“Maybe it isn’t worth it,” Leaghanda said out loud, not caring who heard it.
Arakiss, her demon, lay by Leaghanda’s feet as usual, picking lint from the bedspread. At Leaghanda’s words, she sat up and pinched her little toe.
“Ouch.” Arakiss had claws.
“What do you mean it isn’t worth it?”
“Modern living.” Leaghanda bit her bottom lip. “Would it be so bad to just leave it all? There are cheap cabins and houses up north. I could buy one and just live there. Far away from society.”
“Are you stupid?” Arakiss slapped her own forehead. “You love people. You can’t even write if there is nobody near you.”
“I know but–”
“No buts. What would you eat? What about internet?”
“Maybe I could live without the internet.”
“Oh.” Arakiss smiled cruelly as if she just realised what was really up. Which she might have had, Leaghanda admitted to herself. “So it’s the internet again, is it? What is it this time? Social media or just writing in general.”
“I just wish I didn’t have to, you know.”
“No I don’t know.” Arakiss flapped her little wings and sat herself in front of Leaghanda’s computer, looking up at her. “Tell me.”
“It’s just too much pressure. I don’t dare to talk to anyone.”
“You’re overthinking it.” Arakiss poked her finger at Leaghanda’s forehead.
“I keep forgetting and…”
“You’re overthinking it.” Arakiss pursed her lips. “Put an alarm on your phone.”
“I tried that!” Leaghanda pushed Arakiss and her laptop off of her belly and got up from the bed. “I still didn’t do it. I just closed the reminder and didn’t do anything.”
“So you’re lazy.”
“Just try again then.”
“I feel ridiculous.”
Arakiss shook her head.
“And since when do you care about that?”
Leaghanda chewed on her, by now, abused lower lip. Arakiss did have a point. But then dread filled her again and she fell down to the bed. Maybe a bit too dramatic.
“It’s not as bad as you think it is. How about do ten minutes after work? Or how about every time you sit on public transport?” Arakiss climbed up on her forehead, suddenly very small. Once there, she started jumping up and down. “You–” thump “are–” thump “overthinking–” thump “it.”
“Get off!” Leaghanda pushed the little demon and sat up. “Fine! You win! Maybe I am just lazy. But I have good reasons. Work. Real work and–”
“You’re saying that being an author isn’t real work?”
“Maybe, my dear, idiotic, Leaghanda Amell, you haven’t been treating it like real work. I know you love to blame your wife but maybe it’s all you.”
Leaghanda’s head fell forward, her fringe shielding her from Arakiss’s eyes. Arakiss was right but she didn’t want the demon to know that.
“But I’m not lazy,” she said after a little while. “I do things all the time. Cooking, tidying, teaching, planning, walking the dog, going to the gym… umm…”
“Yet somehow you find time for video games.”
“Yes but -”
“And you like watching shows. Don’t lie, I live with you, remember?”
Arakiss flew near her face like an annoying fly. Leaghanda swatted at her.
“Sure, fine. I don’t deserve downtime then?”
“That’s not what I said.” Arakiss sat down on her knee. “I just want you to admit that you’ve been slacking off with your author duties. Which are just as important.”
“December.” Leaghanda’s tone of voice trembled. It was her last weapon, she knew that.
“Pfft.” Arakiss smiled cruelly. “December schmecember. When was the last time you cried about what happened then?”
“I felt sad about it yesterday.” Leaghanda crossed her arms over her chest.
“I said,” Arakiss showed off all her little demon teeth as she spoke. “When was the last time you cried about it?”
“I don’t know!” Leaghanda put her face in her hands, slowly giving up. “Last week? The week before? January?”
“You haven’t cried about it once in February, my dear.” Arakiss knew she had won and the triumph in her voice made Leaghanda want to kick her.
“Don’t so me.” Arakiss’s tone gentled and she flew to sit on Leaghanda’s shoulder where she actually belonged. “You know where I’m going with this. You know what I need you to do. For both of us.”
Leaghanda nodded. She was defeated and she knew it.
“So what do you suppose I do today?” She had to ask.
Arakiss snuggled her neck, more parrot than demon all of a sudden.
“You’ll fill the dishwasher so you stop thinking about it. You’ll make another cup of lemon water after that and grab your laptop. You will write for an hour on Frozen Symphony, then you’ll check your twitter.”
And then? Leaghanda didn’t even need to utter the question out loud, Arakiss heard her anyway.
“After that you can do whatever you want.” Arakiss sighed and shook her head. “Honestly, you overthink things. All I’m asking for is an hour. Perhaps an hour and a half. Surely you can give me that.”
Leaghanda nodded. Arakiss was right. She had been overthinking it. With no more time to waste, she put her now sleepy demon on her pillow and went into the kitchen. All of a sudden she couldn’t wait to get on with the day.