Glory For Speed
"Bet I can beat you there!" cried Gingham as he raced down the beach, closely followed by Tarzan, and Habib. Obviously, Habib was the last to arrive, as he was last to leave and very, very slow. Then again, as a Chia there was really no point in being fast. No point at all.
"Come... on... guys... give... me... a... break...." he panted, doubling over.
"Nah!" laughed Gingham, a shadow Lupe. Tarzan, a red Mynci, was the nicer of the two, and never really laughed at Habib's slowness.
Gingham and Habib's friendship was rather strange; they met in the Mystery Island marketplace and started talking - how Gingham hated how Lupes sometimes ate Chias, and how Habib hated being eaten by Lupes.
"Can't we go and get an ice cream?" asked Tarzan, sitting down on the beach. The shore lapsed at his feet, and nearly submerged Habib.
"Yes please!" Habib grinned, backing away from the water.
"Okay." Gingham shrugged, and the three boys wandered out of the beach.
"What shall we do now?" asked Habib, whilst trying to lick a blob of ice cream on his paw, whilst holding his own cone.
"I don't know." Gingham sighed. "It's the last week of the summer break and we haven't done anything exciting."
"I know!" Habib suddenly exclaimed. "We can enter the MIM!"
"MIM?" enquired Tarzan, swinging onto a tree branch. "What's that?"
"The Mystery Island Marathon! Or, junior, in our case!" Habib grinned.
"Yeah, but you can't run!" hissed Gingham.
"So, it's not meant to be about the running! It's about the fun!" Habib smiled, biting down on the empty cone. Gingham or Tarzan didn't disagree - it was about the fun.
"So it's settled?" asked Gingham, standing up. Tarzan and Habib nodded.
"It's on Sunday, at midday," read Tarzan from a flyer nailed to a post.
"Okay... we'll meet at the tour station at ten tomorrow, and we start practicing?" Gingham said, looking at Tarzan and Habib as they nodded. "Great."
The next morning, at just before ten, Habib wandered down from his house to the tour station.
"Up for a tour?" asked the tour guide, looking down at Habib's hat and shirt. "'Cos you sure do look like a tour-ist!"
"No, sorry, I'm meeting my friends here," replied Habib, his yellow cheeks going bright red. Then again, he did look like a tourist; a big, red checkered shirt and a big fisherman's hat.
Luckily for Habib, Gingham and Tarzan came leaping (and swinging) down the beach.
"Ready?" asked Gingham, and when Habib nodded he said, "Go!" They raced down the shoreline, Habib feeling faster than ever before. He looked behind him to see Gingham bounding and Tarzan galloping, both looking tired. But before he knew, Habib bolted over the dent in the sand which had "Finish lin" in it... Habib knew it must have been Tarzan who wrote it, because Tarzan couldn't spell anything.
"Hoorah!" exclaimed Habib, dancing around, feeling unusually fine after he'd been running. "I won!"
"No need to rub it in!" hissed Gingham, pushing him over.
"Ah, is wickle Gingham a sore woser?" taunted Habib, feeling strangely big and bold.
"Shut up, freak!" hissed Gingham. "You're the sore winner."
Habib had had enough. He flounced off, strutting home.
"Are you still entering the race?" asked Lola, Habib's owner, whilst she washed up lunch's dishes.
"Of course," grumbled Habib. "I'm too fast not to." Lola smiled and passed him a can of neocola.
"Remember, my dear, it's tomorrow, and you need to sign up!" Lola called as Habib walked upstairs. He shrugged at the thought of possibly seeing his "friends", so he instead walked into his room. It was all bamboo; the bed, the desk, the shelf, most of which Lola's friend had made down at his workshop.
Habib sat on his bed and stared out of his bedroom window, and down at the beach, where Tarzan and Gingham were racing each other. Habib didn't care, though; he just continued with his entry form.
The next morning, Habib was awake early, getting ready. His racing gear was set out of his bed; a pair of orange running shorts and a white T-shirt. His trainers were tucked neatly under his bed, out of the way.
"Are you okay?" asked Lola when Habib sauntered downstairs. "You don't look it."
"I'm fine," muttered Habib, sitting down on the wooden chair. "What's for breakfast?"
"We have lots of sugar, for energy, and some healthy food!" Lola smiled, passing Habib a bowl of sugar and a bunch of asparagus. "Eat up!"
Habib spent the next twenty minutes gulping down sugar and chewing hard into asparagus, which tasted horrible.
As Habib tied his shoelaces, ready to go down to the beach, the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it!" called Habib, pulling the red door open. In the porch were Gingham and Tarzan.
"Are you still coming?" asked Gingham, unaware of Habib's running gear.
"Well duh!" hissed Habib spitefully. Gingham looked taken aback. Lola skipped downstairs, carrying a camera.
"Are we going, boys?" She grinned, tugging Habib out of the house. They walked down through several streets, until they got to the white-sanded beach. In front of a table with a banner saying JUNIOR MARATHON (I/4 KM) was a long line, with hundreds of young neopets, limbering up.
"I'll see you in the race!" called Lola as she raced down the beach.
The boys waited for hours, until they finally reached the Kougra sorting out the entry forms.
"The race starts in twenty minutes." He smiled, pointing to a starting line. The boys walked down, although Habib received several sniggers as he took his place.
About twenty minutes later, the Kougra they had seen earlier took his place on a structure over the starting line.
"Okay!" he shouted. "Today we will have a winner, second place, and third place! I want no cheating, and anyone caught pushing or shoving will be disqualified." He glared at a group of Skeiths. "Three... two... one... go!"
The pets started running. Habib got the feeling that he had three days before, bolting to the front. But as the finishing line got into sight, a shrill cry pierced the air. Habib stopped and spun around. Behind him, Gingham was on the ground, his tears streaking along the sand.
Habib looked around; there were a few pets a few hundred feet away from Gingham.
Habib continued running, but stopped a few hundred feet away from the end.
"Habib, help!" cried Gingham. Habib glared at the finish line, but sighed. He turned around, and started running back.
"We've suddenly had a change of mind!" announced the commentator, watching Habib. "Our leader has turned around."
Habib ran quickly to Gingham and crouched down.
"Are you okay?" Habib asked, helping Gingham to his feet.
"No, I've hurt my back legs," Gingham muttered. Habib looked at the pets, who were coming closer.
"Here," mumbled Habib, lifting Gingham onto his back. he started jogging, about twenty metres away from the rest. He picked up speed, and raced across the finishing line.
"Yes!" he exclaimed, putting Gingham down.
"We won!" Gingham grinned.
"No, I won," hissed Habib. "No... we won." Gingham smiled. Habib helped Gingham collect his medal, although Habib got the trophy.
"You're a good friend." Gingham smiled as they walked into the sunset.
Thanks to reggieman721 for tips!