#59 The Noise of Ideas

by J.M. Cochrane

Lucas chewed on the end of his pencil and swallowed down the taste of painted wood and indecision. Before him lay a blank page, dotted with the hesitant and unfulfilled beginnings of his ideas. With a groan, he removed the pencil from his lips and reached for his sharpener—it was gone.

He cringed when a shrill, mocking whistle shattered the silence. “Wow,” Mel drawled, tossing and catching the missing sharpener. “I see the writing’s going well.”

“Shut up,” Lucas snapped. “I’m just having a little trouble—”

“A little?” said Mel’s sister, Calli. “You’ve been eating your pencil for nearly three hours now.”

Thalia joined her sisters’ game. “Is it possible to get lead poisoning by doing that?”

Lucas moaned pitifully. “Ladies, please. I’m just … finding my starting point.”

The girls’ eyes lit up, and Lucas realised his mistake. Within a moment, he found himself smothered by long hair and sweet scents as the sisters crowded around.

“Let us help!”

“I like this idea! Look—”

“What about this? Clever how he—”

“This has been done—”

I think he should—”

“ENOUGH!” Lucas shouted. He clenched his pencil and repeated softly, “Enough. I know you’re trying to help. You’ve already helped me so much. But I need some time alone—to work for myself.”

The sisters smiled. Their voices united into a single hum as they murmured, “Write, Lucas.

Lucas lost himself amidst pencil and paper as his Muses delved silently back into the shadows.

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