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||You are on Week 656
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 Six Hundred Fifty Six Ends Friday, May 16
|Some days I think Mrs. Owen is out to get us.
The Pteri pushed her glasses up her beak, scrutinizing the structure of every word my classmates and I wrote for yesterday's assignment -- and, oh, what concentration I noticed in her eyes, the slight twitch of her eyelid and the corner of her beak as she slashed the grammatical error in front of her with her red pen -- and there it was: relief, maniacal laughter, sheer delight in doing her job... I could see it all in her eyes, especially so when she handed our papers back and gave us our next assignment, screeching in her proud voice, "Most of you did well today, but a few of you need improvement. That's why I'm assigning something short and simple for today."
In the collective groan that rippled through the class, I was always silent, always safe, floating on top of my raft, my sturdy mast-like paper that, more often than not read with a sea-colored "A+," guiltily relieved that Mrs. Owen never met my gaze as soon as the words "need improvement" left her beak...
I couldn't say the same for my classmates, sadly, and, as often as I could, surreptitiously looked over at their papers: B, C-, D, they all evoked a slight pain in my heart -- knowing I was probably the best student in the class made me feel not proud, but guilty, even... and Mrs. Owen, oh Mrs. Owen, she always patted my head, smiled a little, even, as she passed back my assignment that I'd barely had to think about while writing, and all the while, I wondered: did she know who I truly was? I was the Moehog who went home and listened to Moehawk and enjoyed baking things that would make even Jhudora splutter in disgust; I was the one who appeared to be the perfect student, but felt almost remorseful at my good grades, enough to want to do something about it -- perhaps I could do something about it...
"As I said, this assignment will be short and simple," Mrs. Owen continued, jarring me out of my train of thought, making me automatically straighten up in my seat and grin from tusk to tusk, as if I hadn't been scheming to mess with her head. "All you need to write for English today is a short story describing a memorable event in your life." There was the rush of the sea again, the ocean of groans of despair, the harbinger of the storm to come -- and there I was, clinging to my mast, floating on my leakless A+, scheming, scheming...
If there was something I learned from being Mrs. Owen's student for almost a whole year, it was this: she practically felt physical pain at each spelling and grammar error a student writes, which is probably why it calms her so much when she corrects them. Hmmm...
I scribbled the prompt in my notebook, my head whirling with ideas of how to finish the assignment for tomorrow --the subject was the easy part; I knew exactly what to write about, but it was just the how that escaped me, but then I had it: Mrs. Owen probably hadn't seen a successful paper with little adherence to conventional grammar rules. I would be the first to write such a paper --I'd try to use as few periods as possible. It would be glorious!
So then, curled up with a bag of Crypt Crisps, I dumped the contents of my bag onto my bed, watching the papers float about on the unmoving sea, the pencil rolling about like a piece of driftwood, and so I snatched it up, rescuing it from a seemingly inevitable fate of being lost in the many folds and waves of my covers, but it had to repay me, of course, so I slammed the point down onto the paper, aching to be written on, adrenaline coursed through me as I began to write, and it was probably the most beautiful thing I'd ever felt -- Mrs. Owen would sure be in for a surprise. Perhaps it would make her think about the other students for once, perhaps she would be more aware of what she was teaching, perhaps I would begin to show her who I really was, and perhaps, just perhaps, she would like it...
Date: May 12th
...One fine spring day -- May 31st, to be exact -- a few years back I was in attendance at what was, arguably, Moehawk's greatest performance; my spirit floated among the crowds and intermingled with the spirit of many, becoming one with the sky and air and the music and-- I could blather endlessly about personification or metaphor and use as much polysyndeton as I well please, but at its core the defined details really make the story what it is, and these details -- alright, I'll admit, flowered with occasional literary devices -- are what I wish to present.
All of these details can be summed in a single word that has to be capitalized, for mere italicization would be a grievous understatement: EPIC.
