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||You are on Week 480
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 Eighty Ends Friday, October 15
Horace squirmed violently as his guards escorted him through the halls of the Meepit Oaks Sanitorium. Nobody in the Sanitorium had wanted to move him out of solitary confinement, but they were running out of room with so many mad villains appearing each day. Despite the maniacal Bruce's cries and struggles, the guards held onto him firmly until they reached his new cell.
With a rough toss he was thrown into another filthy cell with only a small window and two uncomfortable beds. As soon as the door closed, the Bruce began to bang on it.
"You have to let me out!" he shouted as he had so many times before. "Mayor Thumburt is my brother, do you hear me? You will suffer dire consequences if I am not released immediately!"
"You're wasting your breath," came a slighty snide voice from behind the Bruce.
Horace turned around to see his new cellmate, a Maraquan Scorchio. As a mental patient the Scorchio had actually stayed relatively clean; he only looked incedibly tired.
"My name is Franz," he introduced calmly.
Horace gave no response.
"I was once the owner of kelp," Franz said with a bitter chuckle. "Actually, I was twice the owner of kelp. But things went downhill, eventually I was declared unstable and they locked me up here."
Horace still said nothing and only eyed the Scorchio menacingly. Franz wasn't put off.
"What about you, who are you?" asked the Scorchio.
"I am nobody," the Bruce answered sternly. "I was a normal Bruce born into a normal family. But when they learned that my brain wasn't quite right, they couldn't get rid of me fast enough. I think that I deserve revenge, but my shot was thwarted and I ended up back here."
An unnerving grin spread across Franz's face as he replied, "Revenge is good. But why stop with your family, why not seek revenge on all of Neopia? And I have a plan..."
Editor's Note: This week's Storytelling beginning was written by A_greenparrot. Please keep sending in your entries for next week's Storytelling beginning!
Date: Oct 11th
"What's Neopia ever done to me?" Horace asked, glaring suspiciously at the Scorchio.
Franz just chuckled. "Well, for starters, they put you in this place, just because you think a little bit differently than the rest of them."
"But that was my--" Horace began to protest.
Stopping his sentence with a wave of his paw, Franz replied, "Your family? They're only a part of it. How did they look at you on the streets? As if you were a monster? As if you weren't a Neopian? Think about it, my friend. They fear what they don't understand. And what they fear..."
"...they shove away in sanitoriums," Horace finished.
"Exactly," Franz answered with a grin. "So why shouldn't we make them understand? Why shouldn't we put their fears to rest? Why shouldn't we teach them a lesson?" The Scorchio held out his paw. "Are you in?"
It does make sense, Horace thought. Neopia was the reason he was in here in the first place. A little revenge on it wouldn't do any harm. Well, at least not to him.
Reaching out, Horace took Franz's paw and shook it. "What's our first move?" he asked.
Franz held up a tarnished skeleton key. "We can't do anything locked up in here. It's time to get out." He stuck his arm through the bars of the cell and put the key in the lock, opening it with a satisfying click.
Horace stood, dumbfounded, as he watched the door swing open. "You could have gotten out the whole time? But how?"
Slipping the key into his pocket, Franz turned to Horace with a slightly amused smile on his face. "I've learned that in life, it's always good to have all doors opened to you -- whether they want to be or not. Now, come on. I've got a friend to unlock. Then we're getting out of this place..."
Date: Oct 11th
Cautiously Franz peered around the door, scanning the hall for guards -- "White Shirts," as they were known to the inmates. Seeing no one, he signalled to Horace with a quick wave of his paw. Horace quickly moved up to join him.
"Come with me," murmured Franz, tight-lipped. "My friend is being held in a solitary cell at the end of the hallway to the right, up ahead. No White Shirts are scheduled to make rounds in this area for another five minutes; we can make it to Bernard's cell, release him, and leave the building with time to spare. Stick with me, and keep your eyes peeled. If you see anyone at all give me a signal..."
"What kind of signal?" interrupted Horace worriedly. He had a brief vision of himself hooting like a Whoot or waving his arms madly in the air. Franz dashed these thoughts quickly and effectively.
"Poke me in the side," he replied, intently scanning the still-empty hallway. "We can duck into an empty cell until the trouble has passed. Now come on -- the clock is ticking!" Without saying another word he scurried into the hallway and buttonhooked quickly to the right.
Horace felt reluctance starting to creep into his mind and resolutely quashed it. Taking a deep breath, he plunged after Franz. The two Neopets tiptoed quietly but quickly up the deserted passage, heads swivelling left and right like metronomes. After what seemed like an eternity Franz suddenly pulled up short, so unexpectedly that Horace bumped right into his back. Franz was so focused on his target, however, that he hardly even noticed.
