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Submitted to New Writers Contest

Here it is (behind the read more block) the full text of “Where the Words Come From” which I submitted to the Glimmer Train Press’ New Writers contest.  We’ll see how that goes.  Would be pretty cool if I can at least manage an honorable mention, right?  

Gah, it’s 1am.  Time to get some sleep.  *yawn*

PS:  A comment or like, if you enjoyed this, would seriously make my day/night.  Thanks gang.  -Dee

-1-

Eli sat with his fingertips touching, eyes on the ceiling, desperately repeating the last sentence that he put to paper in a vain attempt to ignore the commotion across the hall. It seemed like every time he sat down to write there was some sort of ruckus going on over there. Loud music, yelling, or a rhythmic pounding on the walls.  At first he assumed the young couple who lived there was getting it on a little too loudly, but now he’d begun thinking they were just inconsiderate assholes. It was as if someone was just standing beside the wall childishly banging on it to get attention.

He couldn’t take it anymore. Flying up out of his seat he stormed out of his apartment. Making a fist he pounded loudly so to be heard above the music. “HEY!” He called out. “Come on man, keep it down in there, some of us are trying to think!” Shockingly, the music turned off.

Eli waited for the door to open, for someone to come out and yell at him, but no one came. Relieved, he retired back to his room to write. This draft had a deadline of 3am and if he didn’t have it to his agent by then, well… he wasn’t sure he’d be able to legitimately call himself a working author anymore.  Hand up and into his shaggy auburn locks he sat down to reread the printed page again.

“God, this is such shit…” Disgusted and exhausted, he drank the last dregs of his overpriced coffee. He hated to admit it, but if he lost his contract with Rambling House these little indulgences were going to be the first things to go.  Following that, his studio loft; that thought made him want to cry.  He had dreamed of a place like this ever since he was a teenager writing in spiral bound notebooks during class & on the bus. Everything he loved in life came from his writing and now that he’d made it, the words seemed to stop inside his brain like broken old gears locked together.  It wasn’t always like this, when he had nothing, the words use to come so easily. Now that he HAD TO write, an impenetrable dam had risen up on the river of his ideas.

“What the hell has happened to me?” He supposed the question was to god, though he hadn’t been inside a church since right before his first book went to press. Life had taken off then. Book signings, fans, more books to be written, blogs, speaking engagements… who had time for church? It wasn’t as though he’d stopped believing in god when he’d become successful.  He was sure that god knew how thankful he was for all the blessings… didn’t he? Perhaps this was god’s way of punishing a writer for getting too full of himself or maybe the words had never come from him in the first place? A red hot anger rose inside his heart as he contemplated himself exposed to the world for the fraud he truly was, all because some silent and sadistic god had chosen to withhold his words.

“Fuck you.” he said quietly, looking up at his ceiling. “If you’re abandoning me now just because I started to enjoy what I worked so hard for, then who needs you!?!” For a moment he sat quietly before the image of himself crossed behind his eyes.  How stupid he must look sitting here among all his discarded drafts, talking to himself and to a man in the sky who wasn’t even listening – if he was even there at all. “Well,” he said picking up his pen to continue editing.  “Not me.”

The lights dimmed and raised and dimmed again before returning to normal. Eli chortled dryly at his own fearful reaction, embarrassed he’d startled at the thought god was reacting to his words. With a sigh he reread his sentence on his note pad and then put aside his pen to type once more. Just as the right words started to flow, the radio across the hall came on again – this time louder than before.

“You have GOT to be kidding me!” Out of the apartment and banging on his neighbors door once more, he was unable to ignore the words speaking happily over a little commercial jingle from inside.

“Are YOU stumped for the right words?” the commercial asked as Eli pounded a second time.

“COME ON! TURN THE DAMN RADIO DOWN.”

“Got a deadline to meet?”

“SERIOUSLY I’M GONNA CALL THE SUPER THIS TIME!” Maybe it was the lack of sleep, the blinding rage that had been growing after weeks of this nonsense that made Eli reached down and jiggled the handle.  The door unlocked. He hesitated for only a moment before cautiously pushing it open a slit and taking a tiny peak inside.

