The Fountain and the pen

October 20, 2019 by Patrick Starks

Many of you have probably heard of the story of Excalibur, how it was lodged within a stone, and how out of the thousand that had tried to pull from it, only one man was able to wield it, but to be frank, that story was just make believe. Just an old tale written by an old smelly man that most likely wished he had only the arm strength to wield such a sword, however, the story that came after was as real as life itself. You see, somewhere, sometime in the month of October, there would be a woman who would write one of the greatest stories ever told, and her name was Francesca Fawn. She was dazzling. She had long dark hair, but later cut it up to her shoulders. She was taller than the average woman, about six foot two if anyone had to guess it. Most assumed she was a model but being the feminist that she was, she could never really find herself conforming to such a job, no matter how beautiful she was or how much money she’d make.  Francesca was without a doubt an inspiration to woman all around the world. She was kind, loving and strong all in one. And the strongest part to her was her words.

    On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Francesca had finally finished the second part to her novel, No Ones World, that of which was inspired by the famous soul singer James Brown, A Man’s World. When Part 1 was released, just as expected, many men didn’t support her book one bit, even some woman by her surprise, but of course, this was just jealously or envy, Francesca had told herself. There was a lot of woman that wanted to be famous writers, more than what a computer could count, although, that might be an over exaggeration. But still, you get the point.

  Nevertheless, Francesca was on her way to meet her editor, but unfortunately there was a problem. The streets were filled with thousands of people due to the football game going on that day. Francesca somewhat felt angered by this because there was never a time where the city wasn’t doing something that put others lives on hold. With her being as claustrophobic as she was, there was no way that she was going through it. She could still remember the day that she walked through the same kind of crowd, it was hot and muggy, and worst, she was late for her writing class which out of all of her classes, she’d never been late to. Little did she know she’d get herself caught in heard full of people that didn’t want to move. She’d eventually gotten out but of course, that was because she’d literally cussed the hell out of everyone that stood in her way. True, Francesca was gorgeous, but when she was mad she was like staring at a different person.

   To her left was an alleyway that could take her around it all. Unlike the streets its surface was brick layered all around, with incursive graffiti written on the walls that made her cringe at just by the sight. If there was one thing she hated as a writer, it was someone who didn’t know proper incursive. And sadly, it be dying art, which gave her reason to feel sorry for the poor bastard that couldn’t do it right. It just wasn’t their fault, society chose to stop teaching it. But at the end, that was the least of her worries.

   As a beautiful young woman, in her mid-30’s walking down an alleyway by herself, with no martial arts background, no pepper spray, no taser, it was definitely not the safest predicament for a woman like her to be in. But no matter how dangerous it was, Francesca needed her editor to see her manuscript that day. The thought of not knowing if it was good or not was killing her, although, she’d known well and plenty that it was because she’d have the best pen in the world to help her write it; they say a writers pen is like their wand.

   Francesca walked through the alley way, and not even in a minute in, a rat would run over her foot, brushing its sewage wet hairs against her skin, followed by its long slimy tail that slithered over afterwards like a snake. Most woman would’ve probably kicked the shit out of it but instead, Francesca stood motionless as it passed by. Fearing coming across another, Francesca put a little pep in her step. She could still hear the cheers from the crowd on the other side of the wall. She was nearly at the end of the alley way, which meant two more blocks around the corner and she’d be at her editors apartment complex. But then there would be a faint voice amongst the crowd that roared. It sounded familiar, and it didn’t sound like it was coming from the other side of the wall but in the alley way. But when the crowd had stopped for as little as a minute, she’d hear the voice much clearer.

“You know,” the voice whispered. “That’s my pen you have… And I want it back.”

Francesca felt shaken but not stirred. No one knew about the pen, not her editor, not even her ex-husband who she felt was the spawn of Satan. Even though she wasn’t a religious woman, she’d thanked god every day that she’d had only one kid with him.

“What are you talking about?” shouted Francesca. “Show yourself!”

Out from underneath bags of garbage, rotten banana peels and needles from a few of the homeless, a body expelled. The body was frail and dirty, maybe even toxic from the way the flesh hung from it bones for dear life.  

“Jesus…” Francesca paused. “Have you been there the whole time?”

Not a word was heard. All Francesca could see was the back of a head, with thinning grey hair, hunched over shoulders and hunchback which wasn’t from Notre Damme but from Vancouver.

“Mom…” said Francesca, puzzled.

“In the flesh,” the old woman grinned, as she turned around.

“I-I thought you were…”

“Dead,” the old woman finished. “Maybe in your dreams but not here, not now.”

   The old woman, that of which was Francesca’s mother then looked down at the purse she’d been holding, as if she had x-ray vision.

“In there,” she demanded. “Give it to me, give me the pen!”

Francesca took two steps back and held tightly onto the her Christian Dior. “You can’t have it,” she said.

“Francesca… Don’t be stupid. You know just as good as me what that pen is capable of. It helped you write your silly little book didn’t it! That was the only reason I’d showed it to you in the first place.”

“Yeah, I know what it can do… But mom… What you were doing with it was wrong, you weren’t using it for anything good, the only thing you’ve ever used it for was for your own personal reasons. And that was why…”

“Don’t you dare say it,” said the woman, with anger.

Francesca had hesitated to say but she’d been wanting to say it for 15 years now, and well, it had slipped out regardless of how violently her mother’s eyes looked.

“Because of your selfishness dad died that night! You wrote him away and I’ve been trying for years to write him back, but nothing ever happens. Its like writing a Christmas list and getting nothing that you wanted, not even a candy cane in my stocking.”

The old woman was quiet. On her dirty face a tear shed, leaving a clear stripe down the side of her face, from her eye all the way down to her chin.

“That’s because you can’t undo what has already been done,” said the old woman. “You either live with it or move on from it… That was why I’d kept the pen from you in the first place because at the end, I knew that was something you were going to try. Sweeti…”
“Don’t call me that!” shouted Francesca.

The crowd was still cheering in the background. On the other side there seemed to be sheer happiness but on the side Francesca and her mother stood there only seemed to be pain, but that was how life was, Francesca had convinced herself. For every bit of pain there is happiness and for every bit of happiness there was pain. With her being such an inspiration to many woman, she had every reason to be happy but there still was a chapter to her life that she hadn’t closed, like most of us in this life today.  She’d told herself everyday that she was fulfilled but still couldn’t comprehend what that fulfillment felt like.

  Francesca then pulled out her notebook and pressed the pen against it.

“Wait… What are you doing Francesca?” said the old woman.

“You’re wrong mom…”

“Francesca… No.”

“You see, I’ve been doing some research about his pen and even found some of your old notes. And as you quoted, If one has been written out of existence, they can only be brought back with the soul of the one that wrote them off…”

“No, that’s not true,” the old woman begged. “Francesca you don’t understand if you do this…”

     A young drunk couple then stumbled into the alley way. It was either they’d lost sight of where they were going or they were, in fact, looking to have a quick bit of fun, but either way, for the moment they weren’t welcome. The old woman then gave them both a stare so wicked that they would all of sudden find themselves sober again.

 “Okay, okay,” said the young man. “We’re getting out of here.”

“Geez, its not like she pays any fucking taxes around here,” mumbled the young woman, vaguely.

But as they’d left the old woman could see that her body was beginning to fade. First was her hands, second her legs and waist, and gradually the rest of her.

“Cynthia Fabel Fawn,” shouted Francesca. “I write you off in replacement of Malcom Ray Fawn!”

In front of her was a cloud of smoke. And in it she could see a shadow. It was as tall as her, muscular around the torso but not as much around the waist. Francesca walked towards it.

  “Dad?” she asked.

She didn’t here a word, although, she did here a few coughs. She’d walk closer to it and when she did it was as she hoped it would be, her dad. It been so long, a long and hard 15 years without a father figure but now he was back.

 “C-Cynthia…” the man coughed.

“No, Dad, its me, Fran, Francesca, your daughter,” said Francesca.

“Oh my god… Is that really my little Fran?” the man asked, with shock.

  Francesca couldn’t hold her feelings in any longer, she’d hug the man tightly, already promising herself that she would never let go.

“Dad! You’re back! You’re finally back!” shouted Francesca, tearfully.

The man then stood up. He didn’t age one bit, in fact, he was about the same age as Francesca, mid 30’s or late. He’d still had on the same flannel and baby blue jeans that Francesca remembered on the night he’d vanished. It was all so strange. There the man stood looking at his baby girl, that of which looked not different than her mother, only she’d have his chin and nose, he smiled. But what wiped that smile away was that he’d lost so much time with her. But he’d still had a mission he hadn’t forgot about.

“The pen,” said the man. “Do you still have it?”

“Y-yeah…” replied, Francesca concerned.

“Can I see it… Its just your mother had done a lot of terrible things with it and I need to re-write them back… You were too young to remember it all but she in a lot of  ways flipped this whole world upside down. I need you to trust me on this sweetie…”

Francesca without a doubt had always trusted her dad, but something about him felt off. But things had been off in her life for quite some time now, so it never crossed her mind really to why her mom would’ve written her dad out of existence in the first place. But she’d reminded herself that that was all just her mother talking. Her dad was a good man, always had been, and all she could remember was the days how he’d fly her around the living room like an airplane. Without thought she handed the him the pen, and without a thought he’d began writing what he needed to.

   Immediately, the world around them would change for the worst. The sun and the big blue skies had become dim, and the brick walls that surrounded them began rusting and later deteriorating. Francesca stared at her father in awe as what before were cheers converted to screams. Gradually, she could begin to see through her own hands.

“Dad… What did you do? Why?”

The man sighed. “I had to do what I had to do… I am the fountain and this I hold in my hand is the pen I wield. Your mother never told you because she knew how you felt about me, but me and this pen are inseparable, I am a part of it as it is a part of me, and she’d taken it away from me and wrote me out of existence because at the end, if she couldn’t have me then no one nor nothing could. I’m sorry sweetie but this is the way that has to be…”

“But I brought you back!” shouted Francesca, tearfully. “All these years I worried, and I brought you back!”

“I know baby girl, and thank you, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me. But my mission must go on. Everything around us is so toxic. It might look beautiful from the out but in the inside, its just nothing but suffering. Who gave any of us right to dictate anyone’s life… Who gave any of us the right to play gods amongst each other…”

  Francesca’s body had faded, and the world around would fade with her. Malcom Ray Fawn had returned, and as he smelt the arising of a new world, he’d never felt so good. But after Francesca had faded, there would still be her purse, nestle on the ground. Malcom really had no reason to look through it but for whatever reason, he’d felt the urge to do so anyways. He’d opened it, flipped it upside down and dumped everything that was in it, out. He scrambled through it all, there was red lipstick, a mirror, makeup, hairbrush, a planner, and then he’d found it… He’d hoped that it wasn’t true but there in the middle of it all was a fairly crumbled up picture. It was Francesca and her daughter, another piece to his blood line.

THE END

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