LNH20: Writer's Block Person #39: "Too Much Time Inside My Own Skull" Part One

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 09:59:38 PDT 2018

[Early March 2018]

    Writer's Block Person was having a nice picnic. The periwinkle grass 
shuffled musically in the minty-cool wind, and the robinfruit sang in the trees. 
Their picnic partner, a human-shaped collection of tropes named Todd, handed 
them a gyro and a can of god.

    "Really?" said the purply-orange hippo, sunning xerself by the pond. "We're 
starting another issue in the Mindverse?"

    Yes. Now shut up.

    "Todd, could you get me a passport to Turkey on rye... huh?" A coolness 
shivered through the grass and the trees and the sky and the sun. Writer's Block 
Person turned around and walked to the edge of the pond.

    It was a thousand feet deep. The water was dark, and dinosaur skeletons 
jutted out of the sides, but at the bottom, Writer's Block Person could see the 
outline of a door. A door that was more solid than the dream.

    Writer's Block Person felt... a memory, something they'd forgotten... 
running and jumping, strength and warmth... energy flowing, undammed...

    They dove into the pond. Down, down. The warm yellow sunlight softened, 
became blues and greens, purples, exotic flavors of darkness. The door was a 
rectangle, a symbol of a door. The knob glistened in the darklight.

    They hovered in front of it. They held out their hand...

    No. No, couldn't. No, it wasn't-- they had to do something else, they-- they 
were drowning, they thrashed about--


A heap of blankets lay, tangled, at the side of the bed. Writer's Block Person 
sat up out of them. They shook themselves out, stretched, hopped up, stretched 
more, went to get some water, and allowed the dream to fade from their mind...

Later that day, Writer's Block Person was talking on Discord with... *deep 
breath* Whisperion, Gives Hugs Impetuously Lass, Dr. Puppy, Redink, Distraction 
Damsel, Barnabas McGillicuddy, and Edwina the Ultimate Editor. They liked to 
keep all their net.heroing allies in the loop, because miscommunication is the 
engine of boring plots.

|| So, || they typed, || I've now used the Heavy Black Heart emojiform to dispel 
dark magical energy from four different people. ||

|| Wait, really? || said Dr. Puppy (don't think too much about how she types 
with paws, okay). || Totally offscreen? ||

|| Turns out I didn't really feel like writing a bunch of 
darkness-victim-of-the-week stories! ||

|| A number of different people, all happening by coincidence to have contact 
with and infection by dark magical energy within a short period? || said Redink. 
|| That's a break of suspension of disbelief! ||

|| It's definitely not a coincidence! There was an artist who was frustrated 
they couldn't get the images in their head down on paper, a student who was 
frustrated that their teacher didn't understand they were getting 
overstimulated, a comic book artist who was frustrated about being screwed over 
by the company, and a cat who just couldn't catch that goshdarn laser. It's a 
consistent pattern, like a season of Sailor Moon. ||

|| so this is some kinda new spook on the block || said Barnabas McGillicuddy, 
ignoring both proper capitalization and the meta-story references.

|| Yeah, but I don't know what kind yet. I'm fighting the symptoms, but the 
cause of the problem is somewhere out on the streets right now. ||

|| Don't worry! || said Gives Hugs Impetuously Lass. || The good guys are on the 
case, together! It won't slip by us! ||

|| Right, || said Whisperion. || So, what are these darkness-influenced people 
like? ||

|| Well, they look pretty normal at first, but they're really angry - they're 
hyper-focused on whatever problem they're having. When someone really pisses 
them off, they turn into these sort of organic-looking shadow monsters, and they 
start yelling about whatever frustration it is they're focused on. You gotta get 
them to move forward at least a little on their emotional problem before the 
darkness can be properly dispelled. ||

|| Let's see, what else... Oh, like, I always talk to them after, and all of 
them reported, like... these thoughts, like if they stopped caring about hurting 
people, they could get stronger? It sounded like some kind of weird intrusive 
thought. But none of them really cared about getting stronger - honestly, it 
probably helped distract them from the thing they were really angry about. Which 
made my job easier. ||

|| Got it. - Ed. (UE) || said Edwina, whose screen name was on every message 
anyway. || Updating my records now. - Ed. (UE) ||

|| Hey guys!! || said Distraction Damsel.

