As I did at the start of this series, here is my apology:

I’m sorry for typos, for horrible grammar, for painful ideas. I hope I don’t scar you with my mistakes, and I can only promise that I’m trying my best to improve so that I will bring delight and enjoyment to your reading.

There. I’ve apologized. Now, let’s get to business.

Where did this First Draft come from?

This first draft is more than ten years old. At the time, I thought it was a completed story. I even managed to publish it in an anthology from a small publisher back home in Argentina (Perillo, Vanesa L., 2006 “La Lapicera”, Pétalos Dispersos, Ed. Andronico, p. 64.in Spanish). Now that I have been learning about the craft of writing, though, I find so many things that could be improved that I want to give it a try at editing.

Having said this, here is the short story I wrote back then. I hope you enjoy it!

The Pen

© Vanesa L. Perillo – Translated 2016

I’m writing gibberish. Yeah…I know. You don’t need to tell me. Why don’t I stop? I’ll tell you why. Because I can’t. Because my hand moves and moves to the rhythm of this hellish pen you see here between my fingers.

And I… I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything. What have I done, you ask? It’s better to ask what haven’t I done.

The first thing I tried was to use a ruler I found over there to try to pry the pen from my finger, but, after a while of trying and getting nowhere, I stopped. The ruler wasn’t going to work.

The pen kept moving and moving my hand to its will and in my desperation I saw, mounted on one to the walls of the room, an electric saw. Lucky for me, it needed no plugging into a socket, because as you can see, there’s no electric installations in this tower. It had a battery of it’s own. Well, the thing is, the saw did a lot of noise, lot’s or “grrrrr”s, but nothing to the pen. I couldn’t believe it. The pen had no scratch. At the end I had to resign myself to the fact that the saw was as useless as the ruler. And, of course, I didn’t even think about using the pair of scissors next because if an electric saw hadn’t worked, then the scissors would be no more than a joke.

Then a brilliant idea came to mind. If I couldn’t break the pen, I could unstick it from my hand. So the plunger came into play. I pulled and pulled the pen, but it’s better if I don’t tell you all the details. It’s very gory. Sufficient to say that the pen wouldn’t come out of my hand.

I tried so many things, but I don’t want to bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that, kind of desperate, I decided to end my life. There, tempting, was the big window. I thought it wouldn’t be painful to go through the glass and fall to the ground, a 100 feet below.

I didn’t think. I only knew about my desire to see myself free of this horrible pen. I ran from one end to the room to the other, speed increasing towards the window. Just when I was about to touch the glass, I closed my eyes, ready for the collision.

Took.

Not only did I fail to fall the 100 feet, or break the window, but I was stopped by an invisible barrier. I slid down, in the same position I had plastered myself to the window, until I ended up sitting on the floor. And worse, the pen still kept moving my hand. It just wouldn’t stop.

It took my mind a while to determine what had happened, until it finally clicked. It was plastic. Simple plastic, preventing me from my freedom.

Discouraged, I didn’t try anything else. I just couldn’t escape the pen.

And my not so brilliant mind must be pretty obvious. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, trapped by this joke, that isn’t a joke anymore, but a literary curse, imposed by my own stupidity.

What did I do? I… I really don’t know. I remember that morning in March – or was it April? – a few friends and me got together and hiked towards this tower, which had just appeared on the hay fields, far away from the city. Once we were here, we climbed the long staircase and we found ourselves in this room. There was only this ivory desk, some blank notebooks and the pen you now see in my hand. Curious – I curse my curiosity a thousand fold–, I took the pen and I wrote my name on the first page of the top notebook, and then, I lost my freedom. Now I’m just a slave of my hand that the only thing that does is move and write the gibberish you mentioned before.

What happened with my friends? I don’t know. At the beginning the laughed, thinking it was a joke. But they ran out on me when they realized I really couldn’t stop writing. They didn’t try to help.

I see you are looking at your watch. Do you have to go? It’s all right. I understand. You don’t know how much I would like to get away from here.

Before you go, would you do me a favor? Wouldn’t you have some idea of how to get rid of the pen?

Did I try to just let it go? No, I didn’t. I’ll give it a try. Thanks for coming and for the idea. I hadn’t thought of that.


So, how did you like it? How did the character feel? Was he/she real enough?

What are your first impressions? What would you do to improve it? If you’re not getting ideas of where to start, think in terms of setting, characters, point of view, … What seems missing? What isn’t necessary?

I hope you enjoyed this first draft!

 

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