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‘‘Twas the Season"


by harvestmoon66

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Whispers softly guide me

     Silver conversation that twists and turns around my frame

     Hushing and soothing, just like my mother’s lullabies

     I try to open my eyes but the promise of something great if I wait keeps them shut

      I grasp and reach up, up, as high as my hand will go

      But it still fails to reach the attention of the whispers

     How badly I want to be there

     **

     You awake with a start and let out a surprised cry. The room slowly comes into focus and you put a hand over your pounding green Xweetok heart. What did you dream? Not really sure what to do, you flop back into your pillows. The winter winds howl and nip at your window. You go to turn away and head back to bed. To your surprise, you curl tighter into your blankets and let out a muffled sob. The winds pick up, almost like they are matching your broken cries.

     **

     The winter afternoon light trickles in from outside, shining around your home. You awake barely able to keep your eyes open, deeper bruised circles outlining them. You stumble down the stairs and past the kitchen. You don’t want and can’t think about last night. The article you were supposed to write is due in three days. You have little thought of food prep and cleaning your slightly messy house. Just as you’re about to reach your study room, you hear a knock on your door. Surprise morphs into slight annoyance. You told all your friends and family to leave you be for a while. You were just fine, thank you very much.

     Even though you had been lying.

     Sighing you stumble over to your front door and fling it open. Standing before you is your good friend Dewlie, a chipper and lovely yellow Kacheek. She smiles at you and you can’t help but slightly smile. The yellow Kacheek glances over your shoulder, noticing the mess. She looks at you in your shabby clothes and ratty bathrobe.

     She utters three words you hate.

     “You doing okay? “

      At first you try to deny any wrong going on. You try to fill your frame in the doorway, but Dewlie gives you a sceptical look. You would try to force a smile and reassure her, but there’s not much energy in you today.

     Shaking your head, you gesture to the books scattered around, dishes pulled in the sink, trash cans overflowing, and some clothes strewn about. You let out a bitter laugh that comes off more as a sob.

      Dewlie says nothing, but guides you back in, her hand firmly on your back. When you both see a recliner, she gently guides you in. Putting a blanket and pulling the recliner up, she gently dabs at your eyes with a hanky. You feel damp liquid dotting your face, barely realizing you’ve been crying.

     Dewlie gives you a worried look, but just lets you ride out the wave of tears. You try to apologize for lying and having her go through this trouble, but she shakes her head and smiles.

     “You’re my dear friend Grace, there’s no problem at all. You just get some rest and sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.

     Nodding feebly, Dewlie hums a soft song, pulling the covers tighter around you. The room slowly goes in and out of focus. Your eyes flutter and close, until they don’t open again. You up into a restless sleep.

     **

     You’re stuck in a memory. Unable to move so much as your tail, you watch as the scene plays out before you.

     It’s the month of Celebrating and you’re having a bad day. You scowl as your mom tries to talk to you and your friend Emi tries to get you to pay attention. The red Xweetok and blue Shoyru give each other concerned looks. Ignoring them, you try to figure out a subject for your article.

     An idea starts to form but quickly sputters out when you feel a hand on your shoulder. Annoyed, you glance over your shoulder. It’s your mom. Emi smiles softly but you glare harder. Her smile falters. Your mom turns your face to her, blocking your view of the paper.

     You both lock eyes, and she gives you a sad look. Your glare slowly goes away as you notice her tiredness. Have those bags always been there?

      She asks you if you’re okay. You try to break eye contact, but she keeps your gaze. You give her a fake half-smile and say you’re fine. She doesn’t buy it.

     “Honey, we're just concerned that you’re being too obsessed with this job. It’s not good to go days and weeks with little sleep or food. Please... consider seeing Dr. Hortz. I’m worried about your mental health…”

     Emi nods and takes your free hand. “We hate seeing you like this... it’s gotten worse the past few months. Please consider?”

      You shrug and yank your hands out of theirs. Looking down, you feel every fiber of your fur on end. You get up and go to turn on the neo vision. You blare the volume. Ignoring your friends call, ignoring the pain in your mother’s voice. The weird tv show drowns them out. You close your eyes, wishing you were anyone else but you.

     The scene fades to black as things come back into focus. Tears pour down your face and you realize you can move now. You turn around and run. Everything feels like it’s in slow motion. Just as you think there is nowhere to turn to, you see a door. Bolting for it you grab the knob and yank it open. There’s a bright flash of light and you are blinded.

     **

     There is a light faerie standing by you. Blinking away the flurry of colourful dots, you rub your eyes and gasp. The light faerie smiles serenely.

     “Hello, Grace, and welcome to the dreamscape, a subconscious plan of Neopia. This is where you can discover what and who you are. Please follow me, young one.”

     As she takes your hand and guides you, you feel a warm and fuzzy sensation course through you. Not knowing what to do, you follow and gaze in awe. The light faerie chuckles and pats your head.

     “You know it’s almost the day of giving, right? To be with people you love, to celebrate, to be there, and giving gifts. Just some of the holiday fun you mortals participate in. Ah, here we are. Here come over here and look.”

     You gaze into a window like void and let out a cry of surprise. It’s you... it’s a replica of you! But ... how? The faerie snaps her fingers, and it begins to move out of the void and through the window. You turn and try to bolt but it grabs your paw. Turning you to face it, you are suddenly surprised as you’re locked in a tight hug. You struggle and try to get out of it, but the replica won’t let go. It leans into you and whispers

      “I am here and you are here

     Two same beings, two same hearts

     Cruelty and shutting off your emotions are not the way to go

     I beg you to see the ways that you impact your life

     Please hear my plea. Don’t be afraid to feel.”

     The hug envelopes you more and more. You hear the whispers. You feel the shudder and the silver linings. As the light intensity gets more and more bright you hear a cry.

      Is it yours? Or someone else’s?

     You have no time to think as the room is engulfed and you’re back in the black void. Falling, falling.

     You are jerked away by the sound of three different voices. The room slowly comes into focus as you regain your senses. Dewlie wraps you in a hug, and your mom, plus Emi. As you are gently lifted off the floor and put back on the recliner, they all start to talk, looks of worry etched into their eyes. You open your mouth to speak, to tell them about what happened. Nothing comes out. They all stop talking, sharing a collective look. You try again but nothing comes out but a heavy, heavy sob. The group huddles around you and wraps you into a warm embrace, letting you cry. As the moon shines light in your living room, you swear you see a flash of yellow. Burying your face into the embrace, you manage to choke out a laugh.

     **

     It is now passed the day of giving. Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting better. You have moved back in with your mom for an unknown amount of time and see Dr. Hortz on a weekly basis. You have taken a leave of absence from your job too. Emi and Dewley are going to be coming over soon for a late afternoon New Year’s Eve dinner. As you stretch and pull your moms chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, you can’t help but smile. It’s been the first real one in a while. Your mom comes into the kitchen and peers over your shoulder.

     “Looking good, my dear, looking good. “

     You lean your head back and laugh. Yes, they are.

     What a great time to live.

     **

     Happy holidays, my dear loved ones. The End.

 
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