It was a dark and stormy night. Snow shot from the sky, already gathering in large piles. The wind howled like a lone wolf in the darkness. No one in their right mind would be outside on a night like this. In the wind, snowflakes transformed from fluffy cloud pieces to sharp ice daggers. One single figure fought its way through the unforgiving weather. Dressed in thick layers of wool, it moved slowly, working its way
Where was it going?
The figure squinted its eyes, barely visible through scarves wrapped around its head. A light. Far away in the distance, flickering like a dying match. A long way to go yet.
A man or a woman?
She wrapped her clothes tighter around her and battled her way through the storm. Her eyes, peering out through a sliver in her scarves were teary from the wind. The tears froze into small lumps and stuck in her eyelashes. Despite her warm clothes, the wind had seemed to find its way into her bare skin. Her feet started to get numb and toes felt like ten blocks of ice that would never be warm again.
She took a sip of hot coffee.
A tad too dramatic. And it has been done before, about a million times. A lone woman in a snowstorm? No. This story was going nowhere. It only made her want to wrap her own legs in a warmer blanket. She decided to start over.
Once upon a time
Definitely not. She sighed and shifted in her seat. This was a lot harder than she remembered. What on earth was she doing? That annoying man who nonchalantly had told her “writing is just like riding a bike” appeared before her eyes and she decided if she ever saw him again she would punch him in the face. This was the opposite of riding a bike. If anything, it was like learning to ride a bike and then suddenly being thrown into a plane and told to fly it.
Just one scene. If she could just write one scene today, that would be enough. And then one or two scenes tomorrow. Before she knew it, she would be back in the game and writing every day. And even make a little money from it. Yes, after all, all it took was one great story and she could be set for life. Move into a beautiful apartment with a view of the park… Quit the job she hated so intensely… Yes. The writing life would fit her perfectly. She just had to get the writing part down. Okay. Let’s try again.
Start with the character this time. No snowstorm. Just her, and then take it from there. Who is this woman? What does her face look like and what are her deepest regrets in life? What brings her happiness? She forced herself to see the woman again.
The woman inside a room. She is no longer wearing layers upon layers. She is wearing normal clothes: black jeans and a beige turtleneck.
Yes, good. Now look at me. What is your name?
My name is… Isabella?
No, that name is overused lately. Thanks a lot, Twilight.
Okay… How about Sandra?
No, I don’t like it.
Well, what do you want my name to be?
It doesn’t really matter. Just anything you can come up with that sounds right.
Mary? Amanda? Veronica? Clair?
No… I think your name is Eve. Yes, Eve.
Eve rolls her eyes.
Hey, don’t you show attitude to me! It’s not my fault all of the names you came up with are the same as all my old classmates I hated!
Eve’s facial features change and she looks as if she is explaining something incredibly simple to an incredibly stupid person. She does not have to open her mouth to communicate. Her words are: Whatever name is in my head is there because you put it there.
Okay let’s just call that one a Freudian slip and move on. And don’t you dare say you only came up with my old classmates’ names because deep down I wish to write a best-seller and show all my old bullies how fantastic and successful I am.
Eve smiles quickly to herself before getting lost in her own thoughts. She is sitting on a chair in an empty room. She has long, luscious hair reaching down her slender figure. She has a pretty face, but not so pretty that she is not relatable. And she is smart. Smart enough to make readers look up to her and want to be like her. But not too smart so people will find her pretentious. She looks put together on the outside, but something is not right on the inside. She is hiding something. A great pain. Her legs are crossed and she is unconsciously tapping her foot in the air.
Oh. What are you stressed about, Eve? Are you waiting for a phone call? What’s been hurting you? Shall we take a look around the room?
The room is no longer empty. She is sitting on a grey couch, looking out of a window, as if lost in thought. The walls in the room are painted a calm cream colour and the pictures on it reflect the city the room is in. There are large, expensive looking windows on the opposite wall. Through them, a park can be seen with children playing. Instead of lush greens, the trees are naked, looking skeletal and pathetically skinny. In front of Eve and the couch is a carpet with a table, and generic, month-old lifestyle magazines scattered on top, as if someone deliberately tried to make them look thrown on there.
Is she sitting in a waiting room?
Over at the reception desk, a girl is sitting by a computer. She keeps looking down at something, a hidden phone maybe, and every now and then her face will break into a smile.
Who is this girl then?
Reception Girl is sitting and texting at work. Normally she is not allowed to have her phone on her during work hours, but today she gave herself permission. She was up all night, fighting with her long distance boyfriend over the phone. They almost broke up. Today, they are kind and loving to each other. They promised each other to prioritise one another and give it a real shot this time. There has only been one visitor all morning, and she came in one whole hour early to her appointment. Reception Girl looks over at Eve. It does not look like she minds. In fact, it looks like the waiting woman has no idea she is not alone in the room.
What are you thinking about, Eve?
Eve is only half aware there is another person in the room with her.
Something about all of this does not feel… right.
Eve was only half aware there was another person in the room with her.
Yes, better. Reminder to self: change everything to past tense later. It flows much more naturally and feels more comfortable.
Eve had slept badly last night and had nightmares. Visions of dark suits and evil faces stained her sleep. She had once woken up, bathing in her own sweat, absolutely sure she had slept through her alarm and missed the appointment. That had been at 3 a.m. She felt fragile, as if one person bumping into her on the train would shatter her into a thousand pieces. The tragic death of her whole family had
Oh no, no I can’t write this. This is so sad. I’m sorry, Eve.
Eve’s head tilted to one side. Her eyes were teary and red, but her expression said: “It’s okay, it’s not your fault.”
I’m your writer. I made you. Of course it’s my fault.
You didn’t make me. I'm a part of you. Some of your memories will be mine, and some of your fantasies will be reality to me. All you're doing is isolating me and shaping me into my own identity. And now I’m sitting in this waiting room for some reason. Can you tell me what I am waiting for? I’m awfully nervous.
Whatever you are, you are far wiser than I am. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know what you are waiting for. A lawyer maybe? But why would you need a lawyer, Eve?
Eve’s head shot up as she heard footsteps from the very end of the corridor, coming closer. Whoever the source was had a confident, determined stride and was heading right towards the waiting room. On cue, the girl in the reception quickly put away her phone and straightened her back.
A really fancy dentist? A job interview? A private investigator? Some kind of doctor?
The steps stopped for a brief moment and the door swung open. A man dressed in an expensive suit stood before them. He was in his forties, well-groomed and had friendly eyes. His gaze turned to Eve and he smiled politely at her. “Eve?” he said, and his voice was calm and suggested they had never met before. Eve nodded nervously and tried to reciprocate his smile. “We’re ready for you now.” The man stepped aside, holding the door open for her and gestured with his arm for her to go inside before him.
Eve stood up and wiped her hands on her jeans, trying to make it look like she was just dusting them off. She stepped towards the man, nodded and smiled again briefly, and then walked into the corridor. This appointment would soon be over, she told herself. And then, the rest of her life would start. She continued through the corridor towards the only open door, right at the end. Her steps echoed slightly. She braced herself for what was to come as the man closed the door behind her.
Her fingers hovered above the keyboard, refusing to move. What was going to happen next? Her mind was crowded with ideas, but all of them felt just out of reach. She couldn’t stop now. It was a good start. Dramatic. A best-seller in the making. She stood up from her chair and stretched her stiff legs.
Time had flown by faster than she had realised. She needed more coffee, and maybe a quick lunch, and then back to the story, she promised herself. She didn't want to keep Eve waiting for too long.