Here is something different, I hope. Its a fun, whimsical horror short about demonic office supplies. Its probably not flash fiction since its 1600 words but what the hell. I’ll call it what I want. Hope you enjoy it!
The Other Side of all that Stands
The bedroom door opened and I cringed. Jerry walked in and threw his dirty backpack on the bed. He looked around- looked right at me even, as he sat at his desk, and like always, flicked on his computer and started his endless ritual of key tapping.
I hated the sound of those damn keys. Clicking and clicking all evening.
I sat through this torture night after night.
We had intended on killing him right then, but the moment to strike never happened. The jerk needlessly broke two pencils that night: two more reasons to hate his guts. He also threw a wooden ruler across the room; it split down the middle as it smacked the dry wall. Jerry uncaringly tossed it back in the box.
Jerry committed atrocities like this time after time. What was he so angry about all the time? I don’t think he had any reason other being a crappy writer and took his frustrations out on his office supplies.
Well after a long time, he finally shut off the computer and the light and went to bed, whew! What a relief. We sprung to action to attend to the discarded ruler. The attack wounded the ruler badly, but it did live, saved only because the tape wrapped its shiny strips round and round the ruler and hugged it tight.
We plotted revenge again, with renewed rage. A plan we knew backward and forward but still we stayed up all night scheming.
I heard him first. Just as the sunlight was sneaking through the blinds, I heard footfalls down the hall, approaching. “Here he comes, get back everyone! This is it!” I shouted.
A very sharp tipped Rivera pencil stopped chanting and dancing around a circle of paperclips, which were raising hell on the desk. The paperclips snapped to attention and in turn, alerted the books at the other side of the room.
The door creaked open.
The fool was smiling.
Jerry was a happy-go-lucky man probably around the age of thirty. He had many friends, a grand social standing indeed. Very popular outside this room- his writing room. His secret passion, which he was terrible at.
Everyone inside this room hated him. He was a rat. He was inconsiderate and disrespectful. We had been plotting and fantasizing about taking him down for ages. It was a dream plan- I mean who would ever suspect a bunch of pens and pencils to kill a man?
How sublime; organized office supplies. No threat there.
In this room, Jerry was guilty of at least three crimes: needless sharpening of pencils, twisting paperclips and crumbling blank sheets of paper. With the balled paper, he fancied himself an all-star basketball player with the nearest trash can.
Let me be clear: pencils don’t mind if you tap them while you’re doing some deep thinking- but don’t ever just do it for the hell of it. That was his freaking hobby! Don’t get me started about sharpening us. I mean, we are here to serve, so sharpen us as needed but come on!
Jerry sharpens us like a beaver tearing through a log.
It’s how he manages his writer’s block. I’ve seen him grind one of us down to a nub in five or ten minutes. Just last week my aunt screamed and screamed as she spun in circles while Jerry cranked the sharpener. My poor family! Torture like that has taken down many a good pencil.
Our existence is threatened.
He waltzed in wearing some fancy white suit and plopped his puffy butt on his swivel chair, pulled a pencil – it happened to be my little brother- from his faded Paul Revere’s cup, and started tapping my brother’s head on that damn desk- like a drummer beating his drums.
I felt the lead burning inside of me.
After about ten minutes of torture, he finally tossed my brother aside and resumed typing. When I say typing, I mean clicking about two or three keys per minute. Not very creative that one. What he was typing, I didn’t have the foggiest notion, and I didn’t care- I was looking at my injured baby brother.
There he lay, covered in bruises. I could tell if he was still alive or dead.
I figured, and the books that watched from the bookshelves across the room could attest to as well, that Jerry had killed about thirty pencils in the last year alone.
Thirty senseless murders. Only about twelve were actually from my family, but still they were pencils, flesh and lead pencils. He had also ruined the lives of more than three hundred sheets of paper! Paper breeds like bunnies, but still they are still deaths.
