My pens are calling me.
The Felt tips, the Roller balls and the Ballpoints; the Blacks and the Blues.
They are peeking out of my white and lilac pencil case; out of my Bought-In-Gambia, pencil case.
They are screaming, silently.
Their ink, dripping like blood from an open wound.
Their nibs, agape in agony.
“We are drying out,” they howl in pain. “When are you going to use us?”
Black and Blue Paper Mate Flair® glare at me accusingly.
“You bought us as a pair”, their eyes bore into me, one dark, one light. “You choose us because we didn’t come as a quartet with the obligatory Green and Red. You claimed that you didn’t like writing in Green; that Red is for writing dead people’s names”.
Black and Blue Script® laughed in derision, “A pair”, they chortled, “We came as a quartet, no Reds, no Greens and does she use us? No! Does she write with us? No! We’re wasting our time. Let’s all dry out, see what she does without us!
A bubble of hysteria formed at the back of my throat, a low pressure began to build at the base of my skull.
This couldn’t be happening. The pens can’t possibly dry out. It may not seem like it, but I need them; I really do!
I turned frantically to Pencil, to urge him to speak. To explain to Pens that using them meant leaving the known for…
He just shook Rubber at me. What did I expect? He didn’t want to be abandoned. If he spoke up for Pens, what will happen to him?
I turned to Bic®. I had used them all my life. They knew me when I could barely form a grip with my fat, chubby fingers; when I took their side in the Revolution against Fountain Pens. They had stuck by me, when all others failed; they lasted when all others finished. They were the only ones with a see-through barrel and a removable plug, perfect for a place to put the slip of paper with my name on it, when I had to identify them as mine in a sea of other Bics.
But today, the pack of ten turned their dispirited gaze away from me. Too loyal to add their voices to the growing dissent of all the others, they remained mute.
“B…Bu…But…”, the bubble of hysteria had transformed my usual articulacy into the sound of uncertain hailstones, striking a corrugated iron roof-top.
A chant began.
It began to rise and rise… the pens, all Blacks and Blues; Felt-tips and Ballpoints too.
It rose and rose and rose like a monstrous wave… My ear drums threatened to rupture…
The pressure at the base of my skull refused to remain low any more. It began to swell and swell and swell to meet the monstrous wave of chanting ‘Buts’
I screamed like a banshee over the wave.
“My job, it takes too much time…”
“My commute, it wears me out…”
“My fears, using pens means writing longer… writing longer means having a goal…”
I screamed louder than I ever had, hoping to be heard above the deafening sounds.
“…having a goal means being open to failure and rejection…”
“…being open to failure and rejection means…”
The chant slammed into me with a force of a tsunami!
The force of it knocked me off my writing desk.
Pencils, papers, rubbers and writing pads flew everywhere. I tried to scramble to my feet but my left foot was caught in a vise-like grip. I looked down to see what was holding me so steadfast. My pens, all of them, even Bic, had formed a giant claw; they pinned me to the floor.
I wriggled, writhed, kicked. Nothing.
I cried, pleaded, begged. Nothing.
They held me down, unmoving, unyielding.
Then I saw Pencil. He was moving across a fallen sheet; forming words with great speed. I tried to make the words out but they were too faint; I tried to stretch and pull the paper to me but the giant pen-claw dug even harder into my foot.
Then I felt the floor undulate, a strange sensation washed over me; I felt fluid, I felt solid, I felt nothing.
Then I felt my eyelids fly open.
I let out a shaky breath of relief. It was a dream…no, a nightmare. It was all over. I rubbed my face with sweaty palms, swung my feet off my bed to the floor. I needed to relieve the pressure that fear had placed on my bladder. There was a loud clatter as something or some things fell off my bed.
I looked down.
I could make out dimly, a shape of some sorts. I switched on my bedside lamp to see it clearly. It was my pens, all of them, Bics, Paper Mates, Scripts…it was also a giant claw.