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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Running, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Short Stories > Elorah's Beauty

Elorah's Beauty

by beau_lis

There it was, on the announcement board of the recreation room of the Neopian Pound. Elorah, a green Elephante, read and reread the poster. The Neopian Beauty Competition was open for pets to enter. Oh how Elorah wanted to sign up!

     “Excuse me!” came an impatient voice.

     Before Elorah even turned around, she knew from whom the voice came. Alexis, the beautiful striped Shoyru was behind her. Elorah could hear the giggling from Alexis‘s friends. Slowly she turned to face the group. Alexis stood with her paws on her hips.

     “I said 'excuse me'. You’re in my way,” came Alexis’s impatient voice again.

     Elorah mumbled her apologies and quickly walked away from the announcement board. She could clearly hear the giggles from the group.

     Lowering her head even more, Elorah made her way to her room. She checked to see if anyone else was in there. It was all clear. Elorah walked over to her mirror. She looked at her reflection, as she had done countless times before. As always, what stared back at her was the same. What Elorah saw was a plain, ugly, large green Elephante. There was nothing beautiful about her. She was big and clumsy and worthless.

     Fighting back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes, Elorah turned away from the mirror. She couldn’t stand what she saw, so why should anyone else want to see it? She let her mind wander back to what she read on the poster.

     What would it be like to be in a beauty competition? Elorah thought to herself.

     Then she stopped herself from even thinking about the beauty competition. She knew better than to hope for something that would never happen. She also knew that she wasn’t beautiful and she had no talent. She knew she wasn’t anything special at all.

     With these thoughts aching in her heart, Elorah went outside to sit under her favorite tree. She stared out at the other pets playing in the playground. It was a warm and sunny summer day. This was the kind of day where no one wanted to do anything except play. Later on, there was to be a trip to the watering hole. Elorah wasn’t looking forward to it because she always felt so awkward there.

     “Hey El!” came the cheery voice of Joy, a blue Ixi. “Wanna come play chase with us?”

     Joy certainly matched her name. She was always happy and everyone liked her. The best part was that Joy was Elorah’s best friend. Elorah was always grateful that Joy was willing to play with someone like her.

     Joy ran over to Elorah and sat down beside her. She noticed that Elorah didn’t look very happy.

     “What’s a matter El?” asked Joy with concern.

     Elorah just looked down at the ground. Even though she liked Joy a lot, she knew that Joy would never understand what it was like to wish that you could be something more than nothing. Elorah’s biggest secret was that she wanted to count. She just wanted to be special.

     “Nothing, Joy,” came Elorah’s soft reply. “Let’s go play chase.”

     Not long after the game began, Ms. Snowflake called everyone into the pound to get ready to go. There was such excitement in the air! Most of the pets loved to go on trips to the watering hole. It usually meant a lot of fun, swimming and good food that Mr. Pickles, the pound chef, sent along for the picnic!

     When the pets were ready, they all took a seat on the bus. Elorah had a whole seat to herself. After all, she was an Elephante. Joy took the seat right behind Elorah, along with Caddie, a yellow Lenny. All three were engaged in a conversation when the first comment came.

     “Some pets would take up the whole bus if they were allowed to!” announced a very rude voice.

     There was giggling from other pets on the bus. Elorah, Joy and Caddie had heard the comment, but just continued talking.

     “There just isn’t enough room on this bus if others take up whole seats!” the rude voice sighed.

     This time, there was no mistaking the intention of the comments. Elorah, Joy and Caddie looked over to where the comments were being made. Sure enough, there was Alexis sitting in the back, surrounded by her giggling friends.

     “Don’t pay them any mind El,” said Joy encouragingly.

     Caddie chimed with encouragement, “Just tell them, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’!”

     “I think I’d rather have the sticks and stones because they hurt less,” Elorah said softly.

     Elorah looked out the window for the rest of the bus ride. She had nothing to say. Alexis was right. Elorah was big and clumsy and took up the whole seat.

     Oh why did I even come on this trip! Elorah thought to herself.