The room was dark except for the streetlights coming in the front, undressed windows. There was no visible furnishings save one… a small table with an old time radio sitting center. It was bulky and rounded, it appeared to be made of wood and its dial was lit up like a headlight across the way. From its large speaker on the front, the commercial continued to blare.

“I can help.” Eli waited for the next line of the commercial to come, but it didn’t. There was only a long pause, the background music continuing to play eerily letting him know that it wasn’t dead air or a mistake. The commercial voice over.  It had ended quite literally right there, as if it had been speaking directly to him. Frightened out of his mind, Eli shut the door fast and backed away, his heart thundering in his ears as all sound from the apartment ended and did not start again.

 

 

-2-

“Eli, sweetie,” She always called him sweetie when the news was bad. “This…” she said stamping out her cigarette. “This just isn’t going to cut it. I mean – have you actually read it?” Abby Benton was one of the best in the business. She was sharp, crude, and she didn’t tolerate fools.  The truth was she made enough money, in a city known for eating men twice her age alive, that she didn’t have to. Her long dark hair swung all around her as she regarded the manuscript again with disgust.

“What do you want from me Abby?” Her dark almond eyes darted to the left and then locked back on him, trying to bore holes straight through his skull. I’m trying my best, I’m…”

“What I want is the writer I found in that hovel of an apartment three years ago. You were living in a god damn box back then, Eli, and even on your worst night and with the shortest deadline you STILL gave me better than this horses shit. If you think I can sell this for you then maybe you’ve had one to many drinks which, by the way, I’m not paying for today… not after this.”

He sighed, crossed his arms and looked away from her tirade. There was no point in trying to argue with her.  Elijah knew the writing was his worst yet. He wouldn’t have even given it over to her if there had been any other choice.

“Find it. Okay?”  She said, this time with a touch more compassion.

“What?” He asked.

“Whatever it was that made you good.” She stood up, snatched her purse and looked towards the door before finishing, “You got twenty-four hours. I don’t think I can keep stalling anymore than that.”

Eli didn’t have to ask what would happen if he didn’t have a sell-able manuscript by the twenty-four hour deadline. He just nodded to himself and savored the last dregs of scotch in his glass. The Lord alone knew when he’d ever be able to taste something so smooth again.

 

 

 

-3-

Wadded up papers littered the floor, a crime scene of ideas shot down before ever living on the glowing white screen. Some had been tossed at the waste paper basket, others hurled in rage at the clock as it persisted in its endless trek towards the hour when his life would officially be over.

Across the floor and back he paced playing ‘what if’ … out loud he read old notes trying to find something, anything that had a flavor and urgency. Did NOTHING burn within him anymore? Had all the words he’d ever been blessed with already exist on a page somewhere – or had he ever been a TRUE writer at all?

That last thought didn’t go away easily.  Before long he found himself scrawling hateful words and accusations at himself.  He made doodles that depicted all the terrible outcomes he knew would follow in the weeks and months to come when destitution were surely be forthcoming. In a quiet moment, he considered that perhaps it wasn’t worth all of this aggravation and stress.  He had been pretty happy in that hell hole of an apartment, hadn’t he? No deadlines, no editors’ red marks splashed like blood across his pristine pages, and no angry Abby with her deadlines and threats of all that he loved hang over his head.  Back then it was just him and the words – and they were good.  He was good.

Of course, there were other calls back then… creditors and friends to whom he owed money. There was also the nights were he’d eaten the last bag of ramen noodles and his belly complained of hunger but there nothing was in the cupboards that would satisfy it.  He’d find himself weeping at 3am because he couldn’t even afford a hamburger off the damn dollar menu. As tears welled up into his eyes, the memory of hunger gnawing the edges of his thoughts, he looked towards the plain white door that lead out into the hallway.

