's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Excerpts From A Book That Will Never Be Written 1

Submitted by Brendan Cleary


Chauncey put down his wineglass with all the flair of a recovering alcoholic. "Now tell me Mrs. Not-Lauren, have you ever heard the tale of the one with all the ideas and the one with none?" Foster shook her head. "Can't say I have." She lied. She wanted to hear his version of the story. Hadn't the RATT said that the more he talked, the more likely he was to let slip what they were after? "No surprise, it's not one of Dunners more well known fables, and I find it rather childish and blunt personally. But I have added my own ending to the tale that I think significantly improves it. It..." and here he closed his eyes and clasped his hands together, so overwhelmed with pride.

"It is what I suspect she wanted the ending to be." He opened his eyes. "But you know how the age of hypocrisies was. The fact that she got away with as much as she did without getting her writing confiscated like her contemporaries is quite the miracle." "Quite the miracle indeed. Indeed."

He inhaled once, as if preparing himself, and then began. "There once lived a woman who had ideas. Oh, the ideas she had could fill an entire library, and those ideas within were potent enough to spawn and inspire thousands of libraries of their own. If one was to approach her and start a discussion with her, they would find that her mind was a finely packed duffle bag of genius." Chauncey stood up, but Foster couldn't for the life of her remember him sitting. "Imagine I am the one with all the ideas. Approach me." He gestured to Foster. Foster took one step forward. Then another. And another. Once more she took a- "STOP" Chauncey screamed, surprisingly authoritative. He stepped away for every step she had taken. "Don't you understand? None could get close to the ones with all the ideas. For fate had decreed that she would have no platform or venue to share them. And despite her minds attempt to rebel, her body was loyal to the forces that govern this world and the last. She could not approach, nor be approached by anyone, even if she so desperately craved an opportunity to share what her brain couldn't help but produce." With every word, Chauncey's left hand moved and shifted, giving each word it's own individual gesture or twitch that perfectly highlighted and colored that collection of letters. Foster walked back to her starting point, and so Chauncey went back to his. He was sitting now. "Her life was a factory, a factory that couldn't share what it was made to share. Not to be melodramatic, but her life was hell. It was hell.

" Foster was, unsurprisingly, feeling a bit anxious. She glanced down at her timestate on the mind watch RATT had given her. It said it was a quarter past mild discomfort. She was expecting worse. "Now, there was another woman who existed around this same time, who was her inverse. The Hankridge to her Charmby, if those names mean anything to you." They did, of course. They meant more to Foster than Chauncey could possibly imagine.

"This woman spent every day bombarded with offers to be platformed, to have her voice heard. Everyone, no matter their obscurity or popularity, were willing to do whatever they could to help her and her ideas reach the masses. For this woman was giving a blessing on her birth, to have every opportunity to share her ideas with a oh so willing audience."

Outside the party was in full swing. RATT, in the able hands of Sylvester Name Dropper, were trying the same routine on Chaunceys husband. Foster hoped their night was going as smoothly as hers. Because despite the tight feeling in her throat, things were going well.

Chauncey was up. Again, Foster had no memory of him getting up. He approached Foster this time, until they were only a fall apart. "Pretend I am the one with all the opportunities, try to talk to me. Convince me to share with you my thoughts and opinions."

Foster tried, though admittedly not very hard, to get Chauncey to speak. She was unable to.

After minutes of this, Chauncey broke character. "You see! You see! I am not talking! Not because I cannot, but because I have nothing to say!"

Chauncey paced around the room, his thoughts energizing him. "The one with every opportunity had a SECRET CURSE put upon her, by a rival with a DEEP-SEATED GRUDGE against her mother. She could not come up with any ideas. Now, to be fair, many people share this abnormality, but what's so saddening is that she herself was aware of this. She knew nothing she had to say was new or worth saying, so she said nothing."

"Now, the two of them continued their lives unaware of the others presence for years. Trying to work within the constraints of their personal curses as best as they can. Until one day, due to completely change circumstances... they met each."

Chauncey stopped moving. "The one with all the ideas found she could move towards her. The one with all the opportunities found the courage to say something, even if it was just a greeting. And that... was that. They became friends, in some versions more than friends, and they both made up for the others shortcomings with their own personal gift."

He smiled and chuckled bitterly. "That's Dunners ending. But like I said before, I've come up with my own."

He looked around the room cautiously, empty except for the two of them. Foster felt like she was in a secret society with Chauncey, separate from the one she was already in. His face took on a certain vague fear. "In my ending... the two of them see each other... and proceed to scratch and tear at the other with such ferocity that soon, there's nothing left of either of them."

His smile grew wider. This was the end of his tale. He offered no further context or epilogue.

Foster clapped. "Amazing. Truly a splendid new ending." She lied. "When did you come up with this?"

"Last month, during a trip down north, to see those that had stayed behind for the long melt. The brutality me and Krames encountered was... partially inspiring." And with that, Chauncey lost interest in her. And so, that was the end of Fosters encounter with the duke of Milzel. He was intense as RATT had warned her, but with a type of compassion that SHE(THE RATT) had failed to mention.

Foster checked Dunners notebook, even though she knew what she would find. On the page dedicated to Dunners most cherished and promising ideas, in the flawless handwriting of Dunner herself, were words written centuries before expressing an ending that had been created by Chauncey a month ago.

She looked up. Chauncey had already gone, off to socialize with the galas late comers. She had already become a footnote for him. A curiosity of a memory he would only revist with a healthy dose of gin. Foster let out an involuntary shudder, It was worst than any of them could have feared. A simple scrubbing wouldn't get rid of this. Their tactics had to change.