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 522
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 Five Hundred Twenty Two Ends Friday, September 2
|Small clouds of dust swirled around Annabelle's feet as she hopped along in a hurry. She had set her alarm clock for an hour most of her siblings probably did not know even existed. She had to be the first at the Book Shop this morning, she had to!
There weren't many other Neopians on the streets and Annabelle was thankful for that. For a Cybunny, she was considered clumsy, especially when in a hurry like she found herself in that morning. Knocking someone over as they did their shopping was nothing new to her, but she never liked it to happen. She bounced along, avoiding a Kacheek pulling a wagon, and came to a sudden stop in front of the Book Shop.
The Nimmo that owned the shop smiled as Annabelle drew near. He stopped sweeping long enough to greet her and say that the door was open. She thanked him and hurried into the shop.
The inside of the shop was much cooler than the morning air outside. Annabelle inhaled deeply and released a long, happy sigh. She skipped past the mystery novels, the poetry collections, and the children's corner. The smell of pages made her nose twitch excitedly as she found the section she wanted: the romance section.
Her ears began to twitch as well as she hurried along the shelves. There, sitting on a table draped with a deep purple cloth, was the newest romance book in the Cybunny Chronicles series. She sighed happily as she picked up the novel. Cracking it open, she inhaled the scent of fresh pages and the faint scent of blossoms that each book in the series smelled of.
She turned the book over and over in her hands before stopping finally on the cover. In purple lettering, the title was spelled before her. "Royalty," she whispered to herself, smiling happily. Smiling back at her was a handsome black Cybunny named William Jastain. William was a Cybunny model and actor who was rumored to have the part of Lord Reginald Sims, the main character in the series, in the new stage production that Kacheek and Team Productions planned to debut later that year.
Annabelle clutched the book to her chest and hurried to the register. The small bell over the shop chimed brightly. Annabelle turned, assuming it was the shopkeeper having finished his sweeping. She turned to the door, feeling her beloved book slip from her grasp and hit the floor with a hollow thud. There, in the doorway, stood a very familiar, very handsome black Cybunny...
Date: Aug 29th
...William Jastain himself, in real flesh and fur. It was him! Annabelle was unable to speak. All that came out of the white Cybunny was a garbled choking sound.
He looked down at her haughtily. "Ahem. Are you the only one here? I was under the impression I was here for a book signing."
With another jingle, the shopkeeper came in. "Oh my, Mr. Jastain! What in Neopia are you doing here?!?"
"I was led to believe that my agent had arranged a book signing here today," the black Cybunny replied, looking as if he had another dozen places he'd rather be.
The Nimmo was looking a bit frazzled now. "I'm afraid I haven't heard anything about this... but we'd be more than happy to have you, sir! My oh my, a book signing with William Jastain! I need to call The Neopian Times to place an article and put a notice up on the Neoboards... I've got so much to do!" He hurried into the back room.
Annabelle was still breathless. Willian Jastain, winner of four Neopies and the idol of countless Neopians, right here in front of her. What's a girl supposed to say at a moment like this? she asked herself. Why can't I just say something?!?
William Jastain looked entirely bored by the situation. Examining himself in a pocket mirror, he brushed a stray lock of hair out of his eyes. "Hmph. Don't know why Father makes me do all of this for publicity," he muttered. "Never mind that I shouldn't have even been here until later -- I have a very important rehearsal today! There should have been lines out the door by now, and instead no one is even here yet." He seemed to have forgotten that Annabelle was standing right in front of him.
Just before Annabelle had the nerve to speak up, a very harried Kacheek ran into the room. "Mr. Jastain! Katrisha Ponell has just quit the play, sir. Something about a disagreement between her agent and the producers over her share of the nightly box office. We need a new actor, one who looks exactly like her -- a royalgirl Cybunny. Do you know of any?"
"Hmph. Quit, did she? I can't say I know of any such actresses," the thespian replied.
The Kacheek looked about the store, as if expecting an award-winning actress to pop out from behind a bookshelf. "You! If we just dyed your collar and gave you a costume, you'd do the trick." To Annabelle's shock, the Kacheek was pointing right at her. Stammering...
Date: Aug 29th
in shock, she managed to choke out a reply,
"I've... I've never acted. At least, not professionally - I did play a minor role in Twelfth Carrot in eighth grade, but that was a while ago." The Kacheek waved off her protests.
"The part of Misha Bon Bunny is not a difficult one. Your main job is to stand around looking regal. Any lines that you have are short and easy to memorize. Can you handle that?"
Annabelle flushed. The Kacheek seemed to have taken it as a given that she would accept! It was on the tip of her tongue to politely refuse his offer when she happened to glance at William Jastain. He was looking at her! A small lock of hair had fallen across his brow, making him look positively dashing...
