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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 102 > Short Stories > Heiwami: Open Doors

Heiwami: Open Doors

by random_joy

Heiwami stared nervously at the red curtain in front of her thinking of what lay behind it. She peered to the side and saw her big sisters; a Silver Acara named Delilah, and a Lost Desert Wocky named Cleona. They pulled faces at her and sneered. Beside them though, she saw her older brother Marcus. The Purple Moehog smiling, trying to give her encouragement. Next to Marcus was her owner Leannao. She seemed to give off a threatening feeling as she looked at her. She had to win, she just had to...

***

"You're going to be a singing sensation, Heiwami!" exclaimed Leannao. She held the green Usul's paws in her hands and smiled.

     Heiwami was confused, she wasn't a pop star or anything. She just liked to sing a few tunes to the birds that visited every now and then. "What do you mean, Mom?"

     "I mean that you're going to be Neopia's next diva! I've never heard such a voice in my life! I'll have to enter you in that Talent Contest next month, you're sure to win! Now, we'll have to prepare, that means that you'll have to practice everyday and make sure you have a pretty dress to wear on the night and..." Leannao mumbled off, fantasizing about what clothes she'd wear.

     "But we'd never be able to afford them," interrupted Heiwami, "You keep saying we're poor, so how can you be thinking about all these expensive things?"

     Her owner stopped and stared at the Usul in disbelief. "Heiwami, after you make me, um, us rich and famous we won't have to worry about paying for things anymore! I'll get the clothes and tell them we'll pay them back later."

     "But, Mom! What if I don't make us rich and famous?" Heiwami was scared that her owner would go overboard on spending. "What will we do then?"

     "Don't be stupid, of course you'll win! Now into the NeoHome and start practicing young lady." Leannao pushed her inside.

     "You'll never become a singer. You're just a runt," said her sister Delilah haughtily.

     "Yeah, the only way you'd be able to win was if they had a scrawny section!" scoffed Cleona.

     Her sisters were always teasing her. They were really vain and became jealous easily. Heiwami always inherited her sister's old hand-me-downs but since the news, she had found that the things she were getting were broken and half-destroyed. Heiwami's family had always been in the low end of the scale, but Heiwami knew it was because of her sisters spending Neopoints on things that they shouldn't have, and sometimes even taking Neopoints out of the special jar that were savings for a Paint Brush for Heiwami.

     "Don't worry about them Heiwami, you know what they're like. All they care about is themselves and getting the next big craze before anybody else." Marcus hugged her one day after the teasing had been especially worse than usual.

     Marcus has always been the kindest one in the family. He was, in Heiwami's opinion, the perfect brother. He always made sure things went okay for her and shared whenever he could.

     "Do you think I'll win, Marcus? Do you think I can get us out of this place and make us rich?" Heiwami asked him a few days before the contest.

     "You have a beautiful singing voice Heiwami, and its that talent of yours that will make you win," Marcus said in a comforting voice. Heiwami gave a little smile as she heard his encouragement.

     "Thank you, Marcus." Heiwami knew somehow deep down that those words were the kind that only a family member would tell. The kind of words that were a small lie, but ones that made you happy inside. Somehow Heiwami convinced herself that the words he spoke were true.

     The Talent Contest was that night and Heiwami nervously practiced in front of her owner. She thought about winning and having hundreds of thousands of fans all over Neopia. She choked in the middle of the song she was singing. Hundreds of thousands?

     "Heiwami?" asked Leannao expectantly.

     Heiwami starting singing again trying to keep her mind set on the task of singing, but it soon wandered off again. Neopets and humans were crowding around her all watching, waiting for her to open her mouth and let out her voice. She stopped again, slightly shivering at her thoughts.

     "Heiwami! Keep singing! If you don't practice, you won't win!" her owner glowered. "We can't afford to lose."

     "Can't I just have a rest? I might lose my voice if I sing too much. Don't you think I should be saving my voice for the Contest?" Heiwami bit her lip, hoping she'd be able to stop for at least a little while.

     Leannao thought for a while. "Well, I guess so. Okay then, go get a drink and have a little rest. But I want you back here to practice in twenty minutes." Leannao got off the old couch and went to check on the clothes she had bought.

     Heiwami flopped down onto the chair. "I don't understand. Why do I get so nervous when I think about all those people?" she muttered to herself.

     "It's because you've got stage fright. Not that we're surprised, though." Delilah and Cleona walked through the door showing off their new dresses. "You're destined to fail at this."

     "But Mom said I will win, and Marcus thinks so, too." Heiwami clenched her paws together tightly trying not to cry. Her sisters just laughed.

     "We'll be cheering for you then," said the sisters in a sarcastic tone. "Oh, you'd better go check on your dress, too, we think something happened to it." They giggled and ran towards their room.

     Heiwami's eyes widened as she heard Leannao scream and rush into the room. "Did you do this!?" she demanded, holding up a pink dress with ink stains on it.

