It’s late. It has been a long day. I’m not exactly feeling inspired. I find myself sitting in an overstuffed chair, staring at a fireplace that never seems to run out of fuel.
I can smell the books that line the shelves around me. There are infinite worlds here and they are constantly changing. The writing tables are empty now, but they’re not neglected. Admittedly, it has been a while since I visited this creation of mine.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been here when I notice the mist creeping along the floor. I make a small smile. I guess it’s not surprising that he would notice me first.
“All this time, I imagined my muse to be…something else, but you’ve been around longer than most. It might as well be you, wizard,” I say quietly.
I feel him pause somewhere behind me to my left. The air shifts and a slight chill surrounds me despite the fire. There’s suddenly a glass of white wine in my hand. My fingers are cold.
“I know, I left you again,” I add without looking for him.
“You used to fear me,” he says, his deep voice like a haunting lullaby.
“That’s true,” I say then take a sip. The wine is crisp, just a little dry, exactly the kind of white I like.
“You don’t anymore,” he says.
He’s still playing in the shadows. Maybe he thinks I’ll search for him. I won’t. I don’t need to. I say, “Not at all.”
The tiniest laugh comes from him. The sound sends the usual chills through me. He’s confident if a little forlorn. He steps into the edge of my field of vision. There was a time when that would have seemed menacing. Now it just seems coy in an entirely different way from the Genie.
“It may be true that you haven’t been here in a long time, but I’ve been everywhere that you’ve been,” he says.
That’s enough to garner a turn of my head. I realize he’s not wearing his robes and I can’t quite stop the little gasp that results. His black curls shiver against bare shoulders, and his olive skin is cast in flame-and-shadow variance. There are silver runes glowing along his arms, across his chest, and along his stomach until they disappear beneath a pair of black pants. It’s so fitting I’m not even surprised.
“So no brooding this time?” I ask with a smirk.
“Not exactly,” he answers. His eyes finally slide sideways to land on me. He doesn’t match the sentiment.
“Did you come to offer me the moon yet again?”
I don’t know why I’m teasing him. He just looks so serious. He usually does. It shouldn’t be so jarring.
“You keep taking it,” he says with a shrug I know is exaggerated.
“That’s true,” I say again.
I draw my legs up into the chair. I’m barefoot. Of course. I haven’t had much to drink but my head already feels a little fuzzy. My gaze trails from him to the fire.
“The same words on the tower walls run along these shelves,” I say.
Is that me sounding so far away? It’s a thought that bypasses all filters and comes straight across my lips. They have the feel of an epiphany.
The Muse chuckles and says, “That’s true.”
There’s the sly boy I’m used to. Of course I recognize his echo of my own words. The motion of him stretching out his hand inevitably steals my attention from the dancing flames. He looks from me to the fire as silver script extends along the floor from him toward the fireplace, then it scrawls up the mantel. The symbols on his skin glow brighter.
He’s beautiful and mysterious, his midnight curls framing his slender face and the intensity in his silver-green eyes. The light of a full moon shines from him and, suddenly, I can hear whispers as though the books themselves are speaking.
“You wrote a novel since I saw you last,” he says. His eyes slip back to me.
“Another beginning,” I answer with a half-shrug then take a sip of wine.
“A lesson in discipline,” he says and his lips twerk at the corners.
I cock my head to the side and angle toward him so there’s no mistaking that I’m looking at him. I deposit my wine glass onto a table I just decided should be beside me. I reach my chilled, damp fingers toward the floor.
The curl in his lips falls. Now his attention is calculating. Could it be I’ve surprised him?
A thread of script veers away from that which is moving toward the mantel. The tight cursive snakes across the floor in my direction. The words are moving too fast for me to read. They weave through my fingers then twine up my arm. They make it to my shoulder before they start to absorb into my body. It’s my turn to smile.
“Yes it was,” I answer.
One of his eyebrows slowly lifts.
“Allow me to do the honors this time,” I say. “Dear readers, for this prompt I bid you talk to your muse. Literally. Write out dialogue with your muse. Do you want to ask why you have writer’s block? Maybe you want to discuss a certain character who’s misbehaving and doing his/her own thing. Perhaps you just want to chat over a drink at a fictional bar. It’s up to you. Or should I say it’s up to you and your muse. Have fun with it. Happy writing.”
I lift a questioning eyebrow in his direction. How’s that? I don’t need to actually say it.
He lowers his arm and the script flowing toward the fireplace slowly grows faint, then fades. He doesn’t retrieve the cocky smirk either. His eyes glow a pale green. They have me pinned in place. The words flowing from him to me get brighter.
“Not bad,” he says.