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||You are on Week 474
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 Four Hundred Seventy Four Ends Friday, September 3
You can see the world from here, you know?
I've been living on the summit of Terror Mountain for so long that I can no longer tell you exactly how old I am or when I arrived. The peace is enthralling -- not a soul, not a pet or a peeping piece of existence enters my daily life. Everything belongs to me, and I belong to everything. I am a Blumaroo of the snow.
Time slows down when you live up here -- you see the little intricacies of life. I can spend hours watching a single snowflake fall from the top of my ears to the tip of my nose. Individuality has a whole new meaning when you can inspect every single aspect of your day for hours and hours. It's enchanting.
I see the workings of the world below, too. I see every meeting, every friendship, and every interaction. I could watch the expressions on other pet's faces forever -- that's how interesting it seems when you have endless time to watch. I see all the little lines like strings of Spyder's web connecting Neopets, binding friendship and pulling them closer.
Sometimes, I'll look down at the rest of the world and I'll only see fog. What's going on down there? Is there a war? Is it still there? It looks like a great giant blanket of cloud spreading from one horizon to the next. Some times I want to fly and land on it -- I imagine it would be like skating on cotton candy -- but my instincts tell me it's not the best idea.
I've crafted hundreds of tiny figurines out of ice, and I keep them all in a small cabinet made of snow. I've never seen any of these pets, instead I've dreamt of them: every night when I sleep I have vivid dreams of other places -- those places I watch so vigilantly from the cliffs. My world is white, and theirs is colour, so I sometimes wonder that if I was to try and climb back down, would I be capable of finding my way back to the world below? What would happen if some exploring climbed the cliffs to far as I had done so many years ago, and found my haven?
It was at this moment as I carefully inspected this thought that I heard voices from below the cliff -- someone was climbing up...
Editor's Note: This week's Storytelling beginning was written by Pump. We received so many great beginnings that user-written beginnings will continue for another month! Thanks for your entries, and please keep sending them!
Date: Aug 30th
...no-one had climbed to the top of my peak since the day I scaled it. That is why this moment was so strange, so foreign to me. It had been so long since I interacted with another pet that my mind instantly flew into overdrive; if they reached me, what would I say? Would they even notice me, a snow Blumaroo against the snow? What would they be like -- my figures or stranger yet?
For what felt like hours I stood still, listening to the echoing voices. It was something I had not heard for so long that I found a smile creeping onto my frozen face.
"Michago, slow down!" huffed the first voice over the wind. I can still remember exactly how the voice sounded -- shrill from excitement, somehow reminding me of flowers, which were something I hadn't seen in decades.
"Ullaya, why don't you just hurry up? We're almost at the top! Did you know it's been almost sixty years since someone last scaled Spyder Peak?" the second voice was stronger, more determined than the first. It was also masculine, reminding me more of firm trees than beautiful flowers.
"Only a hundred times, Michago! It's been more than a week since we started, and you remind me of what we're doing five times a day!"
"But we're really almost there now!"
With every moment that passed the voice grew stronger, the sounds of the wind fainter. After what seemed like an eternity I spotted them -- a green figure and a purple figure on the edge of the cliff, my home. One was a Kacheek, the other a Poogle -- pets I recognised from the world below and within my collection of ice figures.
I paused as they began to scan their surroundings. Would they spot me? As they drew closer a breath caught in my throat, for I'd begun to recognise them even more. The Poogle, in her fluffy brown overcoat, and the Kacheek in his black coat -- they were figures from my dreams.
I rushed to my igloo, to my snow cabinet of figurines. There, dead in the centre, were the ones who called themselves Michago and Ullaya. I had to know why they were here, and why they had strolled through my dreams...
Date: Aug 30th
My heart rate quickened, so much so I could feel the snow on my face tingling slightly from the heat my cheeks were radiating. I'm not sure why I was so extremely nervous. Perhaps because it had been such a long time since I'd even spoken to another living soul, which had not ended too well.
I nearly jumped when I heard the Poogle say, "What is that?"
Then the other, "It looks like a giant snowball."
"Actually, it's an igloo," I heard myself say, surprised at how relaxed my voice sounded. Certainly, I did not want to frighten them away before I had the chance to talk with them.
If I wasn't so focused on the blood pounding in my ears, I would have laughed at their shocked expressions... and it had been forever since I'd had a good laugh.
Suddenly I realised, I not only wanted to interrogate them about my dream, but I simply yearned to have the presence of those whom I had gazed upon down below, only able to observe and never interact.
"Please, don't be afraid," I said as kindly as I could, noticing how the one named Ullaya shuffled instinctively behind her companion as I approached. "My name is Seul. This is my home." I gestured to the entrance to my igloo. "You must be tired, would you like a warm cup of hot chocolate?"
Something in my smile must have reassured them, because I saw them exchange curious glances with small grins, and when they turned to face me, their demeanour relaxed significantly and Michago nodded.
"Um... sure, that would be very kind, thank you." He tugged his partner's hand, and the two slowly began to come inside.
"You live up here?" Ullaya asked, her confidence gaining as her initial reservations subsided.
"It's not so bad when you don't have to worry about the cold. It's actually quite peaceful up here." I said this almost defensively, detecting the note of incredulity in her voice.
I bade them to sit on my ice sofa, which they did rather reluctantly, and I steered the conversation in their direction.
