Viewpoint: Part One
Kira looked out the window. The sun had disappeared over the edge of the world, but the sky was still light. Kira couldn't believe that it didn't rain every day. Why did the world go on as normal when life had changed so dramatically? She sighed and tried to keep that feeling out of her heart as she turned back to the paper in front of her. Her publisher wanted the manuscript for her new novel in two weeks and she still hadn't finished the ending.
Kira was a famous writer; her first work had been a thriller titled In the Shade of Terror Mountain. It had been just a hobby then and she could never have dreamed that it would be as well received as it had been or that it would launch her successful career as a novelist. Kira loved writing and had gone on to publish eight more novels since and all had made it onto the top ten best sellers of the year list in Shenkuu.
Still, this was all a long time ago now and things were different now. The bitterness in her heart was beginning to creep into her work and sour it. She had written six different endings to her current story, Shipwrecked on Mystery Island, but they had all twisted as she wrote them, becoming jaded and sarcastic.
A knock at her front door interrupted her, and she glanced up as the door opened. Her best friend Sen walked in and sat down on her sofa and leaned over the arm of it to look at her. The Royal Gelert looked splendid in her pink kimono and there were cherry blossoms in her hair. Despite the money she made from her books Kira had decided to stay a blue Eyrie. When it came to appearance Sen and Kira were as different as day and night. Sen was always immaculate and beautifully dressed. Kira's blue hair was messy, as she hadn't brushed it, and she hadn't ironed the clothes she had tossed on that morning. In spite of this, Sen really did think that Kira was the prettier of the two of them.
"You look great today, Kira-chan! You're always so effortlessly pretty," Sen laughed merrily, and without any jealousy. "Me, I take an hour getting ready, but you still outshine me. You have to tell me your secret."
Kira smiled at Sen. "You're too sweet, Sen. You know you're prettier and I don't even remember to brush my hair most mornings."
"Stop putting yourself down all the time, Kira-chan. You know you're beautiful. So, how is the book coming along? I'll bet it is a white-knuckle rollercoaster like A Night in Thade's Castle. Ooh, I had Tomamu-bumps the entire time I read that one. Where do you get your stories from, they seem so real," Sen replied.
This was how all their conversations about Kira's writing started and it was ended with Kira replying that they were told to her by the monsters that lived under her bed. The two women made small talk until Sen, looking nervous, broached the real reason she had come.
"Um, I saw Kayleen yesterday when I went to Neopia Central to do some shopping. She's doing well; she's gotten a job as an editor at a paper there. She's doing well, she really is," Sen said slowly.
Kira's lips dropped into an involuntary frown. "Good for her; if you see her again would you tell her I'm proud?"
"I already did, I knew you would be," Sen replied.
"Oh, thank you. You're a good friend, Sen," Kira stammered. "Um, so did she say anything else?"
"No," was the prompt response and Kira knew it was a lie.
"Sen, what did she say?" Kira asked.
"Kira-chan, don't make me repeat it, please. I don't know what is going on with that sister of yours," Sen moaned. "It'll only make you feel worse."
Kira sighed and looked at the papers in front of her. Typical Kayleen, making trouble where there was none.
"Why don't we go get supper, Kira-chan?" Sen tried changing the subject.
"Not today, Sen. I really need to get this ending squared away," Kira sighed.
Sen got up and smiled at her. "Okay, we'll postpone it until you are finished and make it a celebratory supper."
Kira nodded and Sen left. The words flew from Kira's pen now; again the ending twisted and distorted, leaving a trail of destruction in the pen's wake. Kira stopped to read over what she had written. Despite the fact that the story ended badly, it was better than her other drafts. She set it aside as a last resort.
Kira looked out the window as the rain poured; a deep fog obscured the mountains. She turned her attention back to her page and continued writing. Kayleen walked up and watched as she wrote. Kira looked up at the Purple Eyrie with a questioning look.
"It's good, Kira. Really thrilling, where do you come up with these ideas?" Kayleen laughed.
"The monster under my bed tells them to me at night," Kira said with a sly smile.
Kayleen playfully slapped her sister's shoulder. "Oh, shut up, you're such a goon."
"I might well be," Kira laughed as she continued writing.
A few minutes passed in silence as Kira finished the chapter.
"Are you going to publish it?" Kayleen asked.
Kira almost jumped; the idea of turning her stories into an actual novel had never occurred to her. She shook her head no and replied that they weren't good enough. Kayleen pouted and said she was selling herself short. A few weeks later, Kira finished her story and then placed it in a drawer and forgot about it.
A month after that Kira received a Neomail from a publisher saying they were interested in the chapters she had sent and would like to publish her book. Kira raced into the house and found Kayleen and Sen sitting in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.
"What is this?" Kira demanded, throwing the letter down in front of her sister.
Sen picked up the letter and looked it over, a smile rising to her lips. "Kayleen, I take it back. You are a Tomamu, Kira-chan."
Kayleen just grinned at her sister. Kira tried to be affronted by her sister's initiative, but failed.
