Six Sentence Stories – The Unsettled Author (part II)

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

Join us and take part in the form here. This week’s cue word is: Powerful

The Unsettled Author

Part II

(Mesdames et Messieurs, in response to your queries to Part I)

But what if… I were to tell you that my descent into madness has reduced me to the occupation of a voyeur staring one-eyed through the keyhole into a chamber of horrors; that no matter how many times I take up keys to move to new lodgings, I will always be confronted by the same ghosts and terrors, the same bad omens as bleak as black cats and chacka-chack-chacking magpies unfed and begging for scraps – and those wicked imps at night, sat upon my chest to divine powerful nightmares for a shilling-a-piece entry into a collection of tales you dare not read after the stroke of midnight…

What if… my madness is naught but the hard pip at the core of a writer’s block, seeded indeed by the need to succeed in the vulturous halls of a literary world foaming at its mouth for the next big thing?

What if… I have been locked in an asylum all this while, under the delusion I am some famous writer?

What if… I’m simply finding myself in a temporary pickle, a melancholy pot pourri; floundering around in a quicksand bath, for which it seems there is no plug to pull nor way to climb out?

What if… when you – yes you – I’m talking to you now – are next writing your stories or crafting art at your workbench, your table or desk… what if, suddenly… you feel fingers alight upon your neck, become aware of the aroma of gin and cigarettes, the presence of a stranger within your comfort zone, that voice you recall you have heard before –

And, Lord, O, when you turn around, look, there I am, right behind you, and you recognise your own fragility in the searing corona of my eyes, and you damn my presence and at the same time your own, as we call out in unison: This is my house and find ourselves at the most extraordinary impasse.    

Editor’s note: My micro-story The Unsettled Author is a ghost tale trilogy about a writer who is uncertain if she has: A) descended into an inner world of madness and hallucinations, or B) is being haunted by the malevolent spirit of another writer. Or C) … ?

In part II, we pose the question… what is ‘C’ ?

The Unsettled Author II micro-story by Ford 27 May 2021

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

Previous chapters:

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.


  1. Mesdames et Messieurs, we should be more careful of what we wish/inquire cause, as you witnessed, The Mage responds, reflects!

    These Six sentences were as loaded as a shotgun with Buckshot.👏

    [ On a personal note, I’m glad my daemonia nymphe, so far, only speaks to me like ““Don’t listen to them. Your utopia is nothing less than a reality that hasn’t manifested itself…yet. What is impossible, Spira? “
    As soon as I’ll sense gin and cigarette, then…thanks for the heads up!! ]

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks my friend. Sharply so too. I was inspired by last week’s comments. All good, then along comes a tap-tapping on my shoulder, and, oh-oh… “there will be a part III, and then we are done,” so she said. “Okay,” I replied. “But you still haven’t told me your name?”

      And then she whispered in my ear…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Way to hit those hidden nerves in us, ‘write?-well-no-its-just-something-I-enjoy-doing-as-it helps-externalize-any-childhood-trauma-dregs’, types.

    Don’t tell anyone I said this, ‘But how can any of us really be sure?’

    Worse, I am beginning to suspect the more we work the depth of our life-mines, for people, places and things, the more the risk of cave-in or flood of toxic gas….

    Hey! Great Six. Excellent continuation of a most enjoyable series/serial.

    …about those life-mines? mums the word!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clark. Life-mines… I like that. And the risk of cave-in of floods… that too.

      I believe our unsettled author protagonist is only skimming the surface in terms of her own life-mines; a maybe unique set of terms in which her life played out untroubled from childhood to adulthood… then along came the most overdue shock to her entire eco-system right at the bitter end…
      I also believe the answers will be revealed at the next Six! (if she allows me) 😉


  3. “Are you talkin’ to me?” Sorry V, it just came out, lol. And I haven’t (sh, don’t tell anyone as I can’t believe it my own self) seen the movie!
    What a relief there will be a Part III as I am so enjoying your writing in these 2 Sixes. And who among us writers or any artist (no Spira, I am not talkin’ to you 🤣 except to say, nothing is impossible) has not wondered about their “sanity” at some point along the timeline. Totally engaging story, V.
    So what do you think? Want to suggest next week’s prompt word? Given of course we haven’t used it in the last 6 months 😎

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shhh… I won’t tell anyone 😉 Glad you’re enjoying this somewhat unexpected ‘trilogy’ Six of mine, D 😎 (I have come to learn since joining here that the 6SS can take you on the most unexpected journey!!)
      Would love to suggest the next prompt word, thank you kindly… how about ‘Celebrated’ or ‘Disposed’ or ‘Presence’ ?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t wait for part III! You carry the tension so well with the series of ‘What if’s…
    (I read somewhere that one of the symptoms of depression is ‘what if-ing’.)
    Last week I was hoping for a ghost, this week I’m leaning towards madness and the fact that we carry our demons with us.
    Next week will tell. A great piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jenne, glad you’re enjoying this short serial. Ghosts or madness… and that we carry our demons about us, yes. All being well all shall be revealed at the next Six!
      Regards, Ford


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