PrymEvil: A Writing Challenge

Note:  This is an answer to a writer’s challenge posted on Greg Schiller over at Gather.  The assignment was to give voice to a fictional character’s complaints.  I chose Prym (a.k.a. Alichino) from my own book, End of Mae.  This isn’t her first cameo outside of the book, but if she doesn’t check the attitude it may be her last.

Alichino & Company

Alichino (Giovanni di Paolo, 15th century).

Ms. Prym paused in the doorway of the small interview room to look around dispassionately before sliding out one of the cheap Formica chairs to sit.  The chair’s metal feet slide across the scarred tile with a nerve grinding screech, causing the interviewer to flinch slightly.  Missing nothing, Prym noted the discomfort and smiled as she sat. 

“Why are you wasting my time?” Prym asked, narrowing her eyes.  Shivering slightly at the cold look, the interviewer thought carefully before answering.

“Mr. Schiller asked me to see you and hear your grievances.” The interviewer said quietly, trying to look disinterested and professional.

Prym made a huffing noise and flared her nostrils.  Her severe pulled back hair style was reminiscent of a psychotically proper Quaker ready for a witch bar-b-que, but the interviewer honestly wasn’t sure which side of the stake this woman would have been on.   After her soft snort of derision, Prym remained silent, relishing the uncomfortable quiet.  After a few minutes, the interviewer cleared her throat and made another start.

“Well, we should probably make this is quick as possible for both our sakes.  Both of us… probably have places we need to be.”  The interviewer wished she had some papers to rustle importantly and offered a smile that faded quickly under Prym’s withering look.  Their eyes connected for a full 30 seconds and the interviewer found her gaze locked onto Prym’s as solidly as if her head were caught in a mousetrap. 

Frozen, mind blanked out, the interviewer felt her discomfort turn into a kiss of fear and wondered if she had passed too close to this character.  Prym’s eyes took on the smoky hue of dying ember before releasing the interviewers gaze.  Close to tears, the interviewer looked away as soon as she was able and cleared her throat again, wondering if there was still time to back out of this position.

“Doubt it,” snapped Prym suddenly, causing the interviewer to jerk in her seat, banging her knee on the metal table leg.  “But tell me, why have you sought to waste my time?”

“It’s because of Mr. Schiller,” the interviewer blurted out.  “He wants to know what your problem is.”  The words were still hanging in the air as a subtle puff of breathe in the cold room when the interviewer wished she could recall them, unuttered.  Prym was quiet, her face still, expression unreadable.  The interviewer thought of a snake before it strikes, taut, motionless and yet somehow conveying the sense that impending doom approached on fast feet.

“Why would I have a problem?”  Her voice cut through the air between them in a soft hiss. 

“He meant… I meant, if you did… have a problem.  A complaint…”  The interviewer’s voice trailed off and the words hung like a conviction in the air.  “You created me,” Prym smiled through teeth that were far too many and too large for her narrow mouth.  “Perhaps I don’t have a problem, perhaps I just am one… yours.” 

She slid her large hands to the center of the small steel table and stood up slowly so that she was hanging over the interviewer, somehow elongating and darkening.  Giving a squeak the interviewer slid her chair back with another nerve rending scream of metal on cheap tile and tripped over the legs, smacking against the wall and leaning there, heart pounding behind her eyes. 

“This interview is over… it’s over now!” she shrieked.  Prym smiled, angular limbs of black clambering up on the table so she resembled something arachnid crouching there, laughter shimmering off her long black teeth. 

“It’s over now!” screamed the interviewer starting for the doorway.  Prym sprang before her, blocking the exit before twisting into an acrid, inky smoke and vanishing, leaving a sooty smear on the tile where she had landed.  “Holy crap!” the interviewer’s voice shook.  “I can’t take this job.  I don’t want to know my characters… no way…”

Her trembling hand grasped the door knob to leave, when a voice whispered in her ear, soft like a kitten’s mewl.

“I am a problem…. yours….”

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She is a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She co-publishes Space and Time, a publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction since 1966. Join the community at spaceandtime.net
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