Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
If you have any questions about the competition then read our awesome FAQ!
||You are on Week 280
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Two Hundred Eighty Ends June 30
Ernest smiled to himself as he nudged a fallen branch aside with his walking stick. Honestly, the Haunted Woods were not that bad during daytime. True, very little actual sunlight made its way through the thick trees, but he enjoyed the quiet, shady atmosphere during the hot afternoons. Besides, being such an old Elephante meant that the stories of children no longer frightened him.
Haunted houses, indeed! he thought to himself. It’s all a bunch of bedtime stories, I tell ya... all of it. Ernest nudged another rock aside with his stick and sighed pleasantly. Being old and set in his ways, he liked his regular routine. He would wake up early in the morning, have a long breakfast while reading from the Neopian Times, do a few chores, go for a slow walk in the woods, watch the sun go down, and then read by the fireplace at night. It was a lonely but pleasant existence.
Just as he was about to take a turn onto the path that would lead him back home, Ernest paused for a moment. His hearing wasn't quite what it used to be, but his ears had picked up the sound of someone crying softly. The Elephante glanced at the setting sun, debating whether he should stick around or not. It would soon be dark in these woods, and he could've just been hearing things.
No, there it was again, he said to himself. Feeling concern well up in his chest, Ernest made his way into the thick underbrush, pushing the heavy foliage aside with his walking stick.
There, curled up beneath the leaves, her fur dirty and scratched up, lay a tiny Aisha girl. She choked back a sob and hiccupped when she saw Ernest, her sad eyes immediately filling with fear. She made a move to scramble away from him, but Ernest gently gestured toward her.
"Shh, I'm not going to hurt you. I'll take care of you. Are you lost?" he asked quietly.
The child shook her head vehemently.
Ernest tried again. "These woods can be scary if you end up here by accident. Did you come from Neopia Central?"
Again, the Aisha gave a violent shake of her head.
Ernest bit his lip and frowned. "Come now, dear, I can't help you if I don't know what's going on. Tell me what happened..."
Author: Castle on a Cloud|
Date: Jun 23rd
..."You wouldn't understand," the girl said softly, her voice hitching slightly, "No one ever does."
Ernest smiled his friendliest smile, hoping to remind the girl of a kindly grandfather. "I don't know about that," he responded. "Old fellows like me, we understand a lot more than you might guess. Now, what happened?"
"No!" the girl suddenly screamed, jumping to her feet. Tears streamed down her face, cutting muddy paths down her dirty face. "You can't understand! No one can help me!" With a final, loud sob, the young Aisha turned and ran deep into surrounding woods. Ernest could hear crashing through the underbrush as she frantically ran. It almost as if she was trying to run away or was running away from something or someone.
Normally, Ernest would have thought twice about leaving his well-known path to venture into the dark and unruly portions of the Haunted Woods. He was old enough to think that many of the legends and stories were nothing more than the products of overactive imaginations, but he still respected these woods enough to know it was easy enough to become lost. However, his focus was on the Aisha, who had fled crying and he didn't think of any other consequences as he quickly followed.
Branches reached out like sharp, greedy fingers and weeds wrapped themselves about his feet. He pushed on, ignoring the scratches and using his walking stick to push aside the weeds. The girl was still running forward and it was easy to hear her progress through this tangled and overgrown forest. "Wait, girl!" he cried, but there was no answer. With a bit of sigh, he continued on deeper into the Haunted Woods.
The meager sunlight all but vanished as the trees became thicker and deformed. The tiny bits of sky that Ernest could see was growing darker like a spreading bruise as the Elephante began to realize he was completely lost. Despite his age and experience, fear began to creep in as sweat gathered upon his brow. "I'll just keep moving forward," he said to himself, "and I'm sure to come back to the main path eventually." His words did little to calm him as he continued forward; painfully aware he could no longer hear the girl ahead.
Suddenly, he tripped over an exposed root and landed face first in a small clearing. Slowly, Ernest got to his feet as he looked about and tried to gain his bearings. Grass grew sparsely, like struggling green hairs upon the bare scalp of the ground and the few bushes were twisted and gnarled. Yet, what dominated this clearing was an old and ancient Neohome.
