LNH20: Writer's Block Person #40: "Too Much Time Inside My Own Skull" Part Two
pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Jul 5 17:04:47 PDT 2018
From within the helmet came a voice, swallowing, struggling to get the word
out. "Skull..." They threw their head back and howled. "SKULL WRITER'S BLOCK
Now [still early March 2018]:
"Oh, *heck*." Whisperion pushed herself up with her staff and got to her feet.
Something not-so-nice had actually come out of Writer's Block Person's psyche.
What should she do?
Keep her word. Fight alongside it. She pointed her staff, and energy flowed into
her friend's distorted form; she could feel it distorting along the way, but
they shook themselves out and howled again, replenished.
The monstrous man rose up, tilting forward as if pulled by strings, and stared
into Skull Writer's Block Person's burning gaze. "Ohhh, I see." The sneer came
through. "You think your anger is *special*--"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" With two long steps, Skull Writer's Block Person crossed the
distance between them, ramming their shoulder into the monstrous man and
knocking him askew. "I DON'T CARE!"
The monstrous man staggered back. He laughed, but it had a haggard, stressed
edge. "Yeah you do. Yeah you *do*."
Skull Writer's Block Person ROARED! Their claws lashed out, and sparks burst
from the monstrous man's chest. "People like you just keep fucking with us and
making things hard for no goddamn reason and I can't stand your bullshit
anymore! I! Don't! Know! Why! You! Just! Don't! Be! GOOD!"
The monstrous man let out a grunt of pain, but it turned into a sardonic
chuckle. Shadows surrounded his fist and he took a swing at Skull Writer's Block
Person, who blocked it with a solid arm, then swung that arm out in a powerful,
Holy *cow*. If nothing else, this transformation was having an impact.
Whisperion focused on the battle, channeling the different flavors of darkness
curling around Skull Writer's Block Person into light and life. Maaaaybe this
In Writer's Block Person's head, it was not okay, and at the same time, it
was glorious. It was fire and rage and righteousness and truth and helpless
shouting at the void. And then they heard the void whispering back.
There's so much pain to this, it whispered. The pain of people's suffering.
If you let go of it, you could have this fire, this strength, without the
pain... you could be strong... I made this one strong, but you could be
stronger... get it?
For a moment, Skull Block Person stood, smoldering in place.
"Yeah," they said. "I get it."
With both hands, they *grabbed* the monstrous man, *gripping* the plates of
hardened material on his chest, and *ripped* them away! "I GET that you want to
FUCKING use me like you USED everyone in the FUCKING WORLD, you ASSHOLE!"
The man shouted in pain, real pain, sounding helpless, stumbling back. The
unprotected-- material? flesh? was red-gray, and shadow streamed from it. Skull
Writer's Block Person lashed out along the unprotected flesh, and it bled
bright, bursting in lines of blazing sparks. "You want to turn us all into your
pathetic machines to make money or what-the-fuck-EVER and for WHAT? NOTHING!"
No... whispered a voice.
Whisperion's head jerked up - she heard the voice - *recognized* it, or rather,
the way it threaded through the wrinkles of her brain - this was a *demon*.
For everything... For power... all the power in all the worlds... you could have
it... could be mine... ours...
"Get. The fuck. OUT OF MY SKULL!" Skull Writer's Block Person grabbed the
monstrous head, stared into its glowing green eyes, and *blazed*. Their eyes
burned a red whose color went beyond the physical operation of rods and cones,
an impossible hyperbolic ultrascarlet that burst right through the
electromagnetic spectrum and into the metaphysical.
There was a sound that didn't exist, sheet metal being ripped apart overlaid
with heavy static. The demon was screaming. The man's body was frozen in a
rictus of shock, his face tight, without the glee, without the power.
Skull Writer's Block Person let go of his head, and he fell, boneless, to the
pavement and the grass. They spread their arms and screamed at the sky. "STOP
*DOING* THIS TO ME!"
