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Pen-Man

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OperatorSymbol

This is similar to the one on my pen.

I am familiar with the myths and legends surrounding him: he is called the Slenderman, the Operator, Tall Man. I know the signs of who he is: featureless countenance, tendrils, black suit, amazing height. The unconfirmed ones: fog, humming, pages, slaves. But I have come to know him as something different: Pen-man.

My name is Samuel, and my wife's name is Amber. I am a writer and musician. I live a quiet life in a small city.

Three decades ago, I began my career as a writer. My stories were of average length and content, fairly good if I do say so myself. It was because of Amber that I begin to write. She was the inspiration behind it all.

My first book, entitled "The Traveler's Guest Book", a stereotypical adventure/fanstasy novel, was surprisingly well received. I made a heavy sum of money from it, which I put to good use, buying for myself a large house in North Carolina.

All my books, seven others, have been very well received and quite popular among the young, old, and in-between. Before the events I will shortly describe to you, I even had a movie-deal on the line.

Think about this: You have neither heard of me nor my books. The reason will be revealed, if you shall hear my story to the end.

The date is January the 23rd, 2011, a very crisp day. Clouds blanket the sky and shroud the sun, allowing fierce cold to pervade the entire state, seemingly. I awake to the smell of fresh, delicious coffee. I throw on my red-plaid bathrobe and sautner downstairs, where Amber is busy preparing breakfast. "Morning, love," she says happily. She plants a kiss on my cheek as I pour myself a cup.

A note: All of my books are handwritten in Cross brand pen, a very expensive and dependable manufacturer, then typed by Amber.

As I survey the quiet neighborhood through the window, she says to me casually, "Dear, I found one of your pens out in the yard the other day."

"Really?" I say. She hands me the pen: A.T. Cross Townsend, Black Lacquer, fountain. I kiss her on the head and make a mushy remark about her eyes, then hurry back upstairs to put it in its place.

The moment I open the door, a chill snakes down my spine and through my bones. That can't be; the heat is on, and there's a fire in the fireplace. I warily cross the room to my writing desk and put the pen where it usually sits. Then I notice the other odd thing: I only have one Black Lacuqer Cross Townsend Fountain Pen, but two are present. I examine the pen more closely to look for tell-tale signes of its not being mine.

I hold it close to my face, turning it around, over, finally sitting down and holding it under the light nearly within my eye. And there, there, reader, is the symbol. THE SYMBOL. I ask you, musingly, to guess what symbol.

Scratched, into the side of the pen, is a white circle with an X through it.

I immediately know the thing is not mine, and hear a deathly humming noise from behind me. In a desperate attempt to save myself from what I know is coming, I shove the window up so hard and fast that the glass cracks; I raise my arm to throw the pen, but a malicious tendril-like appartus winds around my arm, tightening so fast that I feel like it will explode.

I whirl around and come face to blank face with him. With one of his more human arms, he make a motion as if to say "Hush." I know the song he hums, but I can neither recall, imitate, or properly name it. The blood drains from my face and my heart beats against my chest like a caged gorilla. I slump down into my chair, head upon my book.

When I awake, I am still in my room. Rain pounds the roof, thunder rattles the ground; the last thing I remember is pouring the coffee that Amber made, the cool air filling my lungs. But, I loook down at my book and see handwriting that is not my own. Past the last stanza I remember writing, scrawled in the same, morbid form as the symbol, are the words that start in the seventh paragraph of the story and end with the fifteenth.

I read the horrible text and rush downstairs. The coffee pot lies shattered on the floor, the breakfast burnt and smoking. An acrid stench fills the room. Scraps of the clothes worn by my wife this morning lay thorughout the entire first floor. The windows are boarded, as with the doors. Gone is the beauty of my house, but worse, lost is my wife.

I break down on the floor, face in my hands. Then, a monotonous voice tells me, in an emotionless, sinister tone, "She is not gone." I look up through teary up the dark stairs. There he stands. His tendrils have gone, and his hands are folded in front of him in a business-like manner.

"If you write what my pen tells you, she will return to you."

I rush upstairs and to my book. I lay waste to the twenty chapters I have finished and begin writing the morbid story of the Pen-Man's Pen.

I find myself sitting at a cafe on a sunny day, looking right at a calendar. It is August 5, 2012. I know not where I am. Catching stares and glances from those around me, I find my clothes to be nothing but a ragged, torn black suit, as though I had just run through the woods after a funeral. On my table sits a thick book and full, cold coffee cup.

From the distance, I see a woman in a mourner's black dress, in the same condition as mine, approaching. She sits down in front of me. It is Amber.

The waitress sets in front of me my receipt; it simply says:

"You are free now."

I embrace Amber. "I love you," I try to say, but all that comes out is a low, deathly hum.

Both of us found our location, gained our freedom, and lost our voices. My house had been sold to another family. I still have trouble remembering everything, and have not yet regained my ability to speak. The Pen-Man let me keep my ability to write, and did neither of us physical harm. Amber told me by writing that she had to draw for him, in some abandoned warehouse.

He appears to me in my dreams, telling me that he will return one day. Amber was spared the dreams.

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