Inspiration Overdose


A long, long time ago (or perhaps not so long ago at all), there was a war in Subreality. Many died, Writer and fictive alike. Chaos reigned - and it seemed that all who inhabited Subreality were doomed; that the darkness was taking over. It came so close as to seem like the end of the world.

But then it was wished away. The war and the chaos disappeared as if they had never been. History was re-written, the slate wiped clean. And the Writers... forgot.

But Subreality did not.

Within the House, it was the Writers' nightmares that broke the spell - but elsewhere, it was different.

Elsewhere, it was not a dream, at all.

"What is it this time?" the young medical fictive demanded of the paramedics as they wheeled the gurney into Subreality General.



This was the second time this had happened this week. Andri was getting damned tired of it. He checked the pulse on the unconscious Writer, hoping against hope that they'd gotten to him in time.

No such luck. The pulse was fading. Shallow.

"Get her on support! Now!" he hollered to his intern on the other side of the room.

There was nothing more to be done. Andri stood watching as they worked on the Writer. He'd never seen her before - she was probably a Fringer.

They stabilised her. That was all. Nothing any of them did could make her regain consciousness. She simply slumbered through the noise and the panic as if entrenched in some awful nightmare.

::She probably is,:: Andri reflected as he settled her into her room. This was burnout. The worst kind of Writer's Block. Sometimes made him glad he was just a fictive, and didn't have to worry about such things.

This Writer was far-gone. Comatose. She wasn't coming out for a long time. He shook his head, his teeth clamped shut against emotion as he realised what had probably happened to her Muse to cause this.

The paramedics had said that they expected to find a body in the morning.

Andri Kiln felt tired enough to be comatose himself. There seemed to be a trend developing. More and more Writers were burning out. He looked over the charts of the five currently in his ward, and wondered: could things in Reality possibly have gotten that bad? He quickly answered his own question. The ends of the balance between Reality and Subreality were always extremes, either identical or opposite. If things were bad here, they were either much better out there, or much, much worse.

And from his end, it didn't look like it was better outside.

"Hard day?" asked a quiet voice from behind him. He didn't look around, just nodded.

"Five Writers in the ward, ODed."

There was a quiet gasp from behind him.

"Any chance of..." she began, but he interrupted her.

"No. Not because of us, anyway."

"How's that?"

He tipped his head to meet the gaze of the azure-skinned, black-haired, brown-eyed Sprite who stood behind him.

He rubbed awkwardly at the back of his aching neck.

"Here, let me do that." The Sprite began to massage his shoulders.

"The problem isn't here. At least, it isn't starting here," he explained as she prodded his shoulder muscles into submission.

"It's out there. In their own Realities. I can't do anything, Irea."

"No, you can't," she agreed, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and kissing the top of his head. He rested brown hands on her forearms.

"Why don't you focus on the ones you *can* help?" she suggested.

"You mean abandon them? I can't..." he pulled out of her embrace and turned his chair to face her.

"No." She silenced him by way of a finger on his lips. "You've done all you can, haven't you?" she asked.

He nodded.

"Then stop obsessing over it and think about your other patients."

He sighed. "Sometimes I wish I were back in Kesh, fighting Shadows. At least the laws of time and space were relatively constant there," he mused. "And it's not just the Writers I'm worried about," he admitted.

"The fictives," she stated.

"And the Muses. This is burnout, Irea. You know what had to have happened to their Muses for this to happen."

"Oh, no." She mouthed the words, didn't really say them.

"Yes," he answered, shaking his head. "This is getting worse," he continued, when she didn't answer. "I can't imagine how bad it must be out there to cause this."

"I don't want to," Irea said. "Could this spread? To us?"

"Don't know that, either." he answered, standing up and wrapping his arms around her.

"Might be, might not."

"A disease..."

"Maybe a disease, maybe a virus. Maybe."

Her eyes widened at the mention of the second possibility. For an entity that came from inside a computer, a virus was a greater threat than one might imagine.

"Sorry," he said, apologetically.

"What would happen to us... if this happened to Chandri? And Tris?"

The young medical fictive shuddered at the idea.

"Chandri's stronger than that," he said, carefully avoiding making any judgements about Tris's strength of will and even sounding as if he believed his own words.

"I hope so," Irea said.

"So do I," he replied into her hair.

The two fictives, Sprite and doctor, stood enveloped in each other's arms. No one else seemed to be seeing what was happening to Subreality, the Writers, whatever it was. Andri only hoped that someone would, before it was too late.

Subreality concept discovered by Kielle, all hail.
She gets auto-posting-permission. Anyone else, ask.
Tris is my Muse, and as far as I know, belongs to herself.
Irea Nerimari is a Reboot fictive from The Twilight Arc, written by Lise and myself.
Andri Kiln is an original character from my own story, The Key to the Iyanil, and belongs to me. This version, however, seems to have taken a liking to Subreality Hospital and I believe intends to stay there. I therefore make him public domain. Ta da!
The concept of Inspiration Overdose came from Seraph's poem, A Wonderful Drug.
I'm pretty sure that's it. If I forgot anything, don't sue me. I have no money.