It appeared that this Neohome had not seen any occupants for some time. The front porch sagged, as if the house had a lazy smile upon its wooden face and most of the downstairs windows had been boarded. Spyders webs hung like ruined lace and Ernest couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched.
Slowly, he got to his feet as his eyes focused on one of the windows upstairs -- one of the few that remained opened. Someone was standing in the frame of the window, their figure cloaked in shadows, but he could clearly hear the sob of a crying Aisha...
Date: Jun 26th
...Hm... he thought. Although the stories of haunted houses were greatly exaggerated, the way those pillars sagged made him very wary. However... that sobbing made him feel like he had to do something.
He decided to brave the house. The porch creaked dangerously under his weight. "I'm getting too old for this sort of thing," he muttered. The door swung open on rusty hinges.
Dust swirled around his feet as he entered the hallway. There were two doors on his left and a third on his right. Directly in front of him was a circular stairway, spiraling up into the darkness. Sighing in a resigned sort of way, the Elephante started up the stairs, pausing before each step, as if to gauge how much weight these things could take.
As he looked down, he saw ornate patterns carved into the wood. The banister, too, was carved into a spiraling work of art, full of twists and what looked like symbols. It was very beautiful, but very eerie. In all his years, he had not seen anything like this. Whoever had built this house had obviously put a lot of work into it. Why desert it, then?
A chill crept down his spine. Only the continued sound of whimpers from upstairs kept him going. What if she was in some kind of trouble. His resolve hardening, he walked faster, ignoring the strange decor.
When he reached the top of the stairs, he sighed in relief. There was a small hallway and only one door. Well, the mystery of the Aisha's whereabouts was solved.
"Girl?" he called.
The door, he saw, resembled the staircase. These carvings were even more intricate. Shuddering, he placed his hand on the doorknob. "Girl? You all right, in there?"
The sobbing intesified. "I'm coming in," he added, pushing the door open.
The room looked like some sort of study -- filled with books, old pieces of parchment and a single, flickering candle.
When the faded light danced upon the girl in the room, Ernest found himself gasping in alarm...
Date: Jun 26th
...For as his weary eyes focused upon the young girl's frantic form, her own eyes turned to lock into the old Elephante's - and then she promptly turned on her heel and vanished, like the snuffing of a candle - and, of course, for full effect, the candle present in the study decided to follow suit, and Ernest found himself quaking fearfully in the dark.
Ernest stumbled back, pushing out with his walking stick in order to support himself. In that moment, when he had looked into those young, cold, crying eyes - so different from his own - it had felt as though any vigor of old age had left him, as though his warm blood had run cold. It was surely certain that Ernest hardly believed in ghost stories at this time of his life, but a worried frown creased his face nonetheless, and when one of his hands withdrew a handkerchief from his sleeve, his limbs trembled nervously.
"Ah, if my mother was here, bless her soul," he stated, dotting anxiously at his forehead, "She would tell me, she would: 'Ernest, you bought that there Bearog, now you best kennel him up.'"
Of course, to you and I, this must've been a rather silly thing to think; but we must recall that dearest Ernest had lived in these woods for a good part of his old life, and through sheer experience he knew quite enough about the different sorts of pets you'd find lurking about - and while an Aisha who could vanish at will was a thing to rattle his bones just a bit, it wouldn't send the old Elephante running for his life just yet.
So, as Ernest caught up with his heart-rate and finally started to breathe at a normal pace again, he sighed and, not relishing trying to feel his way back downstairs, found his way to a tattered old armchair and collapsed within it.
"My old bones," he muttered woefully, "will not be able to stand much more of this stumbling and falling and trudging about, and my dear heart might just burst with excitement if I don't calm myself down. Remember now, Ernest - that poor little girl seems twice as frightened as you are... whatever exactly she is... You must find her, Ernest old man, and help her out of whatever fix she's gotten into - we mustn't make this day a complete loss... Oh I do regret leaving the path!"
He sighed and shut his eyes a moment, trying to think - what could possibly have happened? He couldn't make heads or tails of the situation - not at all! Shaking his head in frustration, he opened his eyes once more.