     When they reached the watering hole, the pets scrambled off the bus. They stayed only long enough for Ms. Snowflake to go over the ‘rules’ for the trip. Then the pets were off like a shot towards the water.

     All around you could hear laughter and screams of delight as the pets played and swam. Elorah looked around for a moment and then decided to go and sit under a shade tree. She didn’t feel much like swimming. In fact, she didn’t feel much like anything anymore. After assuring Joy and Caddie that she would be alright, those two headed down to the water as well.

     Elorah focused her attention on Alexis, who was splashing in the water with her group of friends. Elorah so wanted to be like them. She wanted to be popular, beautiful and painted! She didn’t want to be big, ugly and clumsy. Tears formed in her eyes as she watched the other pets play in the water.

     “Elorah?” came the voice of Ms. Snowflake. “Why aren’t you with the others?”

     She turned to look up into the face of Ms. Snowflake. Elorah didn’t know what to say. So she just sat there.

     “Why don’t you go down to the waters edge and dip your paws?” Ms. Snowflake suggested.

     “Alright,” Elorah replied unable to think of a reason not to. Well, a reason that she was willing to give anyway.

     Moving towards the water, Elorah chose a spot away from the others. She just focused her attention on the area around her. She let her thoughts and daydreams consume her again. She thought about the beauty competition and what it would be like to enter. She thought about what it would be like if she won it. She was torn because it was a nice daydream to have but it caused an ache in her heart because she knew deep down that she wasn’t even close to beautiful enough to enter the beauty competition. Even worse to think about was that the others may laugh at her. What if Alexis laughed at her?

     Still, Elorah continued to think about entering. All she had to do was draw a picture of herself and send it in. The voting was done by others. But what if she entered and no one voted for her! The thoughts raced through Elorah’s mind. Yet she always came back to her one main thought. She wasn’t good enough to enter the beauty competition.

     Later that evening, when everyone came back from the trip, Elorah went upstairs to her room. She took out her coloring pencils and some drawing paper. She sat down on her bed and began her first attempt at drawing herself. It didn’t come out very well, but it was only her first try.

     Elorah spent most of her evening up in her room drawing. All around her were scraps of paper she had made her previous attempts on. Eventually, she drew something that looked a little like herself, but not quite. However, she liked what she had drawn. Now she needed a catchy caption to go with it.

     She thought very hard about what she could say about herself. She finally decided on the simple, yet direct approach. “Please vote for me.”

     By the time she had finished everything, it was time for the pets to go to bed. She put her things away and crawled back into bed.

     The next morning, Elorah woke up from a good dream. She had won the beauty competition. It had taken her a moment to realize where she was. Disappointment flooded her when she realized it was just a dream. She also realized that most of the pets would be in the dinning hall for breakfast. So now was a good time to submit her entry for the beauty competition. She made her way down to the rec room, where the entry box was located. She peaked inside the room. Just as she had thought, it was empty. She quickly walked up to the entry box but froze as soon as she heard voices.

     “What are you doing?” came the shrill voice of Ruby, a red Usul. Ruby was one of Alexis’s closest friends.

     “Nothing,” came Elorah’s soft reply.

     Elorah lowered her head and tried to leave. Ruby stood in Elorah’s way.

     “Were you trying enter the beauty competition?” Ruby laughed. “You? Such a large pet as yourself trying to win a beauty competition. Hey Alexis, come here! You have got to see this!”

     Elorah stood rooted to her place as Ruby continued to laugh in the doorway. Alexis entered the room and looked at both of them.

     “What?” Alexis questioned.

     “Look at that! SHE is entering the beauty competition! As if THAT will win!” Ruby kept on laughing in her shrill voice.

     Before Elorah knew what was happening, Alexis took hold of the picture Elorah had drawn and looked at it. Elorah also noticed that more of Alexis’s friends had shown up in the rec room as well as some other pets of the pound. All eyes were on the situation at hand.

     “Not bad Elorah,” complimented Alexis. “I just feel I should tell you, though, that pets of your size and ummm… features… don’t win beauty competitions.”

