A Tweet story…Your Muse Called, She threatened to quit if you don’t start writing…Right Now!
First things first, recently a fellow tweeter tweeted a tweet…(wait, is that even a thing? Huh, guess so)…anyways, this woman tweeted a meme that caught my attention…
Yep, that’s the one. I tweeted back and soon, a young lady responded. Back and forth, we bantered, creating a delightful story that morphed into something more than I think either of us anticipated. Now, the story, after a bit of editing, is ready to be published, here.
The young lady who co-wrote this story is named Maritza Herschmann from Texas. she is a friend of mine and a follower on Twitter and it all happened over this meme. I was delighted to find she has a youtube channel, too, where she discusses books and how to enjoy them. I’ve watched them and they are really good! You can find them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIo1mHQjkP4zoW3yu7UeSVw. She also can be found at https://twitter.com/HERSCHMANNbooks. I suggest following her as this young lady is going places! I am! And I cannot wait to see what she does next!
So, after much ado, here is our Tweet Story!!
Your muse called… she threatened to quit if you don’t start writing right now.
By Maritza Herschmann and Mary Lynn
The ringing of the phone found my ears as I laid sprawled across my bed, my book open before me, with the rising sun the only light, coming in through the windows.
“Natalia, it’s for you!” Sarah yelled down the hall after a moment.
Sighing, I let my precious book flop closed and reluctantly rolled out of bed. My toes found the soft comfort of my slippers and I slipped them on before heading towards her, sliding my fingers across the baby blue paint of the hallway, my mind slowly departing the other world I had been in only a moment ago.
Sarah dangled the phone from the tips of her fingers, her lips pressed together in a disapproving line. I couldn’t help, but sigh again and lean down to check the number lit up on the screen.
The numbers, all too familiar, flashed before my eyes as I yanked the phone from her and slammed it back down, ending the call. How’d they find me?
“Why’d you answer the phone?” I demanded of her.
Her eyes widened from disinterest to startled.
“Cause that’s what you do when it rings, Nata.”
“No, Sarah, damn it. God! I don’t want them knowing where I am!”
“Why?” Her expression returning to disinterest. Last year, we had both decided to stop pretending we cared about each other anymore. “Who are they?”
“Just stay out of my life!” I hurried back towards the relative privacy of my room. “You don’t know what you just unleashed.” A horror you can’t begin to imagine will find me now.
“Goodness, Nata. Calm down. You’re causing a scene.” Sarah’s green eyes perused lazily over the people around us who were beginning to turn around, their attention drawn by the sound of my keys as they banged hard against my chair each time I stood up to scan the food court, only to plop back down in a constant jumping jack.
“No, Sarah, you don’t know what you’ve done.” I jumped up for the tenth time in less than a minute. “She’s going to find me now, here, again.”
I was going to have to find a new place to hide, a new place to live. Not to mention the cost of changing my number again.
“Again?” Her brows came together in confusion, her straw stuck awkwardly in the corner of her mouth as she slowly sucked her Jamba Juice. “What do you mean again? Nata, who is she? They?”
She was the same person who had been following me around since ninth grade, when I had first laid eyes on the scars around her wrists. Her beauty had captured me that day, along with her range of smiles. And her story, oh, how I loved her sad story.
Suddenly, I saw him. His wicked grin noticeable across the food court as he recognized me and began weaving his way through the crowd towards our little table on the other side of the mall’s food court, his black eyes never wavering.
“She has a brother,” I stated simply, watching him move.
Power, he was the living form of power, so indestructible and deadly. Sinew and muscle, perfectly symmetrical over a towering frame, he stood at least six feet plus. His bronzed skin and obsidian black hair, coupled with his imposing stature, drew the attention of every woman within sight. His chiseled face was hard, as though it were carved from granite and set atop his thick neck, corded with veins and muscles that pulsed with life.
Sarah twisted in her seat to spy what had caught my attention, but she turned back more confused than before. “Nata, you okay?”
Sighing, I looked down at her as I slowly stood, preparing to book it outta there. “When he asks which way I went, say right.”
Her mumbled “OK,” faded quickly as I turned my back to her and wove my way through the tables and chairs, heart hammering hard. I dared not look back, expecting his hand to clamp down on my shoulder at any second.
Sarah’s eyes followed Nata until she could no longer make her out in the holiday crowd.
