In the deepest, darkest recesses of my head, there is a room.
When it is time for me to begin, I walk down a long, dim corridor in my mind, and I arrive at a door. It is heavy and made of the strongest material I can imagine. It has to be. To keep them in.
As I approach this door, I can hear them. Some of them are screaming. These are the loudest. But there are others who speak or mumble or whisper to me in the softest and sweetest tones. But they all have one thing in common. They want me to open the door.
I reach into my pocket and withdraw a solitary key, a key that might also take the shape of a pen. I fit it into the keyhole, and turn it. With the resounding echo of the thick bolt hammering back, the voices fall utterly silent.
Nervously, and with my breath held in my lungs, I open the door. The hinges creak and groan, and I stand in the doorway. I look at them, and they look at me.
They are all here. All the characters whose tales have yet to make it onto my page. Some are only the vaguest of shapes, dim shadows in the corners. Some are more well-defined, but are missing pieces of themselves. They are not ready. Others, very few, I can see with perfect clarity, and they speak to me with voices that do not simply sound like my own.
But there is always one. One who shines brighter, or darker, than all the rest. One whose voice rises above the cacophony. One who inevitably steps forward, and takes the place before me. One who glares all the others into submission.
Together we step across the threshold. None of the others dare come forward. It is not their turn. I close and lock the door behind me once again, with a silent promise that I will return.
I look at her. She is not the first, nor will she be the last.
“Come, writer,” she says. “It is time for you to tell my story.”
With a certain reverence, I bow my head.
She leads. And I follow.