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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 755
You are on Week 756
Week 757

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Seven Hundred Fifty Six Ends Friday, January 27

Rain poured down heavily from the high heavens. In the land below, defenseless trees swayed violently at the complete mercy of the wind. Within the safety of enclosed walls, two little Kougras watched the storm.

It was going to be a cold night, Eliza knew. Shivering, she curled her tail tightly around her frame, stealing a glance at her brother that sat silently beside her. His face was unreadable, his eyes unseeing.

Her memories flashed back to the events that happened that fateful morning. Had that all really happened? Or was it all just a terrible dream?

Yes…that was it. It just had to be a dream. The alternative was…

She bit back a sob. “Ben…did that really happen?”

Her brother remained silent, quietly turning to look at Eliza, who gazed back at him with haunted eyes. In the dim glow of the light that filtered in through the windows, she noticed that his eyes were red.

“It did,” Ben lowered his head, closing his eyes. And in those two words, she could hear his tiny voice trembling, a voice filled with so much pain and fear. Not another word was spoken for a long time. The rain continued pounding at the windows. Nothing existed but the thunder, the taste of cold desolateness in the air.

“Can we undo this mess?I mean, there must be someone or something that could help bring Melissa back..."

Ben closed his eyes. “But how, when we don't even know where she were taken? Or what exactly was that thing that took her away?"

Before Eliza could respond, there was a particularly loud crash of lightning that illuminated the foggy windowpanes. In that brief instant where the world became bright once more, Eliza thought she saw a hooded figure standing outside their home.

"Ben...?" she began hesitantly. "I think there's someone outside."

The two Kougras crept toward the window. True enough, there was a figure standing some distance away from their home. Despite the darkness of the storm, he appeared to be staring directly at them both. Squinting their eyes, the Kougras attempted to make out who or what that figure was - and what was that thing he appeared to be holding.

Then, in another flash of lightning which lit up the world once more, their eyes widened as they read the words scrawled haphazardly on the card in his hands:

"I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. LET ME HELP..."

Author: butteredwings
Date: Jan 23rd
The pair took several hasty steps away from the window which had fogged over from their rapid breathing. Had they really seen the figure? Maybe the rain was playing tricks, casting shadows from the trees but the words on the card? Surely, nothing organic could create something with enough clarity to be read from so far away in this dreary storm.

Before Eliza could think any more of it, a loud bang was heard from above. Did a tree branch fall onto the roof? No, the banging continued with purpose and determination.

"Eliza!" Ben squeaked with a whimper. "The figure isn't by the trees anymore..."

Sure enough, the stranger with poor handwriting was nowhere to be found. Maybe the banging was...? Before she could finish that thought, the room was suddenly filled with a inky cloud of soot. The pair coughed and wheezed while trying to figure out what interrupted their depressing situation when suddenly a voice boomed:

"Surely you don't mind if I let myself in!" Which was followed by the cheeky laugh of a Shoyru and a couple coughs.

The swish of fabric followed by the fleshy sounds of wings unfurling echoed in the darkness. The sudden rush of wind caught Eliza off guard as she blindly tried to protect her brother from buffeting gusts. The plus side was the room was now visible, the down side was most of the furniture was overturned not to mention a total stranger now had the two cornered in their own house.

"So, about my help..." began the Shoyru, "I need to know if you remember who I am..."

Author: jzwolf530
Date: Jan 23rd
...Eliza frowned from fear and contemplation. "I can't say I do--"

"Think harder!" demanded the Shoyru in her scratchy tenor. "You need to remember me!" She opened her charcoal eyes wide, and they seemed to absorb all light -- save for a deep purple orb in each pupil.

"Why? Who are you?" Ben replied, barely containing his cries. "What have you done with Melissa?" He clutched his older sister for dear life, almost hiding behind her.

"It was not me!" belted the Shoyru, casting her arms into the air and letting her dark purple veil shimmer and flow as though caught in a rainstorm. "It was someone I know well, someone dear to me." She turned away from the siblings and let her voice slowly trail off. "Someone with whom I am engaged in constant rivalry..."