     Elorah stood before everyone, shaking. She had never been so devastated in her young life. However, she knew Alexis was right. Her drawing was stupid and she was stupid for ever even thinking of entering the beauty competition.

     Before she could stop herself, Elorah snatched the drawing from Alexis and ran up the stairs to her room. She threw the drawing in the trash and this time, the tears fell. She lay on her bed and cried her heart out. She cried for the pain of being who she was. She cried because she wasn’t beautiful. She cried because she wasn’t talented. She cried because she wasn’t anything special. She cried because she was nothing.

     When she spent all the tears she had, she just continued to lie on her bed, staring at the ceiling.

     What now? she thought to herself.

     Ms. Snowflake entered Elorah’s room and found her fast asleep on the bed. Joy had witnessed what had happened in the rec room and came to tell Ms. Snowflake about it. Ms. Snowflake could see that Elorah had been crying. She walked over to the side of the bed and noticed the drawing in the trash. She picked it up and looked at it. Then she took one last look at Elorah before leaving the room with the drawing.

     Elorah woke up a bit later and sat up in bed. She looked around her and realized that once again, she had a dream. The irony was not lost on Elorah that her dream life was much better than her real life.

     *growwwwlllll* went Elorah’s tummy. She had missed breakfast and now it was close to lunch time. She decided to go down to the kitchen and get something to eat. She wasn’t ready to face the others in the dining hall yet. She wanted to avoid that at all costs!

     “Well if it isn’t our own Elorah!” said Mr. Pickles in his chronically happy voice.

     You couldn’t help but smile when Mr. Pickles spoke. He was always so happy and he made funny jokes. So smile is what Elorah did.

     “May I have something to eat, Mr. Pickles?” Elorah requested softly.

     “Lunch will be ready soon,” Mr. Pickles replied with a laugh. “It always amazes me how hungry pound pets can get.”

     Elorah explained that she wasn’t feeling very well and wanted to take her lunch up to her room. So Mr. Pickles set about making a lunch tray for her to bring up to her room.

     Ms. Snowflake entered the kitchen at this time and looked over at Elorah.

     “I thought I saw you come in her,” Ms. Snowflake said as she smiled. “Ah, getting some lunch I see. Mr. Pickles, would you make up another tray for myself and have both of them brought over to my office.”

     Elorah looked over at Ms. Snowflake in surprise, but said nothing. She just followed Ms. Snowflake to her office. Once there, Elorah took a seat beside the desk, looking down at the floor.

     “Elorah,” began Ms. Snowflake. “I have something you might like to have.”

     Ms. Snowflake pulled out the drawing that Elorah had done and handed it to her. Elorah took the drawing and looked way. So Ms. Snowflake knew what she almost did!

     “I was going to enter your drawing in the beauty competition,” Ms. Snowflake stated. “But I decided not to. This is something you will have to decide to do for yourself.”

     Looking up at Ms. Snowflake, Elorah spoke up. “I can’t enter because I would never even have a chance of winning. Everyone knows it. Alexis knows it. I know it. I’m nothing but a large, clumsy Elephante. There’s no reason to even try.”

     “Before you make up your mind, there is one thing you should take into consideration,” Ms. Snowflake said while pulling out a piece of paper and placing it in front of Elorah to read.

     Elorah looked at Ms. Snowflake and then directed her gaze to the piece of paper showing a picture of an Elephante wearing a crown.

     “The winner of last year’s beauty competition was an Elephante,” Ms. Snowflake smiled.

EPILOGUE
     Elorah chose not to enter the beauty competition. It wasn’t easy, but she discovered that beauty on the outside can be nice. However, true beauty was the inner beauty that came from within her. She learned she didn’t need to enter a competition to find her worth. She now understands that she has always been special. She just never gave herself the chance to see it before.
     Once Elorah made this discovery, there was no stopping her. She found a great deal of joy in helping others. Including her new siblings in the family she was adopted by. Most importantly, she makes it a point to make others feel wanted and special as well.

The End

Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed my story. Please feel free to offer comments.

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