|| Hey, DD, || said Whisperion.

|| Sorry I'm late for the meeting! There's this guy on the sidewalk outside who 
keeps talking about how he's going to show them all, or something, and there's 
black smoke coming out of his eyes? ||

|| ... ||

|| ... ||

|| ... ||

|| ... ||

|| ... ||

|| ... - Ed. (UE) ||

|| ...welp, time for action! ||

Eight minutes later, Whisperion's moped arrived in Distraction Damsel's 
neighborhood. Writer's Block Person dramatically stepped out of the bucket seat, 
ready for action... put their foot down on an icy patch, and immediately fell on 
their butt. "WAUGHow! ah jeez."

Whisperion slid off the other seat, planting her feet and helping Writer's Block 
Person back up. "Careful now," she teased.

"Rrrgh." Writer's Block Person didn't respond to the teasing with their usual 
gay cheer; their forehead wrinkled in frustration and their cheeks colored in 
embarrassment (and not the fun kind). "God, why's it gotta still be icy?" They 
straightened up and ran their fingers through their scalp, burning off energy. 
"It's freaking *March*, alla these people not caring about climate change, alla 
these people *just not CARING*--" They took a deep breath, let it out, looked up 
at Whisperion. "Just, um, not caring about clearing their sidewalks and such." 
They looked to the side, calmer, and just a bit guilty about their outburst.

Whisperion leaned in, found Writer's Block Person's hand, squeezed it. "Are you 

Writer's Block Person pulled in a deep breath, let it out, sighed. "Yeah. 
Just..." They rubbed their arm, not letting go of Whisperion's hand yet. "I'm a 
really happy person but I'm also a really angry person. I don't show it as much, 
not to y'all, but it's been getting tough lately. It's been so gray for so 
long... this winter's felt like it's lasted forever. And there's been so much 
shitty stuff going on, both in our world [See LNH20 Comics Presents #21 for the 
newest status quo, true believers! - Ed. (UE)] and in the world of the Writers 
and the Readers. [You probably already know! - Ed. (UE)] And now this, coming 
into my cute little life... I just want to protect everybody, and I'm mad I can't."

"Awwww." Whisperion pulled on their hand and they half-collapsed against her 
chest, leaning, sighing. She put her arm around them and squeezed gently. 
"Look... we all know you're doing your best. You're not the only hero around 
here, not by a long shot, and you don't have to be."

"I know..." They took a big breath, let it out. "Hokay." Whisperion let go, and 
Writer's Block Person straightened up and shook themself out. "I'm okay now. 
Thanks for carin' so much, hon~"

"Very welcome, are you~" Whisperion looked around. The neighborhood was full of 
leaf-denuded trees, small but well-kept houses, sidewalks with rock salt laying 
on them. Nothing especially weird... until a white dude in a T-shirt and boxers 
walked out from behind a fence, shouting something incoherent at the sky. "Aha. 
Think I found our man."

"Right!" Writer's Block Person pulled out their pen. "Time to get serious! 

As Writer's Block Person transformed, the man swung around to watch them. 
Frankly, Whisperion thought his expression was kind of creepy - a wide, 
artificial-feeling smile with staring eyes, hidden slightly by a veil of 
darkness - but she supposed that was the kind of thing that happened when dark 
magical energy was affecting you.

All armored up, Writer's Block Person affected a casual demeanor. They walked up 
to the man, slowly, hands behind their head like they didn't have a care in the 
world. "Oh, hey, man," they said, leaning against a tree. "Are you okay?"

...then they dodged out of the way as the man took a swipe at them. "Mmmmm!" he 
grinned. "Now you'll *understand* that I'm here, and I'm not going to be stopped!"

"Right," said Writer's Block Person, pirouetting back out of the way of the 
blows. "Let's go more into that! Who put you down before?"

"Hahaha! They don't matter now! *You* don't matter now!" The man was breathing 
hard. He was sweating a *lot* for someone dressed the way he was in this 
weather, Whisperion noticed. "You fucking idiot! What are you even doing here!"

Right. Whisperion put the butt of her staff down on the ground. Writer's Block 
Person didn't need support yet, but this guy wasn't stopping, and better safe 
than sorry.