"Here it is!" he hissed through his teeth. Horace saw that they were standing in front of a padded door, which looked much like any other in the sanitorium; for some reason, however, he felt a chill run quickly down his back. He shivered violently, disquieted.
"Who..." he began but Franz held up his finger, silencing him. Stepping to the door Franz placed his face to a small barred window which broke the smooth facade of padded canvas.
"Bernard!" he whispered urgently. "Are you awake? It's me, Franz. I'm here to get you out. Hurry, we haven't much time!"
For a brief moment Horace didn't hear anything, then a dry chuckle cut through the stuffy air.
"Franz, as dependable as ever. Open the door and release me. There is much business to be taken care of. Dues will finally be paid..."
Hearing these words Horace felt his blood beginning to run like ice through his veins, and as Franz placed the skeleton key in the lock he began to wonder dismally if he hadn't made a horrible, horrible mistake when he'd agreed to follow...
Date: Oct 12th
...an institutionalised waiter.
As far as inmates went, Horace was rational. He was wary of danger and never began fights he couldn't win. Every move was calculated before it was made.
And as of this moment, his mind was screaming at him to set off the alarm.
Maybe it was the icy voice, or the business-like way of speaking about revenge. It was entirely possible he just had the heebie-jeebies. No matter the reason, he didn't trust Franz or Bernard. But the concept of escape, the idea of vengeance, was too tempting.
"Indeed, we will all have our control soon," Franz replied.
The voice paused. "We? You brought an outsider? You know the rules, Franz."
"We need him," Franz stated confidently, and the voice seemed to recognise truth in the statement.
"Very well. He will be accepted."
Franz visibly relaxed, despite having acted confident. Horace knew then that the voice was the dominant one. If Bernard ever wanted Horace gone, the Bruce would receive no help from Franz. Not that he expected it.
Footsteps padded across the floor, and Horace prepared himself. He knew whatever came out of that cell would be powerful and terrifying.
But as it turned out, he only had one correct...
Date: Oct 12th
The creature that came out of the cell could not be described with mere words. Having vague features of both Chia and Lupe (a scary combination, by the way), it stood with one arm hanging lower than the other. Its fur was grizzled and dripping with some substance that seemed to radiate the smell of something that distinctly reminded Horace of cheese that had been untouched in the Food Shop for weeks.
Horace recoiled from the terrible figure that stood before him. He knew that whatever stood before him could instantly crush him if it wished too. It wasn't just powerful... it seemed invincible.
"Franz. Let us make haste. After all... I have some scores to settle," Bernard rasped.
Franz quietly gulped and nodded. He motioned for Bernard and Horace to come down a dark hallway. Bernard swiftly moved past him without even giving a glance toward Horace.
Horace knew that he shouldn't get tangled up with whoever this was. He felt the foreboding presence of a terrible evil that was lurking within this creature. However, after doubting his inmates a few more times, Horace shook his head. No! They could help him get revenge. No matter what price he had to pay...
Date: Oct 13th
The group made their way through the dark hallways of the sanitorium, always careful of the White Shirts who wandered the halls. As they moved along, Horace noticed the other Neopians in the cells. Some were clearly insane -- one Cybunny rocked back and forth on her heels, moaning that the voices were shouting too loud for her to think. Others, however, looked perfectly normal, staring out at the passing group with no interest in their eyes, only intense boredom.
When Horace pointed this out to Franz, the former waiter only said that some of the maddest didn't look very mad at all. In turn, Horace pondered whether or not Franz was insane. After all, he seemed normal enough, and if his words were true, then that meant that Franz was mad.
But it was no matter. Soon they walked out the doors of the Meepit Oaks Sanitorium, leaving any crazy thoughts in the place where they belonged. On the border of the Woods, Franz held up a hand for the them to stop. "She's to meet us here," he explained.
Bernard growled. "Why her?" he protested. "Any other member could undoubtedly lead us more competently than she can."
"It's nice to know that you think so highly of me, Bernard," a voice answered from the woods. An Aisha emerged along with the voice, a smirk on her face. Though she did not wield the same obvious strength as Bernard did, it was apparent that she held some sort of authority over the two.
"Hello, Cecilia," Bernard responded courteously, though it was obvious that he wished to be anything but.
Cecilia simply smiled calmly, then turned to Franz. "Hello to you as well. Might I ask what took you so long? We got the key into your cell ages ago."
Narrowing his eyes, the Scorchio replied, "I was waiting for the right moment. You know that."
"Ah, yes," Cecilia said, her calm smile still in place. "The perfect moment. But we don't have all the time in the world, Franz. No time to wait for 'perfect moments.' And I suppose" -- she turned toward Horace -- "this was the reason for yours?"
Franz glowered, but he didn't lose his temper. "We need him. He'll prove valuable in the end."