"Fine, I'll go send the manuscript, but don't you expect anything to come of it," Kira laughed as she went into her bedroom.
Kira dropped the papers into the waste bin with a sigh. The ending would not come out right no matter what Kira did. It was times like this that she missed Kayleen most. Of course, if it weren't for Kayleen she wouldn't be having this darkness creeping into her work.
Kayleen was so good at helping her get through her blocks. Kira remembered the long talks, hours sitting in the kitchen drinking tea as she and Kayleen worked it out. Sen was usually there too, listening to the two of them and occasionally lending her opinion. The three of them had been like a happy family and it had seemed like nothing could come between them. But, even then something had been wrong; she just had been too blind to see it. A blindness that still seemed to affect her.
"No, no!" Kayleen cried. "That's silly, Kira!"
Kira threw up her hands and laughed, "But, it is supposed to be, Kaylee. I want to lighten the mood before I hit the climax so it is even more unexpected."
Kayleen tilted her head to the side and read the scene again. Sen poured the tea and told Kira that the scene was brilliant and she should go with her instinct since it was her story.
Kayleen stuck to her opinion. "I still think it is too silly."
"I think everything you write is brilliant," Sen put in.
Kira laughed as she set her cup down. "You two are supposed to be helping me come to a decision! How can I do that if you both are telling me different things?"
"I suppose you have to bow to Sen's advice to use your own judgment, but I still think it is too silly," Kayleen said.
"You're trying to confuse her there, Kayleen. Kira is the author; she should know best. My opinion is lightening the mood is a wonderful tactic and you are brilliant. This next book will be even more popular than the last," Sen replied with a laugh at Kayleen.
The doorbell rang, and Kayleen went to get it. Sen leaned towards Kira and said in a low voice, "You should follow your instincts here; you do know best. Also, I don't know that you should take Kayleen's advice too seriously. She's rather jealous of you."
Kira jumped in shock at the statement. She looked at Sen with huge eyes. Sen looked mortified and ashamed of herself.
"I'm sorry; I didn't think you couldn't have noticed. Maybe I'm wrong then, Kira-chan. But, she certainly behaves like she is, and some of the things she has said to me." Sen dropped her eyes in shame. "No, it would be wrong to repeat them. I'm sorry, it was wrong of me to mention it, Kira-chan."
Kira nodded and pushed the conversation out of her mind.
Kira leaned back in her chair and wrote without looking at the paper, trying to figure out what it was she really wanted to say. Things were so strained between her and her sister, and she was still trying to figure out why.
Sen had said it was jealousy. Kira was successful, far more successful than Kayleen had ever dreamed she could be. It must have been an even bigger blow to Kayleen knowing that without her Kira would never have even published anything. Sen had warned her after her second book that Kayleen seemed to be jealous, but Kira hadn't listened. After the third book things had gone downhill so fast.
Kayleen was always so angry, especially when she gave her opinions on Kira's writing. Sen kept telling her that Kayleen's suggested alterations were attempts to sabotage her. At first she didn't believe it, but by the end it did seem like that. Sen had seen things that Kira had been blind to, and now she wished desperately that she had taken her warnings to heart so she might have prevented the rift that now separated the sisters.
Kira picked up the paper, crumpled it, and tossed it across the room. It was too soft, not enough honesty. The next letter joined it minutes later, to harsh. This was her sister, she had to be kind, but she had to be honest. The feelings were so angry that all attempts at honesty resulted in a page full of bitter, hot words. All attempts to be kind and soft didn't get them anywhere.
Sen knocked on the door and let herself in. She saw the paper pile in the corner and asked if she should leave.
"No, Sen, come in," Kira said getting up.
Sen went and started gathering the papers into the waste bin. Kira went to the kitchen to make tea for them. She came back out into the study that doubled as her writing room and found Sen leaning over the desk. She looked embarrassed as she explained that she thought Kira was starting a new story and was having a peek.
"Kira-chan, you should just let this drop. It is only causing you pain. Kayleen doesn't deserve your kindness or friendship. She's not been good for you, or to you," Sen said honestly.
"If she were anyone else I would agree with you, but she is my sister," Kira sighed. "I just can't get the letter right."
"You really think this letter could fix the trouble?" Sen asked.
"I'm hoping it'll help bridge the gap so we can start talking again and work through this," Kira replied.
Sen sat down at the desk and pulled out a fresh paper and pen. "You dictate and I'll write. Maybe I can put your thoughts into a coherent order."
Kira smiled; that was a brilliant idea. She poured them the tea and then sat in a chair near Sen; together they worked through the letter. When they finished, Sen handed it to Kira, who read it over and smiled.
"Thank you, this is excellent. It is exactly what I wanted to say without being to harsh on her or too gentle. Hopefully this will do it," Kira said as she put it in an envelope.
She held the envelope out to Sen. "Could you do me one more favor? Would you bring this to Kayleen? She's always liked you, she might be more willing to read it and think about what I've said if you give it to her and ask her to,"
Sen took the envelope and replied, "Anything for you, Kira-chan."
