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Unread and Dead

Where stories go to die..

“Owwww!!! What was that?” I yelled.

“That was a reader,” someone close to me said.

I looked around at the clusters of loose paper scattered all around the room. The floor was completely covered and in some places stacked with the typical 8.5” x 11” printer paper. “Oooompfff!! Yikes!!” I blurted out as I felt a sharp pain in my margin and watched as a 5” spike heel left a mark. “What is this place?”

“Don’t you know?” he said. “This is a place where writers submit their stories for publishing.”

“What are we?” I asked.

“We are stories,” the voice said.

Just then a loud applause filled the room and I looked around to see brightly colored paper lined up neatly on a well-lighted bookshelf. Voices were rumbling and laughter was heard. “What’s going on now?” I queried.

“Another story has been read and has received a high rating and lots of comments,” he yelled over the noise. I watched as reader after reader pulled the brightly colored paper from the shelf and read it. Then more applause and someone began singing. A happy place up there for sure.

“Those are the lucky ones,” he said. “They are the ones who make it to the charts. The ones who have many friends who support and encourage them.”

Before I could answer a reader’s boot came full force down on my header and just nipped my footers. “Pha-tooey!!” I spit. My first taste of boot heel.

“Relax kid.. you get used to it after awhile,” he said in a voice filled with resignation.

“So what about us then?” I asked the old-timer.

“Ahhhh..” he said. “We are the unread and dead.”

I looked around at the blanketed floor of the room. The feet of readers walking on the pages covered in stories and poems and musings and songs. So many words meant to convey drama and romance and humor. So many sentences and paragraphs extolling the virtues of mankind and the struggles of faceless persons in love. So many of us unread and dead.

In a trembling voice I asked, “What’s to become of us?”

There was a long silence before he spoke in a voice deep with wisdom. “We have purpose kid. We are the struggle of every writer who hones their skills and practices their craft. Some get lucky. Why just last week one of us found a reader who liked us and told others. Now she is up there on the shelf amongst the colored paper and lights. It was a big day for us down here. And there’s another fella over in the corner who got read just yesterday. He’s got a chance too.”

I shook my head thinking this isn’t what I thought it would be like. As my writer filled my pages with thoughts and feelings I felt for sure someone would read me and I would climb the charts and be recommended reading for all to see. Who would have thought that after a month I would have only two ratings of 5 and only one comment. Did I select the wrong category? Were my tags not good enough? Is my writer’s avatar not cool enough? Does he not spend enough time in the forums or maybe he lacks online social skills. In any of these events, I could feel my pages dog-earing in a state of depression as I began to realize my fate.

Day after day my pages were trampled by readers as they walked across me to get to the shelf of colored paper and lights. The old-timer was right. After awhile you get used to it. The grinding of heels on your once proud pages of words and expression, broken only by the applause and laughter of stories that made it onto the shelf.

Then, after days, weeks, and months amongst the unread and dead on the floor of broken promise, someone opened a door and a breeze wafted through the room. Papers were scattered and blown around like confetti. A draft lifted one corner and I was wafted across the room as a tissue in the wind. My pages fluttered and twisted until I flopped face down and slid under a copy machine against the far wall. Dark and dusty was my world now.

In the back I could hear the low muttering of other stories and poems under here with me. I could still see the heels and toes of readers as they walked by and I knew no one would ever look here. “I had such hopes and dreams,” I said.

A voice in the back said, “We all did kid… we all did.”

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Copyright © 2010-2040 LDJohnson (Dreamcatcher) - All rights reserved, including all copyrights and all other intellectual property rights in the contents hereof.

The contents and composition herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of this author.

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