|In one of the finest residential areas of Neopia Central, there was a white house with black ornaments of musical notation. During the day, its neighbours heard the clear sounds of the vibraphone. Sometimes it was ear-pleasing music, but other times passers-by made a detour around the house because the sounds made a loud, jangling noise.
The owner of the house was Atticus the Lenny, who in his youth had won laurels in several competitions. Now he rarely played the instrument in public, as he was fully focused on training the new generation. Atticus liked to think that there were only members of the elite among his students. In fact, the pets of the nearby area studied with him. Some were enviably talented, but others had difficulty with a sense of rhythm. However, Atticus saw potential in all of them.
In the spacious living room beside the wall was placed a vibraphone and above it - the surface of sheet music. Grasping the two mallets firmly, the new contender followed Atticus's rhythm. The fun and cheerful melody made Atticus snap his feather tips to the beat. Atticus switched sheet music and retreated a few steps back, continuing to count the rhythm. The student tried to keep up. Atticus had one wing behind him while the other was conducting the rhythm, although the student could not see it. Gradually, the legs and head joined to emphasize the rhythm. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to sway with the sound. The student started playing the next section. It was Atticus's favourite section.
"And one, two, three, good, five, six, seven, yes..." Atticus counted.
He began to waltz slowly across the room. So calm as not to create rapid air currents that would cause suspicion in the student. For a moment he lingered in front of the bookshelf, which contained all the books related to dancing. The dancing skills of some Neopets were too prominent while Lennies were neglected. Atticus turned quickly around him and stopped against the window. The music was muted.
"Teacher?" the student said, watching Atticus frozen in a random pose.
Date: Mar 1st
The faerie Lenny sighed looking out of the window, “You know, I used to be the most famous musician around here to where I was a lead member in one of the most famous bands around here.”
“Well what happened Mr. Atticus,” the striped meerca asked, quietly placing the mallets down, “You’re still very good, why did they reject you?”
“You see, Samuel, I had a bit of a disagreement with some of my old band members,” Atticus explained, his feathers flowing with his movements. “We were a band with no music genre, the “Into Three”. I was the drummer, Diana was the bass player, and Alex was the lead singer, but soon things changed. We argued over the future of our band and its genre. I wanted the band to be classical, Alex wanted a pop genre type of band, and Diana wanted to be more up-to-date. I haven’t heard from them since.”
Teacher, I understand,” Sam said, fiddling with a mallet, “I also have a band of my own and I’m also afraid of what will happen with me and my members, so I started taking lessons from you to learn about all types of genres.”
“Well thank you, Samuel,” the faerie Lenny answered, getting up, and looking at his silver baton, “If only I could hold a concert with my old band just for one night.”
Sam thought, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a flyer, then had an idea, “Teacher, there’s a concert opening at the Concert Hall at Tyrannia, and they’re allowing independent bands to play tonight. We have a chance-.”
A knock on the door interrupted their conversation. Atticus was shocked as he opened the door to see one of his band members, Diana, but she was in bad shape. Her dress was scribbled on with crayons, her ears clipped with multiple paperclips, and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days.
“A-Atticus, please help me,” Diana called out, stammering and panting, “I need your help! My niece, Hybisky, a blue Acara, and her brother, Lukey, a yellow Ruki, they’re driving me nuts.”
“D-Diana please calm down,” Atticus called out, “I’m having a lesson with my student, once I’m done I can help you.”
“Don’t worry teacher, we can do our lesson later,” Sam called out, bouncing near the doorway, “Right now, we need to help her.”
Atticus winced a bit but then gave in. “Alright, Diana let’s go.”
“Oh thank you, thank you! I’ll show you where they are, but I have to warn you my nephews can be...mischievous, especially Hybisky.”
Date: Mar 2nd
Sam and Atticus hurried after Diana. She led them to a three-story house that would have been impressive if it weren’t losing a battle to curly vines and snakebush plants. In his heart of hearts, Atticus knew that the members of Into Three were right to go their separate ways all those years ago, but he sometimes daydreamed about what life would’ve been like if the trio had stayed together. He was shocked to see this tiny, chaotic glimpse into Diana’s life.
