Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lucky Pen (Short Story)

Inspired by an idea I had when doing a Friday Flash Fiction piece for Lily Childs' Blog (which is well worth a visit, by the way).

Every Friday, Lily posts three words which readers are then invited to turn into a story of 100 words or less. You can scroll down the comments here to read my original 100 word piece (as well as pieces by other writers). I liked the idea, so I figured I could rewrite it a little longer - and without necessarily having to use the original three words.

So here is the newer draft of the story, now entitled Lucky Pen.

Comments welcome :-)

P.S. Thanks also to David Barber (whose blog is also worth a visit) for pointing out that it's much easier to maintain formatting when copying and pasting from MS Word if I use Edit HTML mode rather than Compose mode. Cheers!


Lucky Pen.

Olivia read the exam questions carefully and decided which one to answer. In her head, she composed the essence of her argument before she reached for her pen to begin writing it.

It was her favourite pen that she selected, the one she had picked up years ago in an odd old shop in a sleepy seaside village. She always seemed to do better in exams when she used that pen, though occasionally she would get mesmerised and distracted by the ornate, unusual designs on it.

Olivia read through her first paragraph before moving on, trying not to allow thoughts of her future to take her mind from the task at hand. This was her final exam, after all. Her last ever one. She could look forward now to the rest of her life, starting with the holiday her boyfriend was planning to take her on.

Just before she continued writing, something in the first paragraph caught Olivia’s eye. The colour of the ink was lighter than usual. Rather than black, it seemed to be a rusty brown. The most recent words, in fact, were almost red. Olivia touched the ink. It was warmer than she would have expected, and sticky.

As the realisation that it was not ink, but blood, came upon her, Olivia tried to drop the pen, but even when she released it from her grip, the pen did not fall to the small table. It clung on. When she looked at it, she realised it was already larger than it had been before, and it seemed to be pulsating. The designs which had captivated her before looked like veins now as they pumped her blood around the growing object.

Olivia tried to scream, but her throat failed her. When she tried to use her left hand to pry the sinister object from her right, it too was unable to help. The grip of the pen was too strong, it stuck to her like a leech.

Other students scribbled answers to the questions, oblivious to Olivia as the pen sucked the lifeblood out of her. Her fluid draining, she couldn’t even shed a tear for the tragic fact that her final moments were to occur in an exam.

***

The exam was over before anyone realised what had happened. The pen lay dormant once more, shrunken back to its normal size, its veins masquerading as beautiful symbols again. While some students screamed and others fainted as the invigilators tried to keep everyone calm until the police arrived, one young woman was not as interested in Olivia’s shrunken corpse as the pen which still lay in her hand. As she filed past, Maria slipped the pen out of Olivia’s grasp and into her own pocket. It was such a beautiful thing, after all. In spite of what had happened to Olivia, in fact, Maria felt it might even be lucky, and she had one more exam to do. 



2 comments:

Lily Childs said...

Hi Jo. I like how you've expanded this clever tale from the original 100 words.

I keep thinking of that little pump sack inside really old-fashioned fountain pens, filling and releasing.

A great twist at the end.

Joleen said...

Thank you Lily! :-) And cheers for following the blog!