Was it the singing of my idolized band that made it epic, though? Was it the Airaxes chirping in perfect sync, the crowd swaying in perfect harmony, the trees in-- okay, now I'm using asyndeton... no, it was not just their singing (though their vocals always serve to calm me whenever I'm in a particularly angst-filled mood). It was epic; it was arguably their greatest concert, because it was the concert in which they performed a song I helped them write, in which the electric guitar blared the melody I had contrived and the lead singer confidently belted the lyrics that were a brainchild of my inner being and essence.
It had all started earlier that day -- that fine spring day, that May 31st I shall never forget -- when I was backstage...
Date: May 12th
...running miles of serpentine speaker cable and assisting with the hanging of myriad colored lights -- for, in my unrivaled enthusiasm for the musical grandmasters known as Moehawk, I had showed up to the cavernous Concert Hall an entire six hours early, when the band's crew members were first commencing their technical preparations for the show. After striding past the empty ticket booth outside, inhaling the crisp and acoustically impeccable spring breeze as a sweet symphony of Buzzers buzzing and Weewoos whistling blessed my ears (surely an omen of the band's forthcoming auditory EPICness), I'd thought to myself, matter-of-factly, I can't believe I'm finally going to see Moehawk!!! By the way, where is everyone? With that, I'd tiphoofed through the back entrance to see who else might be present.
No sooner had I opened the door than I was saluted by a cordial split Kacheek by the name of Bamsey, who called out most invitingly, "Welcome, glad you could make it, pal! I've been waiting for my trusty sound technician to arrive and you're just on time! Or wait, are you the lighting assistant I Neomailed last week?" This prompted me to wonder what technologically savvy professionals she could possibly be mistaking me for, as I sheepishly confessed my actual identity -- A+ student in Mrs. Owen's class, equally masterful at fashioning memoirs as I was incorrigibly bad at cooking, and above all, number one Moehawk fan, owner of every first edition album, whose favorite tune stood forever a tie between "Moe or Less" and "A Hoof-Stompin' Good Time," who had rocked out on my humble Blue Moehawk Guitar for as long as I could remember, and after outgrowing my limited edition Moehawk T-shirt, had spent a whole afternoon desperately stretching it to fit whilst musing as I so often did about my life's ambition to co-write a ballad with my musical idol, or at the very least get the chance to meet the band members and clap hooves with their Moehog singing sensation who had inspired me so.
"Alright, alright, I get the picture," came Bamsey's amused rejoinder -- and, in sympathy with my inferno-sized desire to be a part of anything and everything Moehawk, she kindly assigned me to uncoil speaker cables, plugging them into giant Moehawk Speakers positioned on either side of the stage -- before that task was taken over by the sound technician, a burly blue Bruce who was next to stride in through the back door. Bamsey was just showing me the proper technique for hanging a neon light when suddenly, and without warning, a pristine, pitch-perfect voice more familiar to me than my own breath rang from my behind us, bidding a friendly hello -- and spinning around I saw, much to my delight, much to my overflowing elation and paramount jubilation, that the one who had spoken was none other than...
Date: May 13th
...The lead singer of Moehawk, who was also only known as Moehawk. He was standing in the hallway like the musical royalty that he was, even though he seemed unaware of his own greatness or how much admiration he had earned from loyal fans like myself that realized he was the voice of their generation. I couldn't believe my good fortune as he strode forward; his hooves beat out a rhythm on the floor like the underlying beat of a great song as he casually removed his starry jacket and laid on a chair next to me as if it wasn't any sort of great artifact. I stood there in awe of what was happening as my eyes slipped back and forth between him and the recently discarded jacket, which seemed to call out to me because I really wanted a jacket like that -- although I wouldn't have ever done anything so low as to steal from my idol. Borrowing wasn't out of the question, however, even if I had to do so for only the briefest of moments and without asking, but I knew that I didn't have any sort of opportunity -- especially when Moehawk turned and locked eyes directly with me.
