The Critics

The critics advanced, chasing him up the temple steps. They each carried a stack of paper and were ripping them to shreds, page by page. The scraps danced in the magenta sky like confetti.

“Littered with spelling mistakes!” one roared, revealing rows of serrated teeth.

“Trite and unoriginal!” another shrieked, her piercing blue eyes sparking like exposed wires.

“You dare to let your character look in a mirror to describe themselves?!” a third bellowed, his clawed feet shattering the obsidian stone beneath him.

“How dare you use the word ‘said’?!” another screamed.

“How dare you not use the word ‘said’?!” another snarled, swooping in from above on bat wings.

The writer staggered and crawled up the steps, writing as fast as he could, sweat beading on his brow, throwing page after page to the advancing horde. The critics descended on the pages like wild beasts, and in a moment his writings were shredded and drifting on the breeze. He was running out of ideas, and he was nearly at the top of the temple steps.

“Useless! Purile! Derivative!” the critics shrieked, herding him up the steps, poison dripping from their mandibles. The writer felt his back hit the altar at the top of the temple, felt the warmth of the freshly spilt blood seep into the back of his shirt. The critics paused at the top step, and the leader grinned slowly, her forked tongue running along her lips.

“How are you going to write yourself out of this one?” she hissed.

The writer looked around at the marshmallow landscape rolling away below him, the volcanoes erupting in the distance, and above, the whales languidly swimming through the clouds. His jaw went slack and a light blinked on behind his eyes. He turned to the critics and raised his pen, declaiming like a preacher at church:


“No!” the critics shrieked, leaping towards him. But it was too late. In a moment the writer winked out of existence, and the hole he left behind condensed to a tiny, death-black pinpoint, unravelling time and space around it and sucking the critics, the land, the sky – everything – into non-existence.

Happy #WritingAdvent! Fell off the wagon hard, but I’m clinging on with my fingertips. The 13th prompt was to back a character into a corner and see what happened. Top of a ziggurat temple seemed just as good.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below, and link me up if you’re writing anything yourself šŸ™‚


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