"Of course," replied her traitorous mouth. Eyes widening in shock, she clapped a paw across her lips, but not before they managed to get out, "just tell me what to do."
The Kacheek heaved a huge sigh of relief. "Be at the Empire Theater at three o'clock sharp. We need to get you fitted for your costume and familiarized with the script." Muttering to himself he hurried from the bookstore. Annabelle stood there dazed, her eyes unfocused.
What have I done?!? she thought. I can't act - my part in Twelfth Carrot was playing a shrub! I didn't even have to rustle! I couldn't possibly...
"Well, I guess we'll be working together, then," Jastain said in a bored voice. Annabelle snapped back to her senses and risked a timid smile in his direction, although she couldn't quite bring herself to make eye contact. She focused on his tie instead.
"Oh, Mr. Jastain! You have no idea how much this means to me! I'm a huge fan - I've seen every show you've ever been in at least twice. I even named my Skritch 'William' after you. I'll do my best, I promise!"
At the mention of her Skritch Jastain's lip curled up in an almost imperceptible sneer. He stared at his new co-star with thinly veiled disdain.
"I should take that as a compliment, I'm sure, Miss... what is your name?"
"Annabelle. Annabelle Hopper. You can call me Annabelle... or Anna. Or Belle. Whatever you like, Mr. Jastain."
"Indeed. I shall call you Annabelle. You may call me Mr. Jastain. Now that introductions are over, Annabelle, I think there are some things that I need to make perfectly clear..."
Date: Aug 30th
Annabelle looked at the other Cybunny with excited eyes twinkling.
"First of all, Annabelle Hopper, you are my co-star, so start acting like a proper actor and stop drooling over me." William declared, in what could be described as an exasperated tone. "Second, your speech needs some adjusting. Repeat after me," William ordered, then cleared his throat.
"The magma, in Moltara, oft ends up as lava," he pronounced, exaggerating each "a" with great emphasis.
"The... magma... in Moltara... oft ends up... as lava?" Annabelle said, confused.
A flat look came over William's dark face. "Close enough, co-star," he hissed, then hopped out of the library, forgetting the book signing entirely.
Annabelle tore through the shop's entrance, shouting "Yahoo!" as she dashed down the street.
"Willllliaaaam!" Annabelle sang as she swung open the front door of her Neohome. The Skritch greeted his owner with a warm smile.
"I'm an actor now," Annabelle squealed, "and I'm acting with the famous Neopie-winning superstar, William Jastain!" She threw her paws up with unbridled enthusiasm.
Rushing over to her dresser, she wondered what to wear to rehearsal while shuffling through her clothing. Red skirt? she asked herself. No... I Heart Sloth T-shirt? No, too evil... The Neopet dug through her dresser drawers looking for the perfect outfit until...
Date: Aug 30th
…a thin familiar chain wrapped precariously around her paw and then, without realizing the peril she was in, snapped cruelly as she unconsciously jerked her paw away. Realizing what she had just done, Annabelle gasped and shuffled the clothing aside until she found the snapped chain and broken star ornament. Suddenly all the feelings of glee and ecstasy melted away, leaving the Cybunny feeling hollow and sad. Picking the necklace up in her paw, she moved it around gently.
"Hi, Mom," she whispered, a wave of remembrance washing over her. Her mum had always waggled a paw at her whenever Annabelle became upset or downtrodden. She would always tell her, confidently, as if she knew the world's course, "you're destined for great things Anny-love." Annabelle placed the broken necklace atop her dresser and tried to smile, attempting to find the happiness she had felt. "If only you could see me now. I miss you."
She looked at the necklace for a long time before, with a sigh, picking an ordinary and near-mundane outfit in which to attend the rehearsal. Now that she wasn't so overcome by excitement (though she could still feel it burrowing beneath the sorrow like some desert Petpet) she realized it hardly mattered. They were going to change her outfit upon arrival, anyway.
The Cybunny cast a long look back at the chain before turning and leaving the house.
* * *
The mad chaos of the set had quickly torn Annabelle from her solemn stupor and, sure enough, upon walking through the door of the grand playhouse she almost immediately had been whisked away, off to some dressing room or another. They worked and complained, cursed her lack of naturally perfect hair, sullied about her imperfect attributes, and loudly mocked her relatively average appearance.
And yet, as they finished and applauded their tedious work to turn such an average specimen into a thing of beauty, Annabelle couldn’t help but feel awkward and masked. She was self-conscious, of course. Who wasn't? However, the hair spray and make up and dye all seemed to cover her and make her into something other than herself. But I'm here! she thought with a smile. A star, and finally alone, but for a small Ixi actress applying a heavy paint of makeup to her own face.
"So, you're the one that they're all talking about, hmm?" the Ixi finally said, breaking the silence. Annabelle looked at her, blinking. She had seen her before, but couldn't remember where for the life of her.
