She's tiny with tight blonde curls that hug her pink, round cheeks, and she's petite, wearing a flowing white summer dress. Peach lipped, curt at times, with moods that change faster than Southern weather. She bounces between admiration and cursing. She's fiery like a dragon one minute and prim as a mint julep the next. I don't know what to make of her. I'm almost scared to be in her presence. I don't talk much for fear that she'll use something I say against me. What if she decides not to come back? How will I finish the next scene?
There she is, flitting through the room, her teeny wings beating so fast they're invisible.
I turn away and keep my eyes directed to the computer screen, trying desperately to never make eye contact.
She's silent, probably still brewing from our last encounter when I demanded too much, or so she said. I only wanted a few hundred more words. Was that too much to ask from the ONE who's supposed to give them?
My fingers hover over the keyboard, anticipating her words before they ever touch the air.
"Any day now," I sass, without thought and instantly regret it. I glance up, half expecting her to not be there and having left again before giving me anything. But she's sitting on my desk, her porcelain legs swinging daintily off the edge.
I hate when she's like this.
She lets out a long sigh and glances at me from the corner of her eye.
"What's in it for me?" she finally says, breaking the silence and my patience.
"This is your job. I'm starting to wonder what's in it for me!" I push the keyboard away and fold my arms across my chest. This is war. She knows it; I know it.
"Don't squish your face like that. You're getting hideous wrinkles," she says in a condescending, motherly tone.
I feel the anger rise and flush my cheeks. I imagine her spontaneously combusting. POOF.
"We don't have time for this, Poppy. I need to work. Now where were we? Maggie makes her way to the store where the shopkeeper tells her an intriguing bit of information that's pivotal to the plot..." I prompt, deciding to push away my frustration in hopes of salvaging the day.
"Tisk. Tisk. Tisk." A wicked smile stretches across her doll face. "I think, I'm tired. I'll be back later...sometime." She stands up, smooths the wrinkles from her dress, and prepares to fly off.
"Like when? Midnight? When I'm driving down the street? O, how about when I'm sleeping at 3am? No, no, no. You're not going anywhere, missy." Overwhelmed with animosity, I grab her tiny body in my fist.
"What are you doing?" she demands.
I'd never touched her before. I've always found her intimidating and domineering, but now, with her teeny body in my hand, I feel strong. I squeeze a little and feel her squirm in my fingers.
"Ow! You're hurting me!"
Now I am the one wickedly smiling. Something like rage creeps its way into my heart and wraps its evil intentions around the arteries, pumping it through my veins and into my mind.
"I don't need you," I tell her, finally realizing the truth that'd been there all along.
"Yes, you do. You can't write without me! You don't know what happens next!" Her pretty face turns desperate.
"Actually, I think I do." Scenes flash before me like a movie reel. My characters act out the elusive plot. I squeeze tighter. "I think we're done, Poppy."
"We're not! You can't!" she pleads.
I close my eyes and squeeze until I feel her go limp, and then squeeze even more until I feel nothing. I open my palm to see that it's empty. No trace of the the being who had taunted my life for all these years.
I focus on the scenes again. Maggie and the shopkeeper, the action, the dialogue. Without intention, my fingers dance across the keyboard forming words, sentences, paragraphs, PAGES without her!
When I think of Poppy now, I still find myself smiling. I'd believed a lie. I never needed to wait on her to give me the story. It was in me all along. All I needed to do was sit and type.
I'm glad I killed the imposter.
Vanessa K. Eccles
Books, life, and travel.
Author of FABLED, RED RIBBONS, and OF LOVE & LEGEND // Founder of The Faithful Creative Magazine