Writing by Federico Patané

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SUMMARY: Entry for the march flash fiction contest "the tournament".

James was sitting in his favorite couch in his living room. In his lap sat his portable computer with it's screen shining white as he stared blindly at it. He tried to focus on the small black line that blinked tirelessly on the top left corner but his mind kept shifting his eyes so some other place in the room.

'I need some inspiration.' He thought.

James cursed out loud. It was of no use. There was no one there to hear him. He got up angrily and placed the computer in the coffee table in front of him. He walked to the bar that was across the room and grabbed a glass. Without thinking he poured a generous amount of whisky and drank it all in one sip.

Then he poured some more.

"The story isn't going to write itself, is it?" he said with much disdain to himself.

He turned around and saw the computer screen facing him. That was not the way he had left it. James felt observed and then stupid.

"What?" James spoke to the computer as if it could answer.

Tap tap tap tap. The keys of the computer began making noises as if someone was typing on them and a black line drew on the screen. From the distance he could not distinguish what it said. He was frozen.

Fear invaded every centimeter of his body. James slowly approached until he could read the letters on the screen.

*I'll write it for you.* was written on the screen.

"Who?" James stammered. " Who are you?"

He began looking around frenetically looking for someone that was not there.

Tap tap tap tap. The keys continued to be pressed on their own and more text appeared on the screen.

"I am you." James read the words aloud.

Again he looked around and saw nothing that was not there before.

"No." he said defiantly to the computer. "You are not me! Are you a ghost?"

Tap tap tap tap.

"You should drink your whisky." James read aloud again.

He looked at his left hand, noticing suddenly that the glass was no longer there. It was on the coffee table in front of him. James felt mocked, but could not explain how it had gotten there.

"This is not funny." He said. "What do you want?"

The fear in his voice was unmistakable. He waited for an answer that came five seconds later. ‘The longest five seconds of my life,' James thought.

"I want to help you write your story." He read again.

James took the glass from beside the computer and drank it's content. The whisky quickly filled his mouth and he felt the alcohol as it slid though his throat. He went back to the bar for a refill but couldn't find the bottle.

"This is not happening to me!" He screamed.

Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. James didn't know how to react. He faced the computer again and saw the bottle on the table beside it and some new text on the screen.

"Pour some more." He began reading after he got near it. "You look like you need it."

James extended his right hand to get the bottle. Shaking, he grabbed the bottle and quickly filled his glass.

"NO!!!" he screamed.

James threw the bottle as hard as he could to the wall, smashing it into several pieces.

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