Tiny pencils marched smartly in front of a startled young woman. “Is that one wearing a kilt?” Susan asked herself. The question happened to be loud enough for the kilt-wearing pencil to hear, and it turned to her angrily.
“D’ye not recognize a Scottish pencil when ye see one?”
“Sorry, I just didn’t expect to see any pencils – Scottish or otherwise – coming to life in my office.” She singled out a pencil in an oddly-shaped hat, picked it up off the ground, and examined it suspiciously. “And what’s your story?”
“I be a pirate, missy, and if you don’t put me down, I’ll skewer that great eye of yours.” It waved a sword threateningly in Susan’s direction, and she dropped it back onto the floor.
A stubby blue pencil with a pointed hat “hem”ed at her from atop her desk. “Miss Susan C. Snyder, I feel I must prevent you from abusing my fellows in this fashion.” The pencil adjusted a pair of silver spectacles – well, presumably it adjusted them. Susan didn’t see any arms on the pencil, but she did see the spectacles jiggle slightly as though they were being adjusted. “I am a Wizard pencil, before you ask, and I am here to tell you that we are the Pencils of Stories Past.”
Susan let out a nervous giggle. “When do I get visited by the Pencils of Stories Present and Future?”
“You don’t. You are an unmotivated writer, and you have abandoned all your current stories already. That means that you have no Stories Present.”
At this moment, a short sob burst out from another one of the pencil mob. “And I was about to live Happily Ever After!” Susan bent down and patted it soothingly with the tip of her index finger.
“I promise I’ll finish you I’ll finish writing you soon.”
“Aye, we’ve heard that before,” sneered the Scottish pencil in its thick brogue.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” the Wizard cried. “Please let me speak to this unfortunate girl before you scare her to death.” It rotated in Susan’s direction once more. “As I was saying, you have no Stories Present, and it would be ridiculous to suppose we could know what stories you’ll write in the future.”
“So, what do you want me to do?”
“Finish what you started, of course. We stories got together and decided to give you a little nudge in the right direction, so here we are in the form of pencils to provide you with your missing motivation.”
“Kind of like a support group?”
“Something like that; yes.”
“And then will you go away?”
“You have my word.”
Susan looked at him suspiciously. “How can I trust your word? The only wizard I ever wrote about was evil.”
The Wizard sighed and adjusted its spectacles again. “I represent the whole story, you know, not just one character. Besides, you have all our words. Now, what do you say?”
It made sense to her in a bizarre sort of way, so she sat in her squeaky office chair and pulled out a half-filled notebook. “I say… let’s get to work.”
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