For several hours, I’ve sat at my desk staring at the only line that I had typed. The mystery is due in two weeks, and I can’t function. It is as though my mind has become shrouded in a dense fog. Perhaps the snapping of burning wood in the fire- place, or the driving rain pelting the windows, impairs my thoughts. Although my notes, based on the story were on the desk, I could not apply myself to read them.
As the night passed, I had a vague feeling that every move that I made is being monitored by someone or something. Within minutes, I heard someone clear their throat, and quickly whirled my chair around. To my surprise, I observed a thin man with dark hair and eyes standing in front of me. His clothing was very outdated, similar to the clothing worn in the mid 1800’s. His heavy dark moustache twitched as though he were trying not to laugh.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my study? Were you hiding in the closet?’ I fired rapidly, demanding answers.
“Sir, I was not hiding in the closet. If I were I would have had to pass your desk to be where I’m standing. “
“Then how did you get in here? The study door is locked as the windows.”
“Sir you would not believe me if I told you. So I will show you my method of travel.”
I felt a sudden chill and noticed that the stranger was now in front of my desk and approaching the closet door. I had not seen him pass by my desk and I watched as he approached the closet door and passed through it. I felt as though my heart was beating within my throat, and icy fingers were caressing my spine. I gripped the edge of my desk, my knuckles whitened.
“This is absurd! No one can walk through a door; it has to be a trick.” I felt yet another brief chill and heard someone clearing his throat behind my chair. I whirled around and found the stranger staring at me. I knew distinctively that he had not passed my desk.
“Don’t do that again?”
“Do what sir?”
“Sneak up on me. I didn’t see you pass my desk.”
“What were you expecting upon my return, sir, and a bright flash of light or a loud clap of thunder? Did you feel a slight chill?”
“Frankly not, yes I did feel a sudden chill. I’m becoming annoyed, won’t you tell me who you are.”
“Sir, you felt chilled because I walked through you. I’m Edgar Allen Poe, and actually you’re in my study.”
“You can’t be Poe, he died in 1849.”
“I am indeed Sir, and who may you be?”
“I’m Steve Barker if you must know, and why are you here in my study.”
“Sir, this study was mine until I died. The tapping on that infernal machine, the cursing, and shredding of paper fueled my curiosity, and now I’m here.”
“So you’re actually a ghost, a real ghost!” I didn’t believe in ghosts, but now because of Poe, I quickly realized that they do exist.
“What are you writing Sir? May I sneak a quick look?”
“I’m writing a short murder mystery, and you can’t sneak a quick look.”
“Can I read your notes then?”
“Mr. Poe the answer still is no!”
I felt a sudden chill and found myself staring at Poe’s posterior as he bent over to read what I had typed hours ago.
“Sir, you can’t actually start a story with it was a dark and stormy night, or are you one of those writers that start stories with Once upon a time, or A long time ago.”
“Of course not! Why can’t I start my story with It was a dark and stormy night. After all, it is my story!”
“Sir, it’s trite, I’d say.”
“So, you think that you can do better?”
“Yes sir, I can. For example: The evening sky darkened as heavy dark laden clouds formed in the western sky. Thunder roared in the distance as streaks of bright lightning danced across sky. “
“I have to admit, it is more interesting.”
“Sir, you stated that you’re writing a short murder mystery. I hope that the butler is not the suspect. Butlers are always accused now days.”
“I don’t actually now who the murderer will be at this time, or who will be murdered, until I check my notes. Perhaps, I’ll have the butler murdered.”
“Really? Sir, why don’t you use the computer, stored in the closet, to write your story, less waste of paper and easier to correct your work.”
“Mr. Poe how do you know about computers, they were not invented during your generation.”
“The last writer that stayed here had a computer; I remained invisible, and watched as he set up the computer and printer. For several nights, I returned to the study, in my invisible state, and watched him at work.”
“How did you know that it was a computer?”
“Sir, same as the printer, It stated what they were on the side of the boxes.”
“Oh okay! Now I’m curious, did you ever have the chance to use them without his knowledge?”
“Well one night, I thought that he had retired and gone to bed, so I sat down at the desk. Using one finger, I started to type. As I was typing, the chap entered the room. I don’t think it was the keys mysteriously moving and no one at the desk, that upset him, but the messages that I had typed.”
“What in the hell did you type?”
“I typed “I’m coming to get you, I own your very soul.” He left out a screech, and ran out the front door. The bloke never came back for his belongings.”
“Poe, you didn’t?” I replied laughing. I could very well imagine the poor guy running from the house in a state of fear and panic.
I got up from the desk and went to the closet. I located the computer in the rear of the closet and dragged it out. After clearing my desk and with the help of Poe, I set up the computer and printer. My head was pounding, and I walked over to the sofa and sat down. I needed to sheep.
“Sir, if you’re not going to use the computer, can I give it a try?”
“Certainly, Poe, my head is throbbing and I can’t think at this time. Be my guest, type whatever you want.”
“Thank you Sir.”
I stretched out on the sofa and closed my eyes, hoping that the terrible throbbing would stop. I must have fallen asleep.
Feeling slightly chilled, I sat up. All that remained in the fire-place was ashes, the fire had gone out. I looked around and found that Poe was gone, and on my desk laid the completed murder mystery. I began to wonder if I had dreamed about Poe, and had completed the story myself. However, that does little to explain the note left on top of the printed pages signed by “Edgar Allen Poe. The note had thanked me for allowing him one last chance to help in the writing of another story.