Free Fiction Friday – Relenting to Failure

“Relenting to Failure”
a short story by Jeremy C Kester

Note: this story is a first-draft and has not been revised or edited.

An artist struggles to connect to his muse…

Note: See end for copyright, notes, and other restrictions/permissions.

He sat there. Silence surrounded him as she stood behind. Though he could not feel her presence. And touch was a question that only the most enlightened among mankind could consider. If only he could know that she was there, waiting for him to consider her. 

Slowly, the glass of bourbon lifted from the table. A delicate grasp, strong enough to secure the weight yet gentle enough to leave touch like a whisper in a lover’s ear, carried the bitter fluid to the man’s lips. A kiss of release. Release of tension. Of the inhibited desires. A coward slipping by the enemy instead of confronting it, believing that in doing so there would be eternal safety. 

A knock of glass against wood slipped through the silence as the man released a sigh. Not once did that other hand, the one holding onto the instrument of creation, slide over to the fibers awaiting to retain the liquid forms of thoughtful tales. She was there to guide him, though he still could not fathom her presence. A presence that ached in his still heart. A need he could not perform. Oh if he could but only bring the words to the page. Oh, if only he could hear her whispers tickling the hairs of his neck.

The muse’s shoulders slumped as the man once again placed the pen onto the table. She let the frustration of her attempts show, though the man only knew of it through his seeming inability to bring a new world to life. She knew that she could help him spin glorious tales, if only he could release his fears.

His hands became moist as he cradled his head and the tears in his palms. She felt pity as she watched him. Why could he not hear her there?

Slowly, as though he was encased in molasses, he moved his head to look once again at the utensil meant to encase thought, the pen. It remained there, like it was mocking him. Thoughts of knocking it from the table tickled his thoughts.

Quickly, the muse went to him once again, her body embracing his own from behind him. Certainly he could understand! 

As his hand rose to the air, he froze. Something. Something was there with him, though to him it was as illusory as his motivation to create. What was stopping him from connecting to this thing that beckoned unto him? Why could he feel that it was there, yet there seemed an endless chasm between them? Shadows stood between them, but he knew that there was something beyond.

Once again the drink floated delicately to his lips. The liquid meant to banish his fears that instead muted his ability to fight against them. Another sip. Another gulp. Another step close to the blurred sense of being.

She sat to the edge of the room as she gazed at him — unable to do anything for him. She had to leave him there to suffer. Hoping that he would return to creation so that she might guide his hands. Praying that what she was seeing did not spell the story of his doom instead. She wept alone, frightened as she swallowed the last of the liquid, resigning to the darkness that would consume him.

Copyright © 2023 by Jeremy C Kester – all rights reserved
Do not copy or reproduce without written permission.
This story will remain posted for free for a minimum of one month from the date of posting. After that date, it will be up to me (Jeremy) to keep it on the site or remove it.

If you enjoy the content from me and this site, please consider purchasing one of my books, or if you prefer another way to help support my work, consider donating by clicking: PayPal.Me/jeremykwrites


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