The Muse. Short Story.

Happy New Year! (Assuming you celebrate your New Year today!)
This holiday period has been quite stress free, at least for me. There wasn’t nearly as much running around or last minute panics as previous years have seen. All I know is if I can bottle this and sell it, I’ll be a bajillionaire, though I’m fairly certain 50’s housewife’s have a patent on being calm through various things that came from bottles.

In other news, I’ve been playing Skyrim. Yeah, I know. Where have I been the last year. I got it for Christmas and it is quite enjoyable, it’s taken up a bit of time over the past few days, which I won’t be able to do soon enough when college starts up again.

I hope your night is awesome!

On with the show!

—————————————————————————————

The Muse.

She paused in the shadows, looking as the world past by. She was busy, she always was as her job gave her little time to rest, but sometimes she liked to stop for a few brief moments and watch. Humans always fascinated her, they were such complex creatures, but so simple. She was not the strongest of her kind, nor the most intelligent, but to her humans were predictive. Nothing could surprise her any more. That in itself made sense, after all she had seen and been through, but sometimes she wished something would happen, anything that she didn’t see coming. She stepped into the light and continued on her way, a group of drunk teens past by, none looked at her, they couldn’t have seen her if they tried. Some people could, though they were rare and they could only see in fleeting glimpses. Usually humans who could see her kind were driven mad. Or they could see because of the madness, she was never quite clear on that and there were many different opinions, at least when the subject arose. They would cite previous species that could see them and how the knowledge affect them, but they could never come to a satisfying conclusion.

He watched as she moved by the teens, studying her movements. He was wearing a black suit, his hands in his pockets. She ignored him. She didn’t have time for his disturbances. She knew it was her duty to mate with one of her kind and she would, but now was not the time for it. She had not produced any children yet, something that had begun to cause passing comments amongst her kin. She did not have time to raise a child, not properly. It would not end well, this she knew. Not until she had someone reliable and he was most certainly not. She had heard of him before, of his exploits, the children he had fathered. When he showed interest her siblings were excited, she was not. She wanted something more. She needed something more. They laughed at her, told her that she was spending too much time with the lower beings. Maybe they were right, it didn’t matter. She would never be with him. He watched her turn a corner, a portal opened in front of him silently, he stepped through, the portal vanished immediately, leaving no trace of its existence. He would have her eventually. He had never failed before, he would not fail this time.

She paused at a door and after a few seconds she went through it, the wood melting before her. She climbed the stairs and found the bedroom. The person slept, breathing slowly. They would not wake, not while she was present. She reached forward, her fingers long and pointed, the ends impossibly sharp. They slid through the forehead of the dreamer with ease, she sunk them in deep, slowly tendrils of black crept up her fingers, swirling up her arm before crawling over her neck and disappearing into her forehead. She gasped then smiled. It was done. She retracted her fingers slowly, the person before her never stirred. She moved from the side of the sleeper and out of the room. Once on the streets she began her journey again, finding the next person.

He was sitting in front of a computer when she found him. She reached forward and slid her fingers into his skull, using both hands this time. Red swirls reached from her mind and travelled down her arms and into her supplicant, her black eyes glowing softly. When the transfer was complete she removed her fingers and left the room. The man started to type furiously. On her way to her next stop she took a detour through a gallery, her long dress swishing softly against the wooden floor, her footsteps light and silent. She enjoyed seeing her work in its final form. The transfer happened automatically, but she enjoyed doing it physically. It made everything better, clearer. There were many names for her, but she had none. Her kind didn’t use names. She turned a corner and stopped, there before her was her brother. He was disguised, but she could always tell. They talked, their words twisting and crawling over one another, stalking through the air to their target. There was trouble. She was needed. She paused and looked around at the gallery. This was not a visit she was looking forward to. She nodded and he left. She still had work to do here, but when she was done she would need to return. The factions were fighting again.

He was the last person she needed to visit. She reached out and inserted herself. Her eyes widened briefly and for the first time in millennia she felt it. Surprise. The world started to dissolve around her, her fingers firmly stuck inside his head. They couldn’t be removed until it stopped. He was writhing on the tips of her fingers, he was aware of her presence, he was being dragged through countless worlds, soon they would arrive at hers. She didn’t know what would happen to him, didn’t know what was happening to him even now. Never before had anyone moved while she was inside them.  The world solidified while remaining insoluble, as only her world could. It was everything and nothing. She pulled her fingers from his mind, he collapsed to the ground, writhing and gasping, for what she did not know. There was no air here. He stopped convulsing, then slowly stood. He turned and looked at her, then opened his mouth to speak. He said nothing. She realised he could see her. The world began to shake, deep in her mind she heard shrieking, unlike anything she had heard before. She turned, looking for the source. It stopped suddenly. Things were looming out of the nothing, becoming real, everything that had ever been created and destroyed, happening all at once. Another scream and another. Then she saw it. One of her kind, melded into a chair, unable to escape. Behind her a castle appeared, great columns and stairways to nothing, she grabbed him and with a painful jerk, brought them out, away. She couldn’t go back there. Not until she knew what was happening. She let him go and he scrambled away. It didn’t matter. There was no where he could go. Not in this place. This place was new, small. It contained a single meadow, filled with flowers, nearby a waterfall fell from nothing, wound into a river and dropped from the side of the meadow and into eternity. She thought it might be soothing. He would need to be calm. There was much to discuss and very little time. She sighed. Humans lived such pathetically short lives, but this one was important, at least for now.  She shuddered as something hit the barrier she constructed. Something trying to get in. Friend of foe she could not tell, but they would get through soon. Time was shorter than she had hoped. She looked at him and asked him what was possibly the most question she would ever ask. “What are you?” He was curled into a ball, by rights his ears should be bleeding, his brain shattering, his entire body deconstructing itself from the entirety of creation, all this should be happening, but it was not and she needed to know why.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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