"Drew, it's *okay*!" Whisperion tossed their staff to the side and raised her
hands. "It's *done*, you can stop--"
"NO I CAN'T!" They covered their face with their claws, panting, great ragged
breaths. She could see the tension in their arms, the little twitches that
accompanied every movement. "It's not *done*, I, Whisperion-- you can feel it,
right-- I--" Their shoulders went up and a series of shudders wracked their
body. "Min-young, I gotta-- they're so awful and maybe I can fix it and maybe I
can *fight* it because they're all *out* there and they're HURTING us and *I
HAVE TO STOP THEM*!" They threw their head back and screamed, and leapt into the
air, and out of sight.
Shit, thought Whisperion, this has officially gone Too Far. Someone had to snap
them out of this. ...unfortunately, she didn't know how. Maybe if the demon--
She looked and nope. The monstrous man was gone. Well, double shit!
Okay, keep it together. Her staff blazed with light and she cleared the last of
the darkness out of her system, clearing her head. They had a lot of allies; who
among them would be best to stop a Writer's Block Person who had gone off and--
Oh, duh. Whisperion looked around. Which one of these was Distraction Damsel's
...well, probably the one with the lawn gnomes in hot pink and banana yellow,
the snow sculpture of humanity swordfighting God, and the big sign that said
"NOT THE HOUSE OF DISTRACTION DAMSEL, THAT'S FOR SURE" on the roof. Must be nice
to live in a neighborhood without a homeowner's association.
Whisperion picked her way across the crazy-paving walk and knock-knock-knocked
on the door with the window painted on it. "Hoy! Alarums! Calls to action!
Distraction Damsel, I need your help!"
The intercom (disguised as a fake rock with a fake key under it) crackled.
"Look," said Distraction Damsel, "I told y'all. I don't fight bad guys, I just
fight heroes when they need fightin'."
"No, no, no," said Whisperion. "It's Writer's Block Person! They've gone berserk!"
A loud squee came out of the intercom, and then it went silent. Whisperion heard
a door open and slam shut on the other side of the house, and Distraction Damsel
ran out from behind a stand of rainbow flamingos. "Eee!" she said.
Hey, wait, has Distraction Damsel been described yet? Wow, no. Okay, I'll do
that now: She's a lanky black girl, speckled with vitiligo, with foofy pink
hair, wearing purple glasses, a holofoil bodysuit, and oversized golden gloves
and boots like in anime or Mickey Mouse. She wears a purple cargo utiliskirt
with oversized pockets full of distractions; glitter, confetti, inflatable
dolls, just one more episode, ponderings on the ineffability of existence, and
so on. Right now she is *very* happy so let's continue with that.
The two of them got on Whisperion's moped and sped over to where all the yelling
was coming from. Skull Writer's Block Person was standing outside a (thankfully
closed) restaurant, yelling at a "NO LOITERING" sign.
"...trying to make it illegal for people to EXIST, or just to be POOR!?" In a
single blow, they slashed the sign to ribbons, scoring the brick beneath with
clawmarks. The one janitor who had been in the place exited quietly out the back
door because they sure as hell weren't dealing with this today.
"Yikes." Distraction Damsel flipped off the moped and ran her hands thru her
hair, making it extra foofy. "This is gonna be easy, tho."
"Seriously?" said Whisperion, raising an eyebrow. "They look pretty focused."
"Watch and learn." Distraction Damsel pirouetted up to Skull Writer's Block
Person. "Hey, nerd!"
They spun, claws at the ready. "Viv! Nrrrrgh--" Their hands went to their head.
"Keep back, I gotta-- gotta focus, I can't--"
Before Skull Writer's Block Person could finish their thought, Distraction
Damsel pointed at them and said, "Why don't you just put the whole world in a
"Er..." Skull Writer's Block Person lowered their hands, and their burning
crimson eyes blinked in confusion. "What?"
"Whoops, wrong one." Distraction Damsel pulled a stack of index cards out of her
pocket and leafed thru them. "Here we go..." She tossed them over her shoulder
and pointed at Skull Writer's Block Person again. "If you're fighting the bad
guys with your new powers, when are you going to have time to write?"
"Uh... well, I guess I'm gonna have to rest sometime, so--"
"And if you're doing that when are you gonna have time to hang out with people?"
"Er, well, if they want to fight evil with me--"
"And if you're doing *that* what about those books you wanna read,"
"and what about going to those community meetings you're always talking about,"
"Or organizing your stuff better, or learning to draw, or having a sexy time, or--"
POP-hwoosh! In a burst of crimson light, Skull Writer's Block Person
de-transformed, and Drew tumbled to the sidewalk. "...ow..."
