Suddenly, I realize where I’m headed. After hours and hours of fingers that grasp me, choke me, and then release me- the ultimate shaver of torture is taunting me as the powerful tentacles carry me to the last seconds of my life.
It flashes before me. I grew up in the woods, around giggling children and streaking sunlight. They would hug me, lean against me, whisper their numbers before saying, “Ready or not, here I come!” Then bigger children started to arrive. My neighbors whispered that they were greedy “adults” that never returned our kind, or never bothered to introduce more of our kind to let us at least be comforted at the thought that we weren’t the last ones left on Earth. The children started to disappear one by one, and the adults brought roaring beasts. My neighbors screamed at me to take care of their children as the beasts overpowered them. Their cries of pain echoed through the Earth until they faded into the air. Gone. Then one day, I couldn’t look after the small, vulnerable children because I suffered the same fate. I was handed off into multiple beasts. Beasts that roared, beasts that hummed, beasts that wounded, beasts that smoothed. Each were taunting in their own way, each took a piece of me until I was slim and fragile. Despite my weak state, a black disease was forced into my head, my heart, and all the way down to my end. After that, I was sealed off from fresh air. I wasn’t alone, though. Eleven others were with me, and one by one, they all told stories similar to mine.
Then one day, fingers took me out, and I learned of fresh air again. This time, though, a beast wasn’t handling me. It was a creature, one like the children that used to hug me and tell me of their adventures. This creature didn’t talk much. Sometimes, its’ voice would echo through the air and into a black box. Other than that, the creature grasped me, choked me, and released me for a chance to breathe. The black disease slowly flowed out of me with great reluctance, but it’s so thick that I might never get better.
Suddenly, the creature let out a breath of frustration, and it stood up. Its’ tentacles were smoothly carrying me to a beast. I knew this beast. Three others that were let out before me screamed as the beast gurgled. However, the beast whispered something to me.
“The secret is to relax,” it said.
“What?!” I demanded.
“Relax,” it went on, making me doubt my sanity, “and this won’t hurt. All I’m doing is sharpening you.”
“What are you?!” I sputtered out in disbelief. The beasts never, ever spoke to me.
“I’m a pencil sharpener. You should know that by now; you are a pencil.” It replied.
“What? No! I’m a tree!” I protested.
“You were a tree. You’re a pencil now.” The pencil sharpener told me as-a-matter-of-factly. Suddenly, my end covered its’ mouth, and it began to gurgle.
Relax. Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. You’re not here. You’re with the children. The sunlight is warming you. Relax.
Then the black disease was flowing out of me again. The pencil sharpener was at the other side of the room, grinning at me.
“You did just fine, Pencil!” He called out. “You did just fine!”