Babel

Kemi groaned as her eyes travelled to the clock. Two hours away from her deadline and she wasn’t even halfway through. Her eyes travelled back to her desk scattered with pages and pages of crossed out writing. She stared at the page she was writing and crossed it out too. It just didn’t make any sense to her. The cover of her pen was worn out from consistent mindless chewing, yet she clamped her teeth down on it anyway as she struggled to find inspiration.

Writing used to be fun, something that came to her easily. Something she showed to her friends and they giggled over it and told her she was good. Yeah, it used to be fun, till final year in Uni when she wrote Babel and it landed in the hands of a classmate’s boyfriend who worked in a publishing company. Babel became an instant bestseller, sparking off the four other books in the Babel series. She had promised herself each book was going to be the last, but here she was agonizing over the sixth and hopefully final book in the series.

Most of the original characters in the Babel universe were dead already, save for Astharod, the head of the clan and Elimas, his right hand woman. They were the fan favourites and the fans had been rooting for them to get together since the second book. She’d wanted to give them their happily ever after by the third book, but the publisher had refused and made her keep baiting the readers. The longer she held out, the more books she could write, they said. Didn’t she love writing? The pride that came from seeing her name slapped on the cover of five bestsellers? The hundreds of thousands of fans following her on several social media platforms, not to mention her already obese bank account? But she knew her pride as a writer wasn’t their main priority, they just wanted the huge profit that came with selling her books.

Her phone beeped and it was a message from the publisher reminding her not to miss the deadline, and hinting that she leave enough breadcrumbs at the end for yet another book. She laughed at the last part. Those bloodsuckers were hell bent on milking her dry, weren’t they? Well, she was done with it all. Babel, the characters, the publisher, all of them. Death was the end of everything in existence and Babel was no exception. She smirked as she imagined the horror on their faces when they found out that she was killing off Astharod and Elimas. They always said Babel was her best work, the golden goose, they called it. Funny how they called it her best work when they wouldn’t let her publish something else. Well, Babel wasn’t the golden goose, she was.

The thought of killing off the fan favourites excited her way more than it should. A duel? Poison? Betrayed by the clan? Or should they just burn down the entire Babel and take the clan with them in a fierce blaze of glory? The possibilities were endless, she decided, as her pen danced furiously across the pages. Then she heard a loud bang and dropped the pen. The sound came from her window which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. She was going to ignore it and continue writing when she heard the sound again and she got up to look.

As she looked out the window, instead of the vast ocean, she saw a long stretch of deserted land. She blinked and shook her head. Am I hallucinating? She wondered. She looked again, but there was no ocean. Just land.
“Yup, I’m definitely hallucinating,” she said. Perhaps she had been writing for too long and needed to sleep.
She turned around to head to bed, but there was no bed. Actually, there wasn’t even a room. She was in the middle of a forest which for some reason felt very familiar to her.

She didn’t even have time to think when two men dressed in medieval clothing approached her. They felt familiar as well, almost reminding her of….
“Is that her?” One of the men asked the other, jarring her out of her thoughts.
“Yes, she’s the one. We summoned her, and now she’s here.”
Wait, I was summoned? Kemi was confused. Before she could say Jack, she was hoisted by the men and carried into the forest. She struggled, but she couldn’t break free, she just watched helplessly as they went deeper into the forest. They arrived at a clearing and stopped in front of what looked like a hall.

Kemi took in her surroundings, and sighed in frustration. The place was so very familiar, yet she couldn’t remember why it felt that way. Was she dreaming? Hallucinating? In an alternate universe? What was going on? The men entered the hall and dropped her roughly on the ground. She felt a sharp pain as she scrapped her knee, and she cussed under her breath. Looking up, she saw several other people in the hall, staring at her and whispering to each other. A man sat at a table, with a woman chuckling by his side. He turned his attention to Kemi and smiled at the confusion written all over her face.
“Hello, writer,” he said, “welcome to Babel.”

 

©Unit, 2020

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