Suddenly his heart was racing all over again, and Ernest pushed himself back into the chair with a start; for the candle had re-lit itself and was floating in the air - and the little brown Aisha had it clasped in her hands, looking cautious, distraught, and terrified. "Y-you'd... r-re-really.... you would help me?"
Eyes wide, Ernest did not reply, but only stared and gaped as his heart pounding some more from the shock of her sudden reappearance.
"Oh, please, please do!" She was sobbing again, looking purely regretful. "He's... he's ever-so-cruel, Ernest...." She sniffed and looked up at him, eyes red and reproachful. When she continued, her voice was barely a whisper. "And he'll never let us out...."
Date: Jun 27th
..."Who?" Ernest managed to ask, his voice shaking, "And how do you know my name was Ernest?" Yet, the Aisha seemed to be unaware of his questions or else she was ignoring his inquiries.
"I've been here so long," she continued, sweeping her arms about to indicate the ancient Neohome that surrounded them like a decaying cave. "I don't really know how long. I don't think time exists here. Forever and eternity - it's all the same thing here. I thought that today, he was finally going to let me leave, but now I see that he was only trying to draw you here."
"Who?" Ernest demanded, his voice rising slightly. His fear was growing by the second as the tiny Aisha floated there, looking about with her young yet ageless eyes.
"He told me your name," she said, "and said I would meet you on the path. I thought he was going to let me go and allow you to take my place." She turned to him, tears glistening in her luminous eyes. "I'm so sorry," she apologized, "I know it sounds selfish that I was willing to let you be his prisoner instead of me, but I was desperate to be be free. I just wanted to go home." Her final words were lost in a sob.
"There, there," he comforted, placing his hand upon her quaking shoulder as she continued to float. She no longer frightened him as her sorrow was undoubtedly real, but this he that she kept speaking of was another matter entirely. "But I'm still confused. Who is this Neopet that's so cruel and wants to keep us here like prisoners?"
She stopped crying immediately and leaned closer as she whispered cryptically, "This Neohome."
Her answer made no sense to the confused Elephante, but then a laughter began to ripple through the house, as if it emanated from the very foundation...
Date: Jun 27th
...“T-this cannot be,” muttered Ernest.
The floors began quaking in tune with the house’s noisy laughter. The tiny Aisha jumped into his arms. “Please,” she screamed. “I just want to go home.” The noise began to quiet down.
Suddenly a voice spoke. It seemed to be coming from behind Ernest, but when he turned around nobody was there. He soon realized that it must be the voice of the old Neohome.
“Fools,” it hissed. “You are now living in one of the best homes to ever be built within the Haunted Woods.” The voice spoke again in a softer rustic tone. “Why should you ever want to leave?”
By this time Ernest had began to let go of his disbelief that this was not happening. He began to formulate a plan.
Even though he had thought that all of the legends about the woods that his mother had told him were just silly stories it had not stopped him from listening to them. In fact he had always loved stories that made shivers run up and down his spine. Even now in his old age he still told spooky tales to the local children at the library. Calling back on all the stories that he had told he began to formulate a plan. It was time to do something a little different than his characters usually would do.
“So!” he shouted. “As long as we agree to stay with you, you won’t harm us.”
The stairs creaked letting out a long hiss, as the house considered this.
“Then we would consider it an honor to stay with you.”
The girl opened her mouth in surprise, but Ernest quickly covered stopped her from speaking. He jumped when he realized how cold her face was. Removing his hand he wandered over to the many books lying around. Picking one with an embroidered front cover up he asked. “So girl, what is your name?”...
Date: Jun 28th
...The child looked surprised. "W-why do you want to know?" she stammered.
"Well, since we're going to be living here together for a long time, I can hardly just keep calling you 'girl'."
The young Aisha studied her airborne feet. "Aethia," she finally answered, her voice barely more than a whisper.
"Ah, Aethia. Named after the Faerie?"
Aethia nodded miserably, looking like she was fighting tears.
"Hmm, and I daresay you have her strength of spirit, too. You must love books about adventures like hers."
"Well, actually, I--"
"Splendid!" Ernest interrupted. "I think you'll enjoy this one." He had been skimming through the book as he spoke, and now he thrust it toward her.
