Having Pearlie on my side during this made finding these trinkets so much easier. It took only six months to track this one down, finding it at an auction of a certain Ms. Wanda Perch’s property. The pen was in a box of various other calligraphy items and we bought the whole thing for seventy five dollars.
We’d discovered its existence through an article about this Ms. Perch, and the curious story about her and this pen revealed itself through various social media posts and police reports. At this point, it wasn’t about solving a case for a client. I hate to admit it, but curiosity about these trinkets had begun to run my life. I wanted to know how these trinkets changed people, people who seemed so normal until they’d stumbled across a decorative spoon or stole a brooch.
Wanda was twenty-two years old and I have to say, she comes off as incredibly unlikable off the bat- even before she received the pen. She was quite average when it came to most things in life, grades, work performance, appearance… Wanda had never been anything special, but she seemed to act like she was god’s gift to mankind. She had an addiction to social media. She barely went an hour without tweeting and she instagrammed her cup of coffee every morning. Not saying that enjoying social media is a bad thing, Pearlie runs an ‘aesthetic’ tumblr where she also promotes mental help and self care. I don’t quite understand it but it’s always made her happy.
However, Wanda was reportedly an unpleasant person on the internet and real life. She had a job at a local grocery store and had a reputation of talking down to her coworkers and trying to get her friends discounts or free items. She was known for losing her temper at the smallest of inconveniences, but her manager was close friends with Wanda’s mother and gave her as many chances as she could.
That last chance was used up when Wanda mocked and physically assaulted a customer.
This particular customer, Gregory, had a moderate intellectual disability. He came in to the grocery every Monday and typically a staff member would accompany him through the store to help him if he needed anything, which Gregory greatly appreciated. Most workers loved this as Gregory was described as ‘a big teddy bear’ and great fun to be around.
However, no one else on this day was available to help Gregory except for Wanda.
Wanda had always given Gregory a wide berth, but you’d expect she’d be able to offer basic human decency and at least walk with him. Unfortunately, this was not the case. When Gregory tried chattering to her like he did all the other workers, she would repeat what he said right back to him in an incredibly insulting manner. Another customer heard Wanda mutter, and I’m quoting here, ‘fucking retard’ as they walked together. This customer immediately ran to get the manager, and she was right to do so.
By the time they got back, Gregory had been shoved to the ground and had hit his head on the shelving. No one’s sure why Wanda chose to push the man, although she claimed he was getting ‘too close’ and he ‘smelled bad’. Luckily Gregory wasn’t hurt except for that bump on the head and Wanda was fired on the spot.
I theorized this was the day Wanda came into possession of the pen.
One of Wanda’s hobbies was calligraphy. She even wrote letters and cards for a few of her friends on several occasions, and I have to admit, this is one area she was certainly talented in judging by the images she shared on social media.
On the night Wanda was fired she posted a picture of an intricately decorated golden pen. I would only find out by handling it later that there was an emerald set in the cap, which was not visible in this picture. The comment said that she got it ‘for a steal’, which I’m assuming was her attempt at humor.
I think it’s wrong to pretend that none of us have ever desired something that we can’t have. Whether it’s a nice house, a fancy new sports car, or a top of the line computer, we’ve all taken a look at one that belonged to someone else and thought just for a second how nice it would be to have it.
Of course, most of us realize that such a thought is wrong. It might be natural, but it’s wrong, so we bury the thought and continue with our lives. We let those thoughts die.
But Wanda never let those thoughts die. She let them sit at the back of her mind, and once in possession of something evil, she let them come to life.
The next day Wanda’s mother, Carla, gave Wanda the car that she’d just purchased. A treat for herself after getting a raise at work. When asked about it later, Carla would just shrug and said she felt compelled to give Wanda the car. The same day, two friends gave Wanda various pieces of jewelry, some cheap, some incredibly expensive. Wanda took selfies with her new car and earrings with comments saying she was finally getting what she deserved.
This was her test run of the pen’s powers, of course. And someone who spends their entire life envying other people will never be satisfied when they get what they want. They’ll always want more.
Mercy Donnell was a friend of Wanda’s and had quite the stellar singing voice. She was determined to get on some kind of talent show, just to ‘show the world what they’ve been missing’. She might have had quite an ego, but she had the skill to back it up.
That same night Wanda got her new ‘bling’, Mercy’s boyfriend found Mercy on the bathroom floor after the aspiring singer had drunk bleach. Thankfully she was rushed to the emergency room and survived, but the damage done to her throat and vocal chords was permanent. She’d never sing again. When asked why she’d do such a thing, the woman just stared out the window before shrugging. She truly didn’t know.
Wanda posted a video as well that night of her singing with a voice that didn’t quite sound like hers. Her friends fawned over this ‘hidden talent’, and Wanda ate up all the attention.
The next week Wanda managed to snatch up the job as a secretary at a legal office, the job her friend Alicia Thompson used to have. Why wasn’t Alicia in that position anymore? Because her internet browser history said she’d been browsing porn websites during work, and not legal ones either. Alicia swore up and down she wouldn’t even think of looking at such disgusting things, but she was fired and arrested. Wanda just happened to stop in to drop in her application before they even announced they were looking for a replacement.
This is when Wanda met Leon Castle. Leon was living the high life as a successful lawyer, with beautiful wife Grace and two children, Phillip and Brandy. He’d inherited a literal mansion and fortune from his father. He was good looking, wealthy, and happy with life. He literally had it all.
