Out of the frying pan...
Pencil lay slumped dramatically over his keyboard, limbs splayed awkwardly around his unmoving body. Why was it that every time he worked on a story, a new and more interesting one popped into his mind and destroyed his focus? He’d been working for weeks on the next chapter for Hour of the Witch, and he was still nowhere near done. His brilliant plan of hopping POVs every couple chapters wasn’t helping either.
“Alright, alright, I can do this, this is fine. I’m fine. I can finish this... I can finish the fight!” He often made such references even though more often than not he was the only one to enjoy them. But he figured he was allowed to have a few quirks; he was an artist after all. In the same way a 5 year old finger painter was. He sat up, peeling his face gingerly from the keyboard, and began typing hesitantly. The words just weren’t flowing how they used to. He felt like there was something gnawing at him, something he couldn’t quite define... oh, wait. It was the cat biting him again. He grabbed the little black cat the scruff of his neck and casually tossed him out the window.
“Well played, you sneaky little ninja...” he chuckled, wiping the blood off his arm. Cat’s were just adorable, especially during a homicidal rage.
Even with the cat dislodged from his arm, he still felt like there was something missing... and he knew what it was.
“This would be a lot easier if I had a bloody name... Pencil? What was I smoking? That’s the lamest pen-name ever.” he whined to no one in particular. “I’m not cut out for this! I’m no writer... I’m not even a typist.” He sighed, and left his writing desk behind. Maybe he could work on something else, get his mind off the ideas for Hour of the Witch out of his head... a thought came unbidden to his mind.
Perhaps... a fan-fiction?
Pencil slapped himself hard across the face.
“NO. I won’t let myself sink to that level!” he could never live with himself if he sank to the level of borrowing ideas and characters so blatantly from other writers. I mean, what kind of a sick, depraved, talentless, spineless, arrogant little prick could even begin to consider doing something like that? He looked up at his poster of Christopher Paolini. He looked up at that poster often when he was feeling down; it helped cheer him up... by reminding himself that no matter how inadequate he felt, there were people who were worse off. Yes, he looked at that poster to remind himself that anyone could get published... but also to remind himself that he had standards. When he got published, he wouldn’t just churn out any old garbage, no sir, or his name wasn’t Pencil! Which it wasn’t, actually. He picked up a dart lying on his desk and threw it expertly into the poster, nailing Paolini right between the eyes.
“Do you want to become like that? Do you?” he asked himself. “Of course not. You have dignity... you have self respect.” Well, that was mostly true. Christopher stared back at him blandly, his arrogant smirk seeming to grow larger by the second.
“Stop mocking me!” Pencil screamed, collapsing into a heap on the floor, twitching spasmodically. “No... I’m not a great writer, but damn it, I’m better than... him.” Was that even true though? As of late, he was beginning to doubt his own ability, his skill with crafting words. Did anyone who read his writing actually like it? Or did they only read it because he threatened their families if they didn’t? He couldn’t say. He lay for a long time on the floor. Finally, he came to a decision.
“I’m not cut out to be a writer. I’m just going to give up now.” He felt resigned, but a little better for saying it. He decided to go burn effigies of Stephanie Meyer in a Satanic ritual. That always cheered him up when he was feeling inadequate. He was done writing... forever.
Meanwhile, back in development hell, the gang was still having a little trouble getting along. If by a little trouble one counted attempted murder, verbal abuse, and a severe case of bullying. After a night of craziness, heavy drinking and bar fights however, everyone was feeling a little subdued.
Alyk was sitting in a corner, brooding. He frowned a little more, adjusting his grimace slightly. He placed one hand over half of his face, sighing forlornly. He hunched his shoulders a little more, and then straightened them again. He glowered at no one in particular, his eyes smouldering with angst.
“Hey, not bad! Try covering your face with your gauntlet though.... whoa, that’s awesome. Yeah, that’s really good. I have nothing left to teach you.” Alton grinned, downing what was his fifth Bloody Mary of the morning.
“You really think this will help? With Leena, I mean.” Alyk looked doubtful. He’d been working on a good brooding pose for months, but he still had yet to try it out, to see the fruits of his labour.
“Bro, you have no idea just how right I am about this... you have real potential. Keep up that progress, and you’ll have all the female readers swooning! Hell, you could look like that sad old geezer and still get all the girls.” Alton pointed over to where Janus was sitting, talking animatedly about his past adventures.
“Back in my day, we didn’t have no fancy metaphors or nuthin’... we were lucky if we could get some alliteration every once in a while!” Janus said loudly, banging a fist down on his table.
“No way...seriously?” Zethor said. He and Nathan and Kedra were all sitting around Janus’ feet, eyes wide with shock and awe.
“Not even... a simile?” asked Kedra in a small voice. Janus shook his head proudly.
“Nope. And we got by just fine!”
“But that’s barbaric! Surely at least you had a little Deus Ex Machina... I mean, didn’t they give you guys anything?” demanded Nathan, who had actually forgotten about his martini.
“Listen, sonny, in my day, when a character found himself in a tight spot, nobody was around to help him. And that’s not all; we didn’t even have real editors either! I mean, why do you think they let Tom Bombadil stick around?”
“Wow, you know, I actually did kinda wonder about that...” said Alton musingly, stroking his goatee.
“Yeah, I know right? I mean, he writes the Hobbit and it’s amazing... and then with Lord of the Rings he kind of just threw up on a page and inserted some elfish poetry. Lots of elfish poetry.” Alyk shuddered. They both spat on the ground and hopped in a full circle, counter clockwise, crossing themselves.
“Back in my day, you were lucky to get elfish poetry!” cried Janus, who had overheard their conversation.
“Don’t say that!” hissed Alton. “There’s only one thing you don’t mention in Hell, and that’s—just don’t say it.”
Janus laughed, and hopped up from his chair.
“WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLL......” he began. Alton shook his fist in warning.
“Watch it, old man!”
“WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL......” Janus continued, his voice growing louder.
“I WILL CHOKE YOU BITCH.”
“Alright fine...” sighed Janus. Alton relaxed slowly, returning to his seat.
“WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL I’m old Tom Bombadillo! My coat is blue and my boots are yellow...” Janus began. Nathan, Kedra and Zethor began laughing delightedly, clapping their hands. Alton had turned a shade of red which would have impressed the Lord of Hell himself.
“That’s it; I’m going to kill him!”
Jeremy coughed loudly, interrupting what would soon have turned into a bench clearing brawl. They all turned to him.
“Well, guys, I have some good news and I have some bad news.”
“Spit it out.” Growled Alton, still fuming. Jeremy rubbed the back of his neck, drumming his claws awkwardly on the counter.
“Well, the good news is that you guys are leaving here today...”
“... And the bad news?”
Jeremy took a deep breath, blowing out a puff of smoke as he exhaled.
“You’re stories aren’t being re-written either. I’m sorry guys.”
They all stood in silence for many long moments. Alton was the one who recovered his voice the quickest.
“Well... it looks like we’ve...” he put on a pair of sunglasses, turning his head 45 degrees to the side. “been written off.... yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Alyk smacked him upside the head.
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