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||You are on Week 353
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 Three Hundred Fifty Three Ends January 25
Remmi drew out a large handkerchief, sniffled, and blew her nose. Still covering her face, the Kacheek took the dusty, ancient book in her hand and carefully stacked it in a box.
"Bless you," Wrissen said, as the Gnorbu poked her head up above the ladder. "Did you run into something particularly dusty?"
"Yeah, I was digging through this heap of books in the corner, and that one blew out a giant cloud of dust when I opened it," Remmi said disgustedly, nodding at the book she had just dropped. "When we volunteered to help Grandma clean the attic, I didn't really anticipate it'd be this much work."
"You know she's a packrat," her cousin replied cheerfully as she looked curiously at the book. "This one looks interesting," Wrissen added. "Mind if I take it to my room and give it a read later?"
Remmi shrugged. "I don't care. Just be sure to have lots of handkerchiefs on hand when you open it again."
The Gnorbu laughed. "I'll be careful," she said, before climbing down the ladder and disappearing.
Deciding that she'd had enough of digging through all those musty books, Remmi sighed and turned her attention to a pile of old clothes. Perhaps she could find some things there that were still in good condition.
The Kacheek was sifting through a collection of faded scarves when more dust flew into her face. Seconds later, another sneeze rocked the tiny attic.
"Bless you." Wrissen was back again, grinning wryly at her.
"You might as well just save it all up for one big 'bless you' at the end of the day. Did you put that book away?"
"You know. The one you just took downstairs," Remmi said, in no mood for one of her cousin's lame jokes.
"I didn't take any book downstairs." The genuine confusion in Wrissen's voice made Remmi look up.
"You were just here two minutes ago, remember?" the Kacheek said, feeling a vague hint of panic creeping in. "I pointed out some dusty book, and you said you wanted to read it!"
Wrissen looked very pale now. "Remmi... I've been in the kitchen for the past half hour helping Grandma prepare dinner..."
Date: Jan 18th
"But... what...?" Remmi pointed in several different directions, brow knitted in deep concentration, trying to get a bearing on what her cousin had said. It was no use. This didn't make any sense. Perhaps she had imagined it all?
"Remmi, are you all right?" asked Wrissen concernedly. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."
The Kacheek laughed nervously at the thought. It was more ironic than amused; she didn't really see anything funny about the possibility that she was losing her mind. "I'm... fine," she said, more to herself than her cousin.
"Good," answered the Gnorbu, her voice laced with subtle concern. "Dinner's going to be ready in a few minutes. Grandma won't be pleased if you let it go cold again."
Remmi looked up, putting a twisted smile on her face. "Don't worry," she said. "I won't."
The Kacheek gave a little sigh. Dinner. That was good; something to take her mind off that strange daydream. It had seemed so real, though... so solid. Very odd. Oh well, it was probably no great concern.
"Hey, Wrissen," she asked absently as the Gnorbu began to make for the stairs. "What are we having tonight?"
"Grandma's making lasagne," said her cousin. "We'd thought you'd like it, for a change."
Strange looks were exchanged.
"We had lasagne just last night. Don't you remember?"
"Um, no... we had pizza yesterday." Wrissen cocked her head. "Remmi, are you feeling okay? Perhaps you should lie down for a little while."
"No, I'm perfectly fine," said the Kacheek, though she was beginning to doubt it herself. She was sure she'd had lasagne yesterday. As an afterthought, she added, "What day is it, Wrissen?"
"Tuesday. Why do you ask?"
Remmi gasped, a strangulated cry lodged in her throat. No! It couldn't be...
Date: Jan 22nd
"Could I have really lived through two days without even knowing it? How is that possible?" the Kacheek murmured to herself. Wrissen didn't seem to hear, instead heading toward the ladder at the end of the attic.
"Dinner's soon. Don't forget." Wrissen was about to head down the ladder when she perked up. "I just remembered," she said, digging into her trouser pocket. "You said to give this to you on Tuesday evening for some reason. I don't know why you'd need me to do that, but... oh well." The Gnorbu pulled out a folded piece of paper, stuck it in her cousin's hand, and then headed down the ladder.
Remmi didn't know what to think. She didn't remember leaving a note to herself, but then again, her memory seemed to have failed for the past two days, so anything was possible. The Kacheek shrugged and decided to see what she had written. After all, it could be a good explanation of what was going on. Sighing softly, she opened the note.
Check your diary, it said. It was definitely Remmi's handwriting; she knew it upon looking at the letters adorned with graceful swirls. The message itself, however, puzzled her. My diary? Why would I want myself to check my... of course! Realisation flooding through her veins, the Kacheek rapidly climbed down the ladder and sprinted into her room.
