The Elf and the Writer by Bill Davidson

Of writer's block, a last ream of paper,
and a blinking cursor on a blank screen...

A writer, for reasons that have been forgotten, ceased to be able to write and became so poor that he only had cash for one last ream of paper. That night, he went sadly to bed, leaving the cursor blinking on a screen which held not a single word.
In the morning, he awoke to find a complete short story sitting before the printer. He was astounded and knew not what to think of it. He read the story through and found it better than anything he had ever written. It was a strange story about a lost elf and how through years on years he had become forgotten and even forgot himself.
The writer submitted the story and almost at once it was accepted, the editor offering a substantial royalty.
Now, the writer knew full well that the story was not his and that night went to bed with a troubled conscience. But in the morning, he awoke to find another story concerning the same elf and his brother and how they first went out into the world, full of hope and generosity, to give help and succor to those in need.
This story too was quickly accepted, and the writer went to bed that night in great excitement.
The next morning, the writer found yet another story. This was a darker tale, telling how the brothers were misused and how ingenious people could be in service to their own greed, forever trying to enslave the benevolent elves. It told how a lantern maker trapped the elf’s beloved brother inside one of his lamps, forcing wishes from him till the desperate elf enchanted his captor so that he became the very lamp itself. As for that good elf, he was no more, and his brother was alone in all the world.
The editor was very pleased and told the writer these tales would surely make his name and fortune. That night, the writer only pretended to go to bed.
The following day, the editor was pleased to see that another story had arrived from the writer. This was a tale of a lazy and wicked author, who was offered a great gift from a kind elf. The foolish man tried to enslave the elf but was instead trapped inside the lines of his story, doomed to spend eternity telling of his own wickedness and deceit.
That was the last time the editor ever heard from the writer. Indeed, no one ever heard a word from him, save for anyone who reads these lines.

Bill Davidson is a Scottish horror and fantasy writer who got the short story bug about a year ago. Since then, his credits include such publications as Flame Tree Publishing, Storyteller, Dark Lane Books, Under the Bed, Emerging Worlds, Metamorphose, Tigershark publishing, and Storgy Magazine.

Check out his website: billdavidsonwriting.com

STORY Art by Amanda Bergloff

Comments

  1. Very clever, dark twist to that mysterious elf lending aid to a befuddled beneficiary scenario. The explanation of the elusive elf writer is quite chilling and really surprised me. Very well done!

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  2. Loved this story. I often thought I would leave cookies and hope that ‘elves’ would finish writing my papers for me when I was a student. I can see it wasn’t such a good idea. 🙃

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