What really happens to all those orphaned stories? Where do they go?
A harmlessly funny jab at anyone who has ever "orphaned" a story...
I am somewhere in a dark corridor, a long dark corridor, and I can hear moaning. It is dank, and cold, as if the walls themselves are weeping. I pull my sweater a little closer.
I've come here to see the orphans. A fellow author and a friend of mine finally persuaded me to go when she told me of how starved and lonely they look. I pride myself on being the kind of author who does justice to the writing community. Plus, it wouldn't look too bad on my "recent activity" page.
A dim glow appears in the gloom, and a stout little man in a wide brimmed hat bearing a lantern looks me up and down. A scream rings in the hall, and my head jerks toward the sound. The Hat man is unfazed, however.
"I've been sent to show you to the orphans." He says, rolling his eyes.
"Wonderful!" I say trying to show false bravery and he gives me an odd look. I sigh. I'm here to do a favor to the less fortunate, he should be grateful.
We walk closer to the screaming, near the end of the hall.
He pulls out a great ring of keys, and inserts one into what seems to be just a wall. The wall slides back, and he shoves me into the blindingly lit room.
"Good luck." He mutters. "Crazy do-gooder." The door slides closed again, but I can only see whiteness.
I blink, blink, blink, and forms take shape. I begin to see them, the orphans. Awkwardly shaped little things with too many teeth and too few eyes. These are the embodiment of the stories who have gone unloved, unchecked, and un-praised. Created, then discarded, they are pitiful creatures, who inch closer and closer to me, as if afraid of more rejection.
"Hi," I whisper, my eyes brimming. "I'm here to help write your stories." I feel like a real mother Teresa, coming all this way for them. I reach out to pick up an especially pitiful one with big ears and patchy fur.
It lets out a scream.
It bites my hand.
Another orphan tears at my shoes, shredding them.
Another, taller than the others, points at me and begins to scream.
The orphans erupt into chaos.
They come at me in a great wave, biting, scratching, and ripping at my hair.
They aren't pitiful anymore.
They. Are. Evil.
Desperately I try to shake the beasts off.
I push them away, gasping for breath.
I turn to the wall and I scream for help.
The wall falls away, and I tumble out, bleeding, and almost delirious. The wall slides back, and the monsters are gone. The Hat man is back, standing over me with a satisfied smile.
"Now you know," he says, "why we keep them there." He extends a hand. "Terrible little monsters, sometimes they never come out."
I look back at the wall I was just behind and I shake my head. "They seem so helpless, so alone. I was trying to help them." I cry.
The Hat man chuckles. "Some stories are so fiercely connected to their authors, that no one else could ever, ever help write them. When they realize that the author has left them, well," he shrugged, "they go a little crazy."
I walk out of the Orphan area, as realization dawns on me. That rotten little story that had bitten me?
That was an orphan I had written.