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||You are on Week 436
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 Four Hundred Thirty Six Ends Friday, November 6
"So we're agreed then? We'll pool all of our candy and split it evenly between us?" Garri asked his friends. They'd gathered in his room after going trick-or-treating to compare their candy hauls for the evening.
"Agreed? We just got here and then you asked if we'd agreed on your plan," said Lana, straightening the extra pair of Aisha ears that were part of her Sophix II costume.
"Yeah," Rickon piped up, feeling bolder than usual behind his Judge Hog mask. "That seems kind of unfair, Garri. Lana and I walked all over Neopia Central collecting candy, and you just went around the block."
Garri pouted. "It's not my fault I sprained my ankle," he muttered petulantly. "Plus, I just don't have has many neighbours -- why should I be punished for that? Come on, you guys, we're a team! The more candy we can pool together, the more variety we'll have."
"Actually, it is your fault you sprained your ankle," said Marq, who'd been listening to the whole exchange with a little smirk on his face. "If you cleaned your room once in a while, you wouldn't trip on junk all the time."
Garri turned to Marq as if noticing him for the first time. "Who asked you, Marq? And who is that?" he demanded, gesturing toward the small Xweetok beside Marq. She was dressed in a Shadow Usul costume and clutched an enormous bag of candy.
Before Marq could answer, Lana said, "Listen, I have to get home or else I'll get grounded, so let's just do this thing."
The Grarrl crowed in triumph and hurried around, snatching up his friends' trick-or-treat bags. The little Xweetok didn't seem to want to give hers up, but Garri eventually pried it out of her paws. He dumped all of the bags onto the bed and began dividing up the candy.
"Hey," said Marq, "those piles aren't equal."
"Well, you know, it only seems fair that we should give larger pets more candy, and smaller pets less," Garri explained. "I can eat much more candy than she can, for example," he said, pointing at the little Xweetok.
Marq conferred in whispers with the Xweetok and then said, "My friend here doesn't like that idea. In fact, it makes her kind of angry, and you really don't want her to get angry..."
Author: Yes, that makes sense. *nods*|
Date: Nov 2nd
Garri sneered at both Marq and his strange friend. "Why should I be scared of her? She's not even speaking up to defend herself! You're bluffing, and we all know it." He turned back to the piles of candy he had been sorting. He picked up a few pieces of candy, considered them for a moment, then put them all on the largest pile. The next piece was given a wrinkle of the nose and tossed haphazardly onto one of the other piles.
While Garri's back was turned, the small Xweetok leaned up and whispered something else into Marq's ear. Marq frowned and turned to whisper something back. Rickon and Lana watched the exchange nervously. While they agreed that Garri was being horridly unfair, there was something about the Xweetok that seemed a little strange.
"I think you should try and even out the piles more, Garri," Lana suggested uncomfortably. "You don't want to make anyone mad, do you?"
"Yeah," Rickon agreed. "You'll end up with a stomachache if you try to eat all that candy yourself."
The room waited silently as Garri considered the points his two friends had made. Finally, he replied petulantly, "If you guys don't like how I'm dividing the candy, you can just leave!"
"Give us our candy first, Garri!" demanded Marq. Lana, Rickon, and the Xweetok all nodded their agreement at their friend's cry. "You can't just keep it all for yourself!"
"I can't tell which candy is yours and which is mine," Garri said slyly. His face hardened and he continued, "And this is my house so I make the rules, and my newest rule is that all of you need to get out of my room now!"
The four pets who had had their candy stolen marched away from their greedy "friend." "You're going to get in a lot of trouble for this," warned Lana.
The Xweetok continued to remain taciturn. As Lana, Rickon, and finally Marq exited the room, the Xweetok hesitated. She turned to Garri slowly, her paw on the doorframe. The fingers on her paw tightened, and her eyes gleamed red briefly; she breathed, "I will get my candy, Garri."
Date: Nov 2nd
For a few minutes, they both simply stood and stared at one another, as if Neopia itself had paused and this moment was etching itself permanently upon the landscape of Garri's mind. This was the first time the tiny Xweetok had spoken loud enough for him to hear, but he found her voice was as soft as newly spun silk and not commanding in the least. Yet, there seemed to be a strange, hidden strength in her tone; an unseen force in its fragility. It was like how a tiny, insignificant stream can cut through rock.
