Proto-Cliche: “The Unfinished Work”

A/N: Exactly as the title suggests, this is the unfinished prototype that would later become Cliche. 😀  Looking at it a good four or five years later, I’m actually grudgingly impressed.  Virginia West even had a typewriter before I separated her into Jen and Ryan.  I don’t think I even reread this before I set out to write its latest iteration, and yet the similarities are uncanny, right down to the celebrity comparisons.

Suffice to say, I shied away from this because at the time, I didn’t even want to think about what a parody of trashy fantasy romance would sound like. I still don’t and yet somehow I managed. :p

TW: Attempted suicide (and terrible Scottish accents)


It was a dark and stormy night as Virginia West began typing down the final pages of her soon-to-be bestselling novel, Heartbreak in the Heights.  She used an old-fashioned manual typewriter, out of preference.  The fingers of so many long-gone writers and typists had pressed down on each key.  Let their creativity soak into me, Virginia thought intently as she typed.

  Harley’s lover was no more. He’d lived for, and only for, her.  But love never dies, even if people do.  He could always join her in heaven.  Oh, how he longed to run his tired hands through her long blond hair, and stare into those deep, ocean-like eyes set on a perfect, snow-white face!  And he would, once more, in the netherworld.

  As he stood at the edge of the cliff, staring out over the horizon, he made his decision.

  He jump–

“What?!”  Virginia exclaimed.  (Virginia, by the way, was not her real name, but for PR purposes, let not her given name be known.)

She recoiled, as though she’d been hit.  As she tried to recollect her thoughts, she tried to reassure herself that her imagination was running too wild, and that her eyes were playing tricks on her.

There was no way that a doll-sized hand could have stuck itself out of the page and rapped the knuckles of her right hand.

But that hand, as small as it had been, was attached to an arm that was muscular, with a tattoo of a dragon extending from bicep to wrist…

…Exactly like Harley’s!

Shaking her head and taking another swig of her coffee, Virginia took a deep breath and put her fingers back on the keys.  Letter E.


  He jumpe–


It happened again!  Only this time, Virginia saw the rest of him too.

A six inch tall Harley Morrison, the vagabond who turned a new leaf for the sake of true love, stood atop her keyboard, his big, strong arms crossed across his torso.  He wore a black muscle shirt and khaki shorts, and best of all, he looked exactly the way she pictured him — perfect.

“Ye canna kill me, West,” he stated in the thick Scottish brogue she’d given him.  (She had wanted him to sound like Sean Connery.)  “It can’t end here.”

“Y-you’re talking to me,” Virginia stammered.  “Y-y-you can’t be talking.  You’re a character … in my book!”

“I will be until ye kill me off,” Harley retorted.  “Now listen, I’m the only character left standing in here.  That suicide bomber bloke exploded the ski lodge, so the rest of me pals are all dead.  You orphaned me when I was three in that pathetic prologue of yours.  You had me girlfriend thrown off a cliff.  And NOW you want to kill me too?!”  He ran his hands through his thick, tawny hair.  “You’ve got to be kiddin’ me, lassie!”

Virginia West’s eyes snapped open.  She’d been admiring that beautiful voice, not really paying attention to what he’d been saying, until that last bit.

“I’m sorry, Harley,” she said, sniffling a little, hoping that he’d take pity on a damsel in distress.  “I just wanted it to be romantic, like Romeo and Juliet.

“But that’s plagiarism!”

“No it isn’t!”  Virginia screeched, her caffeine-induced adrenaline finally kicking in.

“Well, I don’t care anymore.  I may be wee, but I don’t want ye killin’ me off!”

5 thoughts on “Proto-Cliche: “The Unfinished Work”

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