"Truly, wooly, googley, fully dead?"
"Looks like it."
A teetering breeze picked up the wood shavings and scattered them across the floor, past the giant Basket Of Wasted Paper, out to the sidewalk where humans would uneventfully trample them into nothingness.
"All right," Mr. Blackpen murmured. "Let's pray that's the last we ever see of him."
A collective paper-clip nod ensued.
"Pity there's nothing left." A heavily Cellophane-taped Scissors growled. "Would've liked nothing more than snipping his squealing head off."
"Now, now," Liquid Paper chided. "You should really learn to erase the mistakes of the past."
"Bah. Coming from you, I wouldn't be surprised."
Sharpener was an inconsolable mess. Not even Tissue Paper could dry her tears. "I am sorry, Pencil. I really, really did not want to do it a second time."
"Don't be so hard on yourself," Thirty Seeam bent over to pat her. "After all, he asked you to do it himself. In case he survived the first sharpening, remember?"
She nodded, pausing to blow her nose. "What happened to his best friend? That Pakistani eraser."
Uneasy glances darted around. At last Mr. Blackpen spoke.
"He was never right since Pencil died. We tried telling him that Pencil had become Little Pencil, but he wouldn't listen, and kept drawing him closer to his past. Eventually..."
"He had to die." Scissors said bluntly, resulting in one pun too many.
No one said anything for a couple of minutes. One by one, the stationeries slunk away, back to their comfy little worlds where pencils were meant for writing as erasers were not.
Thirty Seeam and Mr. Blackpen gazed at each other with a hint of regret, trailing behind the muted crowd. Snorting, Scissors shook his head, fuming inside that Pencil was being painted a victim.
Sobbing softly by the depressed evening rays, Sharpener choked out some lingering graphite residue and unfolded Little Pencil's final note:
To the Little Pencils of the world:
Seek truth. Fight the good fight. Eventually the truth might suck like a broken nib. But I found it anyway.
And for that, my end shall now be so much more meaningful. I have done the most a pencil could dream of doing.
My darling Miss Sharpener, who gave me the greatest joy and sadness of my short life...thank you. By the time you read this, I am only but sawdust. Take my story. Tell it to the world. You don't need a pencil. For I have heard of the magical things those human machines can do. You know, the ones they sit and stare at all day long, bouncing fingers off them. Yes. Tell my story there. To all the Little Pencils out there.
Ah...such peace I've never known. Till we meet again, farewell.