trisha herlihy would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Desk

By trisha herlihy All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Mystery

The Desk

The light is clear, crisp and sea-washed bright as it falls through the bay window and across the desk. Perfectly lit. A stage setting, almost. The perfect light for the perfect desk in a writer's room. Not an office, no, not a some stuffy ashtray-coffee-cup-dog-end muddled cell. Not a library heaving with all the words you can never ever hope to write. But a clean, clear, quiet space. As hopeful as a blank page and as empty, apart from the desk.

I had bought the desk on a whim, who could resist such a thing? Its deep layers of varnish peeling, its grooved and pitted surface carved by years of neglect, rain-washed into ravines of broken misuse. Apparently it had stood outside for years until the previous owner thought there might still be some value to the desk Dracula was written on. Hoping it might still be ink-stained with the blood of terror. A touchstone for a writer. A memento mori for someone like me.

My publishers are kind to the point of indulgence. Like parents spoiling an only child. Another week, another month, another three? Fine, take all the time I need. Their smothering platitudes and mollycoddling deference only serving to bind me tighter in the self-loathing straight-coat of plot impotence. Writer's block. Twelve best-selling horror novels, worldwide sales in the millions, book signings, tours, literary festivals and after dinner speeches, a household name in the top ten best-sellers for years and now; now my adoring fans need a thirteenth book. Thirteen, unlucky for some.

My fingers rest on the deeply scored desk either side of my laptop keyboard. But no words fall from my fingertips. No magic today. As my wrists lie on the desk edge, I can feel the slow drum of my pulse, a deep and bruised vein of unwilling blood. The sunlight is too bright, my temples hurt, the fierce light making even my bones ache. There will be no writing today and I abruptly turn away from the desk feeling the drumming blood recede into a whisper as I walk away.

It is becoming a ritual now. Each day of this hot summer I enter the room and sit at the desk. Each day I try and write. A few hundred words, fifty, one. Each day nothing save the sound of my blood and the weight of my flesh on the desk. Weighing me down as surely as if I am drowning. Drowning in the sunlight, gripping the desk, a life-raft to my dead weight.

There is a heatwave outside, no rain for a month. A long hot dry spell. Tell me about it, now even the weather forecast is a perfect metaphor my writer's block. Still the calls from my publisher, from my agent, from my publicist, from all of those who feed off me, always wanting more. I am in the room, in front of the desk but the light through the window is too fierce and I don't even bother to sit down. I shall try again when it is cooler, darker, maybe an evening breeze from the sea will lift the air. Breathe new life into old words.

The night air is wrapping itself around me, I can feel the heat of the day leach out of the room and the desk, still warm from where the sun caressed it, soothes my nerves. Now the blood flows in my veins, now my eyes see clearly. Now I know where the story lies. My fingers find each key and words spill in bright clarity across the screen. One, fifty, hundreds.

Not finished yet. I'm only work at night, can they not understand that? These human leeches sucking the life from me. The phone always ringing. The story is not finished yet but the summer is nearly gone and the light, once sharp and clear is addled and fly-blown. Autumn lurches towards me with fistfuls of dead leaves and the skies are filling up with thunderclouds. A storm on the way.

The final chapter is within my grasp. Somewhere a clock chimes midnight, one, two, then three and still the words pour, my lifeblood in words. The whole desk drums with the rhythm of my typing, breathing life into my story. At last the final words and I am done. Exhausted, my head slumps to the still warm, worn desk and I sleep as outside rain finally starts to fall.

The cleaner unlocks the door to the house and lets herself in as usual. The writer who has rented the house for the summer has started to keep odd working hours, often working through the night so she is mindful to tread quietly up the stairs past his office. The house is very quiet and the air sharp after yesterday's storm. The cleaner guesses he must be out as there is no reply to her knocking on the door. She steps into the room to find it empty apart from the desk and a laptop computer, screen open onto the final page of a story. A fly buzzes near the window and, for a moment, she could have sworn the desk was wet, as though someone has spilled a bottle of wine over it, forgotten and coagulating into a pool of drying crimson. But is is just a trick of the light, patterns of yesterday's rain on the window, and the desk is dry and warm to her touch. She can feel her pulse, raised in sudden alarm, slowing where her skin touches the surface. There is no sign of the writer.

At the end of the summer, the writer's belongings are packed up and sent home but the desk is left behind. The new book is a literary success, not least because of the ensuing mystery surrounding the writer's sudden disappearance. When the summer house is rented out again, the desk is thrown out into the back yard where it waits, rain-washed into ravines of broken misuse, for a new story.

The End

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, trisha herlihy
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Greg: This is a well thought out horror story. The twisti-turns, the creativity, and spot-on dialogue are movie-worthy. It's a perfect horror story that no horror reader can put down. If I were a publisher, I'd look you up.

Honey Desai: Damn I loved this books so fucking much and that is actually saying something because to please me in reading matters is an achievement in itself I tell u. I loved all the plot twists and the writing style. I can't wait to read more of your books ASAP.But, the only mistake I found is that many ti...

what_up_yo: This whole story was a rollercoaster ride. From my heart aching for Conner to laughing at his nativity. I really recommend this book. Very detailed and overall an outstanding story.

Clara GraceGal: I absolutely LOVED how the plot is, how the emotions in this book was so real-ish but not too bold. I also liked how it all turned out in the end. Just amazing in all and every way!! It tbh, made me realize what my mother and father would tell me what a "serious relationship" was lol. Never thoug...

NIKITA UPADHYAY: You are so good at this. U took my heart. I have read it in only two days. As I consider it gud to engage readers. U r awesome. Keep it up

paulminion900: Loved it.every chapter becomes more interesting... 😍😍😍

Christiane von der Heiden: It is a really gripping concept. I wasn't able to put it down. ☺️ I mean who doesn't think of afterlife at least once in their lives? However, there is some room for improvement. First, as mentioned before a proofreader would do wonders here😜. Or better yet, get an editor. For there are also some...

dormetary: I love it but iam dying an dcant wait anymore i know you have work to do but pls find some tjme fkr this book i love it an d j hate that i check if there is a new chapter even though i hav eno notification pls pls pls pls update

Hanna Joyce: This story was great! I couldn't stop reading, I woke up around 5 am and was reading non-stop. The story was so intriguing that I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Personally, I would recommend this story to all of my friends. Good job!

More Recommendations

Its Ahmed: I'm 21 years old and in these 21 years this is the first time and the first book I've completed reading and I feel proud that my first book was a complete package the story was so interesting that I couldn't resist reading the book in late hours I finished it in 3-4 days... Can't wait to read oth...

WriterReader7: I love this. This is so good! Instead of wondering what is happening next, I am wondering, "Why the hell isn't this a book yet? And why isn't this author hella famous?!"Good book. I can't get enough of it!!!

Deborah Conte: This is an unusual reading story. Hey it is a story that will make you think and cry and laugh all at the same time.This book is well written showing the feelings of a teen-age girl, Rachel after her Grandma dies and she has to still deal with the real world and a parent and family (Nate) that a...

mcase: I thoroughly enjoyed every particle of this interesting story!! I really enjoyed the development of the main characters and loved them despite their flaws. The plot was interesting and kept me reading, wanting to find out what would happen next. Great work!There were a few consistent mechanical e...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.