Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Paperweight

Tonight’s exercise is a bit odd. I’ve been of the opinion for a while that one of the biggest problems in writing these days is people who write things that should be creepy—or at least, that come across to me as pretty disturbing—and apparently miss how creepy they actually are. On the other hand, it’d be pretty hypocritical if I didn’t try to learn to see it in my own work. And since I haven’t done too much with in-text acknowledgment of the potential off-ness of one of my characters and the pretty little paperweight that used to be her worst enemy… it made as good a prompt as any.

She thinks sometimes that it is unbelievable, that the lizard is her work—the artistry put into its design, from partial drawings done between official assignments, the sheer improbability of the magic she had required to make it live. And, perhaps, the fact that a few seasons ago, had she been handed this incarnation of her old enemy in precious metals and precious stones, her first impulse might have been defenestration. Or possibly fleeing. Or perhaps even freezing, on the assumption that somehow she could not outrun a foot-long automaton. The idea that it would have been her work would have been inconceivable.

Proximity is a peculiar thing. So too is time.

It does not quite speak with his voice. His words, yes, the mind has not changed, but the voice has. This has nothing to do with old fears, of course, she simply does not wish the construct’s true nature to be found out, and the fact that those few who may have heard him speak did so long enough ago that the voice must have been tangled with those others of their many lifetimes, that of those she knows have heard his voice within her lifetime, one is someone to whose identity she would like a clue or two—that is irrelevant. A person who never forgets a sound cannot assume that others’ memories will be faulty, can she?

It cannot lie to her. Nor can it disobey, not that it has tried particularly. It crawls across the desks to seat itself on her papers, it retrieves pencils, it makes subtle suggestions for tactics when her coworkers have left the office (and is usually right—the advantage, and the price, of having a creation more experienced than one’s own self). On the way home, it sits among her papers, or on her shoulder facing the rear those times when she uses her danger sense to tell her what is safe rather than what is a threat, as it does not have her range of false positives.

How could it be a threat? All it can do is talk.

How can it not? Talking is all that it ever needed to do.

1 comment

  1. UZ says:

    *Un*intentionally creepy? My potential problems there are legion…

    Rinka: Hi Sasha!

    Sasha: Can we talk?

    Rinka: Totally!

    Sasha: I’ve been thinking recently… what kind of person am I really? I mean yeah, I’m chatty, I have a talent for excusing the brutal practicalities of adventuring, I can defend myself. But I sometimes wonder…

    Rinka: Go on!

    Sasha: I could just about balance the world on the edge of my sword and the tip of my tongue, but in the end that just makes a lot of dead people and lies. One day I’m going to come across a situation that’s too much for me, and I almost always face the worst ones alone. Do you think anyone…

    Rinka: Mhm?

    Sasha: That is not a thinking about my feelings face, that is a waiting for me to stop talking face.

    Rinka: Can I tell you *my* news?

    Sasha: Always.

    Rinka: You know how Damziel and I are married and do married people things together, kind of loudly?

    Sasha: I had tried to tactfully ignore that, but yes.

    Rinka: Well all our hard work has paid off and we’re going to have a doom angel baby! Well, a half-doom-angel baby! Oh maybe with one wing! That would be so good for his career when he grows up!

    Sasha (genuine smile): That is maybe the best thing I have ever heard.

    Rinka: I know, you’re all broody and you can’t get excited about anything, so *you*. Krooda! Sasha is getting depressed and reflective! Heartfelt full moon conversation is go!

    Krooda: KROODA ROMANCE GOOD!

    Sasha (from arms of giant barbarian): I should have talked to my friends about my problems earlier.

    Rinka: I fully expect you to plan our baby shower when you get back!

    Sasha: Always!

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