She: He’s going to kill you, of course.
He: Only if I finish writing this sentence.
She: You’ve been at it for hours. Years.
He: But which is it? Hours or years?
She: Does it matter, if he’s going to kill you?
He: I wonder if “dissuade” is the right word. Do you think “dissuade” is the right word?
She: Would “deter” be easier?
He: Easier, perhaps, but is it right?
She: Why does a man kill, I wonder?
He: Does a man need a reason?
She: He waits for the sentence to be written.
He: Which is perhaps the reason I cannot choose the proper word. “Discourage.” That is a good word.
She: It is.
He: But is it the right word?
She: How can a word be right or wrong? It’s a word. What makes one better than the other?
He: The sound. The sibilance.
She: He’s outside. He’s been waiting for months.
He: Why doesn’t he just kill someone else?
She: Because no one else can finish writing the sentence.
He: Fine. Not “discourage.” Perhaps “dissuade” is the right word.
She: If you say it enough, the word loses meaning. Say it.
She: What does it mean?
He: I’ve forgotten.
She: Read the sentence.
He: “Intellect does not dissuade nightmares.”
She: The sentence is wrong. It will never be right.
He: So the killer will wait?
She: You would have to ask him.
He: You said he’s outside?
She: Has been for days.
He: Have we been here so long?
She: Perhaps years.
He: So he will wait.
She: Because the sentence is wrong.
He: What makes it wrong? How can you be sure?
She: How can you be sure it’s right?
He: I can’t, which is why I write more. Maybe someday it will be right. Maybe I will find the right word.
She: Or never.
He: Then, I will never die.
Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer and prison volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona, with an honor’s degree in creative writing from Ohio University. She is a book nerd and sex-pert at SheKnows.com, and her short fiction has appeared in The Molotov Cocktail, Stoneslide Corrective, Blank Fiction, and Solarcide. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. You can read more about Sara HERE or follow her on Twitter.