I write everything that happens down in my diary, even those events that don't mean anything. That means that, if I really wasn't a big giant purple blob over the last couple days, I probably wrote something. I wrote something that will explain what happened. The Kacheek forcefully pushed open the door to her room and closed it behind her, stopping in her tracks.
Her room was spotless.
But... but how? I'm the messiest person I know. It wouldn't be like me to clean my room. Even the dust in here is clean. Remmi walked around slowly, trying to find an explanation for the tidiness of her room. But there was no evidence, just blindingly clean furniture and freshly vacuumed carpet. Oh well, I need to find my diary.
As she headed toward the top-most drawer on her dresser, the place she remembered last putting her diary, Remmi began to get nervous. What in Fyora's name was going on? She pulled open the drawer and reached inside, slowly feeling around for the familiar touch of the book's hard spine rubbing against her soft paw. She kept searching for a few seconds, only to realise that the diary wasn't there. I must have moved it yesterday or the day before, she reasoned in dismay.
It was ironic how, even in its perfectly clean state, Remmi still couldn't find what she was looking for. This will be a great argument for when Grandma gets on my case about cleaning my room again, she thought amusedly, but soon she turned all her attention toward finding the diary. Her bookshelf was packed with books new and old, and the dull brown spine of the journal probably wouldn't stick out much.
Finally, as her eyes glanced over the last row of books, she located the diary, wedged in between an old school notebook and a blue hardcover. She pulled it out with haste, opening the front cover and flipping through each page without so much as a second thought. Eventually, she came upon the second-to-last entry, Sunday's, the first day she couldn't remember.
"Here we go," she breathed to herself, and she began to read...
Date: Jan 22nd
Sunday, 20th day of Sleeping
Grandma is asking Wrissen and me to clean out her dusty old attic. We went up there this morning, and I almost died of sneezing. I don't know how Grandma was ever able to accumulate so much stuff! I decided to try to clear out some of her old books, and Wrissen wanted to help me, so the whole afternoon we sorted through volume after volume. The pile never seems to get any smaller.
Wrissen really liked looking at the books. She was even reading some of them out loud while we were cleaning. I wasn't really interested, and I must have dozed off from boredom because the next thing I knew, it was almost dinnertime.
After dinner I came up to my bedroom to write in you, Diary, but everything was so messy! I thought I'd lost you. You were under the bed, somehow, and I've decided that maybe Grandma is right about keeping things organised.
Remmi sighed. Nothing new there, except for the fact that the cleanliness of her room seemed to be explained. She turned the page.
Monday, 21st day of Sleeping
I was up so late cleaning my room that I barely caught a few hours of sleep before Wrissen barged in and woke me up. We had to go straight up to the attic after a short breakfast, and I was feeling really drowsy. The dust didn't help at all. Neither did Wrissen, droning on as if I cared what she found in some old book of spells.
It was really weird, though. I fell asleep again (I think), and I had a weird dream that I was back in my bedroom, cleaning. But... my room was already clean! And it was night-time! I think my midnight cleaning session must have been too much. It was even haunting me in the daytime. I need to get more sleep.
Wrissen is calling me again. She just said that we have to finish organising the box of books we started last night. But we did that this morning! I think Wrissen is a little too excited about these books. Either that, or I'm going insane.
Remmi found herself feeling very cold by the end of the entry. She didn't know what to think, so she turned the page to read the next entry.
Tuesday, 22nd day of Sl
Remmi gasped. The page was ripped out of the diary, with only a narrow strip of paper clinging on at the top of the page...
Date: Jan 23rd
But why would she have written on Tuesday? How could she have? When could she have? Unless another mysterious blackout had occurred during her reading the prior entries -- in which case, the diary would not be in her hands anymore -- there was no explanation for this odd entry. And there was only one solution:
Find the missing entry.
Several minutes of aimless looking around her room lapsed. She shoved her paws in her pockets contemplatively...
...and touched paper.
Heart thudding madly, she slowly retrieved the paper. It was the note to herself, telling her to read those diary entries. In her confusion, she had paid little attention to the frayed edges.
Trembling paws held it to the diary's torn strip.
A perfect match.
Remmi didn't feel good. She was... dizzy. Paws clutching her head, she sank down onto her bed, only to snap back up again. The diary was open in a flurry of pages. The entry from Monday...
Neither did Wrissen, droning on as if I cared what she found in some old book of spells...