She studied its pages, then bent over and tipped one side of it so that she could see the cover. "Aethia's First Adventures," she read aloud, and Ernest nodded.
"Now come. There might be a few words that you may not understand. I'll help you with them."
"I've actually read the book before -- I've read all the books here."
Ernest tried not to frown -- Aethia was making this difficult. Forcing a grandfatherly smile onto his face, he led the child over to a chair, sat her on his lap, opened the book, and began pointing at words.
He can hear what we say, he wrote, but can he see what I point to?
Aethia's eyes widened with realization.
Then they widened even more when she saw what Ernest wrote next...
Date: Jun 28th
..."You know, I still love this story. I think I could read it hundreds of times," Aethia said slowly.
He has a weakness, Ernest wrote. He is a house.
"The faerie drew the first sword, borne of flame..." Aethia began, speaking the words of the page to keep the house distracted.
He has a secret, Aethia. We can find it.
"Then from its sheath she pulled a second blade, frozen beneath depths of ice..."
We will get your freedom back. I have an idea... but I need more than that.
"She weilded them expertly, and every foe fell before her..."
You know whom you were named after. Help me find the secret. What do you know of this house?
"But still she knew nothing of their true secret, their hidden and powerful secret, trapped in ice and burning in fire. But someday, she would find it... yes, someday, the secret shall be hers alone..."
She took the pencil from the Elephante's hands. "Can you believe they spelled secret wrong?" she said gaily. "It says sercet... hehe..."
Then she wrote two words on the aged paper, and Ernest found his chest rising but not falling, his mind soaring back to the carved staircase he had climbed just minutes before...
"The secret," Aethia said, looking to the page but reading from her mind, "was well known to those who MADE the sword. They CREATED it with a PURPOSE, and the CARVINGS they left on each blade had a MEANING. To this day no one knows for sure what they mean, but Aethia... the faerie... knew that there was a very SIMPLE way to find out... If only she could find the HEART of the sword, from there the secret would rise..."
She took a resigned sigh. "But to find the heart of wood -- I mean, metal -- takes a great deal of searching. The... the first battle faerie felt as if she had perished in her search after so many fruitless years, but the new battle faerie, Aethia, with a new friend by her side, hoped not to fail, and to uncover the secret before it was too late." Aethia closed the book. "The end."
Quiet. "I don't remember the story going that way," murmured the house, as if in thought.
"No," Ernest said, grinning. "I think... I think this was a different version of the original."
The house mumbled its agreement. But Aethia began to laugh. She laughed and laughed and laughed, and Ernest chortled alongside her, trunk flailing in the air. Oh, such relief! There was hope yet! Discoveries to be made! Onward! Onward! His sides began to hurt; oh such wonderful pain!
The confused house did nothing, but when the two of them sensed how tense the walls were, they ceased their gaiety. Ernest spoke up, his voice tinged with mischeif, recalling his idea...
"House... I mean, MANSION... have YOU ever laughed so hard your sides... your walls... felt like caving in?..."
Date: Jun 29th
…"Well yes. I enjoy watching people that are trapped here suffer. When they cry to me to let them go, I laugh so very hard," the house exclaimed.
"I am going to go downstairs and explore a bit since I will be living here. Would you like to come with me Aethia?" Ernest asked with a wink.
"Yea. That sounds like fun. Let's go."
The pair made their way down the stairs, slowly studying the symbols carefully as they went along. Ernest recognized one or two but the rest were unknown to him. They both did their best to memorize them.
The Neopets looked around, pretending to be interested in exploring the place. Ernest was trying to figure out where he had seen some of the symbols before, and Aethia just thought about how good it would feel to be free again.
"Let's go back up to the study and read again before we go to bed," the old Elephante said as they made their way back to the staircase.
They climbed back up slowly looking carefully at the symbols. They would look in the books in the study to see if there was any information about them.
"We should read the faerie book that is all about battles and such, except we will take turns making up parts of it," Ernest suggested.
"That sounds like a lot of fun," Aethia responded. "I'll start."
"There was once a faerie named Alagaylia. She thoughr that she could take over a new land that was yet to be..." Aethia went on with her story while Ernest looked up at the symbols that traced around the study.
