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Pretzel


by lightninglover34

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Dear Diary,

     Today was another horrible day. I'm serious; I can't believe how awful it turned out to be. Where have all the good days gone? Prob'ly down the drain, along with the muddy bathwater.

     After marketing this morning, and buying everything we needed for the week, we rode home on the ferry. But, as Mum had nabbed a rare book while restocking, I decided it couldn't wait, and I started reading during the trip. Big mistake. You know how, when you read while moving, your peripheral vision tells you you're moving, and your inner ear says you're not? Well, combine the two, and your brain becomes dizzy. The resulting dizziness is so intense that you become ill.

     After that little science experiment, I learned that you can, indeed, become violently unwell and be sick all over the occupants of the ferry. Pleasant, eh?

     Well, Mum has decided I am still unfit to do anything but be an invalid and slave, rolled into one, so I shall talk to you when I am finished, dear diary.

     Sana placed a bookmark between today's entry and the next blank page. Mum's voice echoed throughout the house, reverberating off the walls. "Saaaaaaaaaaaanaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

     The slender Faerie Xweetok hopped off her bed and padded down the hall, appearing at her mother's doorway. "Yes?"

     Mum didn't even look up from the book she was reading, sprawled on the bed with candy wrappers littered all over the bed. "More chocolate pretzels."

     Sana let out a little sigh. Mum closed her book, and she snapped, "Did you just sigh?"

     Sana's paws tapped the floor. "No, Mum. I'll get the chocolate."

     "Fine. But cut it out with the foot, and then back to bed until I need you again. And run."

     "Yes, Mum."

     Sana knew, though, that it wouldn't be long until her mother would have a new complaint. She slid down the banister and into the kitchen, where she climbed up onto the counter and rummaged through the pantry.

     "Mum?"

     "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?" Her mum's voice shrilled in her ears.

     "We're out of chocolate," Sans answered, rubbing her tender ears ruefully.

     "You ate it again, didn't you? There was half a package in there this morning, and I know I didn't eat it, and your brother's working so he couldn't have eaten it, and your sister can't reach and besides it would hurt her poor tender baby tummy and she wouldn't eat other people's chocolate anyways. You're fat, Sana, and it's because you're always eating other people's food! I just can't..."

     Mum's voice carried on and on. Sana leaned against the counter and bowed her head. "I hate my mother. I hate my mother. I hate my mother," she whispered. "If only I could do something about it."

     "Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

     She sighed and trudged up the stairs again. "Yes?"

     "What's taking you so long?"

     Sana stared at her mother blankly. "What do you mean?"

     "Don't get fresh with me or I'll dock your allowance! Where's my chocolate?"

     "I told you, Mum, there isn't any left."

     Mum crossed her arms and glared at Sana. "You know, when I was a girl and lived with my parents, I always did as I was told without any lip. And I always cooked the meals and cleaned the house too! So don't go giving me attitude or you'll be grounded."

     Sana swallowed hard. "I told you already, Mum, we're out of chocolate. I'll have to go get more."

     "You ate it all. That's why we're all out. You need to lose some weight, you know."

     "Yes, Mum, I know." Sana sighed. "Could I please have some money to get more chocolate?"

     Mum's eyes narrowed. "How much do you need?"

     "Last time I checked, the price was around 500. A little more than that should cover it."

     "500!" Mum snapped. "Prices these days... and kids these days! Trying to swindle their parents out of hard-earned money. Take a hundred before I change my mind. Go and get more!"

     Sana took the proffered money and fairly flew down the stairs. Opening the front door, she nearly collided with her baby sister. "Where were you?" she hissed.

     Cate, a Xweetok like her older siblings, slurped on her paws and licked her lips - which were covered in chocolate. "Playing," she sneered. "Unlike you. Bummer, huh? But I can't help it if you're jealous of me."

     "And I can't help it that Mum wants me to work!" Sana whispered fiercely. "Just because you're little and you're so cute, you think you can do whatever you want - like eat Mum's chocolate."

     "I'm telling that you're trying to sneak out. Muuuuuuu- mmph!"

     Sana gripped her sister's mouth hard. "I'm not sneaking out! So shut up and don't even try getting me in trouble!"

     "What's going on down there?" Mum's face appeared over the railing and began to shout, regardless of the still-open front door. "I can't believe you're injuring your baby sister! Again, Sana! Can't you learn self-control?"

     Cate got her face free of her sister's hold and promptly began to wail. "I didn't do anything at all, and she said she hated meeeeeeee... she got mad when I said she ate your chocolate just because I saw chocolate on her faaaaaaaaace..."

     "Oh, precious..." Mum flew down the stairs, grabbed the blubbering infant and tried vainly to soothe her 'hurts.' "Sana, go away. You're not helping at all. Go replace the chocolate you ate like I told you."

     Cate turned slightly to smirk at her big sister and returned to bawling.

     Sana catapulted out the door, slamming it behind her.

     She trudged down the street and caught the ferry downtown. Staring out the window as they hurtled by the stores, she tried to make her mind as blank as possible, blocking out all the hurtful images.

     "I hate my mother," she murmured. "Maybe I don't actually belong to her. Maybe I'm the daughter of someone else - like a shopkeeper - or a faerie - or a king!

     "Fat chance," she sighed. "I have as much chance of belonging to a king as I do of winning the lottery."

     She stepped off the ferry, crossed the street to the store directory (also known as the shop wizard) and flipped through, trying vainly to find her mother's chocolate for 100 NP - but no, there it was... Pretzel, Chocolate Coated - 500 NP.

     Sana's eyes strayed to the previous page. She glanced around quickly, as if afraid to have someone read her thoughts, and darted down the street towards her new destination.

     She paid for what she needed, played with it for a few moments, and gave the rest of the money to the shopkeeper in return for using his portable oven for awhile. Having wrapped it in brown paper, Sana walked home, checking over her shoulder every minute or two.

     She carefully opened the door, hoping against hope that Mum would be upstairs with her door shut.

     Luck was on her side. Mum's door was locked tight, and she could hear a soothing voice and an all-too-familiar "snotty" voice whimpering once in a while.

     Sana crept into her room, closed and locked the door carefully, and withdrew her stash of allowance from its hiding spot. Throwing clothes into her backpack, she stuffed it as full as it could possibly hold, grabbed another bag, and flitted down to the kitchen, where she filled the second bag with any kind of food she could lay her hands on.

     She cautiously placed the brown paper package on the kitchen table and tiptoed out the door, shutting it softly behind her.

     Then she positioned herself beneath the window, ready to run at a moment's notice.

     After a time, Mum came down the stairs with Cate in her arms, humming under her breath. Spotting the package on the table, she launched into her monologue: "About time she brought it back! Probably back in her room, sulking up a storm because I didn't give her more money for her own candy. Told her she could get one for a hundred, but no, she wants more! Good for nothing child, don't know why I keep her..."

     Cate reached for the pretzel, breaking off a large piece for herself. Handing the rest to Mum, they both opened their mouths wide.

     Sana sank underneath the windowsill and giggled noiselessly with all her might, as, like every other time, Mum screamed across the neighborhood.

     "Dung! SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

     The Xweetok leapt from beneath the window and ran down the street, oblivious to her mother's voice.

The End

 
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