A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 135,120,765 Issue: 267 | 22nd day of Storing, Y8
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Journey Under the Bed


by aigroegdede

--------

Dedicated to every Neopian who still dreams of being a pirate. Or a Faerie. Whichever they may prefer.

Elinor was bored. Elinor hated being bored. When she was bored she felt dizzy and got a pain in her neck. Dizziness and neck-pains are best avoided, so the spotted Xweetok was eager to find something to do.

     "I'm bored," she announced downstairs. To her dissatisfaction, no one took any notice except for her sister Adeline's Angelpuss, who stretched himself out and rolled over, looking up at Elinor with a big grin, clearly meaning to say, "Aren't I just so cute? Really? You don't think so? You're lying, then."

     "No, I'm not," said Elinor, who ordinarily thought the Angelpuss was nearly as cute as Elinor's own Jinjah, Bake-Lightly, but the pain in her neck was making her grumpy.

     Her mother looked vaguely up from her copy of the Neopian Times. "What did you say, dear?"

     "I'm bored," Elinor repeated.

     "Clean your room," suggested her mother.

     "No, I said I'm bored," explained Elinor very carefully. "I didn't say I was so overwhelmed by excitement that I needed to do something boring to overcome it."

     "Play with Bake-Slightly."

     "Bake-Lightly," corrected Elinor. "He's become a fitness trainer for other Petpets. His catchphrase 'Run-run-run-as-fast-as-you-can' is excellent for increasing their stamina. Only it's not going too well, because a lot of Petpets are somewhat lacking in the leg department."

     "Have a look at all the junk on your desk, and put it away."

     "That sounds like a suspicious variation of 'clean your room'," said Elinor.

      "Look at all the stuff under your bed," said her mother. "You might find something interesting."

     "That sounds like a suspicious variation of 'have a look at all the junk on your desk, and put it away'."

     "Picky, aren't you?" said her mother, sounding frustrated. "Well, I can't suggest anything else. Go to your room and leave me in peace to read the Times."

     Elinor sighed as she stomped up the stairs to her room. "It's not even that messy, either," she grumbled as she looked around. "I put most of the stuff that was cluttering up the space under my bed."

     She stuck her hand under her bed and pulled out a piece of paper. "Maybe I will look underneath anyway," she said as she turned the paper over. It was a maths test. Her smile disappeared. A failed maths test, to be precise.

     "But why would I want to look at things that I put under the bed because I didn't want to look at them?"

     Because she was far too curious for her own good, was why.

     She stuck her hand underneath again and retrieved a red sequined dancing shoe that she had thrown under the bed after discovering that they no longer fit, and two different coloured socks.

     After several more minutes of retrieving mysterious items, Elinor had quite a pile of discarded junk in front of her, ranging from the silver butterfly necklace that was missing a clasp to a Jazzmosis single with a scratch on it.

     Her older sister Adeline, a pink Xweetok, poked her head in through the door suddenly. Like most older sisters, Adeline was bossy and enjoyed sticking her nose in things. "What are you doing?"

     "What are you doing?" mimicked Elinor, who was busily concealing the scratched Jazzmosis record underneath an old picture book; she had a strange feeling it might have been Adeline's to start with. "I thought you didn't want to entertain me."

     "You were so quiet I thought you must be up to something," said Adeline with irritating supremacy. "What is all that stuff?"

     "I'm trying to decide if any of it can be your next birthday present, or if it's really too good to be wasted on you," said Elinor, holding up something that might once have been a blue sock patterned with pink Shoyrus, but was now covered with something green and slimy.

     Adeline threw something at her, but it missed and flew under the bed. "Very amusing, Elinor. That was actually a chocolate chip cookie that I threw at you, but I guess you won't want to eat it now."

     "Wrong! Ten second rule!" Elinor rolled under the bed with surprising swiftness. "It had only been eight, so" - there was a crunch - "so no ove goot" - there was a swallow - "now I've got my cookie after all. Ha!"

     There was no reply from Adeline. She had obviously left.

     Elinor was about to roll out again (there was rather a disdainful smell under there) when she decided, just for the fun of it, to roll in the opposite direction and come out the other side. She remembered that she and Adeline used to play Journey Under the Bed when they were younger, and the other side was always an amazingly fascinating place. Adeline said it was Faerieland, but Elinor said it was Krawk Island, and tried to chop off Adeline's head with her cutlass.

     "Arr!" shouted Elinor, and rolled out the other side. "Avast, me hearties, and beware the wrath of me sword, for I be Cap'n Elinora the--" She tried to decide whether to be 'Brave' or 'Dastardly', and opened her eyes.

     She gasped in surprise. Instead of her rather dusty yellow ceiling, she was looking up at the sky, and instead of her dark blue carpet, she was lying on a creaky wooden platform in the middle of -

     "Aye! Land ahoy!"

