Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, in a real place and not too long ago, there was a little girl who was very unhappy.
This girl didn’t have any real reason for being so unhappy. In her words, she was riddled with ‘first world problems’. That was one of her many sources of unhappiness. There were no obstacles in her life, no real tragedies or real victories. Life was boring.
She had one thing that many children lack and never learn: she realized that she had a sparkle. She had a pretty.
Much like Smeagol, this little girl took her sparkle into a dark cave where no one could ever take it away from her or see it. She was jealous of her little sparkle and she didn’t feed it on sunlight and laughter and love and fellowship. Instead she hid it from the world and attacked anyone who might have noticed it, fearing that their regard on it would dim it or take it away from her.
She hid her pretty away in a dark place, but she was bold enough and dark enough to seek out other people’s sparkles and show interest in them so she could try to do to others what she feared they would do to her: take away her pretties.
Here I must depart from the metaphorical story and hit a bit closer to home.
This little girl grew up into a teenager and then into an adult and the whole time that she grew up, she wished to stay a little girl. She talked to me a lot, more then I would have voluntarily listened if truth be told. The things that I’m saying in this blog aren’t guesswork on her psychology or creative interpretation, they are all based off of things that she told me or wrote to me.
For the sake of her family and friends I’ve chosen to not refer to her by her actual name at this point, things are still to raw and sore for everyone, myself included, but for those people who saw her as a little girl I don’t feel comfortable speaking quite that plainly yet. I will call her ‘Beth’ as that is what she asked to be called for a few weeks one July.
Beth loved stories and she loved storytellers, but in the same way a serial killer loves their victim as they strangle them to death. Sure, that is some sort of ‘love’, or at least, it’s a very strong emotion, but it’s not healthy and it is not a good thing to have their interest fall on you. Beth first wanted to hear my stories, and later she wrote to me and told me that amongst her other goals in life, including the desire to learn how to become a ‘Master Manipulator’, was to read every last word that I had written. At the time, I was rather flattered. I was very open about her reading my writing and she read a great deal of my unfinished works that were always scattered around, but then things changed every so subtly and she started to sink her claws into me and my family.
She came to stay with me for awhile, and at first things were fine. I helped her get a gig singing kids songs at a farmer’s market and she helped me garden and she would ask me endless questions about my characters and my worlds.
They say that demons know how to flatter pride and that’s one of the ways that they get in, that and exploiting any strong emotion or altered state. Well, I had reasons I won’t go into for having recently had strong emotions and any creative endeavour leaves you in an altered state. There is nothing more hardcore then going from writing from a first person perspective to trying to go to the post office or deal with phone survey. The only thing I can compare it to would be if you could suddenly suck all the opium out of someone who was completely at the moment ‘chasing the dragon’. It’s not cool, bro.
Beth flattered my pride. I wasn’t the first person that she had worked this approach on.
We played around with different characters, me, Beth and other people who collaborated with me, many of whom have stories in anthologies from StarkLight Press and other venues. At first it was fun, but then she found ways to make it not fun. Later she would tell me that this had been her plan all along, she told me, bragging, how she loved to flatter and beguile people, only to make it so that through various means, they gradually were less and less able to write or create.
She told me horrible things. She followed me from city to city, constantly tracking me on the internet, hacking into my facebook, my email, getting her fingers into every aspect of my life she could and always looking for ways she could show up on my doorstep and insert her way into my life.
I asked her why she did this. She told me that she had to destroy me. She told me that she couldn’t understand why or how I kept escaping from her and that she had to kill me and take my powers. She told me that if she couldn’t figure out a way she could destroy me that she would kill herself in the end.