night before, convincing a friend to come dance with you, the hand on your shoulder
taking apart pens and examining the individual parts, spilling out emotions that you’ve kept tightly wound inside, the smell of rubber tires on pavement, writing down your thoughts to better understand them, clenched fists, research papers laid out across a table, jumping off a rock wall and letting the cord catch you, polaroid cameras
setting yourself deadlines, slipping candy to a worried friend, puns, stretching after a long day, downing too much coffee so you can stay up to work, drawing tablets, buying Christmas gifts a month in advance, the smell of grass after a rain, sitting in comfortable silence with a good friend, before and after pictures, old family trinkets
petitions passed around classrooms, a friend’s artwork hanging on your wall, the weight of a child on your hip, getting up early to see the sunrise, interior design, vinyl albums, sitting on rooftops with friends, detailed journals from years back stacked in your closet, the warmth of a cat curled up on your lap, sleepy kisses goodnight, the walk up on stage to collect an award
buying friends gifts for no occasion, old photo albums lining bookshelves, waking up knowing that today is not yesterday, holding a bun up with just a pencil, splattered paint on brick walls, doing homework on the way to school, bitten lips rather than angry words, tentative hugs, the smell of vanilla, hair falling in front of your face when you duck your head
dead languages, long winded speeches that change topics multiple times, sweater vests, chalk boards covered with writing, lost glasses that are on top of your head, botanical gardens, finals week, bouncing up and down on the balls on your feet as you rant, unbrushed hair, library fines, the glow of a laptop late at night
packing for college, perfectly winged eyeliner, beakers overflowing with bubbles, schedule overloads, chess games that last until late into the night, the feeling of silk on bare skin, locking your door while working, texting while walking, leaning forwards into discussions with your elbows on the table, rapid-fire conversations, makeup lined up along the sink
community gardens, braiding flowers into a friend’s hair, giggles, playing guitar to an empty room, yellow daisies, sudden anger, reading by candlelight, unexpected hugs, empty forest paths, make believe, whispers that you know no one can hear, understanding nods during rants, lifting someone up and spinning them around, the smell of new paper, forgotten tea that’s turned cool
hanging lightbulbs, thick books where the spine curls inwards, shoulders shaking forwards when you won’t let yourself cry, absent kisses laid on top of heads, lying beside a friend in bed and talking to the ceiling, dessert left at a friend’s door, watching the people below from city windows, little notes from friends kept for years, the key to your childhood diary
Speke Hall, No. 1 Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1870 Medium: Etching and drypoint; printed in black ink on ivory laid paper removed from a book (unrelated pen and brown ink manuscript verso)