Distraction Damsel mimed blowing off a pair of six-shooters and stuck them in
her belt. "My job here... is done!"
"Oh, right," said Whisperion. "They de-transform when they can't figure out what
to do. I forgot it worked that way."
[Half an hour later...]
Writer's Block Person finished their turkey on rye and drank their glass of
water. "Thanks." They leaned back. "I feel a lot better."
Whisperion nodded, clearing away the plates. "Good!" She deposited them in the
kitchen, then came back and stood in the doorway, arms crossed. "You gotta take
care of yourself, you nerd, or else shit like this happens."
"Ehe..." Writer's Block Person rubbed the back of their head and smiled. "You're
"Seriously, I was really worried about you." She took a step forward. "You
really can't do shit like that. You're going to really hurt yourself and...
and..." She ran across the room and swept them up in her arms, one around their
back, one around the back of their head. "And you're too important for that.
You're too *good*."
Writer's Block Person made a "mrhf!" noise as she embraced them, surprised but
welcoming, and put their arms around her as best they could. She pressed their
head into her shoulder, and they nuzzled in, standing there for a few minutes,
Eventually, she let go. They gave her a little kiss on the neck, and took a step
back, though their hands were still on her sides. "Sorry for worrying you, hon."
She chucked, smiled down at them. "It's okay."
"I dunno if I'm actually important, tho. Like, Comic Book Resources would
probably call me a C-lister."
Whisperion snerked. "You're important to *me*, nerd."
Writer's Block Person smiled. "Fair fair. Then I guess, since I love you and
all, I gotta take care of what's important to you. Which means..." They let go
of her, spinning to point into the distance melodramatically. "It's time to
activate... The Zero Closet!!"
Whisperion gasped, then clenched her fist. "Good luck!"
"Thank you!" Writer's Block Person leapt over to the closet, tossed the door
open, then spun dramatically to look at her. "I'll need it!"
Whisperion held up her fist for a moment, trembling... then broke out in
guffaws. "Heeheeheehee. Okay, weirdo." She blew them a kiss. "Have fun, I'll
hang out and finally get some reading done."
Writer's Block Person giggled. "Thanks, hon, you're a peach~" They stepped into
the closet and closed the door behind them.
This had originally been a hallway, back when this building was a set of deluxe
luxury apartments for the robber-baron-era Pittsburgh elite. Now, it was a
big-ass closet with several smaller closets along the walls. It was also an
excellent space to be alone with one's thoughts.
With one flip of a switch, the closet was bathed in light from several
full-spectrum lamps. Writer's Block Person sat on the floor, leaning against the
wall, letting the light fill them.
Slowly, the wisps of seasonal depression rose out of their mind. They inhaled
slowly, exhaled slowly, letting the random activity of their mind settle down.
When it felt like they'd reached some kind of equilibrium, they reached up and
turned off the lights.
The darkness was a closet, a close, confined space. And Writer's Block Person
took their mental model of the space, and made the walls fall away. It stretched
off, now, in all directions, their surroundings one part of a vast space.
In the space, a door rose up - not like the one on the depths, but familiar,
solid, the door that you can open and say "I'm home!" And with a little creak
and a jingle, the door opened. Two figures stepped through.
One was an anthropomorphic bull, long-horned with orange, shaggy fur. She was
six feet tall, muscular, and wearing a flannel shirt and magenta-pink denim
overalls. Through her nose was a ring in the shape of a Venus symbol.
[Bedelia Dunaidh. Highland Cattle bullwoman. Strong and warm and proud of you.
Playful and powerful. Horn-y on main.]
The other was a woman whose paleness was the hard-earned result of many days
spent inside. She wore a black crop top, a holofoil skirt and wraparound
reflective shades, plus dark blue glittery lipstick.
[Nyx. The ultimate '90s hacker. Sparkles and neon and scrolling green letters.
Snarky as hell. Loves to not give a fuck.]
Bedelia closed the door behind her, and with a wave of her hand, it slipped down
into the endless mindscape. She stood, relaxed and confident, a pillar of strength.
