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General

Damnable manuscripts, they should know all the reasons to remain unnoticed and yet, they spar with all the effrontery only afforded a royal dogma. Why they would try to flaunt their angles unexpectedly, I am fretful to consider, and yet, just now, one of them is saving me, once again, after such a long time. Before now, I refused to retract my indifference. They're mine after all and sadly, I've seen their ruinous hands.


But not today.


Today, I'll allow for a fair share of perseverance needed to unseat my fears for good. It's the least I can do after my promise any way.

Beneath the table, my hands begin to perspire and I squeeze and unclasp repeatedly to refrain from jutting upwards and taking to my heels.

Another breathe Clara. Take. Another. Breather.


Mr Marshall sitting across from me pore over my script, something he should have done before now. I watch as his freckled cheeks would crumple into a look-a-like frown every now and then.


Many will think me stupid to be back after such a long time. A while ago, I could have readily hallowed that school of thought.

Last year, like a light year away from when Edward died leaving me forlorn, it would have been so easy to parade some contextual pride and shut the doors to my castle behind me.


But not today. Today, my promise has to breathe unrestrained. I wouldn't forgive myself if I allowed a moment of hesitation. Not in my wildest...

"Well, well Mrs Middletown," my head snaps upward at the sound of my name and my eyes lock with the bald-headed man with a delicately pointed nose sitting across from me. He continued after a final gaze at my manuscript, "I must say, you write rather electrifying. It's a gripping story, I have to confess, my dear. Tell me, is it a true account?"


I hesitate for a moment before responding in the affirmative. He gives me a serious nod, slump backwards into his chair and bring two fingers to rest on his cheek, supported with an elbow on the armchair. I swallow as his eyes roam my face, as if looking for any trace of falsehood. It seemed to last for a century and I was beginning to despair of a likely refusal. Then, just as I start to consider exiting gracefully, he bolts into a fit of laughter, startling me for the second time.

"We'll take it!" He boomed, a hooting response that slips almost unheard from the colliding rain of amazement.


It's not possible he said that. Surely, my ears are only decieving me. However, his abrupt jerking from his seat to extend a hand dissolves my worry as I allow a hearty laughter for the first time in years.

"Come back tomorrow for a meeting with the rest of your team who'll work with you all the way until your book is published. Congratulations my dear. You're well on your way to being the hottest literary cozy mystery writer of our time."


Still stunned, I open my car door and only after I settle in did the tears run rampantly.

Edward would have been so proud. He would have been.. so.. happy. I imagine the expression on his face as he will shrug his shoulders and declare, "you deserve every joy in the world mama."


Edward... You foolish boy. You had to die and leave me struggling to breath. Oh Edward. You foolish, silly boy.


I recall the day he died like it was only yesterday. My boy had died innocently for a being in the right place at the wrong time. The culprit who got away was only just rallied out a week ago. Two full year after my boy was killed. Justice served its purpose but justice was two years late.


Edward wouldn't have minded. He was a charismatic young fellow who would give his all to see the truth got out. He would smile at me and say, "mama, God hates evil and so do I. Evil is perpetrated by bad people who put themselves at the mercy of Satan and so, I'll be teaching them a lesson and sending them to jail to get their way sorted out. It's the least I can do to appreciate God for bringing me salvation." On that note, he would stick his revolver into his holster and disappear into the night. The last time he said so, I had a eerie feeling about him going out but he'd objected, adamantly pleading for me to let him leave. The police force had their tail set on a guy they had been following for years. They finally nabbed him and Edward was never one to miss out on seeing the truth prevailing.

His eyes had sparked that night, and unknown to me, it would come back with it's fire forever quenched.


I had mourned a whole year for him until I saw a note, more like a poetry, in his drawer, somewhere I could bring myself to open until then. It concluded with telling me to promise never to stop writing.

After a failed attempt at becoming a writer three year earlier, I had lost complete interest in writing again. None of the books I published had sold more than hundred copies.


I had a long gruesome line of "No!", and tossing in the towel had looked more appealing. For a year, Edward had tried colluding me into returning to my craft but I was too afraid. Then even at death, his last thought had been his mama being happy. He had hidden his cancer diagnosis from me and fought quietly on his own. I only got to find out three days after his death when one of the officers brought a letter someone found from the pocket of his uniform the day he died. Thus, my journey began and my pain itself had bled out itself into every line of my manuscript.


Finally it was completed, after an awful year.


It hurt bad, but I never could have imagined a sad story would turn to a testimony.

Starting my car, I find my way out of the building as peace I could not interpret begins to wash over me.

__________

"I'll now invite Mrs. Clara Middletown to the stage. Please a round of applause for our next shining star."