Had her cousin's meddling with magic in their Grandmother's books somehow tampered with the flow of time? There was only one way to find out.
"Wrissen!" Remmi called, sprinting from her room. Silence answered her. "Wrissen!" she called again, louder now. Still nothing. It was disconcerting; Wrissen wouldn't ignore her like this. Her breath seemed to catch in her throat as she headed toward the attic. Something was definitely wrong here.
"Wrissen?" Her voice was barely more than a whisper as she peeked her head in, looking for her cousin.
Wrissen was there, all right. But she wasn't moving, much less listening to what Remmi was saying. Adrenaline coursed through her as she dashed to the kitchen, where her Grandmother was preparing dinner. She was bent over the stove. "Grandma?" Remmi tried.
The silence from Wrissen was reflected by their Grandmother. The Kacheek felt a wave of momentary nausea sweep over her. She stumbled backward and hit the counter. Her unsteady gaze swept the kitchen. One sight froze her heart in its tracks:
The clock wasn't moving. Time had completely frozen around her.
Panic trampled her other emotions, and she was dashing for the attic again at top speed. She wasted no breath in calling for Wrissen; it was useless. Instead, she came up behind her cousin, peering over her shoulder.
Sure enough, the Gnorbu was holding a book. A shudder ran through Remmi as she leaned over Wrissen, reading the words printed on the page...
Date: Jan 23rd
Dazed, her nerves frayed, it didn't even occur to Remmi that reading the words aloud might not be the safest thing to do. She murmured them under her breath, trying to make heads or tails of them, trying to understand how to reverse whatever was happening to her.
"A stitch in time, or two or three..."
She was feeling awfully drowsy...
"Future days for you to see..."
The words seemed to swim on the page, blurring indistinctly, and Remmi's thoughts came slow and fuzzy. How nice it would be, to sleep for awhile...
Eyes she didn't remember closing snapped open and her dreamily exhausted feeling vanished. Reeling, the Kacheek took an unsteady breath -- and stared. Wrissen was gone. Gazing at the spot where she had been, Remmi tried to get her panic under control. Had she caused herself to jump forward in time again?
Abruptly, she realised the details of the attic itself had changed. They had been midway through clearing it out, and it had been strewn with dusty objects of various description, but the mess was gone. Everything was stacked neatly, looking perfectly organised. So she must have skipped forward at least a few weeks this time, for the job to be finished.
Remmi thundered downstairs, anxious to see if time was, at least, flowing at a proper speed. She collided with someone just as she flew into the kitchen.
"Wrissen!" She gasped with relief, never so happy to see the Gnorbu as she was now. Wrissen simply stared with a blank lack of comprehension, not even making a wry remark about Remmi's clumsiness as she would usually would have -- and as this dawned on her, Remmi realised that Wrissen had changed, too. Her face... she was... older.
"R-Remmi?" Wrissen's voice sounded very small, as though it were reaching her from a great distance. "Is it really you?"
"Of... of course it's me, Wrissen."
Wrissen raised trembling paws to her own mouth, her eyes wide and wet with unshed tears. "Oh... Remmi... how? How can you be here? It's been ten years!"
"Ten... years?" Remmi couldn't move. Numbness seemed to have claimed her, both mind and body.
Wrissen nodded, her tears finally spilling down her face. "Where have you been? How can this be happening? You look just like you did the day you disappeared!"
"Wrissen," Remmi began, urgency beginning to overcome her shock, "do you remember the book you were reading that day?"
Wrissen flinched. "How could I forget?" she whispered miserably. "I always thought that maybe it was my fault that you disappeared. There was something strange about that book."
"Well, if you still have it, then maybe we can fix this! Where is it?"
Wrissen's face fell. "Remmi, I'm sorry, but it's...
Date: Jan 24th
...gone. It vanished -- disappeared like you did. I'm so sorry, Remmi, it's just not there!" The Gnorbu seemed close to hysteria.
"Oh," Remmi said softly, remembering something. "Oops."
Wrissen frowned. "What do you mean, oops?"
"I -- I dropped the book," Remmi admitted sheepishly. "When I was reading. You were standing there, and I felt awkward, so I picked the book up. And then I must've fallen asleep and dropped it, and now it's trapped in time, ten years ago!"
"Well, that is a problem," Wrissen admitted. "But at least now I've found you again! Oh, you wouldn't believe how worried I've been for the last ten years!"
Suddenly, Remmi felt guilty for causing so much anxiety. "And Grandma?"
