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Monday, May 30, 2016

Wonderbook Challenge: One

When Arthur finally found the courage to put fingers to keyboard, a demon conjured itself into existence. Arthur's fingers froze before he could type the first word of his yet-to-be-born novel. His transfixed eyes widened in horror as the demon resolved itself fully into uncanny existence.

It was a slimy, bulbous thing. Bulging, fish-like eyes protruded from either side of a head that was just the tapering endpoint of a great spheroid body. Thick, finned arms spread outward from this corpulent mass in a gesture that parodied embrace; it stood on a quivering stalk of blue-green flesh.

Arthur jerked back in disgust, toppling the pile of antique books that rested with habitual unease behind his creaky old office chair.

Arthur's parrots, one perched on his left shoulder, the other on his right, dug their talons into their master's shoulders, squawked indignantly and raised their wings in warning.

"Fire torpedoes!" trilled Igor, the parrot on the left. "Energize!" said Henry, the parrot on the right.

All this happened too quickly for Arthur. He sat stunned for a long moment after his books had stopped tumbling to the carpet.

One of the demon's cloudy eyes swiveled in its socket, peering at the trio behind the typewriter.

"If you type one word, you shall die," the demon said.

Arthur's fingers, cold, slid across the porcelain keys and coiled themselves into fists. He ground his teeth, and his eyes were furious.

"Why come to me now, when I'm finally ready to write?" he asked, slamming a fist down on the desk, jarring a golden pen loose; it rolled off the desk and landed softly on the floor.

"If you type one word, you shall die," the demon said.

Arthur stood. Though he felt a great, clammy knot of fear growing in his chest, he rose up and flung his grandfather's inkwell at the demon. It vanished in a puff of blue velvet mist, taking the inkwell with it.

Arthur collapsed back into his chair. Igor and Henry launched themselves into the air, flapping about the tiny old library.

"Risk is our business!" Henry said.

"Let's get the hell out of here," Igor said.

Arthur slumped back in his chair, gazing at the clean white sheet of paper that waited for his words. After a long time, he leaned forward, resting his fingers once again on the keys.

"I wasn't planning to type just one word," he said, and with increasing speed and ferocity the typebars slammed against paper and platen, leaving their arcane marks.  

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