I always figured he’d die young. I scra …

I always figured he’d die young. I scrapped the line and threw it away.

Why did I have to kill him at all?

The mad demands of an editor too bloodthirsty for words. I could not bring myself to kill him. We were in love in a way. I damned him, tore him, pushed him into walls, and he still came back to the page, sighing under the invisible direction of my pen.

The phone rang.

“Did you kill him yet?”

My apartment, dark except for the failing lamp on my desk, felt like a funeral.

I whispered no.

The raspy voice on the other end turned sour. Within two minutes, my editor cut the call. I took the pen from the drawer (where I kept it, uncapped) and brought my character, my paper love, to the precipice again. And then I pulled him back with ropes of ink.