The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Write Drunk, Edit Sober
by Sonora Taylor
Myra began to wonder if the wine would ever kick in. She traced the top of her glass with her fingertips. Chenin Blanc, her preferred libation when she sat down to write.
Lately though, she’d done more drinking than writing. It seemed the inspiration she used to feel after one glass would only come after two, then three. She’d grown so worried about her output that she soon started drinking to calm herself down. But by the time she was calm, her mind was too fuzzy to even think of words, and her arms too heavy to lift her pen.
She sat in a heavy state of calm that evening, one bottle down and another glass poured. She stared at the wine in her glass and twirled her fountain pen in her other hand. The wine vibrated in the glass as her fingers tapped the rim. The ripples stopped. The effect reminded her of her creative juices running dry.
The thick blanket on her mind, tongue, and body began to pull back. She slammed her pen on the table in anger. She felt it crack against the wood.
“Fuck!” she said, though in a slurred voice that made it sound like a purr instead of a curse. She lifted the broken pen. Blue ink dripped from her hand and into her glass. She dropped the pen and picked up her glass. She was about to throw it away when she saw the ink swirling in the wine.
She sat back down, entranced by the swirls in the glass. They didn’t spread and turn the entire beverage dark. They swam and darted like fish.
Myra rested her chin on her hands and watched the swirls. They seemed to be forming a word. Perhaps wine and ink would come together to help her after all. She sat in silence until finally, a message floated in the glass:
Myra furrowed her eyebrows, then looked down at her hand. There was a small drop of blood where her pen had lain. She picked up one piece of the broken pen, then ran it down her palm. She held her hand over the glass of wine.
The red joined the blue and swirled together. Myra sat back and watched as another word formed:
Myra crinkled her nose, then lifted the glass and drank. Her stomach retched, and she coughed and sputtered around her final sips.
The pieces of pen on the table moved back towards one another and fused, a red ring around the crack. Myra held her stomach with one hand and held the pen in the other. She glanced at the empty glass. The stains left behind from her drink spelled one final word:
Myra swallowed bile, then felt herself jerked down to the table. The pen grounded itself against her notebook. Words came to Myra so fast she could barely keep up. She wrote and wrote, the empty glass beside her watching as she poured her life into the page.
Once she’d written two, three, ten pages, her pen stopped. It fell to the desk, and Myra leaned to the side. She grabbed the wastebasket and vomited into it. Her throat burned and tears dribbled down her face.
Soon, her retches were dry. All traces of drunkenness were gone. She thanked whoever was watching out for her that she hadn’t poisoned herself. She turned back to her desk, then let out a cry when she saw the glass. The stains on the side had written one final message:
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Sonora Taylor:
Little Paranoias: Stories
Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?
“Little Paranoias: Stories” features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.