"Umm, I suppose," Annabelle stuttered. The Ixi cast a long, brow-raised look at her before smiling.
"I suppose it's just fair to warn you, then" the Ixi actress said quietly, popping her lips in the mirror and paying Annabelle no mind.
"Tell me what?" The Cybunny asked nervously after the Ixi fell silent. The actress adjusted her dress and turned to Annabelle with a smile. It felt devilish and cruel but perhaps that was just the nerves talking.
"That some folks aren't too happy about a nobody off the streets being chosen as the co-star of a very large production.” The Ixi sighed in a loud and exaggerated manner, then flipped her hair she turned toward the door.
"Who isn't?" Annabelle asked quietly, feeling as if she already knew the answer.
"William, of course... among others," the actress said with a smile before heading toward the door. "I would watch myself out there if I were you. The acting business isn't kind to liars or fakers. Oh, and by the way, you're late..."
Date: Aug 31st
With a gasp, Annabelle broke into a sprint, running for the main stage. The mocking laughter of the Ixi actress followed her down the hall, even as she turned a few corners and finally ended up at the stage. Her hair was a mess. The perfectly done curls, piled on top of her hair, hung in limp strands, while the carefully applied eyeshadow had been smudged, streaks of color all over her face. She was a mess, and no one wasted any time telling her.
"What is the meaning of this..." William snarled.
Someone laughed from behind her. The Ixi from the dressing room, looking absolutely perfect in a long silver gown, walked -- or rather, floated -- up the stairs to the stage and stood next to William.
"They replaced Trish with... this?"
The Ixi made no attempt at hiding her thoughts.
William nodded in agreement. A dozen pairs of eyes -- everyone from the stage crew to the actors -- stared at Annabelle, who felt like crying.
"No matter," William said at last. "Get up here. Clarissa will guide you through your steps."
The Ixi scowled.
Annabelle timidly walked up to the Ixi, who crossed her arms and frowned.
"Right. Well, in this scene, stand by that table and look pretty."
Annabelle couldn't help but notice that the word "pretty" was accompanied by a smirk.
She took her place and the scene started...
Date: Aug 31st
"Oh, Misha..." William said softly, and Annabelle’s head spun delicately. All her nervousness, all her anxiety, her self-consciousness, even her sorrow melted as his voice reverberated in her ears. It was soft and yet, pitched to carry – she knew that even the farthest corner of the imaginary rehearsal audience could have heard him.
"I have my edict from the King, but I know not what to do... my heart breaks and swells and breaks anew," the actor said, speaking his lines, but to her it seemed as if William Jastain had disappeared and in his place stood Lord Reginald Sims. He paced in front of her, agitation stirring his steps and heartbreak colouring his movement.
With a small start, Annabelle recognized his monologue. They hadn't adapted the books at all -- this speech was directly out of Conflicted Heart, the first book of the series! Abruptly, the premise of the novel came flooding back to her, and internally, she recited the lines alongside Jastain.
"I am to rule the Province. To do so, however, so far from court, means I will be home only rarely, if I am any sort of ruler at all, which means..." Lord Sims (or rather, Jastain, Annabelle thought, correcting herself) trailed off, and then stared directly at her.
"That I could no longer see you..." she finished with him, his lines aloud and hers spoken only inside her own head.
Lord Sims / William Jastain held his hand out to her, palm upturned. "Lady Bon Bunny, what do I do? What do I do?"
The anguish in his voice was palpable, and Annabelle was moved despite herself. Naturally following the flow of the scene, she moved forward as Misha had done in the novel, her own hand outstretched despite the instructions she had received before rehearsal began. Jastain's eyebrow raised incrementally, momentarily shifting out of character in a manner so subtle Annabelle was sure only she had seen it, but the scene moved forward nonetheless.
Grasping his hand demurely, Annabella lowered her eyes and let her voice carry, quiet yet pitched to project just as his had. "My Lord," she spoke softly, just as Misha had. To her, it seemed as if the boundaries between Misha Bon Bunny and Annabelle Hopper had blurred... and William seemed to have noticed it, and was fascinated by it.
The black Cybunny opened his mouth to murmur his next lines, which Annabelle could already hear echoing in her mind. Just then, however, something struck her in the back hard enough to pitch her immediately to the floor...
Date: Sep 1st
A sting spread through her paw as she hit the floor, and she gasped, cringing as she lay there for a few seconds. When she picked herself up, Annabelle immediately grasped her wrist with her other paw. Almost immediately there were a couple of Neopets standing next to her.
"I think you sprained it," said a Techo, twirling one half of his mustache.
"Wonderful!" William Jastain said. "Is this play cursed or something? First Katrisha Ponell quits, and now... this!"
"Um, the play is in two months," Annabelle said, her heart thumping. She couldn't get cut from the play, not now! "It'll heal by then."
