26 Stories

26 Stories: He Dies for his Muse

And here it is. The end of a year of writing something, anything, every two weeks. There are layers to some of the works herein; and some are as straightforward as they seem. I can be a complex writer, and I can be as shallow as a Michael Bay movie. It depends on my mood.

In the coming weeks/months/years, I plan to keep working on stuff I put here, and occasionally add something new, but I’m going to do so as the mood directs me. I am also going to work on a few podcast projects, in addition to trying to complete my play, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Board,” a full-length play that merges HOA meetings and literal Hell (so, you know, not much of a stretch). I will also be featuring a number of short works at Company Onstage in November, so look for more information on that.

Thanks to the, I dunno, maybe ten or fifteen or so of you who came along on this journey with me. Hopefully, I can take this and parlay it into something bigger.

He Dies for his Muse
Roof, 25th Floor
(26th floor, counting the basement)

               Jonathan stood at the edge of the building, staring down at the street below. From here, he could see so much of the city, but what really caught his attention was the set of stairs that went from the sidewalk to the basement walk-up where he had lived so many years ago. Where he had toiled with his one and only success—a success that was truly his—under his belt. Where Cali had first come to him, and the world seemed like it had opened up. Opportunity and art was unlimited with her at his side. That had all gone bad. Nothing good, it seemed, came without consequence.

               “Come to watch me die,” he asked. He didn’t need to turn around to know she was there.

               “If that’s what you want, sure.”

               “Don’t you need me?”

               “You know I don’t,” she said.

               “I do,” he said.

               “Disappointed?”

               “It was hard not to think that I was special.”

               “The curse of individuality.”

               “Did you know that would happen? At the show?”

               She walked next to him to stand at the precipice. “I didn’t know exactly what you did, but it seemed like something was up.”

               “I thought….”

               “I don’t blame you,” she interrupted. “Or resent you. I’ve been at this for a very long time. You aren’t the first to think you could stop me.”

               “Has anyone ever gotten close?”

               “Hemmingway almost did. Tough and clever, that one. But in the end,” she shrugged.

               “Guess I’m going the same way.”

               “You don’t have to. You can keep up. Die of old age like the rest of your kind.”

               “I can’t keep allowing this to happen.”

               “That’s always the case,” she sighed, putting a hand on his shoulder. “The truly gifted of you—the ones who give so much to the world—always come to the same conclusion.”

               Jonathan laughed. He looked at her. She was still beautiful, even though he could see the tiny holes honeycombing her otherwise flawless skin.

               “Can I… can you take me? Like all the others?”

               She sighed. “No,” she responded. “It doesn’t work that way.”

               “So, either I can keep going, keep… feeding you. Or I can…” he looked down.

               “Them’s the breaks.”

               “Can I just stop?”

               “You could, I suppose. I’d leave, no hard feelings. You could live comfortably on what you have, and eventually be forgotten. But you won’t.”

               He nodded. “No, I won’t.” He looked back down at the basement stairs.

               She leaned over and kissed him. “If it helps, no matter what you do, I go on. No matter what you do, it changes nothing. How it ends for you? That’s on your terms. Your decision.” She caressed his cheek. “Your choice.”

               “Choice,” he repeated.

               “Can’t stop a hurricane, earthquakes, or volcanoes, no matter what you do.”

               “No,” he said, looking down. “No, I guess you can’t.”

               And then, he allowed himself to fall forward.

There was a moment of freedom. Twenty-six stories of true release, before darkness overtook him at last.

THE END

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