Janice woke to a loud crack and tinkle of broken glass. Her eyes opened and fell on the shelf above her desk--the shelf on which she kept her words.
One jar was missing.
Janice slipped her legs from under the warm blankets. Her feet pressed against the cold hardwood as she delicately shifted her weight and stood. Outside her window, trees brushed their leaves together. A car moved down the street in front of the house. But something else, a scratching sound, pulled her attention away from the other night whispers.
She moved toward the doorway, stepped on a bit of broken glass, and let out a yelp. Pain danced through her shin, up her thigh, and across her back as she tip-toe danced to the doorway and the light switch, hoping to avoid another shard.
The light flickered. Tiny shadows scurried for shelter under her bed, the desk, anywhere the light wouldn't reach. She looked at the mess on the floor.
The words were gone.
Janice sat down on the floor, pulled her knees to her chest, and grasped the slick piece of glass, wincing as she pried it from the thick callous on her heel. Blood smeared across the bottom of her foot like finger paint.
Then a smell. Ink.
Janice blinked, unsure of her eyes. Like waves of ants, the words came. They mounted an assault, driving their tiny, sans-serifed feet into the soft flesh of her ankles, calves, and the back of one hand as she leaned on the floor. The pain burned, a thousand pinpricks of fire, and she slumped back, cracking her head.
They blotted her eyes, swarming toward her mouth, and she could scarcely hear the other jars as they struck the floor, one after another, as the rest of her words joined the onslaught.