     - what was no doubt a pirate ship. It did, in fact, look exactly like Elinor had imagined a pirate ship might look like. There were pirates with Pawkeets on their shoulders, holding bottles of

     ("Yo ho ho and a bottle of grog!" shouted one of them) and most of them had only one leg. There was the familiar skull-and-crossbones flag wavering in the wind, but the skull appeared to be that of a Xweetok.

     Elinor was astonished. In all their years of playing Journey Under the Bed, it had never been so real as this.

     "Aye, lass!" cried out someone behind her. "Cap'n Elinora! Have ye decided where we shall set our course?"

     A Wocky was standing behind her, resting on his peg leg. "Rusty Joe's a-saying that the winds be in the direction of Mystery Island today, an' the current's goin' north. What be your choice?"

     Elinor considered this. She had never been to Mystery Island. They went on a family vacation to Meridell each year, and Elinor had never enjoyed it much. It had always been too peaceful for her liking.

     "Let's go to Mystery Island," she decided. "We can hoard gold from the natives." She threw her head back and bellowed, just like she had done in her younger years of Journey Under the Bed, "MAKE WAY FOR MYSTERY ISLAND! HOIST THE SAILS! START WORKING AND STOP SITTING AROUND ON YOUR LAZY -"

     "Are's we making berth at the south side as usual, Cap'n?" inquired the Wocky.

     Elinor deemed it to be so, and threw her head back again and hollered the news at her crew.

     As the crew began to steer the pirate ship towards Krawk Island, Cap'n Elinora explored her pirate ship. It was just the right size, with a large room in the center filled with a globe of Neopia and lots of maps. There was a large round table with a stack of cards and a box of dice, so they could play Cheat and Bilge Dice, two of Elinor's favourite games. The bunkrooms had canvas blinds, just as they always had in her years of Journey Under the Bed.

     The Wocky, she found out, was called Sonny Jim. Everyone said it was because he remembered his parents calling him that when he was younger, so it must have been his name. Elinor did not bother to point out that Sonny Jim was not usually a name - just something silly that parents often called younger male Neopets. It was like how her great-aunt always called her 'young lady', even though the Xweetok would prefer to be called Cap'n Elinora the Brave-or-Dastardly.

     Rusty Joe, she discovered, was a toothy pirate Draik with a wicked grin and a habit of playing practical jokes. Elinor immediately sensed a kindred spirit. Her favourite thing to do was sneak up behind her sister and tap her on the opposite shoulder, causing Adeline to look left instead of right and say, "What? Who's there?"

     She nearly always fell for it. That one was almost as good as the old "spread chocolate coated peanut butter on sister's face while asleep" trick, so that Adeline frequently woke up looking like she'd dipped her face in the mud.

     "AHOY!" bellowed Rusty Joe. "WE'RE A-COMING TO TH' ISLAND! LOWER TH' ANCHOR!"

     Elinor looked out to see azure sea and golden sand. She could see the Island natives playing volleyball on the beach. It was infinitely more attractive than Meridell, which had hit upon the happy habit of raining absolutely every single day.

     Something caught her eye in the direction of the cliffs. They were mostly sharp, black and jagged, but there was a faint hint of gold twinkling there, next to a bit of grass growing on the side.

     "Sonny Jim!" she called to her right-hand pirate.

     "Aye, lass?"

     "D'you see that twinkle a' gold yonder?"

     "Where, Cap'n?" asked the Wocky. "The ol' eyes aren't what they used to be."

     "Just up, north-east - that cave yonder."

     Sonny Jim squinted. "Well, I'll be. Aye, y' right, lass. We've bin past that cliff many a time and never seen it. Mebbe someone's started usin' it as a hidey-hole."

     "Let's go an' see," said Cap'n Elinora. "It could be somethin' interesting, couldn't it?"

     Jim nodded. "We'll go an' take a look."

     Cap'n Elinora and her crew climbed down off the ship and waded over to the cliff.

     "Where'd you see th' gold, Cap'n?" asked Rusty Joe.

     "Just over here." She sloshed through the warm water over to where the grass was growing. "I saw it here." She scanned the cliff, trying to see where the light might have come through.

     Sonny Jim cocked his head left to right, trying to catch the golden twinkle in his eye. "See that hole there, lass? You reckon it might've been through there?"

     The Xweetok put her eye to the tiny hole in the cliff. She stumbled back, blinded. "It's real bright," she said. "I reckon it might be treasure."

     "TREASURE!" chorused the pirates happily.

      "Scout the area, the lot o' you," the Wocky ordered. "Make sure you don't miss anythin'."

     "Aye!" chortled the pirates, and splashed their way through the water.

     It was a warm sunny day. Elinor was very happy. The water wasn't very deep where she was standing, but she lay down on top of the water, and paddled around in the shallows. Her crew was wading all around the cliffs.

     As she breathed in the clear air and let the water run through her toes, Elinor wondered what was happening back at her home in Neopia Central. Would Adeline have realised she had disappeared? Or (she liked this theory better) was there another Xweetok taking her place until she got back, playing with Bake-Slightly and smearing chocolate-coated peanut butter on Adeline's face?

