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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Relaxing, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 88 > New Series > Year 8: Part One

Year 8: Part One

by child_dragon

It had been a long, hard day. Felicia, aka, Snowflake was exhausted. Her job as editor in The Neopian Times was not as glamorous as some may imagine. There were so many stories to sort through! And those that did get chosen to grace the illustrious pages of The Neopian Times had to be checked and rechecked. Spelling errors needed to be fixed, html formatting added in, and proper credit given to the author. She was just about to shut down the computer and call it quits when a new message popped up in her inbox. She recognized the sender and opened it out of sheer curiosity.

     “Hi Felicia! Got a new story for you, wrote it at about midnight last night, starring my Eyrie, Un-eairkagh. I think this is the first time I’ve sent you anything with my usual pets in it…”

     She nodded to herself and moved the e-mail to her “read” pile. It could wait until the morning. She glanced at the clock. A little after six o’clock. She was dead tired. She shut down her computer and found her jacket, locking up her office behind her. Her staff was also shutting down and getting ready to leave. She gave them all a cheery goodbye, even the Nimmo who still insisted on wearing that dang donkey suit. Then she headed out the door and to her car.

     The last e-mail bothered her all the way home. It was true, she’d never really encountered a story about this author’s usual pets before. And that Eyrie. What a name!

     “En – ear – ka…” she said out loud, wondering if that was how it was pronounced, “Un – ey keg.”

     She frowned in frustration at her efforts as she pulled into the driveway of her large NeoHome. It was dark inside but a couple switches quickly lightened the place up. She made herself a mug of hot tea and absently searched around the kitchen for a quick dinner. Laying on the counter were a stack of comics by karma_leafbarer so she carefully moved them out of the way. How did that name go?

     As the water heated up she found the phonebook and flipped over to the c’s. It was going to drive her crazy until she figured it out. She found the number she was looking for and dialed. A female voice answered.

     “Hello?”

     “Yes, this is Felicia. Is this Kiddo?”

     “No, this is Terraile. I’m one of her pets.”

     “Is she around?”

     There was a long pause before Terraile answered.

     “Well, kinda. See, she’s locked herself in her room. Something about a book she has to finish by tomorrow. It’s got a weird title, just a year and nothing more.”

     “Oh. Well, I was just wanting to know…”

     “Hang on a sec,” Terraile hastily interrupted.

     She heard the pet take the phone away and yell something in the background. Something that sounded like, “EAIR!! Put the duck up before you break something!”

     “Sorry bout that,” Terraile finally said a little embarassed.

     “No problem. Anyway, I was just calling to see how to pronounce Ear... UN…”

     “Un-eairkagh’s name.”

     “Yes! You get asked that a lot?”

     “All the time. It’s Uun-ere-caa-gh.”

     “Alright, thanks. That’s it.”

     “No problem. ‘Night.”

     She hung up the phone and hurried over to the stove where the tea kettle was whistling merrily. A totally silly thing, but at least it wouldn’t be bugging her anymore.

     On the other side of Neopia Central, a completely different scene was taking place. Mass chaos ruled as a striped Eyrie ran around with a dark battle duck, squeaking it incessantly. An island Uni tried desperately to restore order while a shadowed Shoyru channel surfed with the company of a spotted Zafara. And shut up in an upstairs bedroom was a girl, with brown hair, pouring over a small chapter book. She was oblivious to the carnage downstairs, immersed in a world not her own, one she would be giving a report on in a couple days… a world where totalitarianism ruled and he was always watching…

     Felicia woke the next day to the sound of a high-pitched voice yelling. She yawned and staggered out of bed, glancing around. The room was a lot smaller it seemed. A lot more barren too. A TV screen was set in one wall, doubling also as a camera watching her every move. ‘But,’ her sleepy mind sluggishly thought, ‘hasn’t it always been like that?’ She staggered over to what passed as her kitchen and scrounged up her breakfast. The infernal voice followed her, bellowing out the morning news, the occasional wake-up call, and plenty of propaganda. A small part of her mind noticed that they were pronouncing their ruler’s name wrong. The cabinet was almost bare, due to the new rationing restrictions that had been imposed. She made herself some gritty coffee and toast. Then she changed into her plain gray uniform and headed out the door. The apartments she lived in were fairly close to where she worked so the lack of a car didn’t matter anymore. The pets that lived next door were playing in the hall again. The purple Kau and Christmas Lupe raced past her, nearly knocking her off balance, yelling something about catching a spy.

     “Morning Felabba,” she said dully to their owner who stood in the doorway.

     “Morning Felicia,” she replied, watching her pets with dead eyes.

     She made small-talk with her neighbor for a while, mostly about the new regulations their leader had imposed. Felicia idly noted that Felabba pronounced his name wrong also. As she walked away, she felt a twitch of sorrow for Felabba. Her pets were deeply ingrained in the propaganda that was spewed out. One day Felabba would slip somehow and her pets would turn her in. Happened all the time.

     Felicia dismissed such thoughts as she walked to her job. On every street corner was a screen where the usual announcements and propaganda was shifted through the stale city air. As she waited on the street corner the latest news broadcast proclaimed how close they were to catching the rebellion leader. A quick picture of his face was shown, a scrawny spotted Zafara with intense eyes. She shuddered and looked away. Something about him scared her.

     She finally arrived at work, a bit early. Rishiy was standing near the door, sipping the gritty coffee. He grimaced and threw the rest of it away.

     “Nasty stuff,” he commented absently.

     “Yes,” she agreed, slowly walking towards her work space.

     “Say,” he said, his eyes darting back and forth, “Would you happen to have any borovan, by chance?”

     There was always a major shortage of something or another. This month it was borovan.

     “No,” she lied, thinking back to the small bit tucked up in a corner of the pantry, “I’m all out.”

     “Ah, too bad,” he said, and walked away.

     Felicia settled into her small area, just a little box-like area with a desk, chair and two stacks of paper. One was incoming, the other outgoing. Her job was simple. The propaganda writers that worked upstairs would churn out massive amounts of ads, flyers, television announcements each day. The results would be sent down to her and her fellow editors. They checked everything over for mistakes and in a rare instance, incorrect thinking. That was what it was called. Anything that went against their ruler and his rules was “incorrect thinking.” She rarely encountered such things, however.

     Her first paper on the stack was nothing fancy. Some announcement about the borovan shortage. Then there was a Battledome notification. More Eyrie weapons released. Darn favoritism… She continued editing the papers until lunch where she headed down to the cafeteria to sit with her friend Adoriblelapin.

     “Anything interesting?” she asked cheerfully.

     “No,” Felicia replied glumly, “Just the same old stuff.”

     “I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be an editor,” Lapin said with a delicate shudder, “I’d go insane if I did that.”

     “It has it’s ups and downs,” she replied, “But all for the good of Un-eairkagh.”

     “Yes,” the girl replied around a mouthful of tasteless food, “all for the good of Un-eairkagh.”

     Felicia noted that Adoriblelapin pronounced it wrong also. Out of the corner of her eye she could see one of the security cameras trained on them. They were always watching. Always. Suddenly she lost her appetite.

     “I’m heading back to work,” she mumbled and stood, gathering up her dishes.

     “Alright.”

     Felicia made her way out of the cafeteria and back to her work space. A new paper sat on her desk. She sat up and read it carefully. Then she read it again. What it said made her blood run cold.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Year 8: Part Two

Year 8: Part Three


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