Written by Miss Smiley
Tommy got the inkwell for his 8th birthday, right after Grandpa died. This is because Grandpa had given it to him in his will, but, nonetheless, a present received on your birthday is still a birthday present, regardless of the circumstances around said gift.
He treasured the inkwell. Sure, it was old, with a faded monogram on the front, painted in a gold, flaky paint that was slowly peeling, but that didn’t matter to Tommy. It was from Grandpa. He’d loved Grandpa, and it was one of the only things he’d received when he’d passed away; the other thing being the first copy of Tommy’s favourite book,The Albany Treasure, written by Grandpa himself.
Grandpa was always writing things. Mum said that was his job. Tommy didn’t believe this – how could writing something be a job? Jobs were things like fire-fighters or doctors or, his personal favourite, pilots. Or teachers… maybe… though he still didn’t like them.
But Grandpa wrote stories.
Tommy asked him once how he came up with the stories. He’d heard a reporter ask his Grandpa that question once and Tommy was curious. Where did the ideas come from?
Grandpa had chuckled and told him, “not sure, my boy. Not sure. I just dip the quill in the inkwell, Tommy and the ink and quill just… go walking.” He’d surveyed Tommy for a moment, as if weighing up a decision. “In fact, the inkwell’s a bit… well, it’s a clever inkwell. If I tell it what I’m writing for, it’ll write me a story. Simple as that.”
Tommy had looked up at Grandpa’s bright blue eyes, with the wide-rim glasses tucked into his old cap, and made a decision. The decision was this – nope. He’s lying.
But he smiled anyway, because he loved Grandpa and Grandpa deserved to have his stories believed.
Fast forward six years and Tommy is 14. He’s not nearly as sure of himself as he was at eight, starting to pick up spots left, right and centre. He is incredibly awkward, especially around girls, and spends an awful lot of time far, far away from anyone.
He’s still called Tommy, but mainly because that’s what the bullies always called him and some nicknames just stick.
He has three friends and a letter from Grandpa that tells him about a secret right in front of him. Grandpa’s letter was given to him on his birthday, as the old man had requested. It makes him remember Grandpa, his inkwell, and those funny little stories. And he wonders…
Fast forward four more years and Tommy is 18. He’s not called Tommy any more, except by Lena, who whispers it into his ear when she’s feeling frisky. He’s called Thomas now. Thomas G. Farring, the author of three best-selling children’s series and a thriving thriller series for young adults.
The newspapers are awestruck by him, by the sheer vastness of Farring’s output.
The older reporters nudge each other and grin. “Grandson of the great Alex McCoulson, on his mum’s side…” they say to each other. “The old boy must’ve taught him something before he passed on!”
And oh, he did. Or maybe it’s better to say that he gave him something. Told him something.
And Grandpa’s stories always deserved to be believed.
Miss Smiley’s half hour challenge struck our hearts here at Inkblots. With February and its theme of love, ‘Inheritance’ touches on a simple idea – how someone’s most treasured possession can tell a tale all on its own. And once it’s been set in motion, it continues to flutter into other people’s lives. A love of fictional stories transpires into a profession for young Tommy, and it’s probably what many of us relate to. If you enjoyed Miss Smiley’s piece, why not take a look at ‘Rosebed‘ and ‘Death’s Mistress‘.