Then, the moment was over as the Xweetok turned and walked out of the door into the night that was silvery with the full, silent moon. Garri didn't hesitate jumping forward, momentarily forgetting his sprained ankle, to shut and lock the door. "Finally, all of the weirdoes are gone," he said aloud to his empty neohome, offering a short laugh for punctuation - but the laugh sounded more like a groan. He didn't want to admit it, but the peculiar incident with the Xweetok had frightened him.
However, as he looked back at the massive, colorful lump of treats, his fear was forgotten. Laughing again with renewed glee, he made his way over to the pile and grabbed up a handful of wrapped candy. Throwing it into the air, he allowed it to fall back down upon him like a delicious, multicolored rain. He felt like a king, surrounded by his precious treasures.
He retrieved the bag he had used for trick-or-treating and set about filling it with the candy. To his delighted surprise, there was too much candy for one bag, so he limped into the kitchen for more bags. It took two large sacks to contain all of the sugary treats, but happily he dragged the sacks into his ramshackle room. Marq was right in that his room was the cause of his sprained ankle. He liked to tell people it had a lived-in look, but in truth it appeared to have been struck by a tornado during an earthquake. Clothes lay scattered about like autumn leaves on the forest floor while action figures were scattered about the mess. Books were tossed casually upon the chairs and in a forgotten pile near an old shelf. There was a somewhat clean path cleared out to his bed, and it was through this path he dragged the two sacks of candy.
As he placed the bags upon the bed, he suddenly found he was tired. Yawning, the Grarrl removed his costume, which had been little more than a black cape, and he pulled on his pajamas. "This has been quite a night," he mumbled to himself as he crawled into bed and curled about his stolen loot of goodies. Not once had he felt guilty as he quickly slipped into sleep and allowed the velvet hands of dreams to pull him under.
He wasn't sure how long he had slept when a loud noise suddenly awoke him. Sitting upright in bed, he looked about his messy room and wondered if he had actually heard something or if it had only been part of a dream. He was just about to lie down again, when he heard another noise, soft but nearby. It sounded like someone was in his neohome.
Quietly, he slipped out of bed and made his way through his cluttered room. He kept chanting in his mind that this was all just his imagination, but still he locked his bedroom door. Even it was all just foolishness, he knew he would feel better with a locked door. However, just as he was about to return to his bed, his eyes fell upon the floor and he was unable to hold back a gasp.
The moonlight bathed his home in sort of a false daylight, and he could see a shadow moving in the light that slipped beneath his door. Someone or something was on the other side...
Date: Nov 3rd
Garri stood rigidly next to his bed, as though attempting to stop this ghastly moment in its tracks with his immobility. The figure opposite his door continued to hover, though, almost dancing, above that narrow bit of light that so terrified him.
Suddenly realising that he was very much alone, Garri climbed into bed and began gathering his possessions around him, as a makeshift barrier against this unknown nemesis. Almost without thinking, he instinctively drew the two candy sacks to his chest, clutching them protectively.
"I - who's there?" he called out weakly, with his voice faltering on the last syllable. Then, as the silence pressed on, he grew braver.
"I said, who's there?" His voice was noticeably more powerful this time.
This time there was a quiet, almost inaudible response. A low cackling could be heard from whatever creature occupied the threshold, a kind of mocking jeer. It seemed to taunt Garri, with its derision and disdain for his strength of character.
Garri's eyes bulged prominently from his forehead, and though he remained snugly seated in his bed, he felt certain that this unknown beast could capture him. A soft whimper emitted from between his clenched teeth, pathetic in its timidity.
"What do you want?" he wailed, hoping that the... thing would go away. Better still, that this whole horrific scene was part of an especially vivid nightmare, possibly as a result of his usual overindulgence in candy.
More silence followed this request, and though Garri couldn't understand why, it incensed him to fill the yawning chasm with more inane questions.
"What are you doing in my house, and who... no wait, what, are you? Can you leave? Please? Also... why are you still here if you won't talk to me?"