Sen gave her friend a hug and left. Kira sat and drank another cup of tea slowly, the dark feelings lifting. She didn't know how she would have gotten through these dark times without Sen. Sen was so pure, always trying to make her life easier. With the negative feelings abating, a new story formed in her mind and she sat down to write.
Kira sighed and stretched her fingers. She picked up the letter and put it in an envelope. It was another reply to a fan. She had a huge following after her third book hit the number one spot on the top ten best seller list. The Haunt of Yolanda Manor had been a lot of work to put together. It had been a mentally exhausting story to write, but it had been worth it.
Sen had told Kira it was so scary she couldn't sleep for a week after reading it. Sen was without a doubt her biggest fan. Kayleen sat on the sofa working on something. She wanted to be an editor at a newspaper someday. Kayleen looked over at her and frowned.
"What's wrong, Kaylee?" Kira asked noticing the frown.
"Don't call me, Kaylee! I'm not a baby anymore." Kayleen snapped. "Stop the sighing and acting like it is such a chore to write a reply to a fan."
Kira's eyes widened in shock. "Kayleen, what's wrong with you? You're so snappish and that was uncalled for. You know I've been writing replies for the past three hours. Anyone is bound to get tired by that!"
"You're so stuck up, rubbing all your fanmail in my face like that," Kayleen growled.
"Kayleen!" Kira was hurt by her sister's nasty comments.
Kayleen just grabbed her books and papers and ran out of the house. Kira got up and stared after her, unsure of what to do.
"I told you." Sen's very quiet voice came from the window.
She was leaning in, looking at her. "I told you Kayleen is very jealous of your success. Don't let her get you down, Kira-chan. I'm proud of you, and I think it is awesome that people recognize how excellent you are."
Kira looked down in embarrassment. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Sen."
"Well, at least I didn't walk in the middle of it. But, you know I'd take your side no matter what. You're my best friend, Kira-chan," Sen replied. "I only want what is best for you, and right now I think that is a cheering up. Want to go get an early dinner at our favorite place?"
Kira smiled and nodded, gathering up the letters to post.
Kira waited for days, hoping that Kayleen would show up on her doorstep or at the very least send her a letter. Days passed in vain, but Kira wasn't ready to give up hope just yet. Her newest book was turning out well. It was about a brother trying to find his sister who had disappeared in Neovia. She didn't have a title yet, but the chapters were coming together well.
The publisher mailed her to tell her they loved the dark ending for the last story. Kira's face was hot with anger and shame as she read that. It wasn't at all what she wanted or like she usually wrote. She hoped her fans wouldn't be disappointed.
Kira was going for a more psychological twist in her current story rather than outright horror. It would be more unexpected in the setting of the Haunted Woods. She was interrupted in her work by a knock at the door. Sen walked in looking downcast. She wouldn't look Kira in the eye. She stammered out a few words and placed a letter in Kira's hands. Her heart dropped at the sight of the unmarked envelope.
"I, um, hope it is good news. But, Kira, I... I'm here for you no matter what. I'll always be here for you, and I only want what is best for you. I'd do anything for you, anything to make your life better. I don't think Kayleen is a... I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" Sen whimpered, staring at the floor.
Sen had brought the letter from Kayleen, so that must mean that she had seen her, and she probably knew in what spirit it had been written. Kira thanked Sen and her friend's eyes filled with tears and she dashed out without a word.
Kira sat down and opened the letter. There was one line on the page contained within.
'I want nothing to do with you. Leave me alone.'
Kira could only watch as Kayleen packed the last of her things into her suitcase.
"Why are you being like this?" Kira asked, her eyes filling with tears.
"I'm tired of playing these games, Kira," Kayleen said coldly.
"You're the only one playing games, Kayleen! I don't know what your problem is and you won't tell me. We used to be the best of friends, and now look at us!" Kira screamed in frustration.
"I'm tired, Kira. When you want to end this, you can come see me," Kayleen said quietly as she locked her suitcase.
"It's always me! I'm always the one at fault! Have you ever considered that it is you?" Kira shrieked, her angry tears overflowing.
Kayleen wouldn't even look at her. She picked up the suitcase and walked out of the house. Kira stood in the doorway and watched her little sister walk away. She stood there for hours, just staring the way she had gone, the tears never stopping.
Kira stared at those harsh, cold, unfeeling words for an hour. Her mind was numb; unable to process that her sister could be so unfeeling after all she had done to repair the gap. The tears that had dried up the day her sister walked away broke out afresh, pouring down her face.
With sudden determination she leapt up and tossed the letter into the fireplace and watched it burn. She had done everything for her sister and she would do this one last thing, she would respect that one last wish.
After the last cinder of letter burned away Kira turned away and walked back to her desk. She sat down and pulled out a new sheet of paper and began writing the next part of her latest book, never knowing far away her sister was burning a letter of her own. One in which was written the same words of the letter Kira had received.
To be continued...