The radio.  He’d had one hell of a night’s sleep after seeing it sit there on the table, sure that it had spoken to him. Was insanity that though – a lack of sleep talking? He told himself that again and again until exhaustion had taken him into the blissful black abyss of sleep. In the morning light it was easy to forget it, laugh off the notion, but here in the dark with only hours to go it wasn’t dismissible.  He would do anything…

 Eli stood up from his chair and had reached the hallway before he’d really thought any better of it. What if the radio HAD spoken to him? What if it could help? Some part of him would have accepted help from Satan himself if he walked into the room in that moment… perhaps the radio was possessed by some ghost or demon…

His laugh shattered the silence of the hallway, when he stopped only the hum of the lights above him remained. Did he expect the radio to invite him in? He stood at the door, waiting, and nothing was happening. Should he knock? Was the door still unlocked at all or had the super realized that he’d left it open when he was last in there? Closing his eyes and rubbing the bridge of his nose he tried to look at it another way; what if the radio was a gift from god? Maybe an angel speaking to him… a muse! Maybe this was god’s way of making it up to him, his way of helping him out of the rut he’d fallen into!

Eli reached for the door handle and turned, fearful of losing his nerve. Opening the door he darted inside and shut the door behind him, hoping no one noticed him entering the apartment illegally.

There it was, the radio, alone on the table.  It rested there so isolated, unnaturally so – as if someone had made the entire room and the people who’d lived there disappear except for this one thing.  The whole scene remained unmolested from the previous night save for the fact that it was not on at the moment. He wondered if the thing had a short in its wires – perhaps that was why it came on and off unbidden by human hands. Crossing the room with arm extended, he cautiously took hold of the power button and turned it gingerly.

A squeal, some static, and then a very authentic sounding disc jockey voice spoke over soft background music in a way that seemed so perfectly natural, except for the words that were uttered.

“Hello and good evening to all our listeners out there and especially to you… Elijah.”

 

 

 

-4-

Eli sat at the table with his arm draped across the back of the booth.  His legs open and one resting on the booth beside him, he was lounging and after the night he’d had, he was sure that he deserved it.  Abby, on the other hand, was silent as she flipped from one page to the next; her eyes locked on the words as if they might run off without being properly digested. Elijah watched her reactions almost as intensely as she read each page, until at long last she shuddered visibly and put down the manuscript. Her arms all covered in goose pimples set his heart racing. She was horrified by what she’d read.  He could see it in her eyes. She was deeply affected by it emotionally and no matter what you thought of the subject matter, emotions that came off the page in that way… well, it sold books.

“I don’t know what you did Eli,” She picked up her cigarette from its resting place and took a drag of it, like a woman desperately trying to recover from an hour between the sheets, before speaking in an exhale of smoke, “but baby, you are DEFINITELY back!”

“Really?” he laughed nervously, a false modesty he couldn’t help but express.

“Oh shit… I mean this stuff is raw. The first person from the point of view of the killer, I mean, who does that? Now a days I read a dozen ‘good guy vampires’ and ‘dark antihero’ stories a week, but you… your guy isn’t apologetic.  He’s a complete narcissist. I hate him and yet I have to know where this is going! I mean, what he makes you feel it’s truly frightening – it’s like…” her eyes look up and to the left ever so slightly, “It’s like the first time I read Lovecraft or… Wells… or…” She blinked rapidly and laughed. Eli laughed with her.

Standing up she gathered the manuscript once more and walked over to kiss him on his cheek softly. “You’re going to make a LOT of money with this one Eli. I’m serious.”

“Thanks Abby.” He said, feeling relieved and relaxed for the first time in months.

“No. Thank YOU. When I hand Roberts this, he’s going to send me somewhere warm and sunny for a vaccay on his dime. I’m sure of it and I owe it all to you.”

Eli shook his head, outwardly dismissing her lavishing of praise but inwardly basking in it.

