It's only you in the stairwell. You--and your attacker, a brutal shape in the dimness. But you aren't alone as you stagger against the wall. The writer's there.

The writer's there, guiding you, as you push off the wall, bruise your knuckles on a jawbone, feel a fist slam into your belly, knocking you backwards. The writer's there as the world drops out from under you. As you fall down the stairs, hard, broken. As your attacker stands on the landing and watches. As you wait for him to start down.

The writer's there. The writer's always there.

© Sarah Monette 2005     Feel free to link to this story, but please do not reproduce it without permission.