Ladies and gentlemen,
boys and girls of all ages, welcome! Here in this
arena, in its first and only appearance anywhere in the world,
Pen Site on Earth presents for your enjoyment
the World Famous...
Halloween Drabble Collection
We received a gratifying
number of entries for the Halloween Drabble Contest,
and they were a varied and interesting lot. (Just as a reminder,
a drabble is a short story that is exactly 100 words long,
not including its title; and our contest asked for drabbles
with a spooky theme and a connection to pens or writing.)
Our three judges, all of whom are voracious and eclectic readers,
Hauck Binder, a librarian and tax accountant, and
a longtime lover of mystery stories and tales of the macabre
- Kate Binder,
a professional writer, editor, and compositor, author of
several computing books including Teach Yourself QuarkXpress
in 14 Days, Easy Photoshop 6 and, most
recently, The Complete Idiots Guide to Mac OS
- Don Fluckinger,
a pen collector and professional writer, author of the sports
card traders guide Score Big and of monthly
columns for a broad variety of publications, including Tuff
Stuff, PDF Zone, and The Antiques
Road Show Insiders Guide
With a figurative
flourish and in the color of dried blood, we present first
our winner, a truly chilling snippet that garnered an impressive
32 out of 33 points from the judges:
by Janine Palley
Myrna's hand covers mine as I write.
murdered me," appears in my diary in red, though my
pen holds black ink.
I press the barrel where Myrna Green's name is engraved.
"No, Myrna," I say, but she selected me when I won
her Sheaffer Lifetime for a dollar on eBay.
She writes again, bearing down, almost breaking the
tines. My elbow locks against her attempted revenge,
then she's gone. I throw the pen into my desk and
start my computer.
Item #1234567 - Dear Seller, There's a small problem
with the pen I purchased, rather hard to describe..."
Janine has won a
brand-new paperbound copy of the Penguin edition of Dracula,
by Bram Stoker. Our congratulations to Janine, and thanks
to Stuart Williams, who proposed the contest and provided
the prize. We cannot offer prizes to the second- and third-place
finishers, but those two stories were also very good, and
their authors deserve a hearty round of applause.
Coming in a close
second in the judging was this offering:
by Robert Rothman
call me mad, the Bic-toting asses who run this institution.
have honored Nicholas Warren's wishes. I had tried,
unsuccessfully, to dissuade him from demanding, in
his will, that he be buried with his Patrician. When
the time came, I couldn't do it. I stole my dead friend's
after we buried him, Nicholas appeared in my study.
I fainted. When I woke, the pen was goneand
on my desk was a sheet of paper. It contained, in
Warren's familiar hand, in lines that bespoke that
wonderfully flexible nib, the single word "Mine!"
And here is the third-place
by Karmann Goff
"I need to
finish this Special Report for the District Officer
tonight!" Rose thought as she slammed the Duofold
to the desk and left the room. Rose returned with
her tea and placed her cup on the desk. The Duofold
was across the desknot where she had left it!
These brutal rituals, murders and tales of the "undead"
were getting to her. Next, these villagers would be
seeing Vlad the Impaler. The pen felt oddly cool in
her hand as her dog began to growl. A scream lodged
in Rose's throat as the searing pain and coldness
And here are the
rest of the entries, in no particular order.
by Ed Poremba
That one unrelenting obstacle that until now had prevented
completion of the final project. Yes, it had taken
some time, torturous introspection, and more planning
than would have been thought necessary. The carefully
written letters with their generous payloads were
already finding their way to their recipients - friends
and relatives who would have better use for the modest
sums. Paperwork, duly drawn and notarized, lay face
up across the smooth wood surface of the desk, its
purpose fulfilled and shortly to begin anew.
Something quite unlike that of Hemingway.
Pen in pocket,
a jasper Parker Duofold. Black ink.
by Andy Deering
in black, sat at an ornate desk. He dipped his pen
in the gold hinged skull inkwell. On antique parchment
he wrote, in flowing script, three names. The silver
snake coiled around his pen seemed to writhe. On the
highway, a car roared into a curvetoo fastwith
a shriek, it spun off the road and rolled, spilling
bodies. The dark figure dipped his pen in the now
blood red ink. He scratched a line through each name.
Each time, a spark and the stench of sulfur. Cloven
hooves beat a wild tattoo on the hardwood floor.
to the door and just look at this little monster!"
They gave Jason an extra handful of candy, appreciating
the time he obviously took getting made up. So it
went, all that Halloween night. Momma looked up from
the table, as Jason came bounding into the small apartment.