“Now all you have to do is get started on the sequel.” She waved to him as she walked away from the table and into the crowd by the door. Slowly his face splitting grin faded. Victory here wasn’t a destination he’d come to at long last – finally to be enjoyed; it wasn’t a finish line where all worries he had were finally gone. Instead it was only a brief pause before it all would began again. The avoidance. The distant knowledge that a new date was fast approaching. The attempts at putting words on the page only to find them as pathetic and the ones he’d written all the times before. The growing worry. The veiled threats from Abby, as if he didn’t know the cost of missed a deadline.

Eli pulled his hand through his hair. He could feel everyone in the room looking at him, talking about him. He was a fraud. They could all see it. They weren’t fooled by the hipster glasses, the purposefully clothing in that ‘outcast’ sort of style. He’d crafted and image, an illusion of this sort of author who he always wanted to be, but it only took someone with a desire to know the truth and they’d see right it. The over-price name-brand laptop and writing software, the exotic coffees and … and… all of it was lies!

He scrambled up out of the booth, thoughtlessly throwing a twenty on the table as fast as he could before rushing out of the restaurant and away from the accusing eyes that surrounded him.

 

 

 

 

-5-

“You have to give me another story.” Eli rubbed his hands together as he paced in front of the radio, his words echoing off the empty walls around him.

“Caller, do you have a romantic dedication you’d like for me to read on air?” The DJ’s voice offered.

“Not a love story,” He shook his head as he spoke. “I’m not a romance author. You know what I need.”

“You could win a romantic get-a-way for two to sunny Acapulco!”

“I need another story about him.” Eli said, stopping at the window to look out on the city lights that were just coming up. “They’ll want a sequel.”

“So turn down the lights, bring your lady friend down by the fire, and curl up to the dulcimer tones of -“

“NOT A ROMANCE!” He screamed at the radio.

The radio went silent. Eli’s heart thundered in his ears. Had he offended it? Was it gone? What if it never told him another story?

“I’m sorry.” He whispered, walking closer to the old wooden device, extending a hand fearfully towards it. Tentatively he stroked the dusty cover with just his fingertips, “Look, I’m just under a lot of pressure, you know? You’ve been so good to me. Abby says that…” his voice trailed off. The radio couldn’t have meant her? A romantic getaway… to somewhere sunny… a vaccay?  How had it known about their conversation or how angry he was at her?

“Abby?” He questioned with a tremble in his tone.

The light behind the dial snapped on again and it was as if everything suddenly made sense – a horrible, wretched kind of sense for which he could not forgive himself even considering. “Night times with Darla” The radio jingle played and a female disk jock came on, “That’s right listener. You know what time it is. It’s time to settle down with that special someone and make a connection with them that they’re never going to forget.”

“You… you want… me to…” He had to wonder then about the words he’d written. The killer, the horrible things that he’d done to that couple, was that someone who’d listened to this radio before him? “I can’t.” He all but sobbed the words, less because of how horrible the concept was and more because he was already considering the fact that maybe, if he had to, he could. He would. He couldn’t go back to the life he use to lead. Was there really any other choice if this was the only way to make the words come?

“Don’t turn away from this opportunity to make magic with your loved one … tonight!” Darla’s words echoed in his skull.

“Tonight?” He questioned.

“Love Them Tonight.” The jingle came on and the radio then went into sappy 1980s love ballad.

Eli stumbled backwards. Abby had always given him a hard time. She had no idea what it was like to be the person who had to create under pressure. The way she would just swoop in, all demands and … but could he really kill her for that? He knew her. They were, if only nominally, friends. And yet, if he was successful in writing a second book or third book, there would be other agents. Maybe better ones. Other friends. Other women.

He scoffed at the thought of how she was already putting demands on him for another book all while she planning how best to drink away the profits he made her on some sunny beach.

 “She really is a bitch, isn’t she?”

 

 

 

-6-

Abby stood in front of the mirror. She glossed her lips and ran a brush through her hair. Her shirt was low cut, but with any luck it wasn’t too over the top. Elijah was an odd bird. He really had no idea the amount of talent he had and he could be quite oblivious to the world around him and to people in particular. It was something of a miracle that he’d actually figured things out at all.