So far he had made little progress. The symbols were the key to the house's weakness; they were part of the magic surrounding the place. But how to unravel their meaning…
"Phew, I think I am going to go to bed for the night," Ernest yawned, tucking away the book.
"Okay. Did you like my story?" Aethia gave Ernest a look that said Do you know what we need to do yet?
"Loved it. You just have to finish the very end of it later," Ernest said with a wink. For he knew then what that weakness was…
Date: Jun 29th
...As they stepped onto the top of the staircase, Ernest watched the symbols. They remained stationary, of course... but when he began to walk down, he let his eyes relax, so as to see many symbols at once and not focus on any given picture. He was not surprised when they came alive like a flip-book, several individual symbols merging into a living, moving storyline...
His idea had worked. Now, without studying them, but just watching them, he could find the answers.
They continued on and he walked beside them everywhere they went. Aethia stared up wonderingly at Ernest as he focused only on the symbols. Then she, too, began to see...
The symbols made a house. The wind whistled past it. Trees bent around it. Neopets came, lost, seeking shelter, and they entered and never returned. Then an Elephante walked in, shaded and sketchy in form. Next, a door of the house opened and the symbols shot inside the door, moving so that they showed Ernest where he was, NOW. They showed his trunk twisting around a corner, and into a dark niche... a blast of blue-painted light, like a splash, and the symbols ended.
Ernest stared, utterly awed. All those seemingly indistinct lines and symbols had become something else... and he had been the only one to uncover it. The symbols marked the house's history... as well as its destiny. And Ernest was the last one the symbols showed before there was nothing left.
Why was he the only one that could save them all? Because he had something no other Neopet species had. A very long nose.
Ernest looked around. The trail had led him and Aethia to the kitchen. The faucet was dripping in the sink, and the thing was full of water. Water. The blue paint on the symbols. He had to use it.
Ernest went past the awed little brown Aisha and put his trunk into the sink. He brought all the water he could into his nose and stored it. Then he went back to the spot.
There was a hole in the wall. He put his trunk inside it.
"Look," he barely heard Aethia said. "There are really tiny letters by that hole... it says S...E...A...L..."
On the outside of the house, water spurted out from under one of the eaves. Then the house gave a huge groan and the whole thing slumped. Inside, Aethia felt the whoosh of an escaping spirit... and then the house was only a house once more.
"S-E-A-L!" she cried, "Seal! You broke the SEAL! The one weak spot! You blew it away with water and made the evil spirit leave!"
"Ah water, the most versatile element," Ernest winked. "The element of life. Perfect, for a place so dead."
Together they left the house. The Aisha's feet now touched the ground, and her form was solid and earthly. Time to see her family... or her family's descendants. It had been a few ageless centuries since her entrapment here.
Aethia then spoke up. It was time to finish her story.
"But when Alagaylia saw the beauty of this new world, she forgot everything. She could not rule such a place as this, and befoul its righteousness. And so she left, and the people were happy... and they were free."
She paused to look around her and smell the wonderful air. "And that is the end."
* * * * *
A young red Xweetok jumped awake with a start. He quailed... the darkness seemed to close in around his bed... he felt as if something had just been near him, some ethereal being had just slipped past him... and the closet... the closet... monsters.
No! Mommy had said, no monsters, no monsters in the closet. It's time to face my fears, the little Xweetok thought. He jumped out of bed, walked into his closet, and turned on the light.
But it didn't work.
Then the door slammed behind him and he spun. Fear crept into him, as if it would never, ever leave... and then, a voice, like squeaking clothes hangers and rickety floorboards, like a deep and hollow, haunted wind...
"You're mine..." said the closet, controlled now by an evil spirit that had just been freed from a house miles away. "I've trapped you now... and I will have you forever..."
And then the laughter came...
Date: Jun 30th
IMPORTANT - SUBMISSION POLICY! By
uploading or otherwise submitting any materials to Neopets, you (and your parents) are
automatically granting us permission to use those materials for free in any manner we can think
of forever throughout the universe. These materials must be created ONLY by the person
submitting them - you cannot submit someone else's work. Also, if you're under age 18, ALWAYS
check with your parents before you submit anything to us!