The Drawing Pencil This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Jessica stared down in awe at the gift in front of her. She pushed her long brown hair out of her eyes and removed the final sheet of white tissue paper to reveal the present, a drawing pencil.

"Oh, wow. A pencil! Boy, did you get cheated!" Her little brother, Jimmy, exclaimed in a shrill voice. He stuck out his tongue and laughed. He then ran off of play with his gift, a toy airplane.

Jessica lifted the pencil from the box and examined it. It was beautifully hand-painted and ceramic with a cap that twisted for the lead to come out.

"Do you like it, sweetie?" Her mom asked her with a worried tone.

"Yes, yes, I do. I like it very much." She answered in her soft, whispery voice.

"Are you sure? You know that your uncle doesn't get to see you very often, and I'm sure he had to guess what to get you. I don't know why he would have picked that though. I mean, I did tell him that you enjoyed drawing, but I never -"

"No, Mom, I love it, I really do. It's perfect," Jessica insisted.

"Well, if you say so," her mother said uncertainly.

"Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to go to my room and try it out."

As Jessica started up the stairs she heard her mom whispering to her father about how much time she spent up in her room, and how she should get out more. She's right, Jessica thought to herself. I really should get out more.

Jessica was a very withdrawn child who kept to herself most of the time. The only time that she showed enthusiasm was when she was drawing. That was why the gift from Uncle Trevor was so perfect. Although Jessica rarely saw him, they were very close. He was always off on exciting trips for his job. Recently he had been in China, where the pencil was from.

Once in her room, Jessica sat at her desk and started to draw. She was very serious when it came to drawing and she could spend hours at a time working on a drawing. Such dedication was unusual for a child of eight, and it sometimes worried her parents. Now, as she began drawing, she marveled at how easily and flawlessly the pencil worked in her hands. It was almost as if it was doing the work for her. She decided to draw a picture of where she imagined the pencil had come from. So she drew a small Chinese shop on a brightly lit street in a tiny town in China.

As she drew, the lines and shapes seemed to reach out to her, engulfing her in her own creation. After a while, Jessica was no longer drawing the picture, she was in the picture. Walking down a foreign street and glancing around her at the colorless views surrounding her. Even in black and white, her new setting was breathtaking. She was jolted out of the scene by a loud sound breaking into her world. She looked up and was shocked to find that she was sitting at her desk, and the beautiful scene that she has just been wandering through was displayed in front of her, nothing more than a drawing on paper.

"Time for bed, honey," her mother's voice rang through her thoughts. Jessica quickly realized that it had been the sound of her bedroom door opening that had snapped her out of her oblivion.

"Oh, um, yeah, sure," Jessica mumbled, still dazed by the ordeal. It was real. I know it was! I'll do it again, she thought to herself excitedly.

So, she did it again. Night after night she drew herself in wondrous fantasies, doing things that she had always dreamed of but had been too timid to try. She savored each experience while they lasted, which unfortunately wasn't very long, and were usually cut short by some disturbance from reality.

Jessica wondered more than once if these creations were nothing more than figments of her imagination. Then she would begin drawing again and would slip into a world where everything was so real, so vivid, that Jessica knew even she couldn't dream it up.

After her ninth birthday party, Jessica sauntered up the stairs, exhausted. As soon as she caught sight of the pencil sitting on her desk in its box, she felt the familiar twinge of excitement and anticipation. It had been a year since she had received the gift, but she was still amazed by the endless opportunities it brought her.

As she began drawing, a frown passed over her face. Why isn't it working? she thought. She tried repeatedly but nothing happened. Jessica threw the pencil down onto her desk with a disappointed sigh. She stared blankly at the object in front of her as tears welled in her eyes. Something caught her eye and she refocused and realized what she had been staring at was the pencil box. That's funny, Jessica thought. I never noticed that writing before. She turned the box over and peered at the message, which was written in Chinese, and, in smaller letters underneath, in English. The message read:

Those who write with this pencil will experience an inconceivable magic and will endure a power beyond words. Use with great caution, for only those with good hearts and minds will witness the true powers of the pencil, which shall last until the lead runs out.

As Jessica read this she smiled, and found that it was incredibly ironic that she had had the box since she had gotten the pencil but it was only now - after she had discovered the lead was gone - that she found the message. Maybe it was fate, or maybe it was purely coincidence, but she was glad that she had read those words. They verified that she hadn't imagined the experiences after all, and even if she could never use the pencil again, she would always remember the adventures it had given her. 1

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 8:01 am
i love this !
Swifty said...
Apr. 10, 2011 at 10:29 am
that was astonishingly well done. I loved it. keep up the good writing!!
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