Updated: Apr 21
The thing about letters wasn’t just that they required writing, but that they required reading. What has been written must be read.
This seemed like a perfectly logical conclusion and a mundane one on which to ruminate.
But ruminate on it he did, the twitchy, shaking man, his eyes red from lack of sleep and the ink beginning to wear off the ridges in his fingertips from all the writing he wasn’t doing.
Writing was his job. Writing was all he did. Well, writing, speaking, and socializing.
Words, then. Words were his job. But these words—these vile, slimy, diabolical words—he had never been prepared for.
He was a satirist, of course. A good one. A damn good one. He had done his job in keeping the masses inflamed and entertained above and beyond for damn near fifteen years. Until now.
Until his boss, his not-newspaper boss, had demanded more. His job was not to entertain anymore. It was only to inflame, and not in anything of an inspiring way.
He had been ordered to fan the flames of anger, to inspire mobs and vandals and anarchists.
And he could not do it. Not this time. No matter how much he valued his lifestyle or his life, true degradation was not in his nature.
In response, his words—his sanctuary, his passion—were being stolen from him.
He was nothing more than a puppet now.
This had crossed his mind before, naturally, that he had found himself nothing more than a marionette in some gigantic, sinister play.
But debts were debts, and they had to be paid.
He reached the mailbox at last, and the squeak of its opening hinge made his heart sink.
The air of finality did not come when the words were written, no, not at all. It did not even come when the envelope was sealed and addressed and stamped. It came when the envelope entered the mailbox.
From this moment, the words were irreversible. Unless one had a friend in the post office, of course.
He wanted to stand here forever and put off this moment, this point of no return.
But all things must come to an end. This was going to happen one way or another.
And if he played along, if he offered no resistance, perhaps he would be permitted to regain some semblance of control.
Thus, he released his grip on the envelope, and it fell from his hands, down into the deep darkness of the letterbox.
He pitied the one who would slit it open and be the first of many to take in those unfortunate words.
I'm Ellora (she/her), a 22-year-old poet, mystery author, and retail manager from Akron, Ohio. I'm a queer witch and enjoy visiting my Great Lake, collecting rocks, and photography. In addition to poetry, I write Sherlock Holmes novels. They are as yet unpublished but my submitted excerpt is from my fourth of these novels. In my writing process, I endeavor to process my deepest, darkest emotions and relate my experiences to metaphors in the world around me.