I opened my eyes, it was dark, I looked toward my phone and pressed the home button. I have a source of light and the screen told me it was almost 3am. Urghhhhhh. Why was I awake?
Then I heard it, the sound of a door clicking. I held my breath. Was it clicking open or closed?
I thought I could hear footsteps but my heartbeat seemed deafeningly loud. I looked around for something that I can use as a weapon. All I could find was the remote control for the tv and a pair of rather smelly socks. I strained my ears, listening for the slightest noise. Nothing. I carefully reached for the door handle and turned it. I stepped through the door as quietly as I could, I turned to look towards the entrance to my home. I had no time to see if anything had been disturbed when a pair of strong hands grabbed me. I felt a sting of pain as what I found out later was a needle penetrated my skin. Darkness followed.
I looked at my watch. Barely any time had passed. I looked around. I was in a small room with no windows. There was a sofa, on which I was lying. I sung my legs around and sat up. My vision blurred for a moment and I felt dizzy. The only other items in the room was a desk and chair and on top of the desk was a PC. It looked new, there was a large screen and a wireless keyboard and mouse. At the end of the desk was a compact printer. I stood up and walked over to the PC. I pressed the power button. The PC powered up quickly, I recalled my own PC at home, a slow working machine that took at least 10 minutes just to power up. This PC was nice. I looked at the screen icons but I didn’t see one that looked like an internet connection. I did, however, see a folder on the desktop with my name on it. I clicked on it. In it was one file titled chapter 1. I clicked it and opened a Word document. It was blank.
The door opened. A woman, in her 40s or 50s, walked into the room. Behind her were two men who looked like they could demolish building without the aid of a demolition ball. They stood either side of the door with their arms folded ~ exaggerating the size of their impressive biceps.
“You’re not my number one fan?” I asked weakly.
“Ah, a reference to Misery by Stephen King” said the woman, then she paused a moment before continuing “I believe that the character in that book was a WRITER, not a dreamer.”
I felt like I had suffered a kick to a sensitive part of me. I had so much wanted to be a writer but I just wasn’t able to find the time.
“Don’t be disheartened” she said in what I think she thought was a soothing voice that managed to make me feel more nervous “I’m here to help you fulfil your dream. Now” she paused dramatically “write”.
She turned and headed towards the door. “Don’t worry about my two friends” she gestured towards the two behemoths “they are here to help you. Get you coffee or food. Just ask and they will get you whatever you need” she said “within reason, of course”.
I looked at my watch, surely it was broken, it had only advanced a few seconds.
“Oh” the woman turned once again as she was about to cross the threshold of the doorway. “This place is located in an area of slow time. Hours here can only be seconds on your watch. Your goal is to finish the first draft of your novel before you wake up”.
I asked the hulks, who I named tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee, but only in my head to make me some coffee. While they were doing this task, I sat at the PC and looked at the blank screen.
After drinking seven cups of coffee and having created a squadron of paper planes which I then managed to crash into the walls, I finally got round to starting the book.
I started typing and it wasn’t long before I was lost in a flurry of words. This was an ideal place for writing, absolutely no distractions and two blokes to make sure that I didn’t leave before I finished. I typed and added notes and typed some more. I had to stop for a moment and sat on the sofa, just to get a grip on a plot development that I wasn’t sure was working. I struggled to figure it out but decided to continue with the story and find a solution later.
As often happens, the story seemed to find its own solution to the problem and did it in such away that both surprised and delighted me. The feeling of relief helped fuel another flurry of writing. Page after page just seemed to flow from my fingers until I finally saw the beginning of the finale. My fingers seemed to speed up as I wrote the last few pages and then I wrote the two words that brought the book to its conclusion; The End…
But it was not the end, not for me anyway. A few moments after typing those words, the door to the room opened once more and the lady stepped in. Alone.
She stepped to the computer and glanced at the text on the screen. I fought the urge to switch the monitor off, to hide my work, but a question was waiting to be asked.
“Who are you?”
She turned and looked at me. I felt as if I was in school and had asked the teacher a question to which the answer was obvious to all except me.
“I” she said and then brought out a document “am your agent”.
I looked at the piece of paper, it was filled with lots of legal terms and looked like a standard agent contract, I looked for the name of my “agent”.
“George Eliot?” I asked.
“That’s my name” she said, with a look on her face that showed she had had this question asked of her many many times before. I decide to refrain from asking the obvious questions.
“But why all this?” I said, gesturing to the room.
“It’s simple really” she said and gave me a look of disappointment that I did not see the answer staring me in the face.
“As your agent, I get 15% of your earnings, and 15% of nothing is?”
I finally saw the light. What this whole venture was for. I took the pen that George was holding out to me and signed my name.
“Thank you” she said. “Take your manuscript with you and hand it in to this publisher”. She handed me a card with an address that wasn’t too far from where I worked. I could deliver it easily enough during my lunchtime. I put the card on the desk and clicked on the print menu and then had a lie down as the printer started on the task of printing the 312 page manuscript. My eyes closed.
An alarm sounded.
I blearily opened my eyes. I was back in my bedroom. “Wow! that was some dream” I thought to myself. I swung my legs out of the bed and walked to the shower. Once I had dried myself off and headed into the kitchen, I looked into the living room. On the coffee table was a manuscript, just over 300 pages I reckoned. And on top of the manuscript was a business card.