"Are you the new songwriter?" he asked in a melodious tone that rose and fell like an ocean wave on the clear, crystal shores of Mystery Island. "Have you written my new song?"
Bamsey started to speak up and I realized that the helpful Kacheek was no doubt about to tell the details of my true identity, so I knew that I had to act fast if I wanted to continue this conversation -- and I knew exactly what I needed to do. "I do have a song for you," I quickly said with a helpful and excited smile before turning my attention to the beaten up green backpack I had been carrying -- a constant friend through the years that had carried many of my stories, poems, etc. and now had the answer to my musical hero's inquiry. Inside of the backpack I did have a song that I had penned only a few days prior with the idea that it would be a perfect song for Moehawk, although up until this point this was only a silly pipe dream that I had allowed to play in my mind in times of boredom -- not that it had ever distracted me from your timeless lessons, Mrs. Owen, because I would never let anything come between me and my studies, as you probably have already guessed.
With a quick, fluid movement, I retrieved the song and handed it over before there could be any interruptions or declarations as to my true identity, although Bamsey seemed distracted by some commotion that was happening some feet away at this point and had left me alone with Moehawk, who was happily reading over my song and humming a few bars.
"This is actually rather good," he finally said as he looked up to me, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was like looking into some sort of warped mirror, as we were both red Moehogs -- only I was poor and unknown and he was rich and famous, even by musician standards.
I started to thank him for his kind words when, suddenly, something rather unexpected and unforeseen occurred...
Date: May 13th
... He said, "I'm currently in no condition to sing this."
"What?!?" I exclaimed in dismay. I'm usually more well spoken, but this was the equivalent of a faerie 'pet meeting Fyora and finding out that she couldn't fly, or a Yooyuball fan meeting Layton Vickles and finding out that he couldn't throw. Moehawk can sing ANYTHING, anything at all.
"I caught a bout of Ugga-Ugga the other day. You know how living in Tyrannia is... every spring it goes around." He frowned.
"You sound fine, though!"
"Not for high notes like I'd need to sing here, or here," he said, pointing to spots on the song sheet.
"I can change it!" I suggested frantically.
Bamsey looked around nervously. "Moehawk needs to be onstage and ready to go in fifteen minutes."
"I wouldn't let you change a thing about this. I'm not about to make a song worse because I can't handle it. I know that I promised the fans a new song this concert, but I can't let them down with subpar music. I'll sing this like it's written, or not at all."
At first I was disappointed. I had come so close to having my own music up there on stage, only to have my dream ripped from my hooves by an untimely case of Ugga-Ugga. I then had an idea, an idea that made me go -- and please excuse my incorrect punctuation, Mrs.Owen -- "?!??!???!!!!!!!!!!"
"I have an idea. What if we..."
Date: May 14th
"...switch places for one song?"
I could not even believe that the words had come out from my mouth, or what's more, that Moehawk was actually considering the proposition. We stood facing a nearby mirror, and even Moehawk could not deny the resemblance between us was uncanny.
"I know the song better than anyone, I can actually hit the high notes, and your fans who've already paid for the show will still get a great concert!" The idea was such a long shot, but I thought, Hey, I've already come this far, haven't I?
"You'll have to lose the spectacles," Moehawk said, eyeing me up and down, "and you'll need to muss up your hair a bit." He looked at me thoughtfully before grabbing his starry jacket and draping it across my shoulders.
It smelled like cotton candy and parchment, the sinewy leather hugging every part of my arms as if the jacket were made for me!
Bamsey reappeared just then, exasperatingly telling us that there were only five minutes till showtime! Only then did I faintly hear the roars of the assembled audience where I should be myself, screaming my throat hoarse.
Silence prevailed for a few seconds, and then Moehawk turned to me and said, "Let's do this..."
