The Mystery of the Hidden Truth

This is my entry into this week’s Tipsy Lit Prompted. If you’d like to see the original prompt follow this link: http://tipsylit.com/2013/12/30/prompted- care-to-make-a-wager/

As always, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The Mystery of the Hidden Truth

“Do you mind if I sit with you?”

Paula nodded, feeling numb. Patisserie Chocolat was her hangout. Strangers didn’t approach you at your table and ask to sit with you even if there weren’t any other tables open.

As they made small talk, Paula realized two things; this was Geneva Bloom, the infamous mystery writer known and loved by millions for the unfathomable diversity of her books; and that she shared too many characteristics with Carla, a new regular that favored sitting at adjacent tables. Paula’s eerie feeling that Carla was listening in on her writing meetings with her coach was turning into a solid lump in her stomach and a fast tattoo for a heartbeat.

Geneva smiled like the proverbial canary. “You’ve figured me out, haven’t you, Paula.”

Paula swallowed the boulder that was now lodged in her throat. “You’re Geneva Bloom.” Her idol. The one that had inspired her to write the story that was staring at her from her screen at that very moment. The one she had slaved and polished for years now.

“Right.”

Something wasn’t right with her idol. Paula knew it with gut twisting certainty.

“I have a proposition for you. It’s superbly simple. You see, I like to give chances to hopeful talents like yourself. Here’s yours. I’ll work on that tome of yours with you. If after one month I like what we’ve done and I feel that it’s worthy of my name, I’ll endorse it and put you in touch with all the right people.”

A fantasy? But still, there was something off about Geneva/Carla. Paula took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. “That’s an incredible offer.” Then, tentatively, “Is there more to it?”

“You’re clever. That’s why I chose you.” She paused, watching her worm dangle on the hook. She was certain she had the right prey. You did have to be careful about these things, after all. A well-buried law suit or two could resurface.

Paula nodded, motioning that she was ready to hear the rest.

“Paula, if I don’t like what we’ve put together in a month, you must give me the manuscript and never make mention of any of this to anyone. The work will be mine to do with as I please. You and I will never speak again. Of course, you’ll have your talent and can start something completely new. But I warn you, it must not resemble this manuscript in any way.”

Paula would have asked if she’d done this before, but clearly she had. Sadly, she now knew what motivated her favorite author to write such a wide variety of stories in so many different voices. She also knew that Geneva Bloom was known for endorsing unknown authors. Some had won the wager. It tempted her. Fame. They had all risen to a level of fame that she craved for herself. Years of work sat in front of her. She knew it was her best. She knew it would take years to get there again. Years of scrounging any block of time she could to work on her dream. Or in a short time she could be living her utopia.

The next day Paula met her coach at J&B’s. She was filled with new confidence. Her book was good enough to steal.

A link to vote for your favorite response to this weeks prompt will be posted tomorrow.  Happy voting!

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15 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Hidden Truth

  1. Really good writing. The sense of disquiet that settled on me as I read, lingers– the mark of a good story! Carla confused me? Is she in fact Geneva, another part of Paula, or an entirely other character? I didn’t get that. Despite that confusion, the story was tight, well written and compelling.

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  2. This is a great story – the ultimate writer’s wager. I picked up that Carla was Geneva in costume, but that feature could be pulled out a bit more. I also really like that Paula didn’t take the wager. Good for her in focusing on the idea that her work was worth stealing and taking her chances on her own.

    Like

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