"Well I'm *trying* to help," Writer's Block Person grumbled. Then they blinked 
and shook their head. "I mean... whoop!" They dodged under a kick. "Dude - 
whatever's going on with you, I'm here to help!"

"Hah! What are you doing! What are you even doing here!" His grin growing even 
wider, the man planted his feet and flexed. Steaming shadows burst from his 
body, surrounding him. "You IDIOT!" He was wrapped in a cloud of darkness. "YOU! 

The darkness burst away, to reveal a strange humanoid form. Panels of cloud-gray 
hardened material over muscle-red flesh. Exaggerated form, with bulging muscles 
and large hands and feet. Face hidden behind panels of gray, but for two glowing 
green eyes.

"Jeez." Writer's Block Person took several steps back, ending up next to 
Whisperion. "I gotta bad feeling about this. He's already keyed up way more than 
the others, and he's not responding to me reaching out. This guy is way more 
advanced-looking than the others were, too. Look at that color palette."

Whisperion nodded, frowning. "Think we might have to beat him down?" That wasn't 
usually their kind of conflict. What was going on?

"Maybe. Let's try it the fun way first." They pulled out their pen. 
"EMOTICONVERSION! CODE POINT HEAVY BLACK HEART!" Hearts swirled around and they 
switched to their bright sparkly form.

Writer's Block Person held up their hands, and took one encouraging step forward 
towards the monstrous man. Then another. "Hey!" They stopped in place. "Look, 
it's okay! I'm listening."

"And I'm not *talking!*" Shadows *burst* out of the monster's chest and whumphed 
against Writer's Block Person's armor. Lines of cold pain lanced across their 
muscles and nerves, and they choked and fell to one knee.

"Ow ow ow ow *ow*!" They rolled away. "Nnnf, it feels *numb*..."

Whisperion pointed her staff at Writer's Block Person, transforming the dark 
energy in their system into life-force. "Jeez, man!"

Writer's Block Person hopped to their feet. "Right! Magic time! 
Emphemeral-Eternal-Doki-Doki-Blissful-Emotion BEAM!" They thrust out their hands 
and a beam of pink and red and white hearts and sparkles crackling with 
pink-white lightning shot out.

It was immediately met with a beam of shadows, a cloud that seemed ephemeral yet 
was solid against the coruscating energy of Writer's Block Person's beam. For a 
moment, the light and the darkness were evenly matched... and then the shadows 
swirled straight back around the beam and right up to Writer's Block Person's 
body and they lost concentration and BOOM!

They rolled away, steaming, panting, detransformed, palms scraped up on the 
concrete. "Ow ow... nnngh, fuckin' *ow*..."

Whisperion pressed the blossoms on the end of her staff into Writer's Block 
Person's back. The grass turned green under the snow and ice as she channeled 
life-force into them. "Okay, so, it's time to pull back and get some help, right?"

Writer's Block Person pressed their fist to their chest. "That'd be smart, 
but..." They took a deep breath, letting the life-force saturate their body and 
mind. "I think there's something else I have to do. I think this might be the 
next chapter in my story."


"I had a dream last night... about a door that... that I couldn't make myself 
open." They looked up at her. "A piece of my true self I've never let myself touch."

"...okay, but dreams aren't real. Even in our weird, magic-y, technicolor lives, 
dreams aren't real."

"No, but feelings are real." Writer's Block Person took a step back and stared 
at the monstrous man; he stared back, green eyes glowing, claws clicking, ready 
for the next move in the fight. "Feelings are real, and feelings are the power 
at my heart, and there's something I need to let myself feel." They shook their 
head. "But... I don't know what's going to happen. I'm a nice and cool and kind 
person, but... not everything inside me is nice."

"Yeah, because you're human." Whisperion punched Writer's Block Person's 
shoulder lightly and smiled. "You nerd. You're my best friend. I've seen inside 
your soul." She stepped past them, held up her staff. "Whatever's inside you, 
I'll fight alongside it."

Writer's Block Person breathed deep, let it out. "Okay."

They stepped back and held their pen up. Without words, light bloomed, and the 
transformation happened. Behind the helmet, Writer's Block Person closed their 
eyes, and reached down inside themself.

    Down, down... past the everyday feelings, past the troubles and worries of 
this and that...

    Past the deeper, harsh-edged worries about where life was taking them, about 
what if they were fucking up and no one was telling them...