"Well!" said Nyx, leaning back against the wall with a smirk. "That didn't go
"Now, now," said Bedelia. She knelt down and put her hand on Writer's Block
Person's shoulder. "How are you doing, love?"
They sighed. "Well, not as bad, but..." They shook their head. "God, I could've
really hurt someone. I mean, I *did* hurt someone, but someone who, y'know,
wasn't physically attacking me. ...which I still feel guilty about, anyway."
Nyx rolled her eyes. "You were halfway to burning yourself out as it was. You
would've taken a swipe at an innocent rando and keeled over from anxiety."
"Well, maybe." Writer's Block Person rubbed their upper arms, looking oddly
comforted by the idea. "Still... ugh." They shook their head again, looking down
at their feet. "I was so hungry to do things, so hungry to unleash my anger on a
deserving target..." A lonely howl sounded from far away. "I still am."
"That anger's still in you," said Bedelia, "though it's cooled, now that you've
released it. And that's no bad thing; there is much in this world to be angry
about. The trick, of course, is keeping your own will and compassion in the face
Writer's Block Person sighed. "Yeah... mnnnngh... bleh. I just want to be
effective." They ran their fingers thru their hair. "It's so hard to feel like
I'm *really* doing anything. Like, people are suffering in ways I can't help
them with, because of what somebody did to them, or what somebody's doing to
them now. Even inside my cute little bubble, sometimes." They sighed, looking up
at the invisible ceiling.
Bedelia stepped behind them and sank her fingers into their hair, rubbing their
scalp. "You *are* being effective. You're supporting people, every day. You
don't always see the results immediately. Sometimes they seem unaffected,
sometimes they just get frustrated at themselves or the world, end up screaming
or burned out. But that doesn't mean they *are* unaffected. Every little gesture
of support matters. It creates a pattern of support; it becomes part of people's
lives, a feeling like there *is* support out there, even if it isn't available
They sighed. "I know. It's just hard when I *can't* see it."
She smiled. "You're a dandelion."
They tilted their head back, looking up at her. "...thank you?"
Bedelia laughed, rich and husky. "You want to plant the seeds of people's
stability and goodness, but you don't realize you already are. You're just
planting them willy-nilly, like dandelion seeds blown by the wind, letting
kindness float out into the world. Your reckless love lands and grows all over
the land. And you really don't need to worry that any one gesture of support
falls flat, because there's a dozen more growing tall and strong and
nigh-impossible to root out."
"...awh." Writer's Block Person took a deep breath, let it out. "That's...
really good to hear."
"Excellent, you deserve good things."
They sighed. "Still don't really know how to deal with this anger, tho."
"That's my cue." Nyx stepped forward... and flopped down lazily over Writer's
Block Person's lap, making them oof. "So nerd, one question." She snuggled into
place, relaxing. "Why you gotta be so angry?"
"Well, 'cause of all of this awful stuff, I thought I said."
"Nah nah nah." Nyx stuck out a finger and booped them on the nose. "You're not
listenin'. Why do you *have* to be angry? Izzit fixin' the problem?"
"I mean... not really. But I just *am* angry."
"Yeah, but that's the thing." She sat up, putting an arm around their shoulders.
"You've *got* those feelings, but you don't gotta *feel* them all the time."
"That's true," said Bedelia. "You're trying to deal with every bit of it at once."
"Yeah, but..." Writer's Block Person slumped back, boneless. "I worry that, if I
don't make sure I feel all of the bad things as they come up, I'm going to fall
back into a place where I *can't* feel them, where they're just lurking below
the surface, fucking with me unpredictably." They sighed. "I've worked so hard
to get outta that place..."
Nyx sat up in their lap. "First off, yeah, yeah, fair." She wrapped an arm
around their shoulders. "Second... you're an idiot." She pressed her fist down
and gave them a noogie.
"l;fgljkfd!" They flailed!
"You *did* work stupid hard, and you're not gonna undo all that work just by
takin' a break from feeling it!" A-noogienoogienoogie and Nyx let go.
"I, bu, I..." Writer's Block Person attempted to words and failed.
"It's true," said Bedelia. "Distancing yourself from your feelings in the moment
can absolutely be healthy, as long as you let yourself work through those
feelings when you have the time and the focus."
