“Please come to me,” the old man whispered. His words were spoken out into the dark, quiet sitting room. He was seated at his wooden work table; a worn down candle was lit next to him. The dim lighting pushed feebly back against the night that surrounded him. Before him was a mess of papers—half finished lines, empty stanzas, unbalanced sonnets, and scrawls of other accounts. All of them stopped short.
“Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, please…help me.” But there was no answer. The man’s sad eyes stared through the window to his right. There was no moon. No clouds. Not even stars that night. Just empty blackness. He turned again, this time to the tomes on his left. His tomes. Perfect accounts of the greatest tragedies, the most tremendous comedies, and other master works that had changed how the world thought about writing. But tonight was different. Tonight the ink in his quill had seemed to dry up; the paper sat there stagnant, and his muses had abandoned him. The wax from the candle bled down onto the edge of the table, adding to the pattern of waxes already there.
Once, he would have reminded the weary world of the good deed that little candle did, shining out as a beacon against the darkness, but tonight no words came to him. He felt choked, as if his throat had been ripped from his throat by the bear from the theatre the night before. He had not been there. His legs were too weak, and his body was too frail to endure the cold these days. Even now, with his body enrobed in layers of clothing, he could feel the chill air prod at his heart. The very air he breathed felt like knives in his lungs.
He himself, beneath those layers, looked like an infant—too tiny to move his own body. Yet somehow, he had found his way to his desk. But even now he could feel the weight sinking into his shoulders, immobilizing him. The whites of his knuckles pressed against the table as he tried to rise—to breathe a breath of fresh air, and renew the pictures in his mind. He could almost taste the crisp frost of the air. The physician had told him fresh air, even if cold, was good for him. Still, as he tried to rise, he felt his tiny legs shaking beneath him. He was trapped at his desk, lest he wish to shed his only protection from the winter cold. Trapped, by the works he couldn’t finish. Trapped by the dried well of language that once flowed from his immortal hands. That is what they had told him at least: that he would be immortalized.
But tonight he did not feel immortal. He could feel the coiling in his lungs; every heartbeat like a popping balloon. He reached out, as if some entity—some beautiful woman—stood before him. He could almost see her. So perfect, so young…yet so aged and mature. He was so close he could nearly touch her. His arms trembled beneath the weight of his cloths. Three inches…two inches…then his body gave out and he crashed into his wooden table. The candle sputtered out, and he was left in the dark.
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