Malik reached into the grubby paper bag, a shudder running through his arm as his fingers touched the slim plastic tube within. Eyes closed, he carefully gripped the object, drew it from the bag, and opened his eyes to look upon it as it lay across his palm. It was odd, he thought, how such miraculous power could be contained in so small and simple a vessel. But then, he pondered as he reflexively flipped the slim shaft to its most comfortable angle, does the innocuous nature of the conduit not make the power that flows through it all the more... insidious? Surreptitious? He'd find a word later. Now, it was just him and his work.
It took a moment for his out-of-practise fingers to become accustomed to the way the flimsy cylinder spat its contents onto the white handmade paper, but when the fast, spidery script began making its way across the page, the words flowed forth like water from a burst dam: impeded in its quest for far too long, every drop, every atom of the fluid yearning and aching to find its way to the sea from which it had been kept. For years, the people and places, the legends and songs, the plants and animals: all had been trapped within the great simmering vat that was Malik's imagination, but now that they had a way out, they were pouring out of him, becoming solid in the form of words and letters, phrases and sentences, the paragraphs and chapters inexorably filling the reams of paper, that had taken days to craft, in a matter of hours. And still he was not finished.
He began writing on whatever he could find: old food wrappers, scraps of cardboard packaging, the blank backs of the legal records and government documents that were scattered around his house. As he wrote and wrote, concerns for his well-being were left floundering, far from the forefront of his mind. For over two days he neither washed nor ate, he didn't drink except for the occasional sip of coffee, and his eyes never closed except to blink the sweat of his exertions from his eyes Finally, he carefully scratched out the last words of his work across the blank reverse of some canvas that had once hung on his wall, the landscape twisting and distending as it was distorted by the efforts of the much-used nib. With the dying strokes of his apparatus, Malik shaped the final letter of the final sentence of his masterpiece, and heaved a long and heartfelt sigh. Hands trembling, he shuffled the massive heap of writing material into something vaguely resembling order, sat down in his rickety wooden chair, closed his eyes, and waited for the men to come.
It began with shouting. "Malik Oberon, this is the police. You are charged with unauthorised possession of a writing instrument. If you do not open the door immediately, we will we be obligated to utilise force in order to enter." The voice blared through the windows from a loudspeaker held by an officer below Malik's window. Shortly afterwards, the sound of something heavy slamming against the door made its way up the staircase to the study. The wood splintered, and boot-shod feet tramped across the hall, spreading out across the lowest floor of the house. Another team tramped noisily up the stairs, pausing outside the closed study door. A second later, the portal was kicked violently open, and the black-clad men spread across the wall, their weapons aimed at the grey-haired head of the man sitting at the desk, facing away from them. He did not move an inch. Treading slowly, the leader of the squad made his way to just behind the man, and gently touched his gun to the base of the man's skull. At this slight pressure, the head lolled forwards, and with a noise eerily similar to a sigh, the body of the late Malik Oberon fell forwards, his face flattened against the topmost of the papers before him, the spent pen still clutched in his hand.
Lowering his weapon slowly, the leader of the men stripped off his right glove and touched the man's neck with his forefingers. Exhaling slowly, he straightened up and pushed his dark goggles back from his eyes. "Dead," he proclaimed to his troops. "Simons, sound the all-clear, and let's get out of this dump. Oh, and somebody burn this shit." He waved a hand towards the stacks of paper that surrounded the corpse. "I hate paperwork."
Previously posted on my deviantART account here