     "N-no, it wasn't me. Delilah and Cleona did it!" the young Usul's jaw quivered as she looked at her dress. Leannao frowned harshly.

     "I know you did it! Why else would you have asked for a break? I know how negative you've been about this whole thing. Cleona and Delilah couldn't have done it, they'd never do something like this. Go to your room now Heiwami. I don't want to see you until the Contest. I'm going to try and get these stains out." Leannao huffed and stormed out of the room.

     Tears flowed from Heiwami's eyes as she slid down against the door to her room. Why did everything have to go so wrong for her?

     "Heiwami? Don't be sad. I know you didn't do it," came Marcus's voice from the other side of the door. But even Marcus's caring words couldn't help her now.

     Hours later, Leannao shoved Heiwami's dress into her room. The ink stains had faded but you could still see the grey spots. Heiwami pulled it on and waited until her owner came to get her.

     At the Contest there were hundreds of Neopets trying out for auditions. The main part of the Contest with all those that made the finals was to be later that evening. Heiwami tried to feel confident as she sung for the first round of judges. They clapped at the end of her performance and told her the good news that she'd made the next round. She'd have to sing in front of an audience then.

     When Leannao heard about it, she gave her Neopet a pat on the head, but her face still looked stern. Marcus hugged and praised her. Her sisters on the other hand were giggling at her and pointing at her dress, occasionally poking their tongues out at her. Heiwami ignored them and looked around at the other entrants. She couldn't believe her eyes, really. In a corner she saw a Faerie Poogle practicing her ballet routine, in another a Lupe was playing a guitar while juggling some meaty Lupe treats on his nose. So many of these pets had talents even better than Heiwami. All she had was her voice, plain and boring. She couldn't swallow fire like that Skeith or create a petpet made entirely out of bubbles like that Elephante.

     "Excuse me everyone! But I've posted up a schedule of who's on at what time, so please check it to see then its your turn! Thank you!" one of the judges announced to the finalists.

     Heiwami checked and gulped. She was on first.

     "You'd better win this. I can't return that dress now that you've wrecked it," threatened Leannao.

     "But I told you I didn't do it! It was Cleona and Delilah!" Heiwami wanted Leannao to realize that they did it. They always got away with everything, and she got the blame for them instead.

     Leannao looked over Heiwami's sisters. They looked back at her, putting on innocent faces. When Leannao turned her head back they made faces at her once again. "They didn't do it," she said scowling at Heiwami. "How dare you accuse your sisters of that. Just get on stage and don't talk to me."

     Heiwami's owner turned her back at the Usul and walked away. Heiwami looked at the floor and trudged over towards the stage. She was directed to her spot on the platform and was told to wait until the curtain opened.

***

Heiwami stared nervously at the red curtain in front of her thinking of what lay behind it. She peered to the side and saw her sisters sneering and pulling faces at her. Marcus was there, too, smiling at her. So was Leannao, glaring at her with a menacing face. She had to win, she just had to.

     The curtains opened and Heiwami could only stare. Hundreds of Neopets and their owners were looking at her, all waiting and watching. Heiwami opened her mouth, but nothing came out. One of the judges coughed, trying to tell her to start. The green Usul shook her head and attempted to take no notice of the crowd. She opened her mouth once again and began to sing. She sang the most beautifully she'd ever sung, but right in the middle of the song she choked as she noticed the crowd again.

     "Thank you, Heiwami, you can go wait for the results backstage," said one of the judges.

     The crowd clapped as she left the platform. She watched silently from the wings as the other finalists performed. Finally it was time for the results. She came on stage with the others and waited.

     "Now runner-up for the Talent Show is, Dean the guitar-playing, Lupe Treat juggling Lupe!" declared a judge. Dean accepted his trophy and gave a small bow to the crowd. "Now for the winner of the Talent Show is Phyllis the Bubble-Blowing Elephante!" Phyllis screamed with excitement and got her trophy. The crowd clapped and whistled with enthusiasm.

     Heiwami gazed at the floor, letting the words sink in. She'd lost... what would Leannao think of her? What would her sisters and Marcus think? She walked backstage with a heavy heart. She was met by Marcus who held a note in one hoof.

     "Heiwami, I'm-I'm really sorry about this. I gotta leave now. Good bye, sis." He gave her the note and left.

     Heiwami's paws trembled as she opened to note.

     `Heiwami, you've destroyed the family. I forbid you from ever coming near us again, and you are now out of the family. Don't come home, ever. Leannao.'

     Tears sprang from her eyes as she read it. She was abandoned. The tears stopped as she read it again. "Fine then! I don't need them! All Leannao ever wanted me in the family for was to make Neopoints! I should have left a long time ago. I shouldn't have put up with Delilah and Cleona always making fun of me!" Heiwami scrunched the note up and threw it aside. "I'm going to make a new life for myself and nobody's going to stand in my way!" Heiwami slammed the door after her as she left for her new life. Things were going to be different from that day forward.

The End

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