When suddenly, in the still of the night…

The Kichen

BRI, WAKE UP.

It wasn’t a loud voice. But it did wake me.

It was a woman’s voice, which sounded like it was coming from somewhere far away, echoing from a dark abyss somewhere. I woke up and immediately looked to the window to check if there was anyone there (we live on the fourth floor, but after you live in a big city some habits die hard). There was no-one there.

IT’S OK, BRI. GET UP AND GO SOMEWHERE QUIET WHERE WE CAN TALK.

I look at The Angry Chef who’s sound asleep. It would be a shame to wake him. I get up, put on my dressing gown and go to the kitchen. I turn on the light, expecting to see Her there (ever since she died, I’ve been seeing her everywhere), but there’s nobody there. I look out onto the balcony, and there’s nobody there either. Not even the a fox in sight. The snow blocking the exit of our garage is pristine and untouched.

At this point, I must tell you, I’m getting pretty annoyed. I value my sleep, and not many people get away with waking me up in the middle of the night and getting me out of bed.

THERE, THERE. NOW WE CAN CATCH UP. DON’T WORRY, I’M NOT GOING TO HURT YOU.

It became obvious that the voice was really coming from the recesses of my brain.

“Who’s there?” I ask, like that idiot who dies before the beginning credits in a bad horror movie.I AM THE ONE WHO KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT.

I swallow hard. “Death?” I ask with trepidation.

NO, SILLY! says the voice, and I can now hear a faint sound, like someone far away is knocking on wood three times. I’M THE STORY.

Well, this is a surprise, I think to myself. I was half expecting the story to sound like Alan Rickman. I guess that’s just my narrating voice which comes to me as quite a relief.

“Well, then,” I say, trying to keep the conversation rolling. “What can I do for you at this time of night?”

The voice sighs and clears its throat. The sounds resonate in my brain. FRANKLY, I COULDN’T HELP BUT NOTICE YOU HAVEN’T PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO ME LATELY.

“That’s not true,” I say, “I think about you all the time. I’m always thinking about what might be best for you, what your future may be. Why would I continue writing if I wasn’t thinking of you?”

The story seems to shift uncomfortably. YOU DO IT FOR YOUR CHARACTERS, The Story continues. THEY ARE ALWAYS AT THE FOREFRONT. YOU ALWAYS WORRY ABOUT BEING KIND TO THEM. YOU FEEL SORRY WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THEM. YOU RACK YOUR BRAIN – DON’T DENY IT! – DESCRIBING THEM AND PUTTING THEM TOGETHER. AND THEN YOU COMPLAIN THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE STORY’S GOING!

Oh, boy.

“I did write an outline, you know?”

OH, PLEASE! shrugs The Story. YOU’RE USING THE OUTLINE AS A CRUTCH!

The Story is becoming louder now. For a moment I’m afraid she might wake The Angry Chef; then I remember this is all in my head and feel rather foolish.

“Look,” I say, tired of beating around the bush, “I’m tired. Did you get me out of bed just to yell at me, or is there an actual point to your rant?”

The Story pipes down a bit. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DON’T FOCUS ON ME HALF AS MUCH AS YOU FOCUS ON YOUR CHARACTERS, The Story whines, I’M JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THEY ARE.

“Of course you are,” I say, massaging my eyes and struggling to stay awake. I stifle a yawn. “Look, I know what you mean about the characters. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I really will spend more time on you over the next few weeks.”

The Story sounds hopeful. YOU MEAN THAT?

“Of course I do,” I say, fighting to stifle another yawn. “You mean a lot to me and I want to make you a great story. Please understand that this is going to take time.”

OK. I UNDERSTAND.

“Do you mind if I go back to sleep now?”

NO, YOU MAY GO BACK TO SLEEP.

“Thank you,” I say with a tired smile. “Good night.”

GOOD NIGHT. SORRY I WOKE YOU.

I make my way to the kitchen door and am just about to turn off the light, when suddenly I remember something.

“Can I ask you something before you go?” I ask, trying to be as nonchalant as I can.

OF COURSE! FIRE AWAY.

“Does my narrating voice really sound like Alan Rickman?”

OH, GEE, LOOK AT THE TIME! The Story says, all of a sudden, I’M SORRY, BUT I REALLY MUST BE OFF. LOOK AT ALL THAT SNOW!

I get the hint and turn off the light.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

 

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