“Where’d she go?” He demanded, slamming his hands down on the table. He wore a black, leather coat, the kind that bikers wore and thick jeans to hide his muscles and scars, but it was his fierce expression that made her jump.
“Left.” Her voice shook as she trembled before him in the plastic chair, their meals still spread before her.
Nata, I was supposed to say left, right? Wait, right!
“I mean, right.” She silently congratulated herself on her lie.
“I’m not a fool.” He leaned towards her, his face hovering inches from the tip of her nose and the freckles splattered across it. “you’re lying to me. She went left, towards the stores.”
“No one would dare lie to us.” The girl walked calmly towards the warrior and a very nervous Sarah.
With long, black hair, braided back into a thick fishtail braid and a green hoodie that hid both any shape her body had, as well as the story within her, she was gorgeous despite her attempts to disguise it. Creamy olive skin, the kind that tanned perfectly when exposed to any sunlight complimented the dark, emerald green eyes that bore a sadness deep within their depths. Her nose was straight, like the ones models paid thousands of dollars for, not to mention the high cheekbones and the full, cupid’s bow lips that had long ago forgotten how to smile, opening to reveal straight, white teeth as she spoke.
She ignored Sarah, addressing herself only to her brother. “She went left, towards the parking lot and her car. She’s wearing a cream-colored sweater.”
He twisted away from his sister and back towards the frightened Sarah, “Which way did she go, insignificant human?”
She sat there, quaking under their stares, giving Nata as much time as she could, before replying, “… north?”
Growling, he shoved himself off the table and began searching the crowd. He gave his sister a violent gesture to start doing the same in the other direction.
Standing by the fountain full of hopeless wishes, he spotted her creamy sweater and vibrant dark-red hair.
“Shit.” He muttered under his breath as he raced towards the bathroom she had just ducked into.
“Stupid phone,” Nata mumbled as she slipped into one of the stalls in the bathroom, entering 911 into her phone keypad only to dial it wrong for the second time, forcing her to slap it shut before opening it to redial. That’s what she got for listening to Sarah and buying the cheap flip phone instead of the smart phone like she’d wanted.
“Just dial the three freaking numbers.”
Finally, it began to ring and she held it to her ear, silently pleading with whatever force or gods’ others were always turning towards when they were lost or needed help.
“Your call is important to us, please hold for the next available representative.” Come on, really? Did they seriously just put me on hold? Fine, just great. This was freaking terrific.
Hey at least the music wasn’t horrible. Though, it did nothing to soothe her in the slightest bit.
“911, how may I help you?” A cheerful lady’s voice abruptly ended the music.
“Thank goodness!” she accidently yelled into the phone before quickly lowering her voice, “I’m locked in a stall in the bathroom at the mall because I need to escape…” What can I say here? I mean, I can’t exactly say my muse and her crazy brother are after me. “…my ex.”
“And what is the name of your ex?” the woman inquired.
Does she really not believe me?
“Uh, Tom Jones.” Maybe if it’s generic enough, she’ll stop asking question.
A pause, then, “The Tom Jones? I love his music!”
Not exactly the response, I was looking for.
“Hey guys,” She called to someone in the background, “I’ve got Tom Jones’ ex-wife on the phone!”
Panting from the pounding heart in my chest and the rapidly increasing inability to breathe, I wanted nothing more than to just hang up, but instead, a squeaky voice, belonging to what sounded to me like a child, suddenly filled my ear.
“Really? I bet you have a bunch of signed stuff from the marriage.”
“What is wrong with ya’ll?” I demanded, my voice rising, and probably attracting the attention of the nearby stalls. “This IS a 911 call!”
“Sorry, you must have burnt all memories of him in the divorce.”
“Yeah, in a giant bonfire. Now get to the point.”
“Can you send me some?”
“Not the point I meant! Ugh, what is wrong with you people? I am calling you because my ex has a gun—”
“Tom Jones has a gun? I find that hard to believe. He’s the guy who sang What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love, right? Seems to me that a guy who sang about love wouldn’t carry a gun. I mean come on, that song is THE song about love. I remember one time my grandmo—”
“Enough already! I am not the ex-wife of Tom Jones, OK!” No longer caring who heard me anymore.
“You just said—”
“I know what I said, OK! Look, there is a crazy man, with a gun and his sister who are trying to kidnap me!”
“Kidnap you?” the original woman returned to the phone. “Why would they want to kidnap you?”
“They want to make me… um… it’s the truth now or never …write.”
“An ex and a crazy person with a gun want to kidnap you and make you right?”
“Then, wrong department.”
“No, wait!” Ugh, as the music started back up.
Terrified gasps filled the small bathroom as the door swung open and he walked in.
“This is a ladies’ bathroom!” The old woman washing her hands at the sink remarked defiantly.
He glared at me through the now open stall door he had just yanked open, gun leveled in my direction. “Move, NOW!”
“I have 911 on the phone and they are sending the police!”
Ripping the phone from my hand, he tossed it to the old woman.
“Tell them she’s with me.” As he waved his gun towards the door. “Now, move. You’ve got a story to tell and my sister is tired of your shenanigans.”
“Fine, just please, put that thing away.” I pointed nervously at the gun as I slowly inched past him out of the stall.
“Why would I do that?”
“Because…such a traumatic experience might negatively influence my writing.”
He brows crunched together in confusion. “That’s not a thing.”
“Of course it’s a thing. Many authors stop writing their books then they go through a dramatic situation.”
“You’re not most writers.”
“Hey, that’s not fair!”
“It’s not? How about this? If you’re such a great writer, why do I need a gun to get you to sit your butt in the chair to write?”
“He’s got you there.” The old woman scoffed.
“Because my muse left me.”
He reached for me, his hand tightening like a rubber band on my arm.
“She left you? She left you? No! You left her!”
“I got busy! Ow, you’re hurting my arm!”
“I’ll do more than hurt your arm if you keep this up. She’s out there, crying her eyes out because she thinks you don’t care.”
From outside the bathroom came the distinct wailing of a young woman as every eye in the bathroom bore into me.
Chewing my bottom lip nervously, I peered up at him and shrugged my shoulders. “Um, why don’t I go get my muse back.”
The sardonic smirk twisted his face into something almost unrecognizable. “Yeah, why don’t you. And, while you’re at it, try to remember what you signed up for.”
“Yes, Sir.” Dropping my gaze to the beefy hand still clutching my arm, his fingertips leaving bright red marks in my pale skin, I knew he wasn’t about to let go anytime soon.
Just as I had suspected and tugging at my arm, he directed me towards the door, shoving the gun into his pocket. “Let’s go.”
Once outside the bathroom, she joined us, leading us through the crowds, through the mall and out to his truck waiting in the parking lot.
“Girl,”—he shoved me towards the old navy truck—“get in.”
I glanced between him and the door. “Fine, but keep that gun tucked away.”
Something told me he wasn’t about to listen to me, not after everything that had just happened. I crawled into the cab of the truck, her on one side and he on the other. Leaning over, he held the gun to the underside of the dash and the gun jumped from his hand onto a magnet hidden underneath with a loud click. I flinched, not expecting it. I was done. Defeated. Completely at their mercy. Yet, I wasn’t afraid. A strange sort of calm began to wash over me. I was supposed to do this. I knew it. They did, too.
“I’m coming home with you.” She said simply, fidgeting with a pocket knife.
“She’s going home with you.” His voice sterner than hers.
“She’s coming home with me. My muse is coming home with me.”
“And, you’ll start writing again.” She said, folding the knife with a click and shoving her it into the pocket of her green hoodie. “But we have to work through some stuff.”
I gulped. “Of course.”
“Fine, make up. Get all this girly stuff out of the way.” He grunted and opening the door, he jumped out of the truck, slamming it shut behind him before he headed towards the rear.
Suddenly, her hand shot forward and hit the lock on his side, preventing my escape.
“Let’s get one thing straight before he gets back.”
I gulped as she lifted her finger to my face, her dark green eyes narrowing into angry, cold slits.
“You answer to me now.”
“I own you and you WILL write this story, understand?”
I nodded rapidly.
She smiled, a cruel, cold smile that made my skin recede before she unlocked the car door to let him in.
“Girly stuff out of the way?” he asked, throwing himself onto the seat.
“Yes,” she purred, her hand sliding the rest of the way down my face, only to grip my chin roughly.
I nodded, unable to speak. What had I gotten myself into?
“Good. Now, let’s get you both home so you can finish that book. That deadline is going to be met.”
Slipping the key back into the ignition, he cranked the engine over and shifted the truck into gear.
The drive was agony, as if the screams of hell had decided to shut up and curl up in the middle of the car, between the almost visible tension in the air.
Soon, my poor little house appeared around the corner, between two, cartoon-perfect homes of two, very different movie families.
Old Mrs. Johnson waddled down the street, her yippy, white, toy poodle leading the way. I wanted to wave to her, to scream at her to call the cops. Instead, I nodded and offered her a thin smile, which I hoped, would somehow convince her I was all right.
He laughed at my poor smile. “Goodness, you’re doomed.”
Then I was shoved out of the truck and led into my house, wondering whether he was right. I knew he was the second the door creaked open and she headed straight for my little office, off my neat kitchen. I followed after her, wanting more than ever to get this over with, besides, if they wanted me to write, then write I would. I just hoped that what I wrote would suffice, after all, it was her story, their story, every bit of their sordid, tragic, unbelievable story.
She perched herself on the white desk that I had placed in the center of a room encircled by books and patted the laptop.
She smiled at me as I slowly made my way towards it. The surface of the laptop was cool under the tips of my fingers, and opened with a satisfying gasp.
I waited for the screen to light up, an audible intake of breath escaping my lips as the image of the South rim of the Grand Canyon at dusk came into view. I stared at it, wondering if I would ever get to see it.
Her cold words roused me from my stupor and I hurriedly punched in the passcode. A blank document popped open, filling the screen with white, as I slid into the chair.
“The first sentence,” I murmured, my fingers hovering expectantly over the gleaming keys.
“Is not as important you think,” she replied with a wicked grin. God, would those stupid smiles just leave?
Her oration began, as fast as I could type. As she spoke, I realized just how powerful her story, their story, was. All too soon, I found it difficult to see the screen, the tears pooling in my eyes so real they surprised even me. I wanted to wipe them away, but I didn’t want to miss a word of her story. The horror in her words captured me, making me just as much a prisoner as she had been. I saw what she saw, I felt what she felt, I cried her tears until the line between us became blurred beyond comprehension and lost in time.
And when I looked up, she was gone, having faded into the pages and into me. Her story sat before me. Pages and chapters. Words and sentences. Ready to be read, then fixed, then rewritten. And for the first time in a long time, I was excited. I had written someone’s story. And I knew now, more would come.
Later, days or years, hard to tell as a writer, I sat in the same chair, with the same books surrounding me, plus a bunch of new ones, in the same creamy sweater.
“Am I done?” I asked in disbelief, laughing at the absurdity of the whole concept of a “writing process.”
But there was the cursor, blinking after the last few words.
“No,” replied a voice. Turning, I laid my eyes on him, with his mocking eyebrows and stern face. His arms were crossed and the same threatening gun dangled from his fingers.
I smiled, no longer afraid of him. He smiled back at me.
“Now, it’s time for mine.”
Laying the gun beside me, he motioned for me to pick it up. I’d never held a gun before and I hesitated briefly before placing my trembling hand on it. The gun was cold, and very heavy as I turned it over and over in my hands.
“The words you write are as powerful as the gun you now hold in your hands. Get used to it. And to them. For with them you will change the course of history. Never take them lightly. Never scoff at them. Never misuse them.
I stared up at him, absorbing his words with an attentiveness I’d never experienced before. He spoke as one that had seen millennia of death, hate and destruction and had waited for just this moment to reveal it to me. I laid the gun down and began typing, recording every event, every scar, every horrible detail in exquisite description that only one who had experienced it could describe. I no longer cried. My heart stopped cringing, my mind stopped reeling. I was growing stronger with each word he spoke. I was transformed into a battle scarred, capable scribe chosen to chronicle not just their story, but the stories of those who came after them.
Many have since asked how I was able to endure the horror. They nod politely when I tell them, though I know they will never fully understand. They choose not to because they know, if they were to truly believe, they would know the truth.
One day, when they finally grasp it, the world will be forced to admit they knew and they stood by and watched everything burn around them. They will realize what they could have done to save them. But it will be too late. Until then, I write, hoping to reveal the truth before it’s too late. Before it happens again.
And I remembered what he whispered to me before he walked past me into the pages.
“Time to write my story.”
He was the one that came after my muse. He was my new muse, for the stronger, wiser braver writing soul inside me.
“Thank you for this,” I whisper to the now empty room. I knew he wouldn’t answer. Or, perhaps he already had.
And, so I wrote his story to change the world. Though now I write my story to fix the people in it.
Thanks to my muses, I became the writer I am.
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