Date: May 14th
...Moehawk slapped me on my back lightly and off I went toward the stage. There was a big lump in my throat as Bamsey told me where to stand while I awaited my cue to walk to the front of the stage -- I tugged at the leather jacket trying to get into Moehawk's frame of mind; he'd never be scared... he'd be ready to go and ready to sing.
"Okay, we're ready. Are you ready?" Bamsey asked me with concern on his face.
"Ready as I'll ever be!" I said with a forced confidence. Bamsey nodded and cued the rest of the band and we all ran onto the stage.
I guessed Moehawk didn't tell the band that we had switched places, because they looked to me to start the song like they would Moehawk, as he was the lead and head of the band. The crowd was roaring as I stepped up to the microphone, and there was a sudden lull as they knew I was going to say something.
Clearing my throat, I told the crowd how happy I was to be there and that I had a brand new song and they'd be the first to hear it, which made the crowd roar again even louder -- it was breathtaking; all the fans cheering me on made me feel magical and all my nerves subsided.
I let out a bellowing, "One, two, three!" and, as Moehawk started to play, I began to sing...
Date: May 15th
...the words of the song I'd written, each as familiar and dear to me as the gyrating motions of the band members on stage at my back. The throng roared in response as one and, smiling at their energy, I pulled my Rock Star Microphone closer and allowed their excitement to mix with my own. From my mouth came a wailing sequence of notes -- high, exuberant, and punctuated with several dips and swivels of the microphone as I moved across the stage. Moehawk concerts, I knew, were about style and sensation -- about the way the band moved and acted -- as much as they were about the music itself.
I was soaring and plain words, more than ever, cannot suffice to describe, Mrs. Owen, what it was, exactly, that I felt, for the depths of joy in which I was swallowed claimed me to such an extent, I must admit, that I felt dizzy with it. When the last words left my lips and the song was over, all I could do was remain caught up in the joy’s powerful grasp for several long, befuddled seconds where I blinked repeatedly before being able to form anything even remotely resembling lucid or structured thought. Upon regaining control and mastery of myself, I realised that my earlier delight at having met Moehawk had been transcended by my abundant euphoria and supreme rapture at having been able to stand on stage and belt out the song I’d composed with my musical idol's blessing. It truly was EPIC, if any one word is really sufficient and adequate to be used to describe what happened and convey what happened in a way that does its memory perfect and complete, utter justice.
Though the audience's cheers pulled at me, coaxing me back, I turned and moved to exit offstage. Moehawk's guitarist, however, grabbed me by the elbow and jerked me to a stop. "Hey now," the yellow Moehog said, visibly confused, "we've still got songs to play." He bent down and picked up a guitar lying onstage, offering it to me with his free hoof. I gasped at the blue instrument, recognising it immediately as Moehawk's personal guitar -- a guitar he was usually never far from for more than a song or two at once and a guitar, I knew, I couldn't play. "It's time for the next song," the other Moehog told me, grinning, and he jerked his head at the still-screaming throng. "Come on..."
Date: May 15th
..."let's give 'em a concert they'll never forget."
On that May 31st I'll never forget, I stared at my hooves, the sky blue electric guitar -- the legendary grail of Moehawk memorabilia -- between them, my eyes wide enough to have been stretching out of their sockets; shaking myself, I gazed back at the band and then to the roaring crowds below, its members flowing and ebbing like the fluidity of the music itself.
Grinning excitedly -- dare I say nervously -- I addressed my fans, and to a lesser extent my new band, with a casual wave and a silky celebrity. "Tyrannia, are you ready to ROCK?"
The audience hooted with even more vigor and anticipation as I raised the instrument and, taking a deep breath, hoped for some sort of magical intervention such that I could play it; staring down at the crowd, I spotted none other than my newfound doppelganger, none other than the one who'd approved my piece, none other than the band leader himself -- and I do admit, and as you must recognize, Mrs. Owen, no amount of anaphora can adequately introduce the one and only Moehawk.