Diana led the others inside. The walls, like Diana’s dress, were scrawled with crayons, and toys and pizza crumbs littered the floor. “Hybiski!” she yelled, “Lukey! HEY! Where are you two!?” She could hear muffled, maniacal giggling.
“Come find us!” squealed a voice that could belong to either of them.
Sam grinned. “Leave this to me!” The Meerca was still young enough to enjoy a good game of hide and seek. “I’ll find them in no time!” he said, already skipping down the hallway.
Diana sighed and slumped down on the carpet. “Can I ask you something, Atticus?”
“Of course,” he replied. He thought, sadly, of a time when Into Three could practically read each other’s minds.
“Do...Do you ever wish things could’ve been different?” Diana sighed again, blinking back tears.
Atticus paused. The question was vague. Was she talking about their former band? Or never leaving Neopia Central, like she’d planned? Or something else?
“I’m sorry,” Diana said, interrupting Atticus’s thoughts. “I’m sorry for bothering you. Every time I pass your house I hear music, and I miss it. I miss the sound, the energy, the feeling of being part of something BIG. I miss you, and Alex. And...this might sound strange, but I miss me. I still have a room full of instruments that I haven’t touched since the band broke up—”
As if on cue, the sound of a strange guitar chord screeched through the mansion.
Date: Mar 3rd
Diana was on her feet so quickly that Atticus could barely follow her with his eyes. She sprinted down the hall, holding her skirt up above her ankles so as not to trip over it, and leapt over toys and toppled furniture. Atticus could hear Sam somewhere in the distance and he didn’t sound too pleased. He didn’t wait for an invitation to follow Diana. By the time he reached her, she was a crumpled heap on the carpet. He knew exactly why.
Somehow her troublesome nephews had made their way into a room that they were never meant to see. Instruments and trophies were proudly displayed on stands and in cases while plaques and certificates and medallions hung from the walls. Atticus was sure that on a normal day it was quite a sight to behold. This was not one of those days.
Sam, in the middle the room, tried desperately to subdue a blue Acara as he pulled the strings from a wooden guitar and tossed them carelessly aside. A yellow Ruki had chosen to play with a large drum instead and had managed to punch a hole right through the cloth. He held it up like a magnifying glass and, upon seeing Atticus standing there, grinned at him.
It seemed as though the boys, in all their destruction, meant no harm. They couldn’t see how painful this was for their aunt, who was crying softly into her hands. Maybe they were too young to understand.
Whatever the case, they had to learn.
“Alright, you two,” Atticus shouted sternly, mustering up all the authority he could from his years of teaching. “That’s quite enough!”
Both of Diana’s nephews stopped what they were doing to look at the Lenny in the doorway. And they waited, silent. Atticus knew that whatever he chose to say next would be of the utmost importance.
How will this story end?
Date: Mar 4th
Atticus knew that he must approach this with the right amount of composure and authority. Much like music if it's too loud they'll cover their ears, if it's too soft they won't hear at all. So, Atticus struck a confident pose and started to speak.|
"Children, we all have passion deep inside. We try to nurture it each day because it helps us feel alive, like we matter. Which is why this room is off-limits and we try to respect others' privacy while they create." The Lenny looked to Sam for support.
The Mynci looked down thoughtfully.
Sam said "Atticus is right. The only reason why I sign up for music class is because it's the only thing that makes me feel that spark deep in my heart."
The babies looked at Atticus and Sam with a big grin. They said in unison, "Ok! Can we play hide & seek now?"
Sweet laughter flies through the air as Diana starts to recover from her shock.
"I guess you can't teach them all Atticus! However, I commend your effort." She sighs. "I suppose I could collect some funds from that dusty safe to make repairs. Sadly, none of these artefacts will ever be the same."
"I understand." Said Atticus. "If you want, my pupil and I could help you. Right Sam?"
"Absolutely!" He said with a big smile.
Diana stands there looking very serious.
"You want to help?" She sternly holds out a mop and bucket. "Get to it boys!" Joyous laughter flies through the air.
Date: Mar 5th