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Happiness Next to Deadliness

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He hovers over the computer screen, unable to write, and consequently, barely able to breathe. The words dammed inside him make him feel like he might explode, because they're multiplying at a scary rate, but can't escape. All these words and their offspring will be the death of him if he can't get them out soon.

He gives the corner of the room an appraising look, namely the wooden wardrobe that holds his few articles of clothing, and many writing supplies. Inside are stacks of paper and a variety of pens he hasn't yet managed to lose.

Maybe the traditional method of writing – and by that he means in ink, not the blood of virgins – could help him more than word processors and keyboards. He's always been hesitant about technology, reluctant to rely on it. He doesn't trust it. But he uses a laptop, a practical-looking silver thing, because he acknowledges it is the 21st century, and it's foolish to boycott these modern contraptions.

Through all this, he knows the real reason he's blocked. His task is to write a happy ending.

But he doesn't write happy. He isn't very experienced with joy, but misery, oh, misery is a dear old friend. He's untouchable by tragedy and misfortune, being cold-blooded as he is. But that doesn't mean he doesn't understand it well enough to hit his readers with it. He gifts them doom and gloom and they stick around. It's an abusive relationship, he supposes.

That's why he walks through the graveyard when he's blocked. Once, he became nocturnal for three months because of a crippling case of writer's block. He reads the biographies of great writers, because so many of them were so very messed up. Oh, don't get him wrong, though, he admires them. They're genius. Genius comes at a price.

If he could comprehend happiness, he wouldn't be where he is now.

A happy ending. He loathes his agent for forcing him to do this, but of course, that's getting him nowhere at the speed of light. He can't bullshit his way through this short story if he's too busy hating his agent. He tries to think, instead, of a happy memory.

There was the first book he read on his own. But that's hardly happy, any three year old with thumbs can read Dr. Seuss. The man writes children's books for crying out loud.

Maybe when he went to the beach last, when he was thirteen. He realizes that was a disaster, when he remembers he spent the day alone, sunbathing, because his friends failed to show up.

He has always been an outcast, and by that he wishes he meant one of the weird kids that have their own merry band of social ineptitude. As an outcast, himself, he doesn't feel so bad criticizing them. They did the same to him. He was the shy guy who ate lunch alone, reading more than eating. Just as he has always been alone, he has always been reading. It feels like he's had a book in hand since he was in the womb.

Shifting gears, he decides to take a walk. Listen to the chirping birds and laughing children and other things he abhors. Maybe not abhor, he's not that terrible, but he does eschew them.

He drags his pale self across the street, walking north. His head is aching from the light, cliche as it is. He's a creature of darkness and lurker of shadows.

He spots the gulls flying overhead, and knows it's going to rain. No big deal, he prefers it, really. It'll be refreshing, after all this time he's been locked inside.

The thunder rolling sounds like a train approaching, but last time he checked, trains rolled through this town often, so it could be either, or both. The rain's becoming torrential. It doesn't cross his mind that he should go back inside. Hell, he barely even realizes the cheerful things he's supposed to be inspired by have been silenced by the howling winds.

Before long, the streets are flooded. His vision's obscured by the mass of raindrops falling. Disoriented, he stumbles along, cause he'll be toast if he can't find a happy ending for his story.

He sees the lights, and feels his foot smash into something metal in the street. But when he has hit the ground, he realizes he's not on the street at all. His hands are on gravel, his head scarily close to a railroad track. He could've easily bashed his head off the thing, dying from the injury. Maybe he's just being pessimistic.

Over the roar of the storm, he perceives the sounds of a train. A train? The lights! Desperately, furiously, futilely, he tries to get to his feet. When that fails, he makes a wild, flailing attempt to drag himself off the tracks, to get out of the way.

He has no time for error, but he can't seem to get anything right. The goddamn happy ending, standing, he can't even crawl right.

The train's upon him, and he spends his last seconds scoffing. Happy endings don't happen in reality.

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