TITLE: "Bis" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
FEEDBACK: Would be delightful!
DISTRIB: List archives, or just ask.
SPOILERS: "After Life"
SUMMARY: "Every night I save you."
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It's an old HB pencil, chewed and half its original length, with its orange coat cracked and peeling and the gold letters of the brand unrecognisable. The small eraser at the tip is hard and stained and doesn't erase much of anything, only smears and rips the paper every time. He doesn't use it anyway; the words are just coming out, unchecked, and he lets them.
He hides under the comforter, pulls it over his head like he did when he was a child and frightened by the explicit covers of the penny dreadfuls he'd steal from his older sister. He clutches at the cheap flashlight with the dying batteries, and directs the weak light onto the crumpled paper in front of him.
The dull lead scratches at the page hastily, in the tight loops of an out-of-shape penmanship. The capital letters are instinctively elaborate but oddly obsolete, and the rest is barely legible, with his left hand smearing it as it writes along.
He remembers this feeling, of fingers numb with blisters from days of non-stop writing. He remember that ache in his back and neck from being hunched over his work night after night, shutting everything else out. He can almost smell the ink, the ink that used to stain his fingers permanently, no matter how much his mother asked him to scrub them clean. Instead he smells the graphite on his hands, under his nails, on the pages stacked haphazardly in front of him. The light flickers and dims, but he barely notices. His frantic scribbling reaches the edge of the page, and he pushes it aside and begins on a new one.
His face hurts from frowning in concentration, but he can ignore that, just like he ignores the hunger clawing at his stomach. His body likes to be fed everyday, or every other day if he absolutely must, but it's gone past that. His belly growls, but his teeth only chew dully at his bottom lip, eyes squinting in the thinning light. It can't go out, not yet, he's not done.
_I save you. Way number one hundred and fourty._