This seemed to spark something in the elder Kougra. "I think I remember..."

The Shoyru spun around and looked straight into Eliza's eyes. "Tell me, Kougra..."

Eliza closed her eyes and clenched her fists. "Melissa..." She contorted her face, lost in thought. "We lost you to the waters of the swamp nearest the cemetery on the outskirts of Neovia... You were taken by them... two Shoyrus... You are now caged in a small cottage in the center of a town... A lost town... in the center of the woods..."

She snapped open her eyes and breathed heavily. In and out. In and out. Visions could take quite a toll. She pointed a claw to the mysterious visitor. "It was you. You and someone else!" Eliza roared accusingly. "Where is Melissa?"

"Alas, it was myself and my cousin, Morose," the Shoyru admitted, raising her scratchy voice towards the end of her claim. "But while I wanted to see Melissa's safe return, Morose wanted to see Melissa's capture in an effort to break the spell."

"The spell?" Ben asked meekly, peeking out from behind Eliza. "What spell?"

"For now, it is not important." She turned away from the siblings, letting her long veil drape on the hardwood of the Neohome. "Just know there is a reason no one comes to the town I call home."

A silence hung in the air. A bitter, chilly, uncomfortable silence, louder than the screech of Squire Meekel.

"But with you that must change, if you desire to see Melissa again," concluded the Shoyru. "Come with me..."

Author: rielcz
Date: Jan 24th
"I am scared," whispered Eliza as she clung tighter to Ben.

"I am scared too." Ben said softly, "I think we should go though, we need to find Melissa. We have to be brave for her."

"Okay," replied Eliza in a shaky voice. "For Melissa."

"Okay." Said Ben, confidently. "We will go with you."

"Good," said the Shoyru. "Go change and lets go."

Eliza and Ben changed into warm sweaters, rain hats and rain boots. They did not want to go out in the storm, but they needed to help Melissa.

****

After what seemed like hours of walking they were finally standing in the middle of an abandoned town. It was dark and eerie.

Up ahead was a tiny cottage with a single candle in the front window.

"That is the cottage from my vision," said Eliza, shocked.

"Lets do this," replied Ben, not showing the fear in his voice.

Ben walked up to the cottage door and knocked. After a few seconds the door slowly opened.

Ben and Eliza both gasped, for standing in the doorway was...

Author: she_chose_love
Date: Jan 24th
Another Shoyru. A look of malice upon his face.

"Morose" The Shoyru replied, looking up at him.

"Malice." He said, returning the unfriendly greeting, "I thought that we were in this together. Imagine my surprise to find out you're working against me. Do you enjoy being under this spell?"

"This is more important than us cousin." He said, "Let Melissa go. There has to be another way."

"There isn't." Morose snarled, "You know that better than anyone else. Now quit with this foolishness and help me. And be rid of those two! We don't need them anymore!" He gestured towards Ben and Eliza.

"Listen to reason, cousin!" Malice said, "Don't do it! There's no return from this path!"

The Shoryu in the doorway didn't respond, instead entering the cottage and closing the door. A few seconds later, a dark red barrier appeared in front of it.

"Blast, he sealed himself inside!" The Shoyru said, "We'll need to find another way in!"

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Jan 25th
"There is a window over there," said Eliza pointing. "Maybe we could go through that."

"No, I think he will see us if we try that," replied Malice. "There is a cellar around back, lets sneak in through there."

The three quietly crept around back and to the cellar door. Malice opened the door and a cloud of dust filled the air.

"Make sure not to make a noise," warned Malice as we started walking into the Cellar.

Upon entering Ben noticed that there was a lantern hanging on the wall so he grabbed it and lit it with a match that was in his pocket.

In the dim lantern light the three noticed a large cage sitting in the center of the floor.

As they neared the cage they all gasped, for inside the cage was...

Author: she_chose_love
Date: Jan 25th
Melissa!

The three went over to the cage to meet her.

"Guys you gotta get me outta here! I'm so scared!" Melissa was in tears.