He quivered anxiously beneath the sheets, even though the night was not particularly chilly. Then, in a manner so gradual and subtle that he wouldn't have noticed it unless he had metaphorically glued his eyes to the door, the lock clicked as it opened and the door inched ajar, bathing the bedroom in light...
Date: Nov 3rd
So he did the only thing he could think of: he pulled the covers over his head. His heart was pounding so loudly in his ears, he thought the intruder must hear it.
Trembling, he lowered the blanket ever so slightly, just enough so he could see his door and the tiny space offering him a glance at what lay beyond, but all he saw was the uninterrupted sheath of moonlight, no sign of shadowed feet.
Then he heard it.
"Garri." The oppressive silence that was only interrupted by the sound of his beating heart suddenly offered the whispers of whoever was in his Neohome. And they knew his name!
"Wh-who's there?" he stuttered into the silence. His voice felt loud and heavy. "I've got..." He glanced down at his bag of candy, but shook his head roughly. Glancing around, his eyes finally came to rest on his bedside Meepit lamp. "...a Meepit and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Mustering every bit of courage, he grabbed the lamp, tiptoed to the door, and pressed his ear against the wood but heard nothing. Inhaling sharply, he counted down from three and sprang through the door yelling random phrases and swinging the lamp wildly, but when he finally gathered the strength to open his eyes, he saw his living room and kitchen dark and surprisingly empty.
He let out a nervous chuckle that sounded almost soothing and shook his head, already thinking of a funny way of telling his story to his friends. Of course, in his version, he would have bravely fought off the prowler.
Sighing, he turned back toward his bedroom, intending to fall back into the covers. It must have been a trick of the moonlight, and I was probably still half asleep, he told himself.
Sugar always calms my nerves.
He looked around for the bags of candy, but couldn't see them. He yanked back his covers and looked under his bed, threw his already strewn clothes aside, but nothing. He cried out in frustration as he realised the candy was gone... and he knew exactly who had taken it...
Date: Nov 4th
Garri slid through the shadows of his sleeping Neohome, trying to be as quiet and as stealthy as his bulk and his sprained ankle would allow. When he got to the front entry, he stretched on his tippy-toes and eased his eyes toward the half-moon window at the top of the door, confirming what he expected to see.
With a less than elegant sweep of the door, the Grarrl jumped out onto the front porch, and wincing through the pain that shot through his hurt ankle, he levelled an accusing finger at his three friends who stood in the shadow of the shrubbery, dividing the candy back into four equal piles.
"Aha!" said Garri. "I knew you stole my candy!"
"Hey, you stole our candy in the first place," answered Lana, all four of her Aisha costume ears quivering with anger. "I don't think it's stealing to try and get back what's yours in the first place."
"But... but... but," Garri sputtered. "But, you just left the candy with me, that's not stealing." As the Grarrl thought about this, he became even more indignant. "But you," he continued, his eyes narrowing into dangerous-looking slits, "you actually went into my room and took that candy from me. That is what you call stealing."
"Na-huh," said Rickon. "We did not."
"Did too," retorted Garri. Considering the Judge Hog mask his friend was wearing, he added, "Maybe the Defenders of Neopia need to hear about this."
"About what?" asked Marq. "About you tricking and bullying us out of our candy?"
As the Grarrl thought about this, the confident smirk began to slide off his face. A sudden strike of inspiration soon turned the corners of his mouth back up in a sly grin once more and he said, "Well, I am sure that the Defenders of Neopia would be very interested to hear how you broke into my house, in the middle of the night, to take back that candy."
Rickon took a challenging step forward and said, "I told you already, na-huh, we did not!"
"Of course you did," Garri stated with certainty. "I saw your shadow under my bedroom door."
The three friends stood looking at each other with such genuine ignorance and surprise that the Grarrl began to doubt himself once again.
"Well, if not you, then who?"
Marq lowered his voice to a whisper, and pointing a trembling finger toward the dark shadows at Garri's back, said, "I told you not to make her angry..."
Date: Nov 4th
In the awkward silence that followed, the tremors magnified in Garri's chest. His friends stared at him with none of the sympathy and kindness he had known before. Trembling with fear and rage, he finally blurted out, "But who is she in the first place? You have no right to bring strangers into my house!"
