This is a fictional short story, in 970 words.
Christine watched as Sue opened her pencil case. Looking across the gap at the blonde girl sitting primly at her desk, she subconsciously pulled her feet back under the chair, so Miss Snooty Susan wouuld not see her scuffed cheap shoes. The pencil case was suede, and embossed with a butterfly motif. Chrisine’s pencil case was a cheap clear plastic. It didn’t even have a zip, just a pop stud securing a creased flap. When she took out the pencil, she sneaked it back into her satchel, so nobody would see it.
Sue slid the zip of her plush case open slowly, before removing a snazzy fountain pen from inside. It was a Parker, obvious from the metal arrow that served as both decoration and pocket clip. The silver-coloured top stood out from the black body, and Christine was wondering if it might even be one of those new cartridge pens. You didn’t have to chance getting messy with those, just plug in a new ink cartridge.
Even the nib was tiny, the latest style and perfect for neat and small writing. Christine’s mum had told her she didn’t need a pen, and they were too expensive anyway. Then Aunty Betty had bought her a set of HB pencils for her birthday, and that had been the end of it. Mum had got her a pencil sharpener from an old wooden box that dad had left behind when he left. “No idea how old this is, but it works well enough. You might as well use it, save buying another one”.
Mrs Millington said they had to write an essay, and she chalked up the subject on the board. “What I did at the weekend”.
Snooty Susan started to write immediately. She would probably be writing about what a wonderful weekend she had spent being spoiled by her parents. They probably took her ice skating, or swimming, or to ride a pony in the suburbs. Christine didn’t want to write the truth about her weekend. She had spent it doing the laundry, changing the beds, and cleaning the house while mum was working her shifts at the factory. Then each evening she had cooked her own dinner, before falling asleep reading a book.
So she invented something better. On Saturday, her dad came to take her to the cinema. He bought her ice cream during the intermission, then on the way home they stopped for fish and chips which they ate out of the wrapper as they walked along the street. Then he came back on Sunday to take her on a riverboat trip, and they went to Greenwich on the boat, before walking up the hill to the Observatory.
After lunch, they had Gym. That meant they had to change into their shorts and plimsolls in the changing room. Susan had special kit to wear, but Christine had to do Gym in her vest and knickers. Her plimsolls didn’t have any laces after the last pair had broken, so mum had made her use rough string that had been tied around a bundle of firewood. But the changing room offered her the opportunity, and she took it.
As Susan ran out onto the floor of the gymnasium, laughing with her friends, Christine held back, and took the new Parker pen from the suede case. She only wanted to feel what it was like to hold it, but when Miss Harris shouted for her to get into the class, she put the pen into her own cheap pencil case.
The last class that afternoon was Maths, and today was Geometry. That would usually involve using rulers and drawing lines, but today they had to write some answers to problems Mr Lloyd had written on the blackboard. Susan got the butterfly case from her leather satchel, and raised her eyebrows. Then her hand shot up. “Sir, someone has taken my pen. It’s new, and a Parker”. The teacher looked exasperated. “It’s probably just a prank, Susan”. He stood up. “Okay, if someone has taken Susan’s pen, hand it back now, and apologise”.
Nobody moved, including Christine.
The teacher didn’t want to waste any more time. “Right, everyone empty your satchels onto your desk now, and show me your pencil cases”. Christine was suddenly seized by panic, and had no idea what to do. For some reason, she did something stupid. Jumping up, she grabbed her satchel and ran out of the class. At the end of the corridor, the madness of her action dawned on her, and she turned to see Susan and Mr Lloyd running toward her. Fumbling in her pencil case, she removed the pen and held it out. The shiny top fell off as she did that.
Susan’s face was a picture of triumph as she grabbed Christine’s hand. “She stole it, sir. She’s a thief”. If she had just taken the pen without saying anything, Christine would have let go. But as it was, she gripped it tighter, causing the angry girl to pull on it really hard. Mr Lloyd was puffing as he got to them. He was old, and out of condition. But he looked annoyed, so Christine released her grip unexpectedly.
With no pressure holding her hand, Susan’s arm shot back at speed, and the pen went straight into her right eye, nib first. Her scream was so piercing, Christine put her hands over her ears, turning her head away so she couldn’t see the blood pouring out and the pen protruding from Susan’s eye.
Moments later, the corridor was full of people, and Mrs Collier the History teacher grabbed Christine by the arm as the screaming continued. As the teacher marched her off to the headmaster’s office, Christine was crying, and tearfully explained herself.
“I only wanted to hold it, to see what it felt like”.