Mr. Mashall's voice boom proudly into the mic and my eyes blink repeatedly as I make my way to the press table. The blur of the moment sends me almost swooping as I can barely imagine the ecstatic feeling pouring into me.

I settle into the seat and smile at the crowd. The rapid process was still so overwhelming for me and most times I can hardly draw my breathe.


Before I knew it, someone from the press asking me how I felt about the whole paparazzi and I clear my throat before speaking into the mic.

"I want to specially thank you all for honouring me today and making it to my book release. I'll forever be grateful to my son, God rest his soul, for he made this book possible. I'm not much of an outspoken person so to summarily respond to all of your likely questions, I have the poem that propelled this book here with me. It was the last thing my son left me and I treasure it a lot. I'll start reading now."


"I'm elated

But to say I am will be too much

I'm resilient 

But to say I can, weighs me down

So I hide

There's so much to see around the edges

and as a grab

so little to say


I'll watch

My eyes, 

they're drinking 

When I hide

and when I sigh

Wasting,

giving only that fakery

The one they want to see


In the dark, it gets so quiet

In the shadows, my head gets busy

There I loiter

Like a mirage

haunted

All the shouts echoing up there

There, where no one acknowledges, but me


A step

Then two, until it's like a thousand

They do what they do


Rain

it's pouring now

Those clouds in the sky, 

just like these lips

Demanding

defying 

jaunty like a dogma


Then something shatters 

they're pouring

Something erupts

They're halting


Suddenly they gape

A voice, not theirs 

it's hooting

I pause, it dies

I speak, it resumes


Mine... it is mine!

A first

a gripping first!


It runs like the ocean 

and it feels great.

It collides in rhythm 

and I sigh at last


They smile

they smile?

Then I open my heart

and I happen

Far away from the dark


The door to tomorrow,

Opens in the track to your heart,

So retrace your steps

And become"


"I really don't know who this poem is for out there but if it could save me and create a miracle, I'm sure it can do the same for you. Thanks a lot."


"Wow, that's a beautiful piece from Mrs. Clara. We will start the signing right now." Mr Mashall's jubilant voice steer me to my feet.


The applause that rings out around me from the audience is almost deafening as I wipe a tear from my cheek. Rising to my feet, I make my way to the signing table and the overwhelming feeling almost sink me in again as I imagine how a bleeding manuscript can make such gripping impact.

June 19, 2020 17:56

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13 comments

Angel {Readsy}
03:34 Apr 28, 2021

I am a nightingale; I read and sing your stories in the flowering garden and all birds, firefly, fairy and flowers are smiling and very thankful to you for writing such an excellent story.

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:39 Jun 26, 2020

This is a beautiful story. So poignant. I loved the descriptions. That poem was amazing too.

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A.J Blink
14:07 Jun 26, 2020

Thanks... It's great you loved it! Want to know a secret? I loved the poem too...😀 Blessings Live love!

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:05 Jun 26, 2020

Ha ha. Of course you did. 😂

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A.J Blink
20:55 Jun 26, 2020

Hehehe

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Kelechi Nwokoma
07:47 Jun 26, 2020

This is so amazing. I love the descriptions and the fact that you put poetry into this. I also love the phrase 'bleeding manuscript.' It's so beautiful. Moreover, I want to tell you bleach was eventually approved after I contacted the reedsy supports team. It would be a wrong on my part if I didn't tell you the good news. Thank you so much for the advice you gave me when I was still down -- you don't know how much that meant to me. Once again, great story and keep up the good work!

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A.J Blink
14:06 Jun 26, 2020

Great! Congrats sugar.. My pleasure honey... It's only the least I can do. I'm sure you would have done the same. Thanks for enjoying my story again... I love the title too.😀😀 Blessings Live love!

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Kelechi Nwokoma
14:39 Jun 26, 2020

You're welcome :) If you can check out my latest story, Silent Betrayer, whenever you're free and give me feedback, I'd really appreciate it.

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22:34 Jun 24, 2020

There is some deep emotion behind this story, and definitely lots going on - at least two layers of story. I suggest using grammar check since it would definitely help with clarity, for instance breathe is the verb, breath is the noun. Cool! Interesting how you worked in the poem and the writing within the story.

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A.J Blink
03:53 Jun 25, 2020

Ooops, that was one big error! Thanks for the comment. Correction noted. Live love

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Batool Hussain
12:18 Jun 21, 2020

Great story! Mind checking my recent story out? Thanks.

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A.J Blink
13:55 Jun 21, 2020

Thanks

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This was great! Keep it up, A.j! Would you mind checking out my story ‘Same Old, Same Old (-Not)’ if you have a chance? If so, thanks! -aERIn

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