Elmer, seeing my near dead or perhaps dead brother, sounded the signal to attack. He slowly leaned his round white body over like he was bowing, pointing his hellish orange head towards Jerry. The Empire ruler slid halfway off a box that Jerry had stuffed with CDs. The Empire whistled for several Swingline staples to scurry up to one end of the ruler until the weight caused one side of the ruler to thud to the ground, like a teeter-totter armed with only one kid.
Jerry only glanced up from his screen for a moment.
In that moment, the ruler looked him dead in the eye. Jerry didn’t sense the ruler’s rage and went on typing his meaningless nonsense.
Grumbacher, a tan gum eraser, slowly slithered to the edge of a nearby shelf, away from a stuffed tiger that clutched him. He stopped directly above the unoccupied end of the ruler.
It was perfect, so utterly perfect I have to pat myself on the back, a grand masterpiece! You could tell it was going to work before we even started.
Soon there would be no more torture.
Jerry glanced at the bottle of glue pointing towards his face and smiled. He stopped typing. I felt a twinge of panic. Oh god he does sense something is amiss!
I couldn’t wait another second.
“NOW!” I screamed at the top of my lead, Jerry’s head swung around the room looking for the source of the command as five Empire pencils launched from of the cup like missiles coming out of their silos.
“Holy God, what the-” Two of the pencils hit their target- one in each of his shoulders. They sunk down about an inch and a half, blood jetted out like water from an overfilled glass. The other three fell to the carpet; there lead heads snapping- death with honor.
Jerry stumbled to his feet, knocking the chair over.
He gripped both the pencils and tried to pull them out, the pain was excruciating as I guessed from his screams of terror, and the size of his eyes on his face. The soldiers made a ripping sound as he pulled them out.
He looked at the glossy red pencils dumbly for a second, and then threw them.
The first volley was a smashing success but we weren’t done.
Before he could fully comprehend the danger he was in, Elmer vomited a wave of glue, it shot across the desk like a fire hose spraying water. The sticky glue coated his face making him look like a porcelain china doll.
His screams were so great it was almost funny because the sound gurgled from all the glue in his mouth. At nearly the same time, the ruler whistled at the eraser. The dutiful eraser dove off the shelf, landing directly on the ruler. It sprang up, allowing the waiting staples to fling through the air.
Poor Jerry tripped over his chair as several staples pierced into his hands, missing the intended target- to shut his mouth.
Then the books assaulted him. Books of all sizes and shapes launched themselves with fury from the shelves, pounding into his back and legs. I held bones cracking! Wow.
More pencils flew through the room and sunk into his body, angrily driving in as deep as they could. The pencils twitched as Jerry’s muscles contracted and squirmed.
I rolled myself off the desk and landed on his chest. I stood up tall and stared the idiot right in his glue-covered eyes and shouted, “paybacks are hell, buddy!”
“Mother of God, HELP ME’!” His voice sounded childish and pitiful. He crawled backward trying to make his way toward the door, not even bothering to pull any of the pencils out of his body. As he scooted across the red carpet, the irony of how well he blended in with the carpet did not escape me.
Elmer squirted a second wave onto him, spilling glue all over Jerry.
The stupid man died shortly after that. I watched the glue dry and glaze over his eyes, making them a milky blue. I’m just sorry the paper punch and the scissors were on vacation then.
By the time his shocked wife found him, the blood had stopped oozing from the pencil holes and had began to dry. She screamed and we stood silently watching. We had no fight with her.
The police came and turned the room in a crime scene. They saw the ruler, the dead bloated bottle of glue, the pencils, and all those books, some with blood on the binding. They took dozens of photographs, but never understood what happened.
We sat alone and undisturbed in the room for a long time. Then one night, as the gray glow from the moon lit the room, his wife appeared in the doorway. She stood there for a while then sat down at the desk and turned on the computer. I heard her sniffle as the monitor warmed up and flooded the room with bright light. She stared at the monitor briefly then started typing.
I shifted in the Paul Revere’s cup. She glanced over at the sound and pulled me out.
She stuck me in her foul smelling mouth and began grinding her teeth into my sides.
Copyright 2012 by Erik Gustafson