A Midnight Snack: Temptations
My eyes flew open to darkness.
I rolled over in my bed and glanced at my Usul Alarm Clock on the nightstand. It read 11:58.
I was trying to go back to sleep when I heard a loud rumble. I sat bolt upright in bed and looked around with wide, nervous eyes. After I had decided it was nothing, I lay back down and squeezed my eyes shut to try and block out any scary images that might cross my mind.
There it was again!
Okay, this time I was scared. I checked in the closet, under the bed, behind the dresser. Nothing. But how could I have imagined such a loud sound?
I jumped when I heard it again. But this time, I wasn’t scared. In fact, I almost laughed out loud! It was my stomach grumbling the whole time. I was just hungry!
My owner, Josephine, encourages midnight snacking, so I figured she wouldn’t mind if I went downstairs and had myself a bite to eat. Pulling on my Krawk Blue Bathrobe and stepping into the worn pair of Mynci Spa Slippers that sat by the door, I made my way down the dark hallway and down the stairs into our kitchen.
All of a sudden, I had a brilliant idea. Since I was having a midnight snack, why not wait until midnight? Josephine would get a kick out of that in the morning, plus the stove clock read 11:59, so I didn’t have long to wait.
I perched on the edge of the counter, swinging my purple legs cheerfully. I watched the clock, so I would know exactly when to start. Any second now.
I hopped off the counter exactly when the clock struck midnight, but I was thrown back against the cupboards by some invisible force. My eyes opened and the world was spinning like the Roo Island Merry Go Round. But what were those two mysterious figures standing in front of me? My heart pounded in my ears. Bandits?
My vision cleared a bit and I was able to see that both figures had fluttering wings. Faeries! What would they be doing in our Neohome? A quest, maybe? I felt both nervous and excited as I stood up shakily, leaning on the edge of the sink to regain my balance. Batterflies danced in my stomach as I stepped forward. An involuntary gasp escaped my throat as my sight sharpened. The two faeries standing in front of me were not just any faeries.
One was tall and graceful, with porcelain skin, lavender hair, a sky blue tiara and elegant orchid wings. Her almond shaped eyes were glowing with authority, but also overflowing with kindness at the same time.
The other was just as beautiful, but in a darker, more sinister way. Her long hair was also purple, but a darker shade, with lime green streaks. Her long-fingered hands, so like claws, rested on her hips. She wore a purple and green dress and her enormous purple wings wrapped around her like a blanket of shadows, more like a Korbat’s than the first faerie’s delicate butterfly wings.
Fyora and Jhudora. Complete opposites in every way but one: both very powerful faeries. One a firm but fair and much adored ruler of the beautiful cloud kingdom of Faerieland; one a hot-tempered, deceiving, manipulating evil genius. Who would have thought they would both be in my kitchen tonight?
I wasn’t sure whether I should curtsy, or kneel, or something like that. Before I could stop it, I blurted out, “Good afternoon to ya.”
I was so stupid. I sounded like the Breadmaster and it was the middle of the night, not afternoon. But if the two faeries noticed my faux pas, they didn’t mention it. Queen Fyora inclined her head smoothly. Jhudora’s ominous grin grew wider.
I realized that both faeries were holding something. My eyes were drawn to the large, beautiful apple that sat in Fyora’s palm. It was perfectly round and a rich scarlet color, practically glowing with freshness. I could almost taste the sweet, crisp skin of the apple with the juicy flesh underneath.
But the apple, no matter how lovely it was, was no match for the item Jhudora was clutching in those Spydery fingers. It was a cupcake, shimmering with the promise of a tasty snack. Its pink icing was flawlessly crafted in a magnificent spiral atop the heavenly pink sponge cake. Bright, jewel-like candies adorned the light, fluffy frosting swirl. I wanted nothing more than to gobble it up.
Jhudora must have seen the longing look in my eyes, because her grin widened even further. Her eyes glinted maliciously as she stepped forward, her arm stretching out to offer me the cupcake. I faltered for a moment. Why should I accept anything from Jhudora, especially food that could be poisoned?