Cecilia let out a tinkling bell of a laugh. "Now, now. I was only asking if he was the reason for your delay. No need to become all defensive. But the rest won't like this. Most are not as easygoing as I am."
"He is needed," Franz repeated, clenching his fists at his side.
Cecilia smirked. "Am I right to assume you've explained nothing to him?" Silence. "Of course I am." Turning to Horace, she began, "On behalf of my friends here, let me explain the mess you've gotten yourself into..."
Date: Oct 13th
"All of this was planned, you know. As a mixture of Franz's cunning, Bernard's strength, and my own intelligence, we plotted this. We all had our little reasons for ending up here, but one thing was the same: we all desired revenge against the Mayor Thumburt, your brother."
Horace's head spun.
"Franz here arrived when Thumburt made accusations of his insanity after dining at kelp. Bernard was dumped into this prison when he accidentally spilled a cup of Borovan on the mayor, and being of extreme proportions, Thumburt was all willing to get rid of a potential upriser. I was sent to this asylum when Thumburt decided I was a threat to society, upon discovering my visions. He cared not whether my visions were good or bad. All that mattered was that felt insecure about having a prophetess in the town."
Cecilia smirked bitterly and turned to Horace.
"And I'm sure you have your reasons for ending up in Meepit Oaks, and unless I miss my guess, it was all because of that brother of yours."
Three pairs of eyes turned to stare at Horace, who felt pressured by these inmates. He glanced around, but any method of escape had been cut off by the possibly insane patients standing in a tight circle around him.
"You said that your brother would come rescue you," said Franz. "I heard you, when you first were brought to my cell. You told the white shirts, 'Mayor Thumburt is my brother!' But has your beloved brother come for you? As far as I can tell, he hasn't."
It had to be acknowledged. Horace hadn't been rescued.
"Thumburt's a menace. We'll all be better off without him," said Cecilia, whose persuasive skills were amazing. "You'll be happier. Believe me."
Horace was so tempted, but tried to resist.
"Think of it," insisted Cecilia. "We've given you your choices. If you don't want to join us, Franz is willing to break off the agreement. Now it's your choice: take it, or leave it..."
Date: Oct 14th
Horace held the Aisha's challenging gaze, considering his options. I could walk away... at least she says I can walk away, Horace thought to himself. But why? Where would I go? No, if this isn't settled, once and for all, Thumburt will turn all of Neopia upside-down to find me... to put me back in... in... that place. I have to stop him before he has me locked away in solitary forever. But can I trust these guys?
Deciding that resisting the group was not only dangerous but perhaps futile as well, the Bruce nodded his head resolutely and said, "I'm in. Tell me, what's the plan?"
Cecilia purred her pleasure, and her eyes slitted with satisfaction. "The plan is the best part of all. I can say that because the plan was mine." Looking over her shoulder to confirm the woods were indeed empty of prying eyes and ears, the Aisha motioned for everyone to form a tight huddle, and she began to speak in a soft and throaty voice. "The plan is already in motion. Bernard here, through intimidation and brute force, has enslaved a large group of mutant Bori, creatures so hideously deformed that they gladly shun the light of day. These Bori are cursed... or blessed, in our eyes... with enormous claws, powerful muscles, and an insatiable need to dig. As we speak, they are tunnelling under Neovia, weakening the substrata, and leaving the entire town vulnerable to... sabotage."
Horace moved to take a small, involuntarily horrified step backward, but Bernard grasped his shoulder with his lupine claws and held him fast.
"Next," Cecilia continued, "Horace here will draw his dear, dear brother into the town square. And once the Mayor arrives..." The Aisha allowed her voice to trail off into the darkness.
"Yes?" Horace demanded, quivering under the weight of the mutant thing's grip and desperate with anticipation. "Once I have Thumburt in the town square, then what?"
"That's where I come in," Franz said gleefully, clapping his hands together with joy. "At that point, I will fill the Wishing Well with Borovan, a pool of Borovan, a sea of Borovan. The liquid will burst the walls of the well, deep underground, and then flood the tunnels that are already down there, thanks to our Bori... helpers. Once that happens, all of Neovia will lose its stability, the entire town will sink into a pit, a sinkhole of Borovan. The Mayor thought that a tiny drip on his shirtfront was enough to accuse me of criminally insane insurrection? Well, I will show him what insurrection looks like."
Horace shook his head slowly in confusion. "But how? It can't work... it will never..."
"It will work," Cecilia hissed. "I have had a vision of this very thing: the Bori, the tunnels, the Borovan, you. This will happen and this will work."
Horace ducked under Bernard's grasp and began to back away. "But don't you see? This whole thing... it's cra..."
Cecilia swiped a paw across the Bruce's face, her claws drawing fine lines upon his cheek. "Don't say 'crazy'. Don't you ever use the word 'crazy' when you're speaking with me." The Aisha stood in front of Horace, her whole body heaving with the effort of her breathing, her arm raised to deliver another blow.
