Author's Note: This is a submission in the Literotica 750 Word Project 2021; the challenge is to write a story using exactly 750 words. May you find it short and bitter - just as I intended. No less, no more.

***

On second thought, it would be best if he turned down the invitation to address the Literary Society. After all, one could not get caught up in such engagements without letting one's attention to The Craft suffer. There would be time enough for such accolades he reasoned, once the final chapter was penned and some publisher became wealthy, the fortunate beneficiary of his talent. Lesley Moore was no slave to mammon; he saw himself as nothing more than a dedicated servant of The Craft.

He had not willed this gift unto himself. He had been given the gift of letters by some vagary of divine will, his writing talent was a touch of grace. He understood that his divine endowment came with a solemn duty to hone his writing skills for the benefit of humanity.

Lesley knew not from where his inspirations came. But come they did, incubating and hatching mysteriously in his mind, emerging as half-fledged ideas. His role as a writer was to nurture those newly hatched ideas as they nested in the fertile boughs of his keen literary mind. He spent long days and deep nights at his desk making sure these emergent stories were nurtured with the perfect adjectives, verbs and nouns. He took meticulous care of his characters, weaving bold and inspiring plots around them.

Lesley was not like so many of his lesser peers; those who, perhaps through no fault of their own, wrote for reasons underpinned by plebeian values. No, he was not charmed by hopes of fortune, dreams of fame or ruled by conceit. Too many of his peers turned out into the world ugly prose, compositions crafted of drivel that wasted time and ink. Lesley vowed not to release any of his work into this world with anything less than the most eloquent words.

He vowed to be disciplined in his writing. Discipline demanded that he prune, cut and toss into the refining fire, yesterday's work. He would berate himself in the morning for an improper adverb found in last night's composition. In the name of discipline and great writing, whole lines would be excised, entire pages were deemed unfit and thrown into the fire. Only when his half-fledged ideas had matured into their full, radiant glory, would they be freed to spread their exquisite verbiage and fly from the page, filling the literary world with beauty and blessings. Lesley could not imagine performing his writing obligations in a manner less than faithful to his higher calling.

Writing for Lesley was a labor of love. The muse of The Craft was his mistress and he loved only her. In his love for his muse, he did not have it in him to be bitter when she brought him a new inspiration, piling new writing tasks atop his yet to be perfected volumes. When she delivered a new narrative idea, the current unfinished manuscript was shuffled aside. Lesley felt obligated to devote most of his efforts to this unformed concept. Otherwise, he knew that without his immediate attention it would fall from its nest, shrivel and be lost to him and humanity. Knowing he was close to perfecting the final chapter of his current work, he realized he must turn to the new, unshaped one; leaving yesterday's project to await its finishing words of perfection.

Sheaves of dust-covered unfinished manuscripts lay about Lesley Moore's study, awaiting the muse's return when she would whisper to him her crowning words of perfection to be written into the final chapter.

The few who knew Lesley Moore had heard him say that he was soon to be an author of great renowned. He told them he had devoted his life to writing stories for the ages. He was on the verge of finishing a ground-breaking manuscript.

They found him at his desk, slumped in his chair with his pen poised over the draft which read, 'Final Chapter'.

Those few who knew him fashioned a coffin from his bookcases.

Those few who knew him, broke ground for the soon-to-be ground-breaking writer, lowering the author with his manuscripts into the earth. Lesley Moore, writer for the ages without end, rested with his stories without an end.

Lesley Moore's final chapter was written in stone by those few who knew him. They set the stone into the earth for all to read. Only those few, ever read his final chapter:

Here Lies Lesley MooreRenowned AuthorWriter of Stories for The Ages Without an EndNo LesNo Moore

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