Louisa toyed with the idea of popping out her right eye, reaching in, and massaging the part of her brain just behind her brow which was threatening to leak out her ear. It was the third day of her migraine and she was out of any other ideas.
Unread manuscripts and queries lurked in teetering piles around her bed, leering out of the shadows, fluttering threateningly each time the fan blew stale air across them. She had been behind before the migraine had struck; now Louisa might as well quit being a literary agent altogether. She’d never catch up.
Searching for the next literary classic of the 21st century had never been an easy task. Louisa had developed a keen instinct for horrid prose in her twenty plus years in the publishing world that allowed her to toss away the worst queries in under a paragraph. But the truth was, most manuscripts existed somewhere in-between genius and forgivable mediocrity, and it took a little time and effort to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Louisa couldn’t decide what she was more tired of at this point: her relentless headache or being trapped in bed. She tugged her robe around her with a petulant grunt, scowling as she kicked her way under the sweat-stiffened sheets, annoyed that even the smallest amount of reading made the bulb of searing pain behind her eye throb.
It was all such a waste of time.
She slept for a few hours, waking to take her next dose of medicine. Reaching for the pill bottle on the bedside table, her bleary eyes feel on the next manuscript in her ‘to read’ pile. It was a slim volume titled, As She Lay Sleeping.
Probably some kind of eighteen hundreds bodice-ripper. Louisa rolled her eyes. How many times did she have to say she didn’t represent romance novels before they stopped wheedling their way into her piles?
She picked up the manuscript, considering tossing it across the room, but stopped. She laid it on her lap, pills in one hand and cup of water in the other, and shook it open to the first page.
Five hours later her pills sat unswallowed on the table, her cold water warming under the light of her lamp. The manuscript’s final page sat face up on her lap, her tear drops wrinkling the paper.
Her migraine had quite gone. And the greatest decade of her career had begun.
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