My humble work lay like a sacrifice before this mad editor upon whose word the whole of industry now turned. I alone knew what labor each careful letter scrawled demanded, the reek of laudanum and ink clinging to the pages still.
My breath held bated in my lungs as his eyes, glossed with filmy blue, peered through the thick portals of the pince-nez perched upon his nose. I could scarce hold still while each second ticked away as interminable as sea rock being beaten into grains upon the strand.
At long last, the man raised his head, tufts of grayed hair sticking wildly from his ears, and let out a sigh that rolled through the close chamber like a death knell. He raised a hand that had surely seen too many days wielding a quill, curved as each finger was in the semblance of a tiny scimitar, and flicked that monstrosity of human flesh my way in the modern fashion of bored dismissal.
“Pass,” he ejaculated, and the lone word sounded to my ears like nothing so much as a knife’s dull edge drawn across the whetting stone.
In that moment, my revulsion for him knew no bounds. I admit to great imaginings: his large corpus walled behind stone, perhaps some bladed pendulum seeking to rend him in two, mayhap a cursed companion to shadow his soul till it could nevermore bear sight of this wretched world.
I knew then what my course must be: to see each of these demises carried through. Already I could hear the scritch, scritch, scritch of nib against parchment as my visions found their fullment. I would allow, nay welcome, this evil, tortured face to haunt my dreams and guide my writings as no opium flower ever could. What greater punishment for this glorified scrivener than to serve as my poor muse?