- Mandy Hale

It was the worst case of writer’s block ever. For the last six months, Karen had been closeted in her apartment, willing herself to ink magic onto the page. And all she had to show for it was a pile of crumpled up paper, discarded cigarette butts and empty whiskey bottles.

Her editor had begun calling every day to check on her progress. That did nothing but elevate her stress levels. Frustrated and feeling smothered, she threw open her balcony window and collapsed on the floor inside. She would never venture out. Heights frightened her.

Attempting to calm herself with deep breaths, she looked out across the road to a line of pigeons perched on a defunct telegraph cable. One, in particular, caught her attention. Pure white, the colour of fresh snow, Karen could swear it was staring right back at her.

Suddenly feeling self-conscious, she slammed the window shut and went back to her desk. Still nothing. It was like her imagination had given up.

A few days later, Karen found herself sitting by her balcony window once more. This time, only the white pigeon sat on the cable outside. Again, it studied her, before cocking its head, seemingly gesturing at something.

Karen’s gaze followed the angle the bird was indicating. There, towering above the high-rises was the magnificent London Eye.

Karen shuddered. She had lived in this city her whole life but never had she ventured onto that terrifying contraption. Her acrophobia wouldn’t allow it.

And yet, something stirred within her. With one more glance at the pigeon now watching her again, Karen jumped up. Grabbing her phone and her bag, she didn’t stop to think until she found herself at the open door of one of the Eye’s pods.

“What the hell am I thinking?” she muttered to herself. About to back out, she jumped as a small blur of white flew past her head and landed in the observation capsule.

Her pigeon friend was on board for the ride.

Speechlessly, almost like she wasn’t in control of her actions, Karen stepped into the pod. Before she could change her mind, the doors closed, and the ride began.

A soundless scream escaped as panic set in. Trapped in this accursed construction, fear sprouted. But then, just as the capsule reached its pinnacle, something tripped in Karen’s mind.

A vision sprang uncalled into her head. The story of another world whipped through her imagination – a place where anything and everything was possible. Tableaus of characters and adventures exploded as if they were memories coming back to her from a distant past.

Madly, Karen pulled out her phone and started typing. She spent the whole day riding the wheel, without realising it – lost in the trance of creativity.

When she finally got home, she emailed the first draft of her manuscript to her editor. That Christmas, her book was on every bestseller list in the world.

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