Chapter 1

She stepped into The Writer’s domain and sighed. The Writer was here all right, but it was obvious he hadn’t been doing any real work for quite a while. Bottles littered the floor, almost completely obscuring it. She paused before proceeding forward, looking ahead for places to step that wouldn’t make any noise as she approached him. It wasn’t about stealth – it was about grace, and the air of mystery.

She approached the desk where The Writer had been originally imagined. He was stretched out, reclined in an office chair, a gray fedora covering his face. He was snoring loudly, and the smell of alcohol and tobacco saturated the air here. His wooden desk was covered with paper, stubbed out cigarette butts, and more empty bottles, with one exception: the space directly in front of his old manual typewriter was perfectly clean. No even a speck of dust.

She stood beside him and bent down to bring herself closer to him. She reached out, very gently stroking his left ear. He roused slightly at her touch, but not enough to bring him to consciousness – she could see The Writer’s lips form a light smile. In a soft, sultry voice, she addressed him.

“It’s time to wake up, darling.”

The smile disappeared as The Writer shot up bolt straight in his chair and grabbed the hat off of his head. She smiled, seeing his unruly hair, and apparently he had been smoking a cigarrette under his hat, as one now hung from his mouth. “Oh dear lord,” she thought, “this is what I have to work with?”

He didn’t speak to her – he stared for a moment, then raised an eyebrow. “Yeah? What’s up?” His eyes were bleary and bloodshot.

“Yes, it’s time to get to work.”

The Writer looked at the old manual typewriter, then back at her. New faces rarely showed up here, which made her something special. He had an inkling who she was, but honestly was too afraid to ask at the moment. “What am I supposed to be working on?”

“The future, dear Writer. Maybe some of the past even.”

“Hm. That sounds great and all, but could you be a little more specific? The future is infinite, and the past is incredibly huge.”

“In good time, dear, in good time.” She took a step back, gracefully dodging the bottles, and leaned back against the desk. The Writer finally unlocked his eyes from hers, and took a quick glance at the rest of her. Long raven hair framed a perfect face. She wore a black sleeveless dress made of a material he didn’t quite understand – it was tight, almost gauzy, and while he couldn’t see anything, he could perfectly imagine what lay beneath the fabric. The dress started just above her knees, with a slit up the side to her hip, showing where the top of her hose ended. His eyes lingered for a moment at the chest area of her dress, where the fabric plunged below her breast line. How the fabric remained where it belonged, covering her ample breasts, was a complete mystery to him – it looked impossible. His adam’s apple bobbled just a bit as he tried to keep his composure at what he saw.

She cleared her throat, and his eyes returned to hers. “What was the last thing you wrote?”

“I wrote a couple of blog posts last week. Easy stuff that needed a little eloquence to get His point across. That’s mostly what I do these days.”

“No, I mean what’s the last real thing you wrote? The last time when your words were important? The last time when it all needed to flow?” Her voice mesmerized him, hypnotic in it’s smoothness. He exhaled a deep sigh when she was done.

“About eleven, maybe twelve years. I was working on a novel for Him. A romance novel He had an idea for. Might have made it a quarter of the way in before He gave up. It was just too hard – He just doesn’t have the discipline or the imagination for it.”

“Eleven years? If the opportunity came up to do another work like it, are you up for the challenge?”

His mouth formed into a lopsided grin. “You better believe it. It’s what I live for. I don’t exist for things like blog posts,” he said with a little distaste, “I exist for greater things. I still have the skills for it. If He’s inspired, I can do my job.”

“Good. That’s all I needed to know.” She stood upright, preparing to leave.

“He hasn’t been inspired in a long time now. Too much has happened – He’s a failure now, and you have to know that already. That’s not likely to change for Him. It’s a part of his existence now. He’s embraced it, it’s become Him.”

She leaned forward, and placed her hand on his cheek delicately, caressing it. “Dear Writer, He has it within His power to change that. He’ll just need our help. And I’ll be depending on you to do the bulk of the work that needs to be done to set Him back right again.” Her hand still on his cheek, she leaned forward and kissed his forehead. “So get your,” she looked around for a moment, “domain in order and ready for work. There’s a lot ahead of us.”

She walked towards the door that marked the edge of his domain. “Wait,” he called out, “are you…” his voice trailed off, afraid to say the name.

She reached the door, and half turned to him, her face beaming. “Yes dear, I’m The Muse.” She strode out.

“Well,” The Writer thought to himself, “at least things aren’t going to be boring.”