She startled at the loud knocking. “JUST A MINUTE!” She called out while putting in her second earring. Catching a glance of herself in the mirror, satisfied at her appearance, she left her bedroom behind. This was it, the moment that all her risk taking and planning had been leading up to and she couldn’t be happier.

“I was beginning to think…” she spoke as she opened the door but stopped short as she realized what Elijah held in his hand. A kitchen knife, crusted in something black… ‘A sick joke?’ she told herself. She laughed nervously. “Very funny Eli. Come on in.” She stepped back and allowed him to enter, closing the door behind him. “You don’t need to drive home the point anymore. Seriously, the book is good – so good in fact, that I’ve got some amazing news.”

“I have some news too.” Eli said softly. His tone, the stiff way he moved, how he hadn’t yet stopped staring at her – it all set her on edge. Had he blinked at all since entering?

“Eli,” she said, moving towards her dining room table to retrieve her surprise – sure that it would stop this stupid and unsettling joke in its tracks. “You’re creeping me out. Knock it off and take a look at this okay?” She turned away and picked up an envelope that read ‘US Air.’ “It’s just like I sai-” Her words cut off as she found herself seized by the shoulder, hard, and spun around.  The knife’s point too close to her body to be anything but a real threat.

“I like you Abby.” He whispered.

Clearly, Eli wasn’t playing a game.

“Elijah… just take it easy.” She tried to soothe him. She wasn’t sure what had him so upset, but it seemed best not to startle or demand answers of a man with a knife held so near to her face.

“I’m a nice man.” He spoke as if he was desperate for her to believe that it was true.

“Of course you are…” She attempted to reassure him, all the while trying to carefully back out of his reach.

“I just can’t live that way anymore.”  He was trembling, as if he were scared. “I won’t go back to being poor.”

Poor?  Abby felt relief hit her like a wave.  He was feeling insecure about his latest manuscript?  That was certifiable.  She’d known from the moment she’d come across the idea that it was a winner, but it was Elijah’s genius which made it seem so horrifyingly real.  He had nothing to worry about!  Abby let out a chuckle tinged with no small amount of nervous anxiety. “You’re… you’re not going to be poor. You’re great! Didn’t I tell you that you are?”

“It wasn’t me.” He said softly. “It’s not my story.”

Her eyes looked down and away from his, locking on the knife while she spoke. “What do you mean it’s not yours?” Was he angry at her for what she’d done?  Was that why he’d come here with a knife in hand?

“It wants you now Abby.”

“It?” she said, her brow creasing as she shook her head ever so slightly from side to side in confusion.

“The radio.”

She laughed nervously. “You think…”

“I have to do it Abby,” He cut her off.   “Or it won’t give me another story – and I WON’T let that happen. I can’t!”

He flicked his wrist and she felt the pop and splitting of her skin where her neck & shoulder meet. At first there was just the knowledge of the cut, but oddly no sensation after the immediate sharp pain. Perhaps the wound wasn’t bad? Her hand flew up to cover it as she scrambled away from Elijah, almost falling over the coffee table as she went backwards.

“It was me Elijah!” She confessed in a desperate screech. He just shook his head and followed her slowly across the room, her red blood dripping off the knife. “The radio…” she continued to explain, gripping her wound that was bleeding far worse than she feared it would. “I paid them to put it into their apartment. Asked them to turn it up so loud that you’d over-hear the stupid thing playing another writer’s pitch. I thought if I could get your confidence up by giving you something from the slush pile, that maybe you’d snap out of it.”

“You’re lying.” He seethed through clenched teeth.

Abby began to cry as she entered her bedroom. The third story window was her only means of escape. “No. I wish that I was. I shouldn’t have done it. I thought that you’d write the book and you’d go on to be a success. I thought you were coming over tonight because you knew, because you finally realized how much I cared about you all along.”

“SHUT UP!”