"So you are hikers?" I asked nonchalantly.
"Explorers," Ullaya corrected absentmindedly as she glanced around. "We're looking for--"
If I had not been so attuned to their every word and movement, I might have missed Michago promptly putting his elbow into Ullaya's side, causing her to finish lamely, "--looking forward to the view of Neopia from up here."
She smiled sweetly.
"Where are you from?" I tried to ask, wanting to know every detail as to why these two particular pets had popped up in my subconscious.
Michago opened his mouth to respond, but Ullaya cut him off, asking for a second time that day, "What is that?"
I followed her pointing finger and nearly choked on my drink. In all my anxious haste meet them, I had forgotten to close my cabinet of figurines...
Date: Aug 31st
"That's nothing!" I sputtered. I hastily set down my cup and shut the door of my cabinet, wincing; the sound of the door being shut was deafening in the suddenly silent room.
I turned to face the two increasingly curious Neopets, standing in front of the cabinet in an attempt to hide it from view.
I so hoped that the old saying "Out of sight, out of mind" was true.
"If it's nothing," Ullaya said, sharing a knowing look with Michago that made my stomach twist into a tight knot, "why won't you show them to us?"
"It's..." I fumbled for an explanation that would appease them. "It's personal." I mentally cursed myself, wishing that I had thought of something better to say.
"Of course it is," Michago said, sharing another knowing look with Ullaya that made the knot in my stomach tighten. "But you can trust us. Right, Ullaya?"
Ullaya nodded, smiling in that sweet way of hers again.
I wondered if the old saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" was true.
"I don't feel comfortable showing you them, but I suppose that I could tell you about them..." I reasoned that omitting part of the truth wasn't the same as lying. "They're small figurines of Neopets that I crafted out of ice."
"Interesting," Michago said, smiling in a such a cold, calculating way that I inwardly shivered. "It's a hobby of yours?"
"...yes." I supposed that, in a way, it was. "There isn't much else to do up here." I mentally cursed myself again, wondering why I had to try to make a joke.
"No, I guess not," Michago agreed, chuckling despite the fact that my joke certainly wasn't funny. "Anything else that you do up here?"
"Not really." I shrugged, glancing out the one small window and noting that it was already nighttime. "I'm usually in bed by this time."
"I guess that we should get going," Ullaya said, standing up with a wistful sigh. "I only wish that we had somewhere as cozy as your place to stay in..."
"Why don't you spend the night here?" Despite my nagging suspicions, I still wanted to get to know them and figure out why they had appeared in my dreams.
"I don't know," Ullaya said, appearing to consider it. "We wouldn't want to bother you. Right, Michago?"
Michago shook his head, smiling in that calculating way of his.
"You wouldn't bother me."
"If you insist."
"I do insist."
After that was settled, I set up a makeshift bed for Michago and Ullaya on the two sofas in the living room, bid them goodnight, and went to my bedroom. (It wasn't so much a bedroom as a small area separated from the living areas by a fading, fraying curtain, but I was content with that.) I settled into my bed and promptly drifted to sleep.
I soon woke again to the sound of a hushed conversation, but I decided to stay in bed and listen.
"Do you think that he's sleeping yet?"
"He should be, but we'll still have to be quiet."
"Right. Are you sure that you want to do this?"
"Yeah. It's the only way. He'd never willingly give them to us."
I heard the telltale rustles of someone moving about and of the hinges on my cabinet's door squeaking.
"How many do you think we should take?"
"As many as we can fit into our bag without him noticing that they're a lot bigger."
I heard more rustles, accompanied by clinks, and I decided that I had to get out of bed and stop them from stealing my precious ice figurines despite my fear of confrontations.
"Stop!" I cried. I suddenly burst out of my bedroom and into the living room, accidentally causing the curtain separating the two areas to fall to the floor.
Michago had been selecting ice figurines from my cabinet and passing them to Ullaya, who had been wrapping them in tissue paper and placing them inside of a non-descript bag. But they both froze, mid-pass.
"Run!" I wasn't certain of who shouted it, but they both sprang into action, Michago shoving the ice figurine into Ullaya's paw and Ullaya dropping it into the bag.
"Stop!" I cried again. They both ignored me, sprinting out the door with my most precious possessions...
Date: Aug 31st
However, they did not account for the snow slowing them down. They trudged as quickly as they could through the sloshy snow; their great big boots weighing them down. I bounded through the snow easily, catching up to them in a few seconds.
I snatched the bag from the unsuspecting Ullaya and hopped back a few feet as they whirled around. Despite everything, I still wanted to know who they were. They clearly came here for my ice figurines. Would all the other pets whose sculptures I had made also try to steal from me?
"Who are you?" I asked, making sure to keep a safe distance from the two pets.
Ullaya's face was apologetic, but Michago only showed anger at being caught.
"Why would we tell you? Why do you care?" the Kacheek spat at me.
"Why do I care? Because you climbed the hardest mountain peak in all of Neopia just to steal from me. How did you know I was here? How did you know about my figurines, and why do you care about them?"
Both pets showed surprise. It was Ullaya who spoke up. "Do you... do you not know what those are?"
"Of course I do!" I said, annoyed. "I was the one who made them. They're sculptures of pets I've seen in my dreams."
"Right, but what do you see in your dreams?" Michago prