A Short Tale
“Aw c’mon, guys, will you please please please let me play volleyball with you?”
Raven extended his scrawny arms to try and hit the volleyball when it was intercepted by his sister. He was a Mutant Korbat, and somehow irregularly shorter than the average Korbat height. At the moment, four of his family members were playing two-on-two volleyball outdoors.
“No way,” said his sister, a red Blumaroo. Her name was Volcanic, but she was nicknamed “Volley” for her superb volleyball skills.
“Yeah, you’re too short,” added Zinney, a Shoyru of red.
Malflux, a big blue Skeith, dove for the ball and sent it whizzing over the net. “You’re being a bit harsh, you guys,” he said. “Why can’t Raven play?”
Court went for the ball and bumped it over the net. The Ghost Hissi said, “Majority rules, Mal. And besides, we already have an even number of players.”
“Listen to Malflux!” protested Raven. “Why can’t I play? Maybe I am a bit vertically challenged, but that doesn’t make me a bad player!”
At that moment, Volley spiked the ball over the net and hit Raven square in the forehead. The Korbat fell backwards, before looking up and shaking his head. “Hey! What was that for!?”
“Oh, I’m sorry; I thought you could’ve hit that. You told me you weren’t a bad player,” said Volley.
“You fired it at me, you little witch!”
“Eh. You looked ready.”
“Hey guys, let’s break it up!” said Malflux, walking to where Raven was standing. He picked up the ball and said, “You okay, little buddy?”
“I’m not little,” argued Raven.
“Says you,” mouthed Zinney.
“Hey,” Court piped up, “let’s just all play another game. You know, one that won’t interfere with Raven’s ever so slight height problems.”
“They’re not problems!!!” shrieked Raven. “I am NOT short! You guys are all just freakishly tall!”
“The only one here who’s taller than normal here is Malflux,” said Volley simply, “and he’s a Skeith, so it makes sense.” She looked over at Court. “I think you’re right about playing a new game. Volleyball is only fun if there isn’t some whiner interrupting every single match.”
The five of them had decided that they should all just play a less active game—a simpler game, like Cheat. Although Volley was a bit unhappy that this “sport” included no physical contact, she had agreed, “As long as it’ll make Raven shut up.”
Court pulled out several cards. He was a notoriously good actor, and you never could tell whether he was cheating or not. You really just had to guess. “I will play three sevens,” he stated blankly, sliding three face-down cards in front of him.
“CHEAT!!!” shouted Raven. “Malflux played two sevens last turn!”
“Aha, but I was cheating on my last turn,” smirked Malflux.
And with that, Court turned over his cards—three sevens, just as he’d said. “Now you get the pile, Raven.”
Raven collected the cards and said, “This game’s so boring. I want to play something else.”
Zinney grinned. “You’re only saying that because you have thirty-two cards.”
“No! It’s just that I’m bored of this game.”
“Fine,” said Volley. “We were trying to find something that we could all play, and now you’re being a sore loser about it. Who wants to play volleyball again?”
“Oh, I do!” said Malflux. “Same teams as last time!”
“No way,” said Zinney, “I don’t want to be on Mal’s team again.”
The four bickered and, when teams were at long last decided, they all went outside.
Raven watched in contempt. Those bullies, he thought, leaving me out of all their games just because I’m short. I mean there were plenty of short heroes in Neopia. Like Armin the Small, or...
He very quickly realized he was rambling in his mind. Shaking his head, Raven gathered up the cards and proceeded in making a castle out of them.
The next day, Zinney rushed over to Raven, Court, and Malflux (who were all in a bedroom, inspecting trading cards). He rapped anxiously on the wooden door. When it was answered, the Shoyru said eagerly, “Hey! You know that girl from school?”
“Yeah,” answered Court on behalf of his brothers.
“Well, she’s throwing a party tonight. Every girl she knows is invited.”
Raven, Court, and Malflux all exchanged glances. All of their other siblings were girls. That meant they’d have the house all to their own! But then...
The four whirled around to see Volley standing behind them, looking annoyed. “She invited every girl but me,” she huffed. “She said I was too tomboyish to go.”
“Well, that’s okay with me,” said Raven. “I mean, being tomboyish and all.”
“That’s because you’re a boy.”
“So? Doesn’t mean I don’t like you any.”
Volley managed a grin. “Hey, you guys want to hold our own private party? We’ll raid the pantry and eat popcorn and chips until we can eat no more!”
“Just as long as Raven can reach the high cupboards,” Zinney snickered.
“Shut it, jelly-for-brains,” snapped the Korbat.
“Hey, now,” said Malflux, shaking his head good-naturedly. “Let’s have a good time at this party, okay?”
The five of them stayed up super late, partying as if there was no tomorrow. The cupboards had been stripped of their contents, scattered across the floor, for the most part. A whole jug of orange juice had been tipped over and spilled across the floor, and there were crumbs everywhere. Volley had blasted all her Sticks and Stones records to the maximum, half deafening anyone in the house.
As the party began to cease, everyone was in Raven’s room in various positions. Malflux was lying on the floor, Court and Volley were sitting on the bed, Zinney was in a chair, and Raven hung from the ceiling.
“Oh, man, that was fun,” said Zinney with an exhausted sigh.
“Those were some pretty killer dance moves,” commented Court to Volley.
Volley said, “Thanks.” She looked back at Malflux and said, “Wow. I wonder what the other girls are going to say when they get back. You ate half our junk food supply!”
“What can I say?” Malflux said shamelessly, “Chocolate is tasty.”
They all said nothing for a moment. Then a light bulb seemed to flicker on in Raven’s mind. “Hey guys,” he asked, “do you know what time the girls’ party ends?”
Zinney thought hard for a moment. “22:00 NST, I think.”
“Last time I checked a clock, it was 22:16.”
Court’s red eyes flew wide. “We need to go and clean up!” he trilled.
The Hissi leapt up and tried the door. It didn’t budge.
“What is it?” asked Volley.
“Jammed from the other side, I think. The door’s prone to doing this. I TOLD our owner we should get Raven a new doorknob...”
“But we have to get out there before the girls get home or else we’ll get in huge trouble!” gasped Malflux.
“But how?” asked Zinney desperately.
“I’ve got some Battledome weapons in my room,” said Volley, “but we can’t get in through the door.” She eyed the room before exclaiming, “The air vents! I can climb through, get a weapon that’ll help us escape, and then we’ll be home free!”
Volley leapt from the bed on her strong Blumaroo tail and opened the vent. She tried to shove herself in, but would not fit.
“Never mind,” she said, climbing down. “I can’t fit, and I’m the smallest out of all of you.”
“No, you’re not!” shouted Raven, a bit surprised that he was actually using his height as an advantage. “I’ll go in and get a weapon.”
“Hurry!” cried Malflux.
Raven flew over to the vent and crawled through. He glanced around, trying to see if there was any way out of the vent. He found an opening and, to his luck, was the way into Volley’s room.
There was a pile of random Battledome weapons splayed out in front of him. He wasn’t certain what each weapon was, but he picked out one that looked like an obscenely large mallet and hauled it off through the vent.
Everyone was waiting impatiently for Raven’s return. He handed Volley the mallet, and she smashed open the door with seemingly unnatural strength. Raven, Court, Zinney, Volley, and Malflux ran out of the room, scrabbling to the closet to pull out any cleaning supply.
“What if we don’t get it cleaned on time?” said Court with agitation.
“We’ll say the Meepits did it,” said Raven hurriedly. “Now, c’mon!”
The five all got to work immediately. Court wiped the spilled juice from the floor, Volley placed any wrappers of tissue into the garbage, Zinney picked up the crumbs, Malflux had pleasure eating up all the dropped food on the ground, and Raven set his mind to peeling off a mouldy pancake that had somehow gotten stuck to the ceiling.
As soon as the house was clean, Volley switched her immensely loud Sticks and Stones records to a quiet, soothing melody by Jazzmosis. They all collapsed.
“Hey, Raven,” said Court, “Maybe your shortness wasn’t such a bad thing.”
“No, you think?” retorted Raven crossly.
“Sorry we didn’t let you play our games,” said Volley. “From now on, you can play volleyball with us.”
“But what about your two-on-two teams?” Raven inquired. “If I join, they’ll be uneven!”
“It’s okay,” offered Malflux, “I’ll just sit out of games. How about that, little bud—I mean, big guy?”
“Don’t push it, Mal.”
All at once, the front door was knocked upon and a mob of girls crowded in, giggling and gossiping.
“Sorry we’re late,” said one girl, Jay the Ogrin.
“Yeah, our hostess kept us a little longer so we could paint our nails,” someone else added.
“Yuck,” said Raven, inspecting his own nails just to be certain they were as bland as they had always been.
Jay made her way down the hall. Five seconds later, she shrieked in horror.
Raven and his comrades hurried down the hall.
“What’s up?” asked the Korbat.
“That,” said Jay, pointing. “Why is your door shattered into a million little bits?!”
“Uh... the Meepits did it?”
Note: Thanks very much to tyleriscool377 for letting me use ZinneyZinney891 in this story!