Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 175,202,370 Issue: 369 | 21st day of Storing, Y10
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Somewhere Far From Here


by phoenix_through_fire

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4th Day of Sleeping

Dear Professor Krasken,

     I am writing to you from the Meridell Prison of the Criminally Condemned, and I got your name after reading the article you wrote regarding the ethical problems that arise with the trading of Neopets a few issues ago. I am writing to you to ask if you would be kind enough to arrange a subscription to the Neopian Times for me.

     I hope you do not think me rude for requesting such a thing, but it is very rare that we receive reading material of such a level, and I feel I would benefit substantially from having literate pieces available to me. I was able to get hold of an issue, and therefore your article, by bargaining with a fellow inmate who has a subscription. It’s very rare that I get such an opportunity to read the Times. I have included the subscription order form.

     I will also add that I am not one of those who merely scan the Times, picking out a slim few articles or stories to read in depth, but I spend a good few hours reading every single piece, from cover to cover.

     Now I have given my request, perhaps you should learn a bit about me. I am a Shadow Krawk, and I was born on Krawk Island in Year 1. I came to Meridell in Year 3 and grew up on the borders of Brightvale. This is where I committed my crime. I committed such a crime on the 6th Day of Gathering, Year 7, the act of robbing the Bank of Brightvale, which lay but a few minutes from my neohome. I instantly regretted my act, and was arrested on the 9th Day of Gathering and have since been in prison.

     I could tell you more, of course, but I’m sure I have taken up too much of your time already. Thank you for the time you took to read my request, and any consideration you give it. Even if you toss this letter in the bin, please do not hesitate to write to me if you feel to. Any literate material is appreciated.

     Sincerely,

     Theodore B.

10th Day of Sleeping

     I can’t stop thinking about that inmate. The letter he sent me... I almost threw it away as soon as I’d finished it, but I couldn’t do it. Something about the way he signed off. A strange reason, perhaps. But I just can’t get it out of my mind. I’ve read it half a dozen times already, and all I have found that might release my mixed emotions about the letter is resorting to the act of diary writing, which, I believe, is a very feeble attempt.

     I re-read the article from the issue he talked of; I have it my scrapbook full of all my published pieces. I wonder - what interest would a prisoner have in my writing? Maybe he was just bored.

19th Day of Sleeping

     It’s strange that I am considering the fact the prison does not provide a suitable amount of reading material much worse a crime than what this Theodore did. I think for the punishment to work, they should be exposed to such culture, to literature with beautiful scripting and construction, rather than being shielded from it. Funny, that. Funnier still is the fact I’ve becoming so obsessed over it. I keep laughing to myself about it, but I think there’s something unsettling about it.

     It’s funny, too, that I have so much sympathy for a man who has committed the crime of robbery, and is now asking me for money.

     I spoke to my fellow professor last night. I showed him the letter, the first person other than myself since it arrived on that otherwise non-eventful day. I could tell what he was going to say before he said it, just from the slant of his eyes, the way they rolled ever so slightly upwards, his whole aura dripping in disdain.

     “Krasken, you have got to be kidding me. Of course it’s a scam,” he had told me, wrinkling his nose up. “You’d be best just to throw it away...”

     He then tossed it in the bin of my office, but later I retrieved it, of course. Something about that letter. He suggested that he probably sent it to everyone, that “he” might not even be real. I want to believe him, of course, but I cannot shake this curiosity.

     He has to be right, though. What prisoner writes so beautifully?

     ...yet, I find myself having to fight the urge to write back.

7th Day of Awakening

     Dear Mr. Theodore B.,

     I would like to inform you that I really appreciated your letter more than you, or I, might have thought. However, I am sad to tell you I am not able to grant such a request. I am a mere Neoschool professor, as you are aware. I simply lack the funds in which to provide you with the subscription.

     I am, having said this, intrigued by your eloquence, and your story, too. I seek your story out to dispel my ignorance, for currently I live in a world shrouded in these fantastical idealism. I hope you can help. You wish for literate writing, and I call myself to be literate.

     Please write back, Theodore. I enclose some loose papers from books we provide our students with here. I hope they are okay.

     Professor Krasken

13th Day of Awakening

     It’s snowing. It’s too late in winter to be snowing. I’m chilled by not only the snow, but the haunting feeling that letter has left me with. So long since I wrote to him, and no reply. I looked his case up in the library, and there’s something odd about it. Something that has sparked curiosity, as if I needed any more.

     They never found the money.

     I was invited out to lunch with that very same professor who called the letter a scam. I gave him an excuse that I think he expected -- too many classes to be taught, too many papers to mark. He didn’t believe me, I don’t think, but I didn’t care. I have the feeling he suspects that I have started to develop an obsession with this mysterious Theodore. He thinks I’m crazy, I’m sure, but at least I didn’t send the money.

     I keep thinking that maybe he was right, but I really don’t care most of the time.

15th Day of Awakening

     I have yet to receive a reply. I’m trying to work out why I expected one, and why I’m confused about not getting one. He asked for a hefty subscription price, and all I sent were a few pages from a book. It’s probably a scam; it has to be. But I can’t allow myself to dismiss it. Something is very wrong.

     Or perhaps I’m going mad. Finally.

1st Day of Running

     It’s so wrong; there was no money.

     There cannot be a bank robbery without the money.

     I cannot sleep for waiting, I cannot stop moving, fidgeting in anticipation. Waiting, waiting for a letter to slide through the letterbox, for it to shutter close with a defining clatter, to allow me access to a letter signed by this mysterious inmate.

     I’ve been in the library almost every day, gone through the Neovision tapes to see any coverage of it, though this seems like cheating. It doesn’t even make sense.

2nd Day of Running

     Dear Theodore,

     I hope you are okay, or as okay as one can be under the circumstances. I apologise for my frankness, but I have to know. I just have to.

     I really cannot grasp understanding. Who are you? Why did you do it? Where’s the money?

     Yours in hope,

     Professor Krasken

20th Day of Running

     All I’ve found myself doing in my free time is reading the reports, looking over the news archives, going through the Neopedia... and thinking. My class has noticed, I think, that each of my lessons offer less dedication on my part. I do not believe what I teach any longer, cannot seem to spend a waking second without thinking of this Theodore, and what he did. What he must have felt afterwards, apart from probably the most obvious of emotions: guilt.

     There’s a huge flaw in this case. One thing that makes me believe it could not have possibly been him.

     There was no money.

     You just cannot have a bank robbery without the money.

4th Day of Eating

     It’s snowing again. How can it snow so late into the year? The plants are blanketed in death, unable to survive in this freezing spring. It’s too late for it to snow.

     Why me? I can’t stop thinking that. Maybe the professor was right. Maybe he sends it to everyone who has had something in the Times recently. Of course he’s right. He must be.

     Mustn’t he?

     But what if that’s not true? What if he did choose me specifically?

     So why me?

6th Day of Eating

     No response.

7th Day of Eating

     No response

8th Day of Eating

     No response. No money; no response.

9th Day of Eating

     Sometimes I have to stop and think - did I ever even send those letters to him?

     No response.

10th Day of Eating

     Still nothing. I cannot handle this waiting.

15th Day of Eating

     I spent all day today within the trees that border the Haunted Woods, digging. That’s where, in the news stories, it says he was suspected to have hidden the money. It’s snowing still, and it froze me to the bone. My fingers froze around the shovel, clamped my hand into a fist around the splintering wood, and I shook with each stroke of it. I found nothing.

     Did I expect to? I don’t know. Something tells me he did not do it. Because if he did, where is the money? They would have found it, surely, or he would have confessed to where it was, if it was him. I felt nothing, in the woods, numbed by both the knowledge that this morbid curiosity is going too far, and by the cold breeze that sank into every inch of my skin.

     What was I looking for? The money, evidence that he did? Some kind of conformation that I didn’t really require? Perhaps I was looking for nothing. Though, had that been the case, I would now be satisfied with nothing. I’m not.

     I’ve started to wonder if I really have gone mad. But something tells me I’m right. Perhaps that is what crazy is. I just can’t help waiting.

     I came home with a hopeful feeling, though I’m not sure why - perhaps hopeful that as I walked in, a small white envelope would be sitting, waiting for me as I have done for it, on my doormat. There was no such thing awaiting me as I got home, except for perhaps Gege. That beautiful little Meowclops, my only company in my nights of insomnia.

20th Day of Eating

     Am I searching for a answer to a question that will never be answered? Am I searching for money that doesn’t exist?

21st Day of Eating

     Dear Theodore,

     I believe it, okay. I believe you, not what they’ve made you believe.

     I believe you. I believe in you.

     There is no money.

The End

 
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