Nyx nodded firmly. "I know you hate all that '90s ironic distance bullshit, but
there's a reason people liked it." She mussed up Writer's Block Person's hair
and they wiggled. "It's okay to fuckin' enjoy it, nerd. 'S not going to ruin
your precious emotional vulnerability."
"Yeah... I guess so." Writer's Block Person ran their hand thru their hair and
Bedelia grinned. "Well then." She leaned down, picked both of them up in her
arms together, and squeezed them in a tight hug. Nyx acked and flailed. Writer's
Block Person was squished between them, and for a moment, was crushed in
Nyx managed to wriggle out and hop down, and Bedelia put Writer's Block Person
back down on the floor, and smoothed out their hair. "We'd best let you take
care of things now."
Writer's Block Person shook themself out and nodded. "All right."
Bedelia waved her hand and the door rose back up out of the darkness.
Nyx hopped up. "Remember when this series was all about getting an issue done in
a day? Hah!"
Bedelia opened the door, releasing a breath of summer. "Take care, dear," she
said. "Remember, we're always with you."
"I know." They smiled. "I can feel you cheering me on."
"Right, 'n just so you don't forget." Nyx pulled off her sunglasses and gave
them a toss, with a spin that landed them directly in Writer's Block Person's
lap. "Catch ya on the flipside~"
The door closed. Writer's Block Person sighed, and opened their eyes. The
darkness was just darkness again. They flipped on the the light - not the sun
lamps, just the regular lightbulb. The closet was just a closet again.
But the sunglasses were still in their lap.
Whisperion looked up from her book as the door to the Zero Closet creaked open
and Writer's Block Person stepped out. "How'd it go?"
"I feel better," they said, looking down at the sunglasses. "But... I'm not sure
what my next step is."
"That's fair. Wanna hang out and chew it over?" Whisperion patted the couch next
"Yes please." They sat down on the couch, their legs over her lap, and relaxed.
They got out their phone and started checking their messages. Ah, Edwina was on
another ramble about proofreading on the Discord server.
| ...and, as no messaging client as yet supports the "new paragraph" symbol, I
propose that it be created as a transparent image and included in our server's
list of custom emoji.
Thank you for your time. - Ed. (UE) |
"Please don't scream in my ear," said Whisperion mildly.
[A couple days later]
Whisperion and Distraction Damsel were having a nice picnic. It was a bit chilly
for it, but the sun had come out and most of the snow had melted, so they didn't
care. They sat on a blanket in the park, and snacked on sammiches and chips.
Writer's Block Person stood in front of them, bouncing from foot to foot. They
were already transformed, and holding their sparkly purple transformation pen in
one hand. "So, I had to practice this a lot, but I think I got it down. You
ready? Um..." They bounced a bit, caught between excitement and politeness.
"Need any more food, or... anything?"
Whisperion laughed and shook her head. "We're ready!" She gave them a thumbs-up.
"One hundred percent up for learning your strategies so I can take advantage of
it later!" Distraction Damsel gave two thumbs up.
Writer's Block Person giggled. "Okay, then..." They held the pen out at arm's
length. They took a deep breath and...
...reached down inside, down deep, it was easier this time, finding that
door. They took the knob and they didn't have to fling it open, they could open
it just a crack, hold their position and just feel what they wanted, what they
Click! "EMOTICONVERSION! CUSTOM CODE POINT! SKULL WITH COOL SUNGLASSES!"
A flat CGI image appeared in front of them, of a cartoony skull wearing
sunglasses. It flew into their form and exploded in CGI flames, and when the
flames died down, they'd transformed.
Their armor was shining white with bright red accents and a simple black
bodysuit. Along the sides and back of their chestpiece were vents. Their cape
was red, with a line of white fire running along the bottom. On their head, atop
their helmet, was a white trilby hat with a black band, held in a rakishly
tilted position, and their visor was shaped like sunglasses as well. In place of
their belt buckle was a bright red lever, and In the center of their chest was a
ruby with the silhouette of a skull wearing sunglasses.
"Yessss!" They pumped their fist. "Okay, and now..." They held out their pen
again. "PEN IS MIGHTIER! BONE OF MY SWORD!" Click!
