Fiction, Story

The Ink & Quill

Contact Sheet

Part I

The light glared in through the window and casted a dreamlike shadow over the room. It spread over the bottle of ink and the quill drying on the table, the bookshelves stacked to the roof with books, the books scattered on the floor with ink-splatted paper among them. The light made it all glow, as if magical beings danced in their shadows. The woman had left, only to soon come back the next morning.
  In this room, she wrote. Fearlessly and furiously. She felt as if her ending a paragraph or a page would kill the world she had created before her.

  Her husband looked in to the room day mostly, but sometimes night, and stared at his wife’s blood splattered paper. He tried desperately to get a response from her, anything to stop the blood from flowing. Though she never spoke verbally, instead she wrote her thoughts with the feather pen and the ink casted from her own blood. With that, the quill as her voice and the ink as her feelings, she bled onto the paper. Unless her life depended on it, she would not speak. For the world she lived in was only one out of hundreds more.

  One morning, when she stepped into the same room wearing the same clothes she was greeted with a different perception. One of ambiguity. The feelings inside of her dug their way up, and instead of having them poured out on the paper, they were trapped.

     The pen she had painted with, the ink that had run through her veins, and the paper she had bled on; was all gone.
  She turned the room upside down. Ripping books from their shelves. Tearing through their worlds in search for her own. When she found nothing, she searched the house. Rumbling through every room, tearing through bank notes and letters, notebooks and notes. Yet she did not find any of it, not her blood, not her hands, not her soul.

  As minutes became hours, and hours vanished into a day she searched the house like a pup searches for its mother. Turning every room over, one by one, flourishing an impression of a bloodthirsty beast let loose.
  Finally she stumbled hungry, physically torn and mentally torn, into the last room. This room she had not stepped into for years, and neither could she search; not tear through books, nor check every corner, or turn every page. All other rooms had been empty of her blood, but this was clearly not. Besides a roaring fire she saw all of her, all her drained blood spit out onto paper in furious attempts to make sentences from the fabric of thoughts.

  But there was more than just her blood there. In leather chairs, her husband and his mother sat opposite to each other. They spoke quietly to each other with the fire roaring in chorus. Her husband would not view her, but his mother did but without receiving a response.
  Behind her the fire place roared, and casted a hell-coloured silhouette around her. Yet, the woman attentions was not on her but the paper stack next to the fireplace, each furiously filled line by line with the blood of her soul.

  She felt her heart jump up her throat. She tried to walk past them both, to see it all closer, to make sure. But the thought of her blood burning hurt. She felt like the blood within boiled too, perhaps both from the fire within and the fire steps away. For a second, that was her world, that was everything she knew. The small stack of blood-stained paper resting on the table. And next to it, a roaring fire that burnt its heart out while she burnt her’s.

Part II

Her husband and his mother sat silently. His mother waited patiently for her to face her, to see her proudness. And as the fire took its final gasp of air, she did so.
  Her husband’s mother had eyes engulfed in judgement and ill will. Full of disapproval and disappointment. And perhaps worst of all; without a sign of guilt.

  The fire may have suffocated, but her heart had plenty of air to spare, allowing it to spark even higher. Burst through the skies like a volcano erupting and laying destruction on the world below it. Though, she held the amber in, scorching her inside.
  ”Where is the ink, and where are the quill?” she said with neutrality, lacking fear or hate.

  Her husband turned his head from hiding it from an expected roaring fire and matched his mother’s, almost nauseously, confused expression.

  If they replied, she heard none of it. The room was far behind her and only scorched footsteps was left on the floor. She sprinted up the stairs to her husband's office. Grabbed the quill in one hand and the bottle of ink in the other. Then down the stairs and into her room.
There, surrounded by torn books scattered on the floor, she wrote all evening and all night. She bled her heart out as the sun rose and set, over and over again above her desk.

  When she ran out of paper or her blood was taken, she raided the house for more. And if none were to be found, she would write between the lines of the books scattered around her.
  As the winter grew colder and the sun rose lower by each day that passed, books disappeared, revealing the floor beneath it, the bare floor that had been hiding for months.

  Every night, next to her room, she heard the fire roar louder as she bled. And every night her husband would take the ink, and sometimes the quill, to his room and try to kill them. But every morning she would stumble up the stairs. Into his room. Save them and write until she fell asleep. But as those days passed, the contours of her bones became increasingly visible as the window light shone onto her ink and quill, warming it all just enough to start bleeding.
  It was as if all the blood in her veins was drained those days, and then poured onto the paper she wrote on or between the lines of her peers.

  When a book disappeared it felt like a piece of her, a bone, being dismantled. All until there was nothing left but the fractured contours and the ghost of what had once been.

  The stories she had had within her, the feelings, the emotions, that ran through her, filled her up and emptied her, had no where to go, no where to be told. So it burnt her. At first slowly, but soon faster than possibly imaginable. Within days all that she had known, all that others had known of her, was gone. As if a wave had broken the shore, taken the fragile shells and rocks to sea; drowned them and then washed them up again, she boiled in cold. 

  On her stone, nothing of her was said; nothing about the writer she had been, the dreamer she had become, or the human being that had lived with stories buried within, pounding on the walls to be let out. No one had cared to listened to their screams. And now, all that remained was the ashes of her body and mind, they themselves buried in the soil deep down; beneath our shoes, with stories never to be let out, and forever sentenced to scream.
  No soul remained. No feelings or notebook cluttered with tiny characters creating magical beings of might and out of proportion. Not a soul, not a story. Instead, the only words she left behind was the words written for her. ”You will be remembered”, engraved on the rock she rested beneath. But despite its promise, the author never did.

Viktor Aronsson

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Stockholm, Sweden

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