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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 13th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 106 > Short Stories > Spooky Stories Transcribed — Story One: Star-Spangled Darkness

Spooky Stories Transcribed — Story One: Star-Spangled Darkness

by wolfofthewoods

StarlightEvening sighed as she gazed out her bedroom window at the immense night sky above. Stars twinkled brightly against the luminous darkness, leaving imprints on her retinas as she turned away from the open window and sank into bed.

     StarlightEvening resented everything about herself; from the short puff of fur that was her tail, to the long, beautiful ears that perched merrily upon her head. She hated the bright yellow stars that covered her beautiful navy fur, and the little yellow nose that rested between her whiskers. But most of all, Star detested her name. She absolutely loathed her Owner for giving her such a long, elegant title. StarlightEvening may have even been able to forgive Owner for creating her as a Cybunny and painting her starry, if only she had given her a name like “EbonyStreak,” or “Ravenwing.” But a name lasts forever, and so StarlightEvening made sulking in her room her favourite hobby.

      Now she pulled the Kauvara covers up around her ears, and switched on a small electric torch. And ever so quietly, StarlightEvening opened her book. The golden writing on the covered was laced with yellow light: Magic Spells. Star’s only escape, only way to leave her tormented reality, was to engorge herself in this book of witchcraft. She searched the pages fervently each night, wishing to find the one spell that could alter her life forever. Just to change her color, or species would be a dream come true. But to leave the words “starlight” and “evening” behind… that would be unreal.

      However, in the pit of her heart, enveloped in dreams and wishes, was the knowledge that names couldn’t be changed with a quick “abracadabra.” Knowledge that she was stuck like this, and would be always. Forever.

      The small Cybunny brushed this thought away and focused on the words on the paper. “Make Your Own Monster,” read large, bold letters at the top of page six hundred and eleven. Star gritted her teeth and slammed the book shut. She heard a loud snore from the other side of her door. With a defeated sigh, Star slid further into her covers and squeezed her eyes shut tightly. She prepared for yet another sleepless night, in which she imagined heavy footsteps on the creaking wooden floors, and her doorknob beginning to turn…

     The door flung open, and Star’s wide amber eyes stared out into the empty hallway.

***

RustedEmber rolled his eyes at his sister. He lifted a spoon to his mouth with a brown paw, and hungrily slurped up the coco Neocrunch cereal.

     Star bit into a shiny crimson apple and chewed reflectively.

     “I bet you did open my door last night,” she muttered in the Chomby’s direction. RustedEmber shrugged nonchalantly.

     “So what if I did?” Star groaned and swung her backpack over her shoulder. The stuffed blue Cybunny head that had been oh-so carefully sewn onto the lip was ripped off, leaving a very out-of-place body and a tuft of the cotton stuffing.

     “That’s making some statement,” said RustedEmber pointedly, eyeing the decapitated Cybunny warily. “People are going to think you’re cannibalistic or something.”

     Star shrugged, picked up her lunchbox, and strolled casually out of the door. The lunchbox featured a very sweet little Cybunny, who now had a thick black moustache scribbled onto her face. Star headed glumly through the cheerful corridors of the Neoschool. The walls were decked with bright paintings done by the first years, and murals by the older pets.

     The Cybunny slunk in behind her desk and waited for the final bell to toll, declaring a new day of Neoschool. A very fatigue-ridden Blumaroo trudged into the classroom, five minutes after class had officially begun. None of the pets, however, had been working.

      The Blumaroo took a seat behind a large, mahogany desk in front on the pets, and straightened the collar on his crisp, plaid jacket. Pushing his square-framed glasses up the bridge of his nose, Mr. Smith stretched out a dull green finger and rung the bell.

     The noise level went down slightly, and the teacher cleared his throat noisily.

     “Today, we will be learning about magic.” There were some sniggers from the class, and Mr. Smith glared at them. “You may think this is an unimportant topic, but it can prove very useful to know about. Some witchcraft can be dangerous,”— he bent to the floor and popped into view again holding a softly glowing olive green book. “Evil Spells, for instance, is not the book for you.” He propped it up on the desk and proceeded to reach for another book. This time, he showed them a book that StarlightEvening recognized very well.

     Her hand shot up. Mr. Smith eyed her curiously for a moment: Star never offered information to the front, and had never, ever asked a question. “Yes, StarlightEvening?”

     She stuttered and opened and closed her mouth a couple times. “Is there a spell that can change our name?” she questioned in one breath. The teacher’s expression turned into a frown, and he indicated the book labeled “Evil Spells.”

     “Only pets that do not wish to lead a happy life dare to try and change their name,” responded Mr. Smith coldly. “Any being who does so will be haunted forever with bad luck.” More snickers from the class. “And any pet in this classroom who laughs, will be forever haunted with after-school detention,” he added, glancing pointedly at the had-been chortling Pets.

***

     Star marched home with a much heavier weight on her shoulders. No, it wasn’t the weight of sadness or disappointment. It was the weight of a large book that the class had been sent home with. It was the book Star already owned.

     She was actually in quite a cheerful mood. Now, at least, she knew that it was possible to alter your name. She also knew what book contained the spell. And although she had laughed along with the others when Mr. Smith had told them about the misfortune, his words kept coming back to haunt her: “Only pets that do not wish to lead a happy life dare to try and change their name.” But that’s no biggie, thought Star. I already have a pretty miserable life.      When she finally opened the door to her home, it was to find Owner bustling around and tidying up. Star moaned inwardly as she was squeezed in a tight embrace, and given a floppy, velvet bow. Owner had news.