"Don't worry, we will free you!" Eliza tried to pick at the lock.

"No no no! Don't break your claws! Allow me!" Malice took out something. It was a magic wand of all sorts as she pointed it at the lock and zapped it.

The lock broke off as Melissa pushed the cage door open.

"Thank you." She cried.

Eliza and Ben hugged her. Melissa returned the hug and wrapped her arms around them.

"Thank you guys so much!" She was still in tears.

Soon enough a figure appeared behind them, it was...

Author: demonlouie
Date: Jan 26th
Morose, a look of rage upon his face. He towered over the young ones and shouted at his cousin.

“How could you do this to me Malice? To us? Without her how will we ever be free of the spell?”

“It’s not right Morose and you know it. How could we go free knowing we’d be condemning another to our fate?” pleaded Malice. “It’s too late to return to our lives as they were.”

“I know, I know” shouted Morose “But I just can’t take it anymore. It’s too much of a burden.”

At this he broke down in tears, huge sobs wracking his thin frame and he no longer seemed like the threatening force they had first encountered. Malice moved towards him and gathered him into a hug, tears pouring freely from her own eyes. Glancing back at the others she saw them watching in bewilderment.

“Please, try to understand, he only took Melissa as a last resort. You were all there playing near the swamp and it was too good an opportunity to miss when he saw her wander off by herself.”

“You see, we’ve been here as guardians of the town for over thirty years now. Thirty years away from our family and friends. Thirty years with only the ghosts for company. They whisper to us at night, and Morose, well, he was always sensitive to what others say. That’s part of the reason we ended up trapped here.”

Author: equinewhispers
Date: Jan 26th
Ben and Eliza looked down at Morose. He did seem to be in real tears. They both looked at each other and then looked down at the crying Shoyru.

"Is there anything we can do?" Ben slowly walked over to him.

"I... I don't know..." He sniffled and stopped crying. He looked into Malice's eyes.

"Maybe there is another way to break this spell." Eliza started to ponder. Ben looked at Melissa.

"What should we do?" She asked Eliza.

The Kougra finally stopped thinking.

"I don't know. We don't what started the spell. We would have to find a source. We would have to track it down." Eliza answered.

Little did they know that Malice and her cousin could hear them.

"The source? What source?" Morose questioned them as he got up and he helped Malice up.

"The source from the spell. We can find what started it." Melissa grinned. Thought it wasn't the time for grinning.

"Where do we look?" Ben asked.

"Morose, you know about the spell more than I do." Malice admitted.

"Well the source of the spell is..." He started. "The source of this spell that's been cast on us is located in..."

How will this story end?

Author: demonlouie
Date: Jan 27th
..."The swamp where we first found the three of you. I was angry that I couldn't find the source when we were searching. The whole area was saturated with trace magic that I lost the trail. That's why I took Melissa, because I was just so sick of the curse. I wanted to be rid of it, one way or another, and I let my greed get the better of me," Morose explained, hanging his head.

"That's okay," Melissa said, putting a hand on Morose's shoulder. "We'll help you!"

"Y-you will?" Morose asked, shocked that she would even offer after all he had put her through. "But how? If I couldn't trace the magic, then surely you -"

"Since the curse has been existing, surely there will be some physical proof. An item left behind to catalyze the magic, or maybe even the caster themselves," Malice reasoned. "We couldn't find it when there were two of us, but now that we are five, we may stand a chance."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Ben asked. "Let's get looking!"

***

The Kougra siblings couldn't help but shiver when they got back to the swamp, and it wasn't because of the cold and rain. It was just a few hours ago at this very place that their problems had started.

"Keep an eye out," Morose instructed. "I have no idea who would have wanted to curse our village, so therefore we could be looking for anything or anyone that is out of place."

Ben and Melissa nodded. Eliza, however, was staring ahead through glazed eyes with a determined look on her face. Ben touched his sister's shoulder. "Are you okay? You've been quiet since we left."

Eliza shook her head. "I'm fine. I'm just thinking. When we needed to find Melissa, I had a vision, so I thought if I concentrated hard enough, I could have another vision to show me what we're looking for. But it's not working, no matter how hard I think about it."

"Don't stress yourself out over it. You can't make them appear," Ben reminded her. "Just search normally and if it happens, then it happens. If not, then, well, we didn't need a vision anyway."

"I guess you're right. Thanks, Ben," Eliza replied.

It was slow going looking through everything. At one point, Malice asked worriedly if maybe the item they were looking for was hidden beneath the murky waters.

"Let's just keep looking above-ground first," Eliza replied, grimacing at the bubbling swamp water and feeling no desire to go swimming in it.

Eventually the silence was rent by Melissa's excited cry. "I found something, I think this might be it!"

The other four converged on her and saw that she was holding something lumpy and grayish-green with a note taped to it. Malice took the note and read it aloud:

"You probably don't know who I am, and as time goes by I expect you to remember even less. Just know that despite your angst, your town truly does deserve its curse. However, I am tired. Tired of maintaining the spell of at the expense of my own energy, tired of seeing the two of you mope around without even trying to solve your dilemma, tired of watching you drag other innocent Neopians into this. So I will offer you this option: if you can remember who I am and how you wronged me, and if you apologize for it, I will end the curse. Do not look for me; merely speaking the words aloud will be enough."

Morose frowned as Malice finished reading. "It's been thirty years, how are we supposed to remember someone we wronged so long ago?" he fretted.

Eliza gasped; a jolt of what felt like electricity had shot through her head. She was in the village again, but it was livelier - or at least the homes all had lights on and shadows moving in the windows. "It's late at night ... stormy, very stormy and cold. A figure is going door to door ... it never stays at one door for long ... it's at the cottage, the door opens ... it's Morose ... there's magic, the figure flees ... I hear crying."

Morose gasped. "I think I remember now. It was very stormy and a girl knocked at our door. She was frantic, wondering if we had seen her favorite plushie. She wanted to come inside to see if it was in our cottage - we'd never met her so of course I didn't allow it. I thought it was a ruse, that she was up to something devious. Who would go out in the middle of a storm looking for a plushie? So I sent her away."

Eliza looked at the lump in Melissa's hands and could just make out faded features on it. "But she was looking for a plushie all along. This plushie. She was scared and cold out in the storm and worried about her favorite toy, but one would help her find it."

Morose took the old plushie from Melissa and stared at it. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not believing you. I'm sorry for blasting you away when I should have helped. We do deserve to be cursed for our rudeness, myself in particular. I understand that now, and I am deeply sorry."

"I'm sorry too," Malice murmured. "I believed Morose when he told me you were just some loony without even bothering to talk to you myself. We shouldn't have brushed you off like that. Please forgive us."

Miraculously, the plushie began to glow in Morose's hands. He and Malice both felt as if a weight had been lifted from them. The light then faded.

"Let's head back to the village and see if anything's changed!" Ben cried.

***

Back at the village, the Neopians were greeted with the sight of other Neopets walking out of the various houses, rubbing their heads and generally looking confused.

"It's like waking up from a deep sleep. What happened? Why is everything such a mess?" they overheard a Kyrii say as they walked past.

"I can't thank you enough for your help," Malice told Eliza, Ben, and Melissa.

"Indeed. Even after all I put you through, you still helped our village. I can never repay you," Morose added. "You've taught me to be a better Neopian, that is for sure."

"It was no trouble - well, maybe it was a little trouble, but everything worked out in the end, right?" Eliza said with a smile.

"That it did." Malice returned the smile.

"What are you going to do now?" Ben asked.

"Try and rebuild as much as possible. It will be rough, explaining to everyone that they've lost thirty years, but I think we will be fine. Feel free to visit at any time, our door will always be open for you," Morose offered.

"We will!" Melissa replied.

"And the plushie?" Eliza asked, gesturing to the toy that Morose was still carrying.

"I think I'll hold onto it, just in case someone comes looking for a plushie on a cold, stormy night. Next time, I will do the right thing."

The End.

Author: catchinglights
Date: Jan 30th



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