“You can call your neighbors!” Abby smiled, hoping he’d wake up and realize how silly this was.  His neighbors knew everything, if he’d just snap out of this and call them, then he’d see.  Eli shook his head slowly, his face a mask of frustration and confusion. She prayed she was getting through to him & pressed him further. “Ask them. Ask them and they’ll tell you. Just let me call an ambulance and we-“

Eli cried out rushing forward, the blade barely missed her body as she tumbled hard to the floor.  Abby screamed, “NO!” just as the door to her apartment exploded inward. The chaos of police officers commanding Eli to drop his weapon.  For some unexplainable reason, he turned his aggression onto them & the screams were drown out in a hail of gunfire. 
Still holding her wound with one hand, Abby curled into a fetal position and clenched her eyes shut, praying for nothing more than survival and for it all to come to an end.

Then, blessedly, it did. In a blur she was rushed out of her home, down to an ambulance and off to a hospital – dropping the two airline tickets to Acapulco onto the blood stained rug as she went.

 

 

-7-

Abby placed the last of her books into a box marked ‘living room.’ While the physical wound Elijah had given her was well on its way to being healed, she still couldn’t sleep in the apartment without nightmares about him. Between that and being fired from her Agency, it all seemed to indicate that maybe the time had come for her to move on and into business for herself. A knock at the door stopped her from going out to the kitchen for a refill on coffee. Looking through the peephole she spotted Officer Ramsey, one of the cops who had taken her statement at the hospital, holding a box. She smiled and unfastened the latches.

“I didn’t expect to see you again.”

“Well, I told you in the hospital that I’d come by once we had things all wrapped up and…”

“It’s done then? It’s over?”

He shrugged. “As much as it can be. I know you’ve got a long road ahead of you. How are you holding up?”

“I just…” There was too much to say.  Things that someone shouldn’t say to a man they barely knew. She settled on, “I can’t stay here.”

Ramsey nodded. “I can understand that.”

“Can I… would it be okay, now that things are wrapped up, that I ask a few questions?” She looked back towards the kitchen, remembering suddenly that she had wanted to refresh her cup of coffee. “I can offer you a cup of coffee, if you like?”

“Sure.” He said. “To both the coffee, and the questions.”

Abby pulled down a second mug and poured two cups of coffee. “How did you know?”

“About him being here?”

Abby nodded in response, picking up her cup and taking a sip.

“Parents of the young man who lived in the apartment across from his… they called us to do a wellness check on their son. Said they hadn’t heard from him and they were concerned. We got the super to open the door and that’s when we found them. I’ll spare you the details.  It’s best you remember those two how you knew them.”

“Thank you.”

“Anyway, one of my guys found some blood on his door handle. It gave us reason to worry that the person living in there might have been injured too. At first I was sure we’d find him inside, dead just like the others. The place was trashed, papers all over the place and blood there too. We’d learn later, after all the tests, it belonged to his neighbors. The papers on the floor were apparently notes about a book he’d been working on?”

She fiddled with the half-empty cigarette lighter that had been laying on the counter top and replied simply. “Yea.”

“Well, the bloody clothing… the confession after confession to the murder of his neighbors on all those discarded notes and what seemed to be notes about harming you… it was more than enough to send some black and whites over to your place. I’m just glad they made it in time.” He took a drink of his coffee.

“Me too.” She watched him as he took deep drink from his cup. “Did you ever find out what made him snap on his neighbors?”

The officer shook his head as he lowered the cup. “No. Sadly there’s never a good reason for why someone does something like this… near as we can tell from his notes though, he thought they played their music too loud. Speaking of which…” He pointed back to the box which he’d carried in with him. “Your radio, it’s been released from evidence.”

“I feel like I caused this whole thing. I don’t even know that I want it back – it’s not like it was important to me.”

“Look,” His eyes were sympathetic without being pitting.  Abby appreciated that.  “I don’t think what you did was the most ethical thing in the world… but this guy was unstable. The truth was he probably would have snapped on someone eventually. You, nor this radio, made him a monster by trying to slip him some stolen story ideas. He did that all on his own. Besides, don’t you think you have enough to work through without taking the blame for chose to do?”

