The Pencil

by Karl Hinrichs
(Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States)

It was firmly stuck to his fingers. He opened his hand and spread his fingers until only it contacted a single finger. But it was still holding fast. He tried shaking, bumping, and finally prying, but it wouldn't let loose.

He pushed on it with a finger of the other hand, the skin moved with it until it was becoming painful. The thought occurred to him that he could slice a single layer of skin, and it would have to release with his piece of skin, but the pain was something he couldn't take, at least he didn't think he could.

His hand moved to the top of the paper as made some marks. But it wasn't random scribbling. It had made a tall circle, then a line next to it. He noticed the vertical line it had made was very straight. Then it followed with two small dots, one over the other, forming a colon. Moving his fingers in a circle, a tall oval appeared, then another. It was finished by a short series of dots, like it was waiting.

Moving below the reference to time, a minute to be exact. He began writing the first thing he thought of, his name. It moved easily, as though the pencil was lubricated in some way that it didn't have any friction with the paper. The four letters came out very precise and neat, much better than his own handwriting.

After the four letters, he wrote the the letters "jr", and finished it with a period. The numbers at the top of the page faded quickly and the pencil dropped from his hand. He was left wondering what would have happened had he not beaten the timer at the top of the page? It had been at a single second.

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