He crushed the remaining cigarette filter, the small ashtray was overflowing with cigarette buds, but he managed to push this one. He lit up a new one and took a deep drag. Now he could think again. He couldn’t write without it; he couldn’t do anything without it. He had been working on his fifth book for about a year now and was now at the end stages of his first draft. His first three books had sold only a few thousand copies but somehow he managed to find publishers. His fourth book became a bestseller. He had changed his genre from romance to horror and it worked. Now his fifth book was the years most anticipated horror, it was based on true events about how a demon possessed a mentally ill mother and how it troubles the family. With this book, his initial struggle as an artist was coming to an end.
In order to concentrate on this book, he had shifted to a house at the outskirts. The house situated far away from the town, with only a small road leading to it was the perfect setting for any writer to work on his book.
It was past midnight, and his room had a connected terrace to it.
As he was writing, he noticed someone sitting on the fence of the terrace. He couldn’t see properly; it was facing the other side. From behind, he could make out, it had a black coat and a black round hat.
Maybe he was hallucinating, he thought. He had been writing continuously since two days with intermittent sleep in his desk.
He blinked, took a drag. And the man was still sitting there.
He walked slowly to the terrace.
As he walked he looked around, no one else was there. He didn’t understand how the man had entered his house at this time. This was the only house in the area.
As he walked closer, he noticed that the man was fading away. Disappeared finally.
On reaching the spot, there was no one. But there was a half cigarette lying on the fence.
He picked it up, it was the most beautiful smoke he had ever seen. The smoke rising slowly, half used.
It was too tempting. He took a deep drag.
The feeling was out of this world; he had smoked thousands of cigarettes before but never got the kick like this ever.
His head felt light, and he was going into a different world.
He was somewhere else. He was standing in a front of a door. He was trapped by walls on all his sides, there was no space even to stretch his arms, he had to go in.
He entered the room. The room dark and cigarette smoke had engulfed the room completely.
There was no need to lit one, just breathing the air was enough.
The room had stacks of papers all around, on the floor, stuck to the walls, some papers were just floating in the air.
He picked out one of the papers just floating in front of him.
It read “Chapter four: She never loved me” It was a chapter of a book under work.
He picked one from the floor, “Part Two: Signs of demonic activity”.
As he scrolled though the papers, he realized these were all manuscripts, drafts, works of the authors. He didn’t understand why it was all trapped here in this room.
Suddenly he felt the door shut behind him.
He turned quickly and saw the man in the black coat standing there, his face was covered by the shadow of his hat.
It floated towards him.
He could finally see it.
It wore plain black trousers which was too loose. The black coat, full sleeved was buttoned up till the chest leaving the chest exposed. It had only a thin layer of skin hanging from his bones.
It floated and stopped close to him. It was at least a feet taller than him.
Now he could see it clearly and it was terrifying. The thin layer of skin was hanging loosely down as if it was melted. The face was disfigured completely. The nose was hanging till his chin, he didn’t have a mouth, completely shut. At several places, its skin was torn and there was a huge tear on the right side of his cheek. The cigarette smoke came out of it as it took loud, deep breaths.
“Don’t worry my friend” it said. The voice was thick and cracked up, it was the sound of a cancer infected throat and was barely audible.
It placed the hand on his shoulder. The claw like nails pierced his skin a little.
He could see him clearly now. His eye sockets were empty; it was completely filled up with the smoke.
“I admire your work my friend and I couldn’t help but bring you down here” it said.
He just stood looking at it, didn’t reply.
“I won’t hurt you, you see I just like you was a writer, an artist. So I admire you, respect you.”
it let him go and turned to the room.
“You see, all of this……. these are the works of many brilliant artists just like you. I like keeping them down here for myself. These works aren’t meant to be out in the world, where people don’t value artists like these. I keep it safe from getting scrutinized by the people who just follow others orders, who work like slaves for others and insult artists like us. I will keep your work pure, just like all of this” he pointed out to the walls.
“But…. what if I want people to read mine……?” He said.
“It is sad” it was behind him in a flash.
“Just like all the others, even you desire to achieve fame and success.”
It placed its hand on the head. The claws slowly digging into the scalp.
“I’m afraid it is not your choice anymore.”
The claws slowly pierced through his scalp, all of his fingers went into his brain. Blood started pouring out.
He couldn’t move, the pain was unbearable. His brains were being pulled out.
In one swift motion, it pulled the brain out of the skull.
It held his head close to its face and let out the smoke.
The smoke engulfed him completely. He was trapped here with his work.
Back in the terrace, the cigarette was still lying there on the fence, waiting for the next artist.