I couldn’t take my eyes off the Infinistra. Stories. Stories everywhere. I flitted eagerly from one image to the next. I saw thousands of normal people going about their lives, all making up bigger pictures of war, crimes and deaths taking place as I watched. I could see inside homes, palaces and government buildings. I watched top secret meetings and briefings.
As I edged from right to left across the Infinistra, the lives I was spying on became more strange, more hidden, more secret. People and organisations working away from the public eye. Murders, fraud, spies and undercover cops.
I couldn’t help myself. I was seeing incredible things. The volumes of non-fiction bestsellers I could write just on what I had seen already. But I had to see more. What else was there? At the far end, I caught glimpses of worlds, castles and battles that should have belonged in fantasy novels and comic books. I watched figures in black cloaks preparing for war. They looked like the figure I saw drop past my window.
Then something else caught my eye. I stepped up and explored the smaller images making up the larger one and those clustered around it. I was watching people I recognised. I knew their descriptions from the manuscripts Sarasin had sent me, from books I had written and worked on.
Suddenly it all dawned on me. Why I was in hiding and why I was being followed. The people I was writing about were real. I was publishing fiction about real people who existed in real, dangerous worlds and would stop at nothing to silence me.
It should have been cold. I was still just in jeans, top and trainers. Not prepared for the cold conditions of an underground cave at all. The black stone walls glittered with tiny specks of the same bright blue light coming from the far end. As I held out my hand, I could feel the warmth emanating from them.
The one candle sat on the corner of a wooden desk in the middle of the cave. A man in black Victorian clothes, his dark hair tied back in a ponytail with a black ribbon, sat writing at the desk, not even acknowledging my presence as I stood over him. He wrote with a quill pen and ink. I recognised the handwriting. He had pale, plain features. His face was expressionless.
“His name is GhostWriter,” Arvalane introduced him. “He doesn’t speak.”
It happened. My imagination fired up. I grabbed my laptop and I wrote furiously, my fingers pounding on the keys, trying to keep up with the ideas flooding from my brain. I wrote until the sun rose. Then I collapsed and slept on the floor.
I did the only thing I could think of. I called in sick. I drank a load of coffee. And I turned my flat inside out. I tore the place apart.
I was a zombie at work. I think people are starting to notice. My days at this place are numbered. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I can’t think clearly or function well enough to get another job after this one.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Why did I think another move would make any difference? I haven’t slept in weeks. I can barely think straight. It’s the same as the last place I lived – and the three before that. I just want a good night sleep. I want to write.
It’s been a slow few months. The day job’s been busy. I’ve had to move a few times, which is unfortunate. Just unpacking my things in my new flat now. It’s small, but that works for me in more ways than one. This place is comfortable. It will feed my imagination. I can’t wait to start writing again and get my first book out into the world.