“Change it all!” the creature, hunched over a towering pile of papers, shouted. Beneath the desk, my knees clicked together as I accepted my red-blotched manuscript. The wheezing breath timed my flipping as I surveyed the damage. Pages-upon-pages with the dreaded red ‘X’, others trailed with a patchwork of corrections.
Swallowing the bullet of air lodged in my throat, I decided, against my better judgment, to protest. “I have to keep these scenes,” I said sheepishly, prodding the page in question. The depths of darkness further disguised the creature in a swath of shadows. It inched its bony elbows across the desk, and lowered a burning glare to eye-level. An urgent, overwhelming need for my mother crept into my frazzled thoughts. I did my best to return the intense eye-contact to no avail. My eyes watered and my lids did all they could to shield me from the searing disapproval.
“Re-write everything,” was the command. One might say it leaked from the creature in the form of a whisper, but in actuality, it was uttered from the corner of its mouth and strangled the air as it drifted to my ears. I began running my fingernails over my teeth. The slightest nibble pacified my shaking if only for a moment. “I noticed,” I began gingerly. “You cut this character entirely.”
A plume of smoke danced past my eyes. Could it have been from a cigarette? Not likely. It had been emitted from the creature’s incredulous snort. “Waste of ink. Not funny,” it replied. I wrung my hands together until the cracking bones snapped me back into reality. My fidgeting feet slipped. The stone tile beneath my feet had been polished by my shoe-soles into glass. One last pluck of courage bubbled through my system. “Did you like any of it?”
The echoes of cackling began in the pit of the creature’s stomach. Its amoeba-like shadow shifted with mirth. A snicker traveled up its throat until the burst of laughter crossed its lips; the creature rocked in its chair, reveling in hysteria.Back to the drawing board.