     “I’ve entered you in — get this — the Beauty Contest! With a gorgeous name like yours, and your extreme beauty, you could win in a flash!” She grinned excitedly. “The contest is tomorrow, and I want you to look your absolute best. So I’m going to paint that bow blue, and glue on some yellow stars. Isn’t this great?”

     “Erm…” began Star hesitantly. Owner cut her off by whisking her upstairs.

     “You’d better freshen up! Have a long soak in the bath, and wash your fur.” She shoved a big bottle of shampoo into Star’s paws and gave her an enthusiastic shove in the back. Star clenched her teeth and somberly walked up the steps.

     Her mind was focused on only one thing: getting the book of spells before the contest. Maybe, if she could change her name, Owner would decide to pull her out. She batted around the bubbles in the tub thoughtfully. Yes, Owner would definitely take her out of the Beauty Contest if her name was “BloodRedOgre.” She chuckled and drained the water.

***

“I’m going to the bookstore!” shouted StarlightEvening into the quiet house. A vague “okay” from the living room and she was outside, coat still wet from the bath. Her soaking ears were glued to her head, but Star didn’t give them a thought.

     She clutched her bookbag tightly and turned the knob on the bookshop’s door. It opened without resistance, and a bell tinkled to announce her arrival.

     An aged, blue Nimmo smiled at her from behind the counter.

     “What are you looking for, pretty one?” she asked, looking up at her from under horn-rimmed glasses.

     Star restrained herself from mouthing off, and curtsied. “I’m looking for the book ‘Evil Spells.’” She noted the expression of alarm on the Nimmo’s face and quickly added, “For my teacher, of course. He needed someone to get it for him, so that he could show it to us in class. He’s doing a lecture about dangerous books.” The Nimmo smiled and selected a book from a shelf behind the counter. She handed it to Star.

     “That will be four thousand Neopoints, please, miss.”

     Star filched the correct payment from her wallet and handed it to the clerk. “Thank you for your help.” She stuffed the book into her bag and ran like a Korbat out of the Haunted Woods back towards home.

***

Name-Changing:

Have an awful name, filled with numbers and happy-go-lucky words? Want something to better suit your style? This simple spell will change your life.

Step one: write the preferred name on your wall in red ink.

Step two: light three candles.

Step three: turn off lights/close curtains.

Star carefully followed the book’s instructions. She had pondered her desired name for a long time, and now the words written on the wall in bright crimson paint fit her like a glove. A well-fitting glove, that is. She didn’t even mind that she was a Cybunny anymore, although perhaps being a mutant would be better. But no matter; her name was perfect.

     She drew the curtains, cutting from view the dark grey sky. Although uncalled for, Star had draped over her shoulders a black silk scarf. Her perfect white nails had been painted with a shiny black varnish, and the smell of nail polish floated in the air, making her head spin slightly.

Step four: turn around in three circles, repeating your new name each time.

Step five: push fingers against the wall on each side of your name.

She all but threw herself at the wall, slamming her paw onto it with gusto. The drapes flew open, and the candles were snuffed out by the howling wind.

***

The Cybunny stepped slowly down the stairs. Her expression was blank as the Owner rushed over to her, a big blue bow in her hands.

     “This is for y-- are you okay, Star?” the Owner asked, a worried expression playing about her face. “What’s wrong? Star?”

     “My name is not Star,” said the Cybunny, gazing into nothingness.

     The Owner rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry you don’t like your name, Star, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Whenever I start to tell you what you could do, you cut me off and storm up to your bedroom. Give me some slack, will you?” The Cybunny was silent for a moment.

     “What could I have done, Owner?” she asked, her eyes on the wall. “What could I have done?”

     “You could easily have chosen a nickname. I know you were always into that dark stuff, so yours could be Darknight or something, Star.” The Owner was wringing her hands frantically.

     The Cybunny’s expression changed to one of utter perplexity. “My name is not Star. It has been changed.”

      The Owner raised her eyebrows. “Oh, really? The only way one can change their name is to use a spell in a very evil book. The bookstore clerk would never allow a child to buy one, and so please, please stop acting like this, Star!”

     “My name is not Star,” repeated the Cybunny. “My name is--”

     “YOUR NAME IS STAR!” cried the Owner, shaking her violently. “Your name is STAR!”

     “My name is not Star,” the Cybunny repeated, nonplussed. There was a definite tremor in her voice.

     The pet went rigid, her eyes rolled into her head and she fell to the floor shaking. The Owner stared at her Pet in shock.

     The Cybunny got up, and looked at the Owner with pure white eyes.

     “My name,” she growled, “is BloodboundEternity.” With that, the Cybunny disappeared, leaving only a slightly glowing, olive green book.

***

Father shut the book, and small smile on his lips. My brother and I huddled close together, our teeth chattering loudly.

     “Remember,” said Father, opening the purple drapes to the cacophony of rain, thunder, and lightning outdoors, “tomorrow is another night; another tale.”

     Brother shuddered, and as we were ushered to bed by Father, we both knew that tonight we wouldn’t get any sleep at all.

The End… Until tomorrow night.

Author’s Note: Unfortunately, there won’t be another story tomorrow night, but perhaps next week. StarlightEvening is a fictional character, who I made up using only my vast imagination. Fan-mail, hatemail, and constructive criticism are always welcome.

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