The envelope was tattered and damp, every single crinkle and crease telling the story of how it got into my hands. It blew into my hands, really. It was a slightly windy winter morning, when there wasn't a form of life anywhere. Everything was quiet and the deep layers of snow seemed to sparkle. All in all, it was what you'd expect on a Christmas card.
I pondered whether or not to open the letter right away, or to wait a bit. I made a compromise by taking the letter inside my house for further judgement. After all, standing outside on a winter morning in nothing but a robe and pajamas doesn't exactly scream heat wave.
Stamping the snow off of my boots, I made my way to our tiny kitchen. I have to admit, our cabin-like house was small. But it was a cozy kind of small. Especially since I was an only child. I don't think I would have found my house quite so comfortable with a ton of brothers and sisters.
My mother sat at our three-seater kitchen table. She was making the usual Saturday morning oatmeal. She looked up as I came in, and quickly wrapped me up snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug in a blanket. Then, she sat me down at the table and pushed the oatmeal in front of me. "Eat," she advised.
I carefully took a cautious bite out of the steaming porridge and made myself comfy. It was then that my mother noticed the letter for the first time. "What's this?" she asked, picking it up. Before I could stop her, she tore open the envelope and pulled out a piece of paper. A blank piece of paper. She turned to me,
"Marla," she asked, "why did you bring this inside? Where did you find this? Why is it here?" She kind of looked sad and a little confused. Suddenly, she let out a muffled choke.
It wasn't a normal choke. I'd never heard her do that before. It was a different choke. A choke that was covering up a scream.
"Mom," I wailed"are you okay?!"
She nodded, but still looked pale and shaky. "Yes, yes. I thought I just saw...oh never mind."
I suddenly noticed something weird about the envelope. Not only was the paper inside blank, the envelope was too! No adrress, no name, not even a stanp! I didn't have time to worry though because my mother tossed the whole thing in the garbage.
"No point in keeping that," she pointed out, "if it's blank."
I decided not to worry about it. I went through the whole day busy with chores and I hung out with my dog, Zeus. After a long and tiring day, I finally couldn't stand any more and flopped on my bed.
Something crackled underneath me. Confused, I sat up. I was shocked to see the envelope that my mother had tossed out this morning floating a few inches above my bed! I tried not to scream and ended up making the choking sound my mother had made that morning.
What was even weirder was that the envelope had been untouched! No rip where my mother had torn it, no crinkles and creases and still no writing. I shredded the envelope to bits to get to what was inside. Yes, the paper was still there.
Now there was writing on it. I read it aloud: "You're being watched. Use the pen."
"What pen?!" Now, I was confused and a little scared. Almost as soon as I had said it, an old fashioned ballpoint pen appeared out of thin air. I carefully took it and wrote down: "Who are you?"
The paper replied, "I am someone you ought not to know, I am someone fate has brough to you. I am someone you must set free."
I was trying really hard not to hyperventilate. "What do you mean?" I wrote.
"Keep writing and I will tell you."
I clutched the pen even tighter in my sweaty hand. I wrote: "How could I set you free?"
"You already are. You are now a part of this pen. As long as you write to me, you stay alive. But as soon as you stop, you will die. And it will not be peaceful. Let me tell you, you will regret ever dropping the pen."
I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or not. Maybe I was crazy. But I knew I had to keep writing.
I had to.
I had to live.
But you know what?
That was when my pen ran out of ink.