Excitedly, he told her about all the goodies he'd
collected trick or treating. She tried to smile, but
couldn't. Her tears smeared the ink, and her Waterman
ran dry from filling out all the forms; begging the
insurance company to pay for the plastic surgery her
son so desperately needed.
by Len Provisor
home... letters sealed in wax beckoned him to visit
his ancestral home in Romania. Walking past log homes
and rutted roads, his yearning grew strangely intense.
A warmth welled within, an unsettling anxiety grew.
He tried to remember why, but could not. It was growing
dark but hasten he must.
the old home, how safe... fortress from the living
world. His eyes moistened, he approached the massive
beam door, deeply grooved and faded traces of scarlet.
smooth faces greeted him, their parting lips smiling.
Suddenly he remembered... as the fangs plunged into
by Ray Hull
morning, I strode up Fifth Avenue to hit a few stores
before my 1:45 train. At St. Patrick's Cathedral,
I was blocked by a funeral honoring a World Trade
Center policeman. Having visited Ground Zero Thursday,
I welcomed the chance to pause and reflect. Leaning
against Saks' windows, I watched hundreds of backs
face hundreds of cops, at attention, across the Avenue.
moved down the Avenue, followed by the muffled Police
Pipe Band drums. Then, the Band about-faced, and played
patriotic marches. A voice called out "Detail Dismissed.'
by Stephen Herman
He went to
Father's grave to assure Mother the stone looked proper.
"I'll humor her," he thought. He knew it wouldn't
be long before she would be joining Father. He figured
out how to fix things so that his sister would get
much less than half of the estate. Back home, he wrote
in his journal, with his favorite fountain pen, the
Edgar Allan Poe: "Went to his grave. Told Mother everything
all right." Suddenly, something gripped his arm. The
nib seemed to flex under some force not his own. The
pen was writing! "You're next. You're next. You're
the Pontejos Store
by Jimmie Cockburn
To the Pontejos
store in Madrid, Spain, customers arrive by the thousands
every day. The store, founded in 1870, specializes
in sewing materials: threads, fabrics, and tools.
The store has two doors; customers enter and exit
from both. The police station is by the west door.
The store is packed solidly with people. The noise
level from the conversation is soaring. At closing
time a clerk screamed, "Come look here." The clerks
gathered around two women who had been stabbed to
death with needles in their eyes and scissors through
their hearts. Blood was everywhere covering the old
by Vivek Narayanan
the full moon, and I fancied werewolves amid the trees.
A long howl made me hasten involuntarily. Suddenly
there appeared before me the ghost of Tsar Nicolai,
decked in Platinum armor with Malachite scepter. "Hand
it over!" the voice boomed, referring to my pen case.
I slowly reached for my breast pocket, as though to
cross myself, to mocking laughter from the spectre.
Out came my trusty vintage LeBoeuf Holy Water asperge,
with crucifix clip. "Begone noxious succubus, thou
art now Limited Edition!" said I, thrusting the sprinkler
in full view. He dissolved, and so did the clouds.
for the competition since he was providing the prize, Stuart
Williams did submit the following drabble for your enjoyment:
by Stuart Williams
I bid you welcomeyou have the final draft?"
Dracula stared hungrily, eyes red in the firelight.
the manuscript upon the desk. "Ready for signing."
The Count handed him an ornate pen. "You shall sign
first - in blood!" Dracula swooped, fangs bared. Thrusting
instinctively, Stoker was enshrouded in dust as the
wooden pen, still in his hand, entered the vampire's
undead heart. He was no more.
Bram dipped the pen and replaced "Autobiography of
Count Dracula" with "Dracula, by Bram Stoker." Smiling
he pondered. "Enough ghost writingat least now
I have a fine new pen!"
And lastly, we present
this morsel, penned after the judging by one of the judges:
by Don Fluckinger
The man with
the treble staff looked intently, smoke wafting above
his head, emanating from somewhere behind. Menacing
orange flames surrounding us both made for frightening
shadowplay on his face.
"So in exchange
for your soul, I shall make your fountain pen a luxury
marque above all, surviving, nay flourishing, in jewelry
stores, flea markets, and stationery shops across
the land! Your brand shall survive the current competition
by decades, be it Waterman, Eversharp, Conklin, Parker,
or Sheaffer! By this covenant, I shall make it so!"
other guys in the Montblanc marketing department get
a load of this.
Thanks and congratulations
to all who participated in this, the first Pentrace Drabble
Contest. Another contest is in the planning stages, but we
wont inflict it on you immediately; well at least
give the Halloween dust a chance to settle.