    Past the strange warmth of their preferences and their ideas, all the other 
people they could possibly be and sometimes were, the friendly monsters...

    Down, down, into the silent depths of their mind...

Meanwhile, the monstrous man took Whisperion's step forward as a challenge, 
raising his fists  and charging at her. Whisperion sidestepped, knocking the 
punch away with her staff, and started channeling the dark energy around her, 
pumping it into herself as life-force. I can't do this indefinitely, she 
thought, but buffing my own energy makes me a good enough tank to buy us a bit 
of time!

    The fight was somewhere far away. The image of the door rose up in Writer's 
Block Person's mind. They felt, again, the currents of energy that moved beneath 
it - leashed, but just barely, moving in the darkness, affecting them even when 
they weren't aware of it.

    They reached out their hand... and held it there. They could feel the 
warmth... they could feel the tingling fear... this was *risky*... but it was 
also *exciting*... but...

    What if? What if?

The monstrous man released a burst of shadows, right against Whisperion's body. 
The cold numbness blasted across her skin, but she channeled the pain into 
strength. Around her feet, grass poked through the frozen soil in the cracks in 
the sidewalk, dislodging chunks of salt.

    ...well, thought Writer's Block Person, what if? What if something terrible 
happened? Then they'd deal with it like they'd dealt with all of the other 
terrible stuff in their life.

    What if something wonderful happened?

    They reached out and grabbed the knob. Pure sensation tingled through their 
self. They turned it and tossed the door open, and--

Their eyes opened. "Oh, *shit*."

It was *powerful* and *cold* and shot up through their mind like a geyser, their 
body freezing in place, muscles trembling slightly, taken over by the sudden 
rush of pure, unfiltered *rage*.

The monstrous man roared and thrust their arms out, and Whisperion fell back 
several paces. "Nnnf!" She looked over. "Writer's Block Person, you okay?"

"I..." Oh god. They'd forgotten so many people were so *awful*. Why did they 
have to be so awful? "I don't, um..." They just wanted to protect all of their 
friends and all of the people but every day they had to give money to assholes 
and work for people who didn't care about them and sometimes they would try and 
talk about it and fuck it up and everyone would get angry and why couldn't 
people just give them a break? "I don't... fuck."

Whisperion stepped sideways, keeping her staff between herself and the monstrous 
man. "Writer's Block Person, what's going on?"

She was such a good person and they couldn't protect her, and that was *so 
fucking unfair*, and right now they just needed to tear out these demons and 
tear out the roots of the world until it stopped being so. "I'm just... um, just 

She grabbed their shoulders. "Drew, what's going on!?"

They tried to get these thoughts together, but it was too much, it'd hurt 
someone-- but wait-- no-- needed to let it out-- but it was too much-- but--

And the rage surged and they threw their head back and SCREAMED! A scream of 
defiance! A scream of pain! A scream of *just fucking stop it already*!

A wave of blood-red energy burst out of their body, threw Whisperion back, and 
knocked down the monstrous man.

Whisperion landed on her butt. "Uff!" She shook herself out and looked up at 
Writer's Block Person.

They were breathing hard, looking off into the distance, eyes intense but 
unfocused. Their hands clenched and unclenched as they tried to get ahold of 
themself. Tendrils of red and black lightning coruscated over their body. Their 
armor seemed to flicker in and out of existence around them, and something 
darker seemed to flicker into its place.

"I guess..." they whispered hoarsely. "I guess it's too late to hold it back any 

They threw their head back again, chest thrusting out, and screamed. Above their 
chest, in the air, a symbol appeared - a flat CGI image of a skull, cracking 
with red and black lightning. It started moving towards them - ground to a halt 
- shattered into pieces - the pieces pierced their flesh--

Everything went dark, like the sun had turned off--

The light was back. It shone on a bone-white suit of armor, with accents that 
burned a resentful crimson, and a black bodysuit laced with painful-looking red 
veins. A ragged white cape with burned edges. Oversized red gauntlets, with long 
claws burned soot-black. A bloodstone gem in the center of the chest in the 
shape of a cartoon skull, cracked down the middle, radiating crimson energy from 
the crack. And for a helmet, the skull of an ancient, saurian predator, the eye 
sockets glowing red.

 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 

Drew "part 2 coming next week!" Perron

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