Abby sighed. “You’re right.” She looked down into her cup. “Just the same… would you put it on the curb for me?”

Officer Ramsey smiled in a fatherly sort of way, his soft round face seeming to radiate pity and reassurance. “Sure thing, hon.” Picking up the box he turned towards the door again, “Thanks for the coffee. Call me if you need anything else, okay?”

“Sure thing.”

With that, Ramsey left. Abby walked over to the window and watched as he paused in the rain beside the dumpster in her alley. There he pulled an old fashioned wooden radio out of his cardboard box and tossed it into the dumpster.

“What the…” Abby’s jaw went slack as she waited to see if there was something else Officer Ramsey was going to pull out of the box. When it was clear there was nothing else, she went racing down the stairs and outside into the storm. Screaming after the tail lights of Ramsey’s car, “WAIT! WAIT! OFFICER RAMSEY!” she nearly collapsed from lack of breath & relief as he hit his breaks.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong?” He asked as he climbed out of squad car.

“That radio!” She called out over the storm. Ramsey watched as she walked over to the dumpster and pulled out the antique radio. “Where did you find this?”

“It was the only one we found in the apartment.” Ramsey furrowed his brow. “Are you saying it’s not yours?”  The man looked a touch unsettled.

“Mine was a silver cassette player – got it at a resale shop for the kids because they didn’t have anything that could play cassettes. Like I said before, the story pitch was from the 80s – the moron sent it in on cassette tape.”

Ramsey shook his head no. “It’s not like his story in those notes could be true.  Our tech guy says that old thing was modified to play MP3s, so we just assumed…” his voice trailed off. 

“What?”

Ramsey looked torn for a moment, as if he might come forward to take the radio back into evidence or perhaps just run from it. Maybe he couldn’t be sure which was the right course of action. Abby was suffering from the same indecision.  She took in every detail of the radio.  It seemed to be a perfect match to the one Eli had described in the manuscript she’d received shortly before his mental break. Finally Ramsey seemed to settle on saying, “I think you should get rid of that radio Miss.”

“But you said…”

“No good can come of it now.  He’s dead.  It’s over.  You were right.  We should just get rid of it, okay?”

The two of them stood there, in the rain staring at each other. Both were wondering if the other was foolish enough to believe something other than Elijah had been a mentally damaged individual, one who was told a horror story at the wrong moment in his life.  And yet, both seemed unable to let go of the possibility that maybe, just maybe, something darker had occurred in that apartment the night that young couple had been killed.

Were there darker things in the world; things darker than the inclinations of a man who was sick and unsatisfied with the things he couldn’t possess, or was that evil enough? Had Elijah’s words and actions been stolen from another author, one whose work should never have been condemned for all eternity to the slush pile?  Or had something unholy played a part in all their lives, taking advantage of the fears which Eli was running so desperately from?

In the case of those poor dead kids, Officer Ramsey was right, the truth didn’t matter. Demons speaking through a radio or acting through the hands of a man – they were still dead and there was no one left alive to pay a price for that. All they could do now was decide what they were willing to believe and what they could live with themselves having done (or not done) about it.

Abby nodded to Ramsey and took the radio back to the trash. There she gently placed it among all the other discarded & forgotten things and backed away. No use in taking chances that she might anger something far more powerful than herself. In the end, through Eli, she’d seen enough demons for this and the next dozen lifetimes to come.

2 comments on “Submitted to New Writers Contest

  1. Had to read through this again. I enjoyed this and wish the best of luck. I’m double submitting to the one that has the week grace, and the one for this month (Family Matters). Fun stuff. Happy Writing to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully they’ll like it too though I’m not expecting huge response right off… I seriously wrote this on the days you see it posted and had zero edit time. Talk about working a deadline. 😉 It would be fun to receive an honorable mention though so here’s hoping!

      Best of luck to you as well – hope to see a lot more of you and your stuff as time goes on. 😀

      Like

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