In a fiery flash, the pen transformed into a curving white sword with a sparkly
purple grip. Bony protrusions curved out of the pommel, and in the middle, a
skull-with-sunglasses-shaped ruby was mounted.
"Ooooh!" "Ahhhh!" Whisperion and Distraction Damsel applauded.
Writer's Block Person grinned under their mask. "Right, and..." They started
going through basic sword exercises, stepping back and forth, the blade slicing
through the air, fighting against an imaginary opponent.
As they practiced, memories floated into their mind, and they let them come.
Memories of the monstrous man, and the things he'd said. Memories of the times
they hadn't been able to help. Memories of the people who seemed to sit,
apathetic, in the face of suffering. They held their position, letting the anger
through as a natural flow, not an explosion of pain...
And as the anger rose in them, the bone-white blade began to glow. Gradually, it
heated up, turning a lurid red. Writer's Block Person's movements became more
forceful, more decisive, the sword swings accompanied by plumes of steam. They
spun and danced, the anger rising and rising, and they used it, and they used
it, and it became almost too big to use and...
Their off-hand went to the lever at their belt. They raised their sword for a
decisive strike, and pulled the lever; and the anger in their body exploded out
into the world, and steam burst from their vents, and the sword flashed a
brilliant crimson, and they brought it down in a burst of blinding light.
When the light faded, Writer's Block Person was kneeling on the ground. The
sword was white again, wisps of steam rising from the blade and from their
vents. For a moment, all that was audible was the wind...
Then they bounced up and shook themselves out. "Whew!" They de-transformed, put
the pen away, and ran their hands thru their hair, grinning. "That's better.
Sometimes ya just gotta let off some steam."
Whisperion laughed, standing up and pulling them into a hug. "That's great!"
"Good job!" said Distraction Damsel, munching on chips. "Lots of color, ten
Writer's Block Person laughed and hugged. "God. I feel so much better."
"Yeah?" said Whisperion.
"Yeah! I can live in this world, face its awfulness, without freaking out.
And..." They turned, and looked off into the distance, fist clenched. "When that
guy comes back for a rematch-- I'm ready!"
[June 2018, over three months later]
"...REALLY, CAPTION BOX?" Writer's Block Person, in a Squirrel Girl T-shirt and
a light summer skirt, flopped over Whisperion's lap. "Uuuugh. I'm worried about
"He *did* try to kill you," said Whisperion, petting their hair.
"Yeah and probably I killed him. Probably I straight-up killed him gaaaaaaah."
They rolled over, mooshing their face into a pillow.
Whisperion rubbed their back. "Hon, he disappeared straight away. Probably went
off to recover."
Writer's Block Person propped themself up on their elbows. "I *guess*, but why's
it been so long? Ugh, I also hate the idea of him just lurking out there, doing
"He also seemed to be pretty focused on you, as an enemy." Whisperion pet their
hair. "I'm sure you'll get that rematch."
"I guess..." They sighed. "I just don't want someone else to suffer for my
personal development. Even if it's a demon guy."
"That's fair. But you can't affect it right now. The worry's not useful right
now, so put it away and live your life."
"Yeah, you're right." Writer's Block Person sat up, and stretched out, and
looked out the window. "For now, it's a new day, and we keep moving forward."
"That's right." Whisperion handed Writer's Block Person a roll of paper towels
and a bottle of spray. "And you can move forward by cleaning the bathroom grout."
Writer's Block Person blinked in surprise, then snerkgiggled. "Awwww, but I'm
having an emotional moment!"
"Look," she grinned, "you *told* me to make you do it, so I'm makin' you~"
"And what are you gonna do if I don't? Spank me?" They stuck out their tongue.
"No, I'm gonna TICKLE YOU!" She leapt on them and began the torment.
On the corner of the dresser, a pair of sunglasses glinted as the sun began to
set. Life went on.
Author's Note: "Min-young" is a Korean given name. Whisperion's is specifically
spelled with the hanja pronounced "min" that means "clever" and the one
pronounced "young" that means both "flower petals" and "heroic". Distraction
Damsel's first name is Viviana. It doesn't have any especially relevant meaning,
I just liked it - which seems perfect for her.
Drew "would you like some *feelings* today" Perron
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