The Lonely Man
Timothy Carl was a writer of profound stories- short stories in fact. His themes were always deep and they reached out into the farthest corners of philosophical thought.
Fifteen of his short stories had been published in various and mostly reputable anthologies and each of them received resounding reviews of an absolutely positive nature. His acclaim had won him respect among the intellectual communities of both literary and philosophical interests.
And so it was, that Timothy Carl began his ultimate work, the finest and most worthy piece ever to be penned by mortal man. His themes were as deep as any of the great thinkers before him, deeper perhaps than most. He wrote the essence of mankind; artistically developing the most profound fundamentals that commonly run through all human minds.
His masterpiece grew up fast and strong from the seeds of fear, doubt, love, purpose. The world outside remained busy and ignorant- ignorant that such a work was being developed so nearby.
Shakespeare envied the creative style with which Carl worked; Tolstoy desired his unadulterated simplicity. This was the creation of his lifetime indeed.
After nine months locked away in his study, the much paler, much thinner author emerged to smell the air and feel the sun once more. He walked only to the nearby street corner to stretch his legs, but quickly looped back to his apartment. He was afraid that if he left his work alone, some danger might befall it.
As the man stood outside, his work sat on the small desk of his simple study. Two hundred and thirty-four pages, revised, edited and perfected.
On the morning that Carl had planned to send his manuscript to be published, he was scanning the literary section of the local paper. A particular title caught his attention, printed in a thick headline font it read: “The Lonely Man”. An intriguing title, he mused for a moment. It seemed somewhat familiar, yet vaguely foreign. The description of the novel had been stained by spilled coffee, but its subject seemed predictable enough from the title.
Carl set out immediately for the bookstore, anxious to break into this mysterious, magnificent book.
He took his new purchase from its paper bag and sat beneath the nearest large tree. It had a wonderful beginning, and he was instantly drawn into the character of both the protagonist and his setting. The structure was perfect, the narration- exquisite.
He didn’t stop nor pause until he reached the final chapter. The conclusion loomed before him when suddenly the glorious emotion that had been building was expelled. A great and heavy reality suffocated the author’s mind. This was the perfect story. His would never be better than what he had just read.
And then, the worst realization hit him. This was his story. He was not the author, but this was his story.
He ran home, the tears flushed his eyes and washed down across his open mouth. His chest tightened at the same time that it tore apart from within.
There, silent and innocent on his desk, sat his final work- his life, his purpose.
Those words could never be exposed to any other eyes, not after the story he had just finished reading.
The police could only find the author’s glasses lying on the floor in front of the fireplace where his book had burned.
The next year, a sequel was published to “The Lonely Man”.