The Spine

This Lonely Climb

Silence. Something or someone abruptly silenced the faint notes of the guitar creeping through the window and into his ears. He opened his eyes to the blankness of the walls and the blankness of the screen before him. The flickering bluish-white fluorescent bulb dangled from its suspended wire swinging gently like a pendulum.

“I can’t write in here.” he thought. He placed his hand over the aluminum of his laptop, closing its lid with a brush of his fingertips. He slipped the slender device in his carrying case and took a few steps past the bed in his studio when something caught his eye. He winced with pain as against right hook to his cheek.

It was that damn book again. His first book.

The first printed copy of his first book, his only published book, he flung across the room two weeks ago. He spent five years of his life pouring himself into every dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’. He understood his characters better than he understood himself. It wouldn’t have hurt so much if people hated it, or if it had received horrific reviews.  His views might have been controversial if he had even had a chance to be heard. He would forgive hate, but he could never fathom apathy.

Two weeks ago, he received word from his publisher that they were dropping his book from publication. He would never meet his advance now. To make matters worse, they would not honor the right-of-reversion clause in his contract knowing he had no means to fight them. He would never see a dime from a piece of his soul that was owned by a soulless entity.

He carefully studied the clear cold print of the letters of the spine. That title held now a question and a challenge to him. The spine of the book simply read, “This Lonely Climb, by Jack Archer”


Adam Buker is a freelance author living in Springfield, MO. When he’s not writing he’s usually cooking, playing with his kids, making music, taking photos, or otherwise pondering the mysteries of life.


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