     The one thing she did not question was how she had come to be here in the first place. Elinor was not the type to do that. Rolling under the bed and coming out into one's own pirate ship might have shocked some people, but Cap'n Elinora took it in her stride.

     It was Old Kat the Bag Lady who found the entrance to the cave. (Her name did not derive from the fact that she stood on street corners with a bag asking for Neopoints, but that she stole both bag and Neopoints from other Neopians. However, the old part was more or less accurate - the Pteri was so old she couldn't remember her own age.)

     "I've found a nentrance!" she squawked.

     "A nentrance?" said Elinor, confused.

     "An entrance," explained Rusty Joe.

     "Just through 'ere!" Old Kat screeched. "I kin see the gold! It's real pretty!"

     The pirates splashed their way over to the cove. Old Kat had found a jagged hole on the opposite side of the cliff. To the left of the hole Elinor could see the golden twinkling that had captivated her crew.

     "The cap'n goes first," ordered Sonny Jim. "In you go, lass."

     Elinor climbed through the gap and let a little squeal of surprise as she sank down into deep water. Her feet could touch the ground slightly.

     "Y' right, lass?" inquired Jim.

     "It's deep!" the Xweetok called, and began to swim towards the gold. One by one the pirates climbed through the gap, splashed into deep water and followed her.

     It was much colder and darker inside the cave then out in the warm sunshine of the Island.

     Elinor could not see much at all, except for the ever-alluring golden twinkle. She could hear the rest of her crew splashing along the passage in front of her.

     "Slow down a little," she called out, and the noise echoed down the passage. No one replied.

     Elinor waved her hand in front of her face. She couldn't see it at all.

     "Hello?" she called out. "Anyone still there?" The echo repeated it as if mocking her, all the way down the passage. Elinor turned around in the cold water. She could not see which direction she had come from.

     She shivered a little. She could not hear the sound of her crew any more. The golden twinkle was no closer than it had been from her pirate ship.

     Elinor squinted in the darkness. If she swam towards the side of the passage, she might be able to use that as a guide. The passage had to come out somewhere. She hoped it would end in the wide open seas; even the darkness and chill could not hide the claustrophobic surroundings, and it was starting to affect her.

     All of a sudden she heard the sound of water coming towards her. "Sonny Jim?" she called out. "Is that you?"

     However, it did not sound like anyone swimming. The water sounded as if it was traveling from far down the passage, almost as if a huge wave was coming towards her. It could easily be a huge wave coming towards her. She tried to find her footing on the ground, and realised she could no longer touch it.

     Fear gripped her. Had it been low or high tide when she had arrived on the beach? The water was definitely rising. And the sound of that huge wave was growing louder every second. Elinor tried to let out a scream, but the scream was drowned by the enormous body of water that was engulfing her.

     The spotted Xweetok could not breathe. She could not see. She could have been upside down in the water for all she could tell. It was freezing inside the cave, and the water was knocking her from side to side. Yes, she was now quite sure it had been low tide when they had arrived on the beach.

     Elinor gasped and choked on the water. Her thoughts travelled briefly to Sonny Jim, Rusty Joe, Old Kat and the rest. Perhaps they were all safe. She hoped they were. Another minute under this water and it would be too late... not only for them, but for her.

     Then air and warmth burst into every one of her senses. She breathed it in with relief and opened her eyes.

     For the second time that day, she gasped in surprise. (She had gasped other times, but that had been for air.) Instead of the sky, she was looking up at her rather dusty yellow ceiling, and instead of a creaky wooden platform, she was lying on her dark blue carpet in the middle of -

     "Elinor, what on earth are you doing down there?"

     - what was no doubt her old, boring bedroom, with her older sister looking down at her.

     Adeline reached down and picked up a pillow lying next to Elinor's head. "What were you doing with this over your face? Surely you couldn't breathe or see with this thing."

     Elinor was still drinking in the beautiful, sweet air. She sat up and stared at her older sister.

     Cap'n Elinora would just have to wait.

     "Oh, well," she said airily. "It was nice not to have to look at you for a few minutes, but we can't have it all, can we?"

     Adeline did not reply. Instead, she stared down at the bed, and then looked on either side of it. A knowing smile crossed her face.

     She reached out to help Elinor up.

     "Next time," she said, "can I play, too?"

The End

 
Search the Neopian Times




Great stories!


---------

A Comic About Sand
If the title isn't enough to hook you, I don't know what is.

by me_like_juice

---------

Dinner Party Treats 101
What to serve, you may ask? You want to go for the most flavorsome, elegant, exquisite, delectable, festive foods that your guests will love.

by star_lilly_784

---------

Chronicles of the Court Rogue: Instincts - Part Five
Illusen continued, "Once the cure is finished, Mareian can carry it out deep into the woods near here. He'll follow her, and that will get him away from other Lupes he could infect. Jeran won't attack her, despite what he fears, and she can give the cure to him..."

by nimras23

---------

You Have a New Quest
When you're told not to disturb the Darkest Faerie, it's a good idea to take that advice.

by jlnmellon_112



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.