With a sense of newfound confidence, I placed my hoof on the neck of the guitar and let my subconscious take over; like I had seen done by my idol countless times in the past, I attempted to play the F sharp diminished seventh chord that started "Moe Than a Feelin.'"
If any word can generalize my striking of the strings, it is again EPIC; unfortunately, it is in the context of -- and capitalization is, indeed, necessary to convey its severe degree -- an EPIC FAIL.
Unlike Trevor, unlike Anna, unlike a multitude of classmates I could mention, I am not a band student. Never having picked up a string instrument in my life -- though I do admit to having once owned a clarinet that saw nothing but neglect from the moment I brought it home from the store -- and, save my singing and songwriting superiority, being musically disinclined in general -- anyone with functioning ears would have attempted to put my poor woodwind out of its misery after hearing only the dreadful cacophony I'd produce when I blew through its mouthpiece -- my playing of my idol's guitar was anything but enamoring; in fact, not only did I manage to break what I believe is the E string, but it recoiled back and hit me square in the face, narrowly avoiding my eyes, which in turn caused me to fall over and crash into the drum set of my beloved band.
The crowd, as did the two behind me, looked at me in stunned silence for a few seconds before the former group erupted into a division of either senseless cheering or startled concern.
Before I fully comprehended what I'd just done, the cheering and concern of the audience died down and became a series of gasps and mumblings.
I stared up from my fallen -- both physically and in pride -- position underneath the crash cymbal and saw, to my great surprise, he to whom the guitar belonged, my greatest idol, Moehawk; I realized why the crowd was now silent, and why a young girl's voice rang above the speechless crowd, her words epitomizing their feelings exactly: "Why are there two Moehawks?"
That's when Moehawk -- the real Moehawk, the one whose leather jacket I shamefully wore -- bent down and whispered something to me; his words in this instant would set a new chain of events forward, a chain whose last link involved my spirit becoming one with the spirit of the crowd, the band, and the universe, a chain cementing the event as one of my life's most memorable moments -- for the right reasons.
"Kid," he started...
Date: May 16th
...My stomach pitted and knotted and sank, and the jiffy it took for the word to leave his lips and reach my ears stretched on for so long that I thought I would be stuck living it for the rest of my life. I waited with dismal apprehension for the next words of his immaculate voice to reach me. I was so caught up waiting for that judgment to come, so focused on the shape of his mouth in case I had trouble comprehending the words my ears heard, that I missed the thin, metallic object he was holding up with his hoof: an extra string.
He reached for the guitar and deftly -- as though he had done it a hundred thousand times before (which I'm sure he had) -- wrapped the new string around the peghead of the guitar, twisted the tuning heads, plucked the string twice to check the pitch, and, almost as an afterthought, waved casually at the crowd.
It's all right, his wave seemed to say, just a small technical difficulty. Carry on!
"Kid," the word still echoed in my ears when he finally finished his sentence, "I unplugged your guitar. Rock out."
He waved one more time and disappeared stage left. I waved after him, made a half-bow, and turned back to the crowd. "Where would we be without our awesome techs?"
The crowd went wild. I jammed on Moehawk's guitar just like I jammed on my replica at home -- until my fingers were so sore that I didn't feel them, until I was so out of breath that I stopped worrying about breathing, until I was so drenched in sweat that the heavy air of the Concert Hall transformed it into a pool. The moment before I gave myself to the music and the EPICness of what was happening, I spotted the young girl who had cried out into the silence: I saw no confusion on her face, just pure joy.
I stared at the papers splayed across my counterpane and debated for a long time whether I should include the conversation I had with Moehawk when the concert was over and the Concert Hall emptied of spectators, but I decided not to. I was already Mrs. Owen's favorite student by far, and if she knew that I had a signed contract as a songwriter for Moehawk then it would just put that much more distance between myself and my classmates, in her eyes. I wasn't out to ruin their educations, after all.
And all that about Jhudora sputtering in disgust? I did say I was bad at cooking. ;)
Date: May 16th
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