Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
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 ©

Mystery / Horror

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

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

C.K. Bachman: Just read the first chapter. Love how the main character thinks and is conflicted over his wife and the trickery he uses on her.

Jessica: This is a story that I could not stop reading. It is amazing how everything flowed together and what happened in this book is one that I would not have expected. Very talented author and a great read.

Samantha Speed: There were several punctuation, grammar, and missing word problems but it did not detract from the story. This story was very well done, enjoyable, and had an interesting enough plot. It took a while to finish. This story is not complete. I love it, but I want to see another book or have more cha...

LeahWrites: I love your use of writer's craft and how you use figurative language to enhance your writing. It great how you didn't have any spelling or grammar issues.

maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...

Deleted User: I loved this story. It was so great that I did not expect it to be this awesome. I swear to you this deserves more than just 5 stars. Beyond amazing. Kept me wanting more and I felt exactly like Emma felt while reading. Although in the beginning I did not expect anything to happen. Then, when som...

Jason Phang: I'm pretty new to Inkitt (this is only my 4th book) and I must say I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the authors here. Remnants of Chaos is an excellently written book that hooks the reader, and doesn't let go. There are some grammatical and typographical errors, but nothing too se...

More Recommendations

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

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.