Six Sentence Stories – The Unsettled Author (part I)

Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog.

This week’s cue word is: Rivalry

The Unsettled Author

Part I

It was time to begin my search for somewhere new to live and write, for I was outgrowing my cramped lodgings both physically and creatively – forever bumping my head on the rafters, my shoulders into the door frames, it was always too hot, too bright; as for my literary ink, the well was running dry.

I found new lodgings at 667 Lofthouse Place, a cold and unfurnished terrace with high ceilings and a sea of creaking floorboards, with windows seldom visited by the sun as it made passage across a sky dominated by the chimneys of factories and their porridge-coloured fumes – it was perfect.

The only furniture I required was my bed – to stretch my bones and my imagination at night; and my desk and chair – to implant my frame and the seeds of my creativity during the day.  

Before long, there came a great period of output, and I published some of my most famous works at 667 Lofthouse Place; however, my residence there would eventually bespeak of the dreadful malady which would claim both my sanity and my career as a writer – all thanks to my rival.

My rival, who I would hear at the dead of night, her violent scratching sounds upon paper, her jars of ink and pens flung across rooms in temper, the reek of her gin, her phantom cigarettes infiltrating my bedroom in blooms of smoke which curled into fists and fingers fit to strangle me.

My rival, whose words I will never forget, as I awoke one night to find every window nailed shut, the gas tap left on, and the final page of my latest manuscript violated by the crimson ink of her pen: This is my house.

Editor’s note: My micro-story The Unsettled Author is a ghostly tale about a writer who moves to new lodgings. Question: is the writer haunted by the rival – a malevolent spirit of a previous writer who inhabited the address, or does the writer become the rival of only herself, and her descent into a world of hallucinations and madness?

The Unsettled Author micro-story by Ford 19 May 2021

The Unsettled Author artwork – July 14 fireworks photo, clipart and digital render by Ford 19 May 2021




  1. The penny dreadful universe is growing!
    Could it be that the rival is Molly Jane?

    Another aspect of your writing I love is that you paint such vivid worlds/characters by description of details (which are not always the ones expected); a skill you have masterfully own and grow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. (hand waving frantically from the back of the class, like a squirrel on LSD running back and forth on a picket fence)

    Madness and Hallucinations!!!! Madness and Hallucinations!!!

    fun Six

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ditto Spira as to your vivid descriptions, V. You make it rather effortless to imagine the setting, allowing us to sink seamlessly into the “mood” and atmosphere created. Today, I am in the mood for a happy ending, so let this be a ghost story! Except… this ghost is intent on murder so maybe not such a happy ending 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a creator myself I have moments like this…stuck in my insulation clad tower block apartment designing lightsabers…do I have Rivals? Do they try and outdo my works? Or is it just my feverish mind descending into the abyss…or are my Rivals Force ghosts? No, I definitely have real world competitors and I know who they are and they view and sometimes “borrow” my work and ideas.

    Great six sentences and I think your unfortunate author may be suffering the pressures of being creative for creative sake (the “I gotta keep producing to be relevant” syndrome) and falling into madness. I had better make sure I don’t turn out that way too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, FT.
      You said:
      “I think your unfortunate author may be suffering the pressures of being creative for creative sake (the “I gotta keep producing to be relevant” syndrome) and falling into madness.”
      Good observation. This could be a big truth here!
      Find out more in part II of the The Unsettled Author at next week’s SSS!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, you really create an atmosphere of fear and the use of language had me right back in the 18th/19th centuries.
    Eat your heart out, Mary Shelley!
    And you leave me wondering, like the others: ghost or madness? I’d be happier with ghost, but…
    A great piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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