Wanda wanted it all too.
Maybe if she’d been a tad more subtle about it, she’d have gotten away with her cruelty. But drunk on power, even believing she was a god according to some, she had to have Leon. Of course, he turned down her attempt at seduction, being faithful to his wife. He reported it to HR but before anything was done about it, Grace was gone.
And by gone, I mean just gone. She didn’t kill herself, she wasn’t kidnapped, she just vanished into thin air. And within a week, in her place was Wanda.
The two were seen going on dates to expensive restaurants or on wild shopping sprees, but when Leon was approached he seemed tense, afraid. People described his proclamations of love for Wanda as forced and uncomfortable, while Wanda just basked in the attention from her new lover.
Whispers hung on the air about Grace’s disappearance, maybe she was getting too old for Leon and he wanted a newer model so to speak. Wanda quit her job so the sexual harassment charge was swept under the rug, she moved in with Leon, and lived the high life.
You never should underestimate the will of a child who misses his mom though.
Twelve year old Phillip was actually Leon’s stepson, from Grace’s previous relationship. Of course Leon loved him just as much as he loved Brandy and Phillip loved him too, but he was his mother’s child through and through. He played along, of course, even calling Wanda ‘mom’ and being incredibly affectionate in public, but at the same time he was doing his own snooping.
I was impressed when I managed to get a hold of Philip’s notes that he gave the police. For being just a child, he managed to gather a lot of information about Wanda, even figuring out that it was people connected to her that had little ‘accidents’ before she moved up in life. I hope he becomes a private investigator someday, he could make a killing.
Phillip had been patient though, he waited until he managed to find something to put a nail in Wanda’s coffin. After all, those previous things were circumstantial, just coincidence. And if Wanda got the idea that Phillip was against her, she’d take measures to get rid of him.
That nail was finding where Wanda buried Grace.
Leon’s property extended quite far into a patch of forest and Phillip was known to play in there. I’m not sure if he went in there to search for any sign of his mother, but he had the unfortunate luck of stumbling across her gravesite next to the creek. There’d been several heavy rains in the area, and I never said Wanda was very bright- enough mud had washed away to reveal the location of the shallow grave. Phillip took Brandy with him when they went to the cops, with all of Phillip’s notes and the location of the grave.
Wanda was arrested when the body was confirmed to be Grace.
Leon had a mental breakdown when he realized he was finally free from Wanda’s grasp and confessed everything. Wanda had showed up after Grace went missing and made abundantly clear that if Leon didn’t ‘love her’, she’d find a way to make sure his children suffered for it. Afraid for his children’s safety, Leon cooperated, like any father would.
Although Wanda was never explicitly connected to the bleach or pornography incidents, in the court of public opinion she was declared guilty of both. The selfish woman insisted she got all that she did through her own work and never once confessed to her misdeeds, even when the mountain of evidence buried her alive.
Wanda will be in prison a long time. There’s no doubt about that. Leon had a stay at a psychiatric hospital while the children remained with a grandparent, but I’m happy to say he is doing much better. He’ll never fully recover from losing his wife and playing ‘husband’ to Wanda, but he’s on medication and goes to groups focused on recovery from trauma. A happy ending to a terrible story.
Carla was the one who auctioned off all of Wanda’s possessions, not wanting anything to do with her monster of a daughter. In that same box with the pen I found a journal of Wanda’s, one about her desires. As my fingers ran over the ink, I could almost feel that this writing came from that evil pen. All that was written inside was Wanda’s desires.
I want Rebecca’s necklace.
I want my mom’s car.
I want Melonie’s ring and earrings.
I want Mercy’s singing voice.
I want Alicia’s job.
I want Leon.
There is more, but that about sums it up. All about her wants.
There is one more part to this story. Pearlie took a bus to Wanda’s home town after she tracked down Gregory, the poor man Wanda assaulted at the beginning of this story. She had a theory she had to confirm.
Gregory was apparently a real sweetheart to this strange girl showing up at his doorstep, inviting her in for some juice as some old cartoons played on the TV. His laughter was contagious as he pointed at the TV and would explain what just happened to Pearlie, who would find herself laughing as well.
It was after Pearlie finished her second cup of orange juice that she asked Gregory if he lost a pen the day that Wanda cwas mean to him.
Gregory’s eyes popped wide open and his jaw dropped. “I didn’t tell anybody about that pen! How did you know about my pretty pen?” He said.
“I… sorta found it,” Pearlie admitted, “How did you get it?”
Gregory scowled as he thought for a bit. “Well, I’m not sure. I think I put it in my pocket by accident after I went to see Dr. Wade and had to sign in at the front desk. He’s very nice, but I really didn’t meant to take the pen,” He said.
“I know, but the pen. It’s a bad pen, wasn’t it? Is that why it didn’t stay in your pocket?” Pearlie asked.
Gregory bobbed his head up and down. “A very, very bad pen. I was going to put it in the garbage disposal after I was done shopping, but when I got home it was gone. I’m glad you found it though, are you going to put it in the disposal?” He asked.
“I might. Why were you going to put it in there? Weren’t you tempted to use it?”
Gregory sat back in his chair and shook his head. “Nope. Not once. I don’t like bein’ bad, and that pen, I just know it was something real bad.”
Oh, little did he know how correct he was. Although I’m secretly glad Gregory didn’t destroy the pen, I am quite glad I can keep it safe for him.