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The Block

By @Xander-Jay-Hulin

The Block

It’s frustrating.

I wish I could use another word, a better one, but unfortunately I can’t. It’s truly unbearable.

I’ve experienced first-hand its malicious intents before, though not to this extent, it can drive me to stare blankly for hours on end, progressing to nowhere further than when I started, even with all of the extensive planning.

What was the point of that planning now?

Evil. It aims for the head and hits where it hurts. Taking the passion of its experiencer and twisting it, it is relentless and it never announces the length of its stay.

Perhaps it takes permanent residence now?

It plants a doubt in its victim, it wreaks havoc amongst their thoughts, it forces them to question themselves and entirely stumps them, prevents their movement and tears possible achievements straight from their weakened hands.

Though, maybe, this could be my first step to conquering it? Too late for this idea.

The journal thumped shut under the writers hand. He was youthful, however the sigh he let out created a persona of an old, tired and regretful man. Setting down his pen and pushing the old diary to one side of his desk, he pulled a second notebook towards him and, feeling almost nervous, yet also hopeful for the first time in weeks, opened the book and flicked two pages in from the front, looking down at his written words as they faltered to a stop halfway down the second page. He took his pen in his right hand again, spinning it around three of his fingers while gazing emptily at the page in front of him.

His feelings sunk.

The pen dropped.

And then this notebook, too, closed.

The young man picked up his phone and flicked through to the contact Fair Reception! and dialled it. As the monotonous connecting ringtone buzzed, he zoned out, going cross-eyes and looking unseeingly at his desk; the two notebooks – his journal and his forever-work-in-progress writing – a mug holding several pens and pencils, a small desk lamp and a charger sprouting from a wall socket, trailing over the desk and laying limply and uselessly next to an old laptop (one that barely functioned, hence the handwritten work).

‘Hello?’. ‘Hello?

The man jolted back into focus, ‘Oh, h-hi, sorry, it’s Lukas, for the event tomorrow’.

‘Lukas Garson?’, the phone voice responded.

‘Yes, that’s me’, Lukas let out another small sigh, ‘I needed to inform you that I won’t be at the fair, I can’t make it’.

‘Oh, but you’re one of our top anticipated speakers and displays’, came the shocked reply, ‘your synopsis blew the organisers away, they’ve all been looking forward to the readings and the book previews’

Lukas turned his attention to a small, dark house spider as it made its way across his desk, stopping at the mug of pens and crawling half way up, a moving speck on a large white expanse.

‘In fact, it’s even more of a shame as extra time was spent on your stand compared to some of the other small writers we’re welcoming tomorrow’, she continued speaking in the background, not knowing she didn’t have the desired focus of her listener and so proceeding with her speech.

 The tiny bug then travelled slowly around the side of the mug and out of sight, bringing the writers attention back to the phone call as he noticed the phones voice had stopped speaking.

‘Sorry, what was that?’, he quickly asked, somewhat sheepishly.

‘Why can’t you make it, sir?’, she repeated.

Pausing to think, Lukas sighed once more and told her, ‘I haven’t fin-‘, he broke off and amended himself, ‘- felt too well, I’m afraid I’m going to be too sick to make it tomorrow’, he hoped she wouldn’t pick up on his change of plan.

‘Well, in that case I will inform the main organisers as soon as possible’, the phone voice replied, sounding let down.


‘Yes, well, I wish you a quick recovery… from your sickness, sir’, did Lukas imagine the insinuating, attacking tone to her voice then?, ‘and if things change by tomorrow, do inform us’.

The man responded, a little flatly, ‘of course’, and hung up the phone after they bade goodbye to the other.

Sitting back in his chair, Lukas wrung his hands together, frustrated and feeling useless. He glanced at the fairly empty desk in front of him, silently cursing the notebook that seemed to have caused him so much annoyance and struggle.

The spider had now reappeared back into view and was traversing the desk in the direction of his journal. The journal in which today’s entry had rekindled some hope in him, some hope he could find the words to keep writing. That idea had been rapidly crushed, he thought.

His eyes closed, shutting off his attention on the spider, and on the books, and on everything as he fell into a welcome rest.

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