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  • Writer's pictureTara Theresa Hill

Tough Love

The Haunted Writer #4

Interior Scene: I’m sitting at my desk. Leo is leaning back in the chair next to me with his newsboy cap pulled down over his eyes. To everyone else, he would appear to be taking a nap, but I know better than that. After a moment, he sits up, fully alert.

Leo: Okay. What’s wrong?

Me: (idly playing with my keyboard mouse) Nothing.

Leo: C’mon. Something’s on your mind. You’ve been staring silently at the screen for the last thirty minutes.

Me: (sighing) Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s not important.

Leo: It must be if it’s interfering with your work.

Leo pushes up his cap, sticks a cigarette in his mouth, and lights it. Smoking is a habit from his previous lifetime. Thankfully, because the cigarette is from the Spirit World, I can’t smell it, and it doesn’t have any negative effects on my body.

Leo: C’mon, tell me.

Me: (I bite my lip, start to say something, then stop.) Nah, it’s silly.

Leo: (rubs his temples and groans) Can we skip the part where I have to nag you for the next hour and just get right to the point?

Me: Fine… (crossing my arms) If you must know, I was thinking about you and me.

Leo: (sighs and blows out a stream of smoke) Okay. What about us?

Me: (tilting my head) We’re different.

Leo: Well, we are two individuals. No two souls are exactly alike.

Me: I know, but you’re funny and sarcastic.

Leo: So are you!

Me: Sure, but I’m also moody and emotional. You know Mom calls me a little rainbow goth fairy.

Leo: And?

Me: And…I’m just wondering how we fit together. Wouldn’t you prefer to work with someone else who is more like you?

Leo doesn’t say anything for a moment. Then he stubs out his cigarette.

Leo: Ah. Now, I see what this is about. You’re worried that you’re not good enough.

Me: What? That’s not what I said at all!

Leo: No, but that’s what you meant. You’re carrying on with this sentimental crap about whether we’re similar enough to work together all because you can’t focus right now and you’re feeling insecure about yourself as a writer. Don’t try to bullshit me, Tara, because I can see right through it.

Leo gets up, puts on his long black coat, and heads to the door.

Me: (following him) Wait a minute! Where are you going?

Leo: If you’re going to sit there wasting time, then I’m leaving. Let me know when you’re ready to get back to work.

I don’t say anything as Leo vanishes. I know arguing with him won’t do any good. Sighing internally, I go and sit down in front of my computer again. After a few minutes of sulking, I turn on some music and start writing. An hour later, I look up to find Leo leaning against the wall watching me.

Me: Oh! Hey.

Leo: Hey. Glad to see you’re being productive.

Me: I didn’t even hear you come in. How long have you been there?

Leo: Long enough. (He walks over and sits down beside me again.)

Me: So, where did you go?

Leo: (chuckles to himself)

Me: What’s so funny?

Leo: I never left.

Me: How can that be? I saw you disappear.

Leo: I understand that’s what it looked like, but what you really saw was me turning invisible. I can do that and still be in the room with you. I just pulled back my energy so that you wouldn’t know that I was there.

Me: Humph. That’s a sneaky motivation technique.

Leo: (shrugs) It worked though, didn’t it?

Me: (grudgingly) Yeah.

Leo: (opens his hands and smirks at me) And that’s why I’m your muse! Besides, you should know by now that I wouldn’t ever leave you.

Me: (in a teasing tone) Then I guess it’s a good thing that I like being haunted.

Leo: (throws an arm around my shoulder) Yep. Face it, kid. You’re stuck with me.

Copyright 2020 by Tara Theresa Hill

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