Marq shook his head sadly. "She's not a stranger, Garri. You knew her not too long ago."
"Oh really?" said Garri.
"She thought it would be nice to see you again," Marq continued, "to put the past back where it belongs. So I invited her to come with us. She has a forgiving nature, Garri, but you betrayed her once again." He looked up at the glittering night sky. "Well, if you don't remember, I guess that's it. I'll advise her to keep her distance next time. Hope you have a speedy recovery, by the way." He began to move away with his share of candy, and Rickon, swinging his Judge Hog mask away from Garri, followed suit. Lana put a piece of candy deliberately into her mouth and stalked after the other two.
"Wait!" cried Garri. A confused swirl of emotions was washing over him. He thought he remembered something, a shy face, a timid gesture in first grade, and candy... "Wait! Don't go yet!"
"Sorry, Garri, I have to go," said Lana. "My parents don't know I'm still up, and I don't want to get grounded."
"I have to go too," said Rickon. "This costume itches."
"But," Garri protested. "But. But. The candy!"
"You don't deserve it anymore," said Marq. "If you'd asked us nicely, we might have given some to you. After all, we're friends, and we were just dropping by to see how you were doing. But no, you had to steal it."
"Time to go," Lana said, tapping her foot impatiently.
"If you ever change your mind," Marq added in a quieter tone, "there may be a chance to make amends."
And with that, he hurried after Rickon and Lana, melting into the night.
So the Grarrl was left alone once more, with nothing but guilty sweetness in his mouth and throbbing pain in his ankle.
"No way," he breathed, as a wave of memories began to emerge in his mind, as though breaking free of clutter that had obscured them for ages...
Date: Nov 5th
He had been so small, just a little Grarrl, and he could remember playing with a red and blue ball, pushing it back and forth with...
He strained to remember. Who had he been playing with?
"Have you really forgotten me?" came the silky-soft voice from yesterday. The little Xweetok.
"What?" Garri demanded, spinning around. But there was no one else around. "Where are you?"
"Lost to your memories, apparently," came the soft voice again. "Don't you recall?"
...Yes, he was beginning to recall. Playing with a little green Xweetok, with big liquid eyes and a shy smile, who rarely spoke but who was always his companion for playing ball or blocks. To his embarrassment, he could even remember dressing up Usuki dolls with her.
"Everyone thought it was so sweet. The great big Grarrl and the tiniest Xweetok. They said we were inseparable friends. Do you remember me now?" Her voice, so small and thin, coming from nowhere he could see... but it didn't sound threatening now. It sounded sad.
"Yes," he rasped. "Yes, I -- remember now."
"Do you remember what happened, Garri?"
He didn't want to remember. He had a feeling that he wouldn't feel good if he remembered. But now that he'd broken the dam, the memories were pouring forth. He and the little Xweetok had been the best of friends -- they'd played together; he'd carried her around on his head, and she'd told him stories. She'd always had the best stories. But then...
He'd been getting older, and he'd started to play sports. He'd found a Yooyuball team to play on. His little Xweetok friend, small as she was, wasn't very good at Yooyuball, so she hadn't joined, but every day she came to the end of practice so they could walk home together, and she could tell him the stories she'd made up that day.
But one day, one day... he'd been bragging with his teammates, and when he'd seen the little Xweetok friend there, he'd been embarrassed. So he'd made fun of her, to show off for his new friends. He'd made fun of her for being so small, and quiet, and he'd made fun of her for waiting for him.
She hadn't said anything then, she'd just walked away. And he'd never seen her again.
"You remember now," the Xweetok said.
"I do. But -- "
"I'd hoped you'd changed," she said. He spun around, searching, searching for her. Where was she hiding? "But you're just as selfish as you were before." Suddenly her voice was no longer sad; it was the quiet, angry tone he'd heard before. Despite himself, he felt a chill up his spine. "You haven't learned to be a good friend at all."
"I am too a good friend!" he burst out. "What about you, lurking and hiding?"
"I've learned many things since that day," she said. "You'll never find me unless I want to be found. But... I'll show myself to you. On one condition."
