A Secluded Reunion

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Tristan Tzara said in his 1918 Dada Manifesto : "... [A]rt should be a monster which casts servile minds into terror ...."

"Evil recognizes evil, and the recognition is always painful." - Marquis de Sade

After three years of separation, it was with brutal enthusiasm that I decided to rescue Mina from the dark confines of my suitcase, intent on using her mercilessly. I needed this, just as much as she did.

I settled down in my office chair, preparing to tackle the blank page as most writers do. I was armed with a cup of coffee to the left, a flask of whiskey to my right. Depending on what frustrations the blank page had in store, I was armed either way. As a lover had once told me long ago: you'll never be prepared, but having the weapons of choice at the ready helps. To which I sarcastically scoffed and added a few witty lines of my own.

"My weapon is my mind and the drink, my trusty steed. Like a poetic knight riding drunkenly, to rescue her in need."

Truth is, sometimes the knight needs rescuing. An inebriated man gallops astray often, no matter how well-trained the horse.

Alcoholic irony aside, I would write. In the words of my publisher it was all I could do. My purpose, some seem to tell me. Of course, he didn't care for my style just that it sold well. A TALE OF TWISTED TERROR FROM THE MIND OF BYRON KING.

How many times had that been splashed upon my covers? Countless times. And each one more magnificently quoted than the last. I told Mort Davies that although I appreciated his enthusiasm, his blatant approach to advertising was amateurish. As a publisher he was great. As a friend, his bottom line was exactly that. The bottom line. Still it paid my bills. And he took a chance when others didn't. So, while I was appreciative, equally I remained wisely skeptical.

After a three year break from writing, Mort needed something. Contracts aside, five novels later, he said the world was curious to see if I "still had it" after the accident. I believe catastrophe is a better term in my eyes. How did it affect me? Was I nervous to write again? Rabid horror fans and general journalists alike were dying to know. Same interviews, same questions. Predictably, the same answers, as well. One of them, I was particularly proud of.

"Trauma is brutal and can be a harsh mistress. It either spurs you on, or incapacitates. I assure you. I'm only on a leave. Just like those demons I tuck you into bed with every night... I'm only in hiding. I am always contemplating of when to strike again. And when I do, those wide eyed screams will be my lullaby. And in those blood-soaked sheets, I will finally rest. Sweet dreams."

I guess the reason I judge Mort so harshly, is because I sell myself much better than he could. The fans ate it up, too. I was quite proud of my interview that day. The internet was lit up with that quote. The Good Reads website added the last bit to my author page within 24 hours, as well.

I stared at the blank page, squinting a moment, then relaxing my eyes, and sighed. I couldn't believe it had been so long since Mina and I had collaborated. I named my typewriter after the heroine in Stoker's Dracula, since I had always fancied myself a fan of horror, and from the moments my fingers had touched the keyboard, I knew she would be mine. An Olivetti MP1, manufactured in 1934, in the rare sky-blue shade. Mina was a beauty still today. She had been a gift from my grandfather on my 9th birthday, once my mother spoke of my interest in the writings of Stoker and Lovecraft. The man died of lung cancer just a year later, but his enthusiasm at having a writer in the family, and his birthday present of dear Blue Mina, started a relationship that has been with me 30 years on, despite the advancements of word processors and laptops. She was mine, and we were old friends. A few short stories and even more novels later, she remained my mistress through and through.

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