Wrissen's face drooped quite suddenly. "I thought you'd know," she answered glumly. "Both of you disappeared on the same day. It's like the book I found protected me from disappearing like you did. But you say you found the book? So maybe not. Maybe the book only sent me hurtling ten years forward. And you and Grandma --"
Remmi shook her head. "No. Grandma was frozen like you, so she must be here in the future. Somewhere. Or at least she must have travelled through time..."
A stitch in time, or two or three...
Future days for you to see...
But what were the last two lines? Maybe they had something to do with her grandma and where she might be in time. Remmi closed her eyes and tried to remember.
A rip, a tear, a hole so vast...
You've fallen in, back to your past...
From far away, and getting farther, she heard Wrissen gasp in surprise. Startled, the Kacheek opened her eyes.
"Grandma?" she asked in astonishment, looking up at the wrinkled face.
"Remmi!" her grandmother cried in delight. "Oh, where have you been? And Wrissen?"
Remmi shook her head. "What year is it?" she asked, then blanched as her grandma replied. She must have said the words out loud, going back ten years from that Sunday.
"Okay, well, that's okay, right?" she murmured frantically to herself. "I still know the spell, I still know it. I can take us to Wrissen, then take us all back. A stitch in time..."
It didn't work.
Remmi tried again, ignoring her grandma's curious stare.
Or, maybe, something had happened. But what? Remmi cast her eyes around the room, searching frantically for something out of place, anything out of place.
She found it. And gasped.
It was the...
Date: Jan 24th
...book of spells.
Books were piled everywhere, along with other strange objects. Remmi opened the book to the spell, setting off another sneeze. She ignored the dust.
Her grandmother stared at Remmi in confusion. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to get us back ten years..." The Kacheek paused. "Or forward ten years." She decided not to think about it. Remmi took a deep breath and began to read out loud.
"A stitch in time, or two, or three. Future days for you to see. A rip, a tear, a hole so vast. You've fallen in, back to your past..." But the rhyme didn't end there, as she'd thought. "To return to present time. The past, the future, a simple rhyme. A way to see where you must go... back to the very time you know!"
* * *
"ACHOO!" Remmi sneezed.
"Bless you," Wrissen said, poking her head above the ladder. "Did you run into something particularly dusty?"
"Yeah, I was digging through this heap of books in the corner, and that one blew out a giant cloud of dust when I opened it." Remmi vaguely remembered saying something like this before.
Remmi held her breath and read the title of the book. "It's a book of spells!" she breathed.
"Mind if I take it to my room and give it a read later?" Wrissen asked.
The Kacheek took the spell book and handed it to Wrissen. The Gnorbu flipped open the book to one spell that Remmi thought looked familiar...
Date: Jan 25th
"Wait! Don't read it!" cried Remmi, snatching the book out of Wrissen's hands.
The Gnorbu stared at her in confusion. "Why, what's gotten into you, Remmi? It's just..."
"...an ancient book of spells!" Remmi finished for her.
"Exactly. It's exciting! What's wrong with taking a look at it?"
Remmi scratched her head. She knew it was dangerous, intuitively, but she couldn't be sure exactly why. "Let's take it to Grandma," she said finally. "It's her stuff, after all. She'll know what to do."
"All right," Wrissen said with a shrug.
The two cousins climbed down the ladder and went into the kitchen, where their grandmother stood preparing dinner.
"We found something in your attic, Grandma," said Remmi, holding up the book. "I thought it would be best if we brought it to you. Do you know what it is?"
"Let me see..." Grandma put on her spectacles and took the book in her hands. For a moment Remmi thought she was going to read it... but then the elderly Neopet smiled.
"Ah, I remember this," said Grandma with a sigh. "It's very wise of you to bring it to me, Remmi. A dark faerie gave this book to me fifty years ago and told me to destroy it. I was not to read any of the spells -- my job was simply to keep it safe and burn it as soon as I had the chance. But I never got around to burning it."
"We should burn it," said Remmi. "These things are dangerous! We're Neopets, not faeries."
"Couldn't we use some of the spells, though?" asked Wrissen wistfully. "Like, clean up the attic with magic?"
"Don't be silly," said Grandma. "Remmi's right. I should have burned this book a long time ago. I don't know what I was thinking at the time. Come on, let's put this in the fireplace. It'll give us a bit more warmth this winter night!"
After dinner, Remmi sat down at her desk and wrote in her diary. Saturday, the 19th Day of Sleeping. Just for one fleeting moment, she thought that something strange appeared on the page. But then she blinked, and the page was blank again, glowing softly in the firelight.
She would continue cleaning the attic with Wrissen tomorrow.
Date: Jan 25th
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