"There are scenes that require you to climb a ladder backstage to get up to the top of the tower, and even a point in the play where you have to climb down a rope. How are you going to practice that with a hurt wrist?!?"
"No, we'll have to change the casting, again," said the Techo, still twirling his mustache. "It will take too long now to find another Cybunny, but we can always call it artistic license when the play starts up. Aha! I know who we can have replace her..."
Date: Sep 1st
"Clarissa!" called the Techo, looking around. The white Ixi actress poked her head around one of the curtains. "Come here please, Clarissa."
She pranced over, grinning a mile wide. "Yes, sir, what is it?"
"You'll be replacing Annabelle to play the role of Lady Bon Bunny, understand?" the Techo instructed. "Since your role is far smaller, it should be relatively easy to fill. Alright now, let's try this scene again..."
"What?!" Annabelle erupted, startling everyone. "I'm not even that badly injured!" she realized how loud she was and lowered her voice nervously. "Look, if I have a cast put on, I should be able to heal with enough time to practice that stuff before opening night. This shouldn't take more than a month to get over--"
"I realize you're upset, but we can't take that risk; you may not heal quickly. We can't be sure," the Techo frowned, smoothing out his mustache. "I know what we'll do. We'll have Clarissa take the role for now, and you can have it back if you are completely healed in time for the play's debut. If you really want to be able to resume being a part of the cast, you're going to need to come to all of the rehearsals, despite the fact that you aren't rehearsing yourself. Is that alright with you?"
"Yes," Annabelle said without hesitation. This was the chance of a lifetime; she wasn't about to let some little sprain keep her from acting opposite William Jastain, and she certainly wasn't about to let Clarissa take it from her, either. She looked over at Clarissa, who seemed horribly unhappy that Annabelle still wanted to be involved.
"Alright, then," the Techo said, nodding. "Annabelle, go to the hospital and get some medical attention. You needn't come back until tomorrow morning. We'll see you then."
It was now two weeks until the show. Annabelle was finally out of her cast. She skipped all the way to the playhouse, singing her lines aloud. She knew her part perfectly, and she knew herself to be a much better actress than Clarissa, so she was certain she'd have her spotlight back in no time...
Date: Sep 2nd
When she arrived at the playhouse, Annabelle was greeted by a tall purple Lenny. "Hello," the Lenny said with a smile. "I assume you are Miss Annabelle."
"Yes I am." Annabelle said proudly, glad that someone was finally treating her with respect.
"My name's Coco," the Lenny said, shaking Annabelle's hand. "I'm one of the makeup artists."
"Do you think I have a chance of getting my part back?" Annabelle asked excitedly.
A hesitant look overcame Coco's previously happy face. "It's hard to say... don't worry about it, though." She lowered her voice to a faint whisper and said, "Between you and me, you are a much better actress than Clarissa, and this is your first acting job. Plus you're much nicer," she said with a laugh as they entered the dressing room.
While everyone else went about their business, Annabelle waited in the dressing room for the doctor. The Techo had told Annabelle that, even though she'd gotten her cast off, it didn't mean that her arm had fully healed yet. Therefore, a doctor would be coming in to have a look.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, an intelligent-looking green Eyrie came through the door. He wore a white lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck. "Annabelle, I presume," he said, sitting in a chair next to her. "I'm Doctor Winsworth. May I see your arm?"
"Yes." Annabelle replied nervously. Doctor Winsworth checked a few places on her arm as Annabelle waited. The doctor hardly said a thing, which scared Annabelle. Instead, he simply responded with a few hmms and ohhs and ahhs. At long last, he looked at Annabelle and said, "You're good to go."
Annabelle let out a huge sigh of relief and smiled so hard that it hurt. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she exclaimed, giving the doctor a hug. She then exited the room and continued down the hall to the stage where the Techo was waiting for her.
"So, what's the verdict?" he asked, nervous as well.
"He said I was good to go," she declared with a smile.
"Thank goodness! Clarissa, I suppose you can go ahead and change into your long silver gown..."
Clarissa, saying nothing, pouted off the stage and down the hallway toward the dressing room. Of course she didn't leave without giving Annabelle a cold glare, which could've probably frozen Annabelle if she had looked her directly in the eye.
The stage was littered with roses and the crowd cheered wildly as the cast members took their bow. Annabelle had gotten through the play without a single slip up of her lines. As the curtains closed Annabelle could still hear the crowd cheering.
To Annabelle's surprise, Jastain came over and shook her hand, saying, "You were great. I'm glad your paw healed in time."
"Me, too." Annabelle replied.
"Look, I've got to run, now, but... I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then?" As she nodded, he leaned over and kissed the paw that he was still holding from their handshake, then turned and left.
"Goodbye..." Annabelle whispered as she stared at her hand, mouth open. She then held it to her heart.
Date: Sep 2nd
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!