Fyora picked up on my hesitation. She placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Do not give in to Jhudora’s trickery,” she said gently.
“But... It’s just a cupcake. What harm could it do?” I didn’t mean to challenge the Queen of all Faeries, but I really, really wanted that cupcake.
“Fiona, the cupcake Jhudora holds symbolizes temptation. Do not yield to that temptation, no matter how great it is.” Fyora held out the apple.
Moved by the Queen’s speech, I smiled and was about to receive the apple when Jhudora, not to be outdone, stepped in front of me.
“Wouldn’t you rather eat this?” she asked, raising her eyebrows. The faerie waved a pale, slender hand and a feast appeared in front of me. Platters of treats materialized from thin air, heaping with sweet indulgences. Cakes as light as air danced around the kitchen before my very eyes, topped with a rainbow of icings and candies. Cookies as big as my face spun and whirled, showing off their delicious aromas. Pies and tarts waltzed around the room, with cloud-like whipped cream piled high. Even more cupcakes like the first, but in different bright and appealing hues, jumped in front of me, just begging to be eaten. It was too much for me to handle. I wanted to try it all.
Jhudora’s evil grin became impossibly huge. She knew she had won. Queen Fyora’s noble face was melancholy. Her eyes were wide and liquid, pleading with me to not surrender to the alluring pull of Jhudora’s sweets.
I had a decision to make. Biting my bottom lip, I reached first for a cookie, but drew back uncertainly. My other hand stretched towards the apple that Fyora was still holding out to me, but my eyes were drawn once more to the enticing show of desserts that was still whirling with endless energy and enthusiasm. My heart pounded frantically, urging me to make a choice.
I squeezed my eyes shut and took a breath. As I opened them my hand shot out and grasped the original cupcake Jhudora had offered. I took an enormous bite of the side, just to get it over with. My teeth sank into the soft, rich cake and the sweet icing danced on my tongue. For a moment, I was so glad I had chosen the cupcake.
Then, the appealing flavor of the cupcake vanished, and something else, something strong and bitter and fiery hit my tongue. I screamed out loud, recoiling from the repulsive taste. Jhudora rose above me, laughing, her eyes gleaming with fire, her shadow eclipsing Fyora’s rosy glow and covering me in darkness. The cupcake’s flavor still burned my mouth, harsh and sour. It was overwhelming. I threw my head back, screaming with the pain of it all. And the last thing I heard was the booming laugh of the most evil faerie known to Neopia.
* * *
My eyes flew open, my heart still beating a frenzied pulse in my chest. I was breathing hard, as if I had just run a marathon. Sweat poured down my face.
I looked at my Usul Alarm Clock. The time was 12:01.
Shaking, I slipped out of my bed and walked over to the Full Length Mirror that sat next to my window. I looked at my reflection and saw a purple Poogle with wide eyes, her hands clutched to her heart.
Relieved I was still myself, I slipped back underneath the bedclothes, my breathing still heavy. The taste of the cupcake was gone. All was well.
* * *
The next morning, I woke up and pulled on my robe and slippers. Shuffling down the stairs, still groggy from my sleep, I walked into the kitchen. My memories came flooding back, of the beautiful faeries and the dancing sweets, of Jhudora’s cruel laughter and the burn of the cupcake. Had it been a dream? I had no way of knowing. It had seemed so real...
My owner, Josephine, walked through the kitchen door, a large white box in her hands.
“Morning, Fiona!” she chirped, setting the box down and opening it. “I brought doughnuts!”
My heart started its frantic beating once more. They looked so delicious... Maybe just one?
I shook myself out of the trance the doughnuts had put on me. Mustering a huge grin, I said, “No thanks, I think I’ll just stick with this banana.”
To this day I still remember that unbelievable night. And I will never give in to the temptations this world places on me, never again.
First story in the NT! Whoooooo!