"I'll show myself if you can remember my name."
Garri's mouth gaped open, but his mind was a blank. His memory...
Date: Nov 5th
He abruptly froze from his sudden lurch. His mind, searching frantically for a miracle recall remained unperturbed by this sudden demand. Hands vibrating tremulously, he put his face in his paws, unaware of his glinting talons lightly prodding into his scalp.
"I-I can't remember!" he called, his tone marred with exasperation. "That day... it's all I can remember!" The gentle, but strangely clear voice of the Xweetok floated over to him once more. It was barely more than a whisper and sounded almost resentful.
"If only you really remembered, Garri. If you did, I'm sure you'd come to find out..." the Xweetok's voice gradually faded into the distant sounds of the calm, cool breeze. There was an agonising silence.
"A hint!" Garri rasped through his teeth. "Please... give me a hint to your name!" Again, nothing carried through the air toward him. Finally, after a long pause, the soft voice spoke reluctantly. He listened intently, straining to hear.
"All right, Garri. I will give you a hint. But it is a riddle, one that I know only you would understand. You remember those riddles we came up with, don't you?" As this slowly sank in, Garri's shoulders slumped. He could barely think back to those happy, blissful days; he and the tiny Xweetok were skipping down the cobblestoned streets to the park, whistling jubilant tunes and reciting old-fashioned riddles. But the Xweetok gave him no more time to think. Her voice was serious when she answered.
"Listen to me, Garri. I will say the riddle once, and once only. You can only answer three times, and if you get it wrong, I will disappear into the night and you will never get this opportunity ever again." The Xweetok lowered her voice, and her tone turned light again. Garri's whole body wracked with nervousness; it felt as though his whole past had suddenly been erased. He couldn't remember a thing.
"Listen carefully Garri. You know this won't happen again..." As light as a slow breath, she began to recite the riddle...
Date: Nov 6th
At the end of lunch there comes a treat.|
At the end of toil, a swift retreat.
At the end of bitterness, a dash of sweet.
A smile that makes the tale complete.
More memories were rushing back now. Their first encounter in the lunch hall, where the quiet Xweetok had offered him a piece of chocolate. How she had giggled at the phenomenal appetite with which he devoured the chocolate.
Had they exchanged names then? He couldn't remember...
The toil had to refer to his sports activities, after which he would spend time with her in the library, laughing soundlessly over riddles that only they appreciated.
The bitterness... Garri tried not to succumb to the tide of guilt. He must have really hurt his friend's feelings, making fun of her in front of his teammates. Well, he couldn't help it, could he? He risked losing his reputation as a tough player, which he had worked so hard to build up.
But... the dash of sweet? The smile?
The first time, she had given him candy.
That word was impossibly familiar.
"Your name is... Candy!" gasped Garri.
"Yes, ironic, isn't it," said the gentle voice. "My name is the same as the treats you so frequently indulge in. It all goes to show how you can enjoy what you take from me, over and over, without even noticing that I still exist."
She stepped out of the shadows, and it was as if Garri was seeing her for the first time. The rose-coloured eyes, the slender figure, the sensitive clasp of the hands.
"Candy," said Garri, a strange choke obscuring his voice. "I'm... sorry."
"I'm leaving you, Garri," said Candy calmly. "I saw your true nature tonight, and I realise how wrong I have been, to have remained so loyal to you over the years. To have always given and never received."
"But, but Marq said you had a forgiving nature!"
"Even the most forgiving individuals, Garri, have boundaries of tolerance they cannot go beyond. But I thought it was only right that, since I had a chance to see your true nature today, I should give you a similar chance. So now you have truly seen me."
Garri gaped at her, wordless.
"Goodbye," she said, in a voice quieter and steadier than any the Grarrl had ever known. And then she was gone, smiling so beautifully.
Garri stood alone in the gloomy garden, feeling the ache gnaw at him from deep down inside. He never wanted to eat candy, never, ever anymore. Not at the expense of such precious friendships which he had so carelessly thrown away.
He needed to clear his thoughts. He needed to straighten out all the clutter intruding on his life. But now, left alone in the gloomy garden, all he wanted to do was cry.
Date: Nov 6th
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