Posted in Flash Fiction, Shorts, Writing

A Type of Madness

You may be able to take a break from writing, but you won’t be able to take a break from being a writer…
– Stephen Leigh

John stopped and got a fresh cup of coffee on his way home; with any luck he wouldn’t sleep at all tonight. He pulled his green Prius into his designated parking space. A faint sound echoed through the deserted lot, “Click Clack Click Clack.” He shivered, partly from the cold and a bit of something else. He walked through the gleaming lobby. He stepped into the gold and mirrored elevator. He pressed the button for floor nine and the elevator jolted to life. Beneath the faint hum as the elevator ascended; John heard the sounds: “Click Clack.” He shivered as a drop of sweat rolled down the back of his neck. The elevator dinged and the doors opened on his floor.

John stepped off the elevator and took a shuddering breath. The elevator doors closed behind him and John stood alone in the hallway. His keys were clenched in his fist as he walked stiffly to his door. The hallway gleamed in shades of sand and beige. His door was a deep brown with brushed nickel doorknob and dead bolts. His was the only door with three dead bolts. He unlocked them all and then triple checked to make sure they were relocked behind him.

His apartment gleamed in the dim light. Stainless steel, marble, and all the finest upgrades money could buy. He had spared no expense in creating this haven for himself. He had been very happy here, before. Then his grandfather had passed away and the family legacy had arrived on his doorstep.

A plain brown box wrapped in butcher-block paper and twine. A card from his grandfather’s lawyer had offered condolences. Inside were an antique typewriter and a ream of paper. A well-worn card bore his grandfather’s handwriting.

John had placed the typewriter on a side table and framed the card. It had been a conversation piece at the many parties John had enjoyed throwing.

But it had been a long time since John had allowed a guest into his home. He stared at the small table in the dark. Then the silence was punctured by a sound, “Click Clack Click Clack.”

John sagged against the doorway in weariness. He turned the lights on and walked to the small table, dragging a dining room chair with him. He whispered to the empty room, “You win Pop-Pop.”

He sat down at the old typewriter, the card framed on the wall behind it. A half hysterical laugh escaped John’s lips as he began to type. The note read:

Write or you’ll go mad.”