I sat down at my computer, coffee on the table beside me and an array of notes neatly stacked past the mouse. As I started to open up some documents, I pushed jagged strands of hair off of my forehead, making a mental note to get a haircut soon. With a practiced finger I pushed my wire-rimmed glasses farther up the bridge of my nose and focused on the words on the screen. Scrolling down the page, I found where the section of the writing ended and began typing, my mind circling as my fingers slowly tapped the keys. I tried to think, writing a sentence before chasing the words away with a series of repeated backspace buttons. My eyes kept drifting and I used considerable effort to tear my glazed stare from the nature outside my window. Amidst my concentrated state, I could hear nothing except the scattered clicking of the computer until suddenly, the front door slammed. I paused, my fingers frozen and slightly quivering as I felt the blood drain from my face. I pushed back my rolling chair and slowly stood, twisting my head like an owl as I surveyed my surroundings. The lights flickered, pulsing with varying brightness until every light winked out. A shiver tore through me and the hair on my arms rose as I left the chair and crept towards the wall closest to the doorway. Peeking from my office door into the front entryway, I started praying for a burglar, a murderer, even my ex-girlfriend, just as long as it wasn’t……..

I cursed. 

Standing in front of the door at the end of the hallway was a cubical creature, no more than three feet high. In the dim light filtering through the windows, its milky hide seemed a sickly yellow though I was well aware of how nauseating its regular complexion could be. The box of a creature stood on two thin legs and had long, deceivingly weak arms that grazed the floor. Although the front of the creature was masked by an overlaying shadow, I knew that I was staring at a blank space with a ragged hole stretched across to create a devious grin upon what could only be called its face. As soon as I saw it I jerked away from the doorway, my heart pounding like an entire drum line. I heard the slow slap of its feet on wooden floors and I leaped to the window. Straining on the panes I wasn’t surprised to find it stuck shut, but disappointment filled me all the same. The realization that I was trapped set in and my heart stopped. Eyes wide, I quickly removed my glasses, wiping the sweat accumulating on my brow and the fog building up on the glass lens. Donning my glasses again, I suddenly came up with a desperate plan. Silence could possibly save me long enough for a dash towards the front door. Hearing the creature draw nearer to the office door, I carefully crept towards the side of the room again. My hands pressed carefully against the wall for the most stability until my fingers made contact with a cold, thin object. Jerking my hand away, I realized too late it was only the broom I had left propped against the wall last night. I watched, my eyes widening in horror as the broom seemed to fall in slow motion. It clattered against the ground and the sound echoed through the room. Leaping to action, I grabbed the broom and tried to slam the office door shut. Before it could close all the way, two groping arms reached through, lengthening as they tried to reach me. I fell back against a small bookshelf just in time to avoid their touch. Racing to the desk I yanked a letter opener from its pedestal. Dancing on my toes, I sliced through the limbs, putty-like chunks flying across the room and dissolving into the floor. Swinging like a madman I started to grow in confidence and pressed my way closer to the nearly closed door. I shoved my shoulder against the worn wood and watched with pleasure as the last pieces of extended arm were cut off upon impact. Muffled by the closed door, I heard a high-pitched whimper and the patter of scrambling feet running farther away. Sinking to the floor, I started to laugh in relief. As a second, more sinister laugh joined mine, I felt my heart sink from behind the protection of my rib cage and clang against the pit of my stomach. Opening my eyes I found myself staring straight into the gaping smile of the monster. My breathing hitched as the creature reached forward with a four fingered hand and touched my cheek. A burning pain exploded in my head and I screamed, my deep chords echoing around the contained space. I could feel the heat spread across my face and half expected to see the glow of flames dancing before my eyes through the fiery mark. Stumbling to my feet I ran towards the desk again. Grabbing my coffee I chugged half the cup as the little monster plodded towards me, as if he had all the time in the world. 

I yelled at the approaching creature before dumping the rest of the cup’s contents on it, “I have caffeine! I have energy, you can’t touch me!” 

Although spatters of the creature’s clay-like skin started to boil from the liquid heat, its crooked smile only stretched farther. Fear clawed at my insides when my eyes lighted on my stack of notes. I grabbed the pile, papers flying off from my effort. Triumphantly I thrust the stack in its face, glasses askew and my hair raised up in spurts of insanity.

“Ha!” I yelled, “These are all my ideas and inspiration, you cannot stop me!!!” 

The hands reached forward again and the little fingers started to tap my clenched palms. The burning became too much to bear as I dropped the papers, cradling my hands to my chest. The monster snatched the swirling white pages as they trickled down and as it turned towards me, stuffed them into its mouth. A strangled cry escaped my lips as its teeth became grinding gears, the only recollection of my genius falling to the floor in dust-sized scraps of paper.  I stood helpless as the creature approached me, slapping its palm on my open skinned calf. I screamed, the pain ripping through my body as I fell to one knee. I clenched my teeth tight, choking on the whimpers trying to escape my lips and shut my eyes tight. I could hear the gooey cackle of the monster grow louder as it leered over me. I waited for the final blow when a blinding light flashed through the room. I cracked open my eyes, wincing slightly from the glare. Despite the pain, all thoughts of adjusting my eyes slowly to the light vanished as I realized what floated above my head. With my eyes glued to the little glowing lightbulb above me, I ignored the creature who had backed away, circling with caution. I adjusted my glasses and reached for the bulb. As my fingertips made contact with the hot glass, the lightbulb began to lengthen and fall into my hand. The brightness increased and I felt a new strength course through me. I rose, the lightbulb now a full length sword illuminating the entire room. The weapon crackled with energy as I turned to face the monster. It hissed, backing away. But this time, I was not trapped in the room with it. It was trapped in a room with me. The creature snarled and lunged forward, limbs expanding, groping for any chance to deliver another burn. I swung the sword, sparring violently and pressing the creature closer and closer to the corner of the room. The monster seemed to shrink in the light of the weapon and each cut brought lumps of its chalky being crumbling to the floor. With one final blow I stabbed the sword through the creature and watched as it started to dissolve. 

Amidst the shrieking, sizzling and melting, I whispered between heaving breaths, “Take that, Writer’s Block.”

As the last of the terrible being faded away and the lights finally flickered back on, I let out a sigh and collapsed into my abandoned rolling chair. I pulled myself once again to the computer and propped the still glowing sword against the desk. I popped my wrists with a quick roll of the hand and set to typing, my fingers now flying across the keyboard.

“Perhaps,” I muttered to myself. “Our hero will win the battle, with a sword.”

June 17, 2020 19:33

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Shriya Sreeju
19:29 Sep 09, 2020

This is so well written and so creative!


Taryn Holmes
21:35 Sep 09, 2020

Thank you! I think this is actually my favorite short story I've written :)


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