What have I gotten myself into? Horace marvelled. As though it was occurring to him for the first time, he thought, Have I actually escaped with inmates of the Meepit Oaks Sanitorium, inmates who have been accused of being criminally insane? Have I really agreed to help these... criminals? To join their plot against my own brother?
As the Bruce trembled under Cecilia's glare, he didn't see Franz as he...
Date: Oct 14th
...tapped Bernard on the arm. The Lupe-Chia hybrid promptly stepped behind Horace and wrapped an arm around the Bruce's neck, restraining him from moving out of the infuriated, half-crazed Aisha's reach.
"See what happens when you wrongfully accuse someone of being crazy?" Cecilia spat, raking razor-sharp claws across Horace's unmarked cheek and leaving behind whisker-like scratches. Franz, deciding that that was adequate punishment, tapped Bernard on the arm again. The Lupe-Chia abruptly released Horace, causing the Bruce to stumble forward.
"I'm -- I'm s-sorry," Horace stammered, raising a paw to one of his now scarred cheeks and gingerly touching the delicate skin.
"You'll do as I say?" Cecilia purred. Horace, too frightened by the crazed Aisha's sudden change in demeanour, simply nodded mutely.
"Go lead Thumburt to the town square," Cecilia said. "We'll come retrieve you and bring you to safety before it becomes too dangerous."
"Okay," Horace replied, turning around and heading in the direction of his brother's mansion.
Horace raised a paw, hesitated a moment, and pressed the doorbell. He heard the soft tinkling of a bell ring out throughout the mansion and a moment later, a butler opened the door.
"May I help you?" the butler demanded. Horace, relieved that this new butler hadn't recognised him, nodded vigorously.
"Yes, I need to speak with Mayor Thumburt."
"Mayor Thumburt only accepts visitors in City Hall during his office hours."
"But this is very important!"
"You must make appointments in advance should you wish to arrange a meeting with Mayor Thumburt."
"I told you, it's urgent!"
"I'll speak with him," an authoritative voice from behind the butler said.
"Very well, sir," the butler replied, moving aside.
"Is that you, Horace?" a Bruce that could've been Horace's identical twin -- with the exception of his expensive-looking haircut and business suit -- cried, stepping forward.
"Yes, it's me, Thumburt," Horace confirmed, tears filling his eyes and a lump forming in his throat. It was true that his brother hadn't done anything to prevent him from being sent away and locked up in an insane aslyum and a part of him wanted revenge, but a larger part of him still loved his brother dearly. "I have to tell you something, Burt..."
Date: Oct 15th
"Yes?" the mayor inquired as he looked at Horace with misty eyes.
Horace took a deep breath and started to ramble all about Franz, Bernard, Cecilia, their plan, destruction, Borovan, etc. until Thumburt stopped him with a hand held up.
"I admit that I have made some mistakes. To be honest, I was in quite a bad mood that day when I met those three, and I've never had the chance to apologise after I saw them being taken away. And also... I want to apologise to you. For never being the brother I should have been. I hope you can forgive me..." Thumburt started to sob as he hunched over.
Horace felt like he had been hit by a lightning bolt. Hi--his brother cared about him?!
"Why did you guys abandon me? Why..." Horace started.
"Mum and Dad... they thought you were ill. They threw you into that insane asylum without telling me, without even asking my opinion. No matter how hard I tried to get you out, they always insisted it was for the best."
As the silence set in between the two, Horace snapped back to reality.
"Thumburt! You have to get out of here. NOW! The Borovan's going to come in any minute!"
Horace's heart fell and broke into a thousand pieces as the rumbling of the Borovan began to drown out the mayor's words. They both whipped around and stared in horror as Borovan began to seep up from between the cracks of the sidewalk.
The two Bruces hesitated before trying to run through the muck as quickly as possible. Slipping and sliding everywhere, Thumburt eventually tripped and cried with pain. Horace turned around and saw that his brother had twisted his foot.
"Thumburt! Please tell me you can still walk!" he shouted with agony.
Thumburt shook his head sadly as the Borovan flood rapidly swirled around them. "This is the end for me," he whispered.
Before Horace could say otherwise, a tidal wave of Borovan washed over the two brothers, which caused them to fall unconscious...
A few weeks later, Horace watched silently as Franz, Bernard, and Cecilia passed by him without even looking his way. His heart was weighed down with guilt for betraying them.
However, a hand clapped his back, and Horace turned around to face his brother.
"Horace! Ready to start a new day as co-mayor of the town?" Co-Mayor Thumburt enthusiastically chirped.
Horace simply just smiled and that, my friends, was all the answer that Thumburt needed.
Date: Oct 15th
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