Written Away

She thought his prose was beautiful. And his poetry. Dear God, his poetry!

She didn’t like the admit it, and was more than a little ashamed, but it made her wet.

Some of it was really, really twisted. Those were the ones she liked the most.

But it turned out to be just a horrible, horrible mistake.

At first, she felt full. His words filled her, made her life a dizzying tapestry of meaning. She had felt things she had never felt before, and thought not just new thoughts, but traveled along the labyrinthine paths of new ways of thinking. Very exciting.

He smiled at her, and wrote her more and more each day, and each day she became more enraptured. Before she knew it, she had moved in.

One thing led to another, as they say, and they got married.

But she had started feeling… empty. Something was missing. And she wasn’t seeing as much of him anymore and not writing for her as much. He was writing things and not showing them to her. She knew it.

She really got worried one day when she looked in the mirror and saw something slightly transparent looking back. She shook her head, and the image was gone. Just her staring back, solid, but she had rings around her eyes. Got to start eating right, she told herself.

She had been seeing less and less of her husband, and he had become more and more private, locking himself in his writing room. “I’m sorry, honey,” he’d say, “but it’s like this when I’m writing a novel. I just need my space, that’s all. Novel writing is a very intensive process for me, not like poems or short prose works. Bear with it. It’ll be over before you know it.” And he’d smile knowingly when he said that sentence, for he had said it more than once.

She really freaked out later when she saw that there was something wrong with her skin. What was it? Pale spots? No… more like… an absence of some kind… like nothing there. Strange shapes, almost like letters. She couldn’t focus. It made her think about the calls for some reason. There were calls where she’d say hello, but there was silence for a moment on the other end before the caller hung up. She was almost certain he was cheating on her, or starting to.

Days passed, more marks, more of that woman in the mirror becoming more and more transparent. What day was it? Had she even been to her job recently? Things were getting so confusing. Those marks were all over her skin. Some kind of crawling nothingness all over her.

And then she found the page, must have slipped from the table in his writing room and slid on a cushion of air through the slit at the bottom of the door.

It was a poem. The kind of poem that had won her over in the beginning. As she read it, she couldn’t really understand what she was reading, but it hurt. She felt that absence of herself in herself most keenly, and felt pains on her skin where those marks were.

A chill ran over her, and she knew in her bones what was happening.

He was cheating on her, and worse than that, he was turning her into stories. She was fading away.

It was irrational, but she knew it was true. In a panic, she ran to her room to gather her things to leave, but he was there, standing with many, many sheets of paper, all with his writing on them.

“I’m sorry, honey, that it has to be this way,” he said as he walked toward her. Somehow seeing those pages made her nauseated and weak. They almost vibrated in his hands with some kind of sick, stolen life.

He grabbed her arm, and she tried to get away, but his grip was like cold iron. He led her to the bed.

He had her sit down on it, and the room started spinning. He turned the sheets to face her. “Do you see? I think this is my best work yet.” Words spiraling, black, curved thieves on a floor of hospital white doing a kind of mocking, cruel dance.

Seeing the words made something in her stomach twist. She was going to vomit.

“This work is almost finished.” He turned the pages back toward himself and walked out the door, turned around, and started to close it.

“You aren’t the first, you know. And you won’t be the last. But you should have known in the first place what you were getting into. You should have known. Never marry a writer. He’ll just turn you into stories, and there will be nothing left of you.”

He then smiled at her, closed the door, and when she heard him lock it from the outside, she knew what was going to happen next. He was going to finish the novel.