Title: The Box, a.k.a. “None Pencil With Left Beef”
Author: Tavia Weinmann
Published In: Disney Adventures Vol.6 #1
From The Desk Of R.L. Stine: Readers, beware – you’re in for a scare!
I remember an old monster joke…
First Monster: You have beautiful eyes.
Second Monster: Thank you. They were a birthday present from a friend!
Well, I think the winning story in D.A.’s Scary Stories Contest is a real eye-popper! Tavia Weinmann, 9, of Hinkley, California has a creepy surprise for you – if you dare look inside “The Box.”
I loved reading and judging all of your scary stories. They really got me in the mood for Halloween. That is a big holiday in my house. We always build a roaring fire in the living room and tell ghost stories. (Too bad we don’t have a fire place!) Then we bring out a huge tub of boiling-hot oil – and we take turns bobbing for french fries. Then we go into the kitchen and carve a jack-o’-lantern back into a pumpkin. (Try it – it’s a real challenge!)
Your stories made this my scariest Halloween ever. I especially liked 12-year-old Jason Kuang’s tree-house story. It the best title of all – “Truth or Scare.”
Congratulations to these other finalists: Mindy Idleman, 12, who wrote a real puzzler; Jamie Miller, 12, who shouldn’t play with dolls; and Adam Krause, 11, who wrote about a horror movie that was a real horror!
I also got a chill from Robert Latham, 13; Morgan McCrary, 13; Alexis Walker, 14; Jennifer McLean, 14; Jessica Westerhof, 9; and Lindsey Reedy, 12.
Congratulations, all. Keep writing – and keep up the good, creepy work!
HEY! HEY EVERYONE! HEY! HEY IT’S FINALY CHRISTMASTIME HEEEEEEEY!
Boy, what a year this has been. A bad, frustrating, surprising, horrible, wonderful, fucked up year and it’s finally almost over.
I’ve found a lot this year, and I intend to find more next year, but I can’t look back and say 2022 was a good year. Not with what I lost. I can’t imagine what Christmas Day and my actual birthday are going to be like, knowing Mom is…
But I made it to the end of the year despite everything. And despite everything I’ve also written far more than I ever have. I may only have three publications to my name as of this moment, but that’s still three more I never thought I would have. Including my first credit as a comic writer.
So to start, I have this little present. Continuing the recaps of the scary stories submitted to Disney Adventures, we have “The Box.”
It’s a nice box, isn’t it? All red and white. I wonder what could be inside?
Wing, would you like to open “The Box?”
[Wing: I would like to burn 2022 to the ground, but since I cannot, I’d love to open The Box.]
It’s hard being the new kid in school, especially for Tavia. [Wing: I love the name Tavia.] And especially with a teacher like Mr. Jones. An average man or average looks and an average amount of pencils, he made it to clear to Tavia on her first day that she better come to class every day with EVERYTHING. Papers, pencils, whatever shit she needs because he does NOT loan anything to anyone.
And if Mr. Jones ever had to give anything to anyone, he would be VERY unhappy about it.
The next day, Tavia made sure she had absolutely everything she needed. Paper, a pencil, a box of crayons, two folders, a ruler, and a pair of scissors. The weeks in Mr. Jones’s class just flew by. Tavia wrote and wrote and wrote. She wrote so much she thought her hand would fall off. Who knew teachers could make you write so much? Tavia wrote reports, passed spelling tests, and her science reports stapled to the bulletin board in class. Life went on as it would in any classroom…
One day at lunch, Tavia was sitting down with her new friends when she noticed something peculiar.
Everyone had mismatched eyes!
Aaron’s eyes were green and brown. Ashley’s eyes were green and blue. And Larissa’s eyes were blue and YELLOW!
[Wing: HOW DO I GET IN ON THIS?]
It wasn’t just Tavia’s friends, either. Every kid, and I mean EVERY kid, in the classroom had mismatched eyes. Not a single child had eyes that were the same color except for Tavia. Meanwhile, the teachers all had regular eyes.
Tavia was more perplexed that everyone around her seemed fine with this. Her friends shrugged.
“Everyone has different-color eyes. It’s no big deal,” they’d reply.
She didn’t push the subject further, but this bothered Tavia’s thoughts a lot until a week later when she found out the truth.
Mr. Jones was having a spelling test in class, when the worst thing of all happened to Tavia. She didn’t have a pencil! Tavia practically tore her desk apart looking for one, but she was the Girl Without A Pencil.
Seeing Tavia’s distress and realizing she was sans pencil, Mr. Jones told Tavia to come to his desk. As she did, Tavia watched Mr. Jones pull out [INSERT TITLE HERE]. It was a red box with white stripes, and before he opened it Mr. Jones looked Tavia straight in the eye.
“If you want a pencil, you have to give me something in return. Have you ever heard the saying ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?’ Well,” said Mr. Jones, “I want an eye.”
Tavia wasn’t sure what Mr. Jones was asking until she saw inside his box. Instinctively Tavia placed a protective hand over her eye when she the box was filled with… EYES! Blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, yellow eyes, eye-eye-eye!
Even more distressingly, Tavia reached up and… PLUCKED OUT ONE OF HER EYES LIKE IT WAS THE EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD AND PUT IT IN THE BOX!
With one pencil and one eye, Tavia returned to her desk and completed her spelling test sans depth perception. When she was done, Tavia went to exchange Mr. Jones’s pencil for her eye back.
There was one problem.
Tavia couldn’t find it!
Tavia’s blue eye hadn’t gotten mixed up with all of the other eyes. There were plenty of blue eyes, but she couldn’t find the one that belonged to her.
Mr. Jones growled at Tavia to take an eye and sit back down, so she randomly grabbed a green eye and shoved it into her socket.
All eyes were on Tavia as her classmates smiled. She was now part of the group.
Everyone looked the same – they all had experienced the box.
Remember: If you ever go to a new school where everyone has different-color eyes, buy lots of pencils and take them to class!
This went in a much different direction than “Mr. Tilmore,” which was a more mundane sort of horror. However “The Box” may be more fantastical, there’s also a mundane level to the terror Tavia experiences. Everyone has simply become accustomed to the grotesque practices of Mr. Jones, and the way Tavia so casually gets used to it by removing her own eye like she does it all the time gives “The Box” a surreal, subtle kind of dread contrasted by the shock of Mr. Jones’s collection.
Although I’m overthinking this, I’m alarmed by what seems to be a large presence of yellow eyes which I can only imagine is jaundice. Yikes.
[Wing: I will never, ever, ever go without a writing utensil ever again (not that I regularly do, I almost always have one). Eye trauma for the lose right here. Let me tell you, when you’re young and trying to learn how to put in contacts, having the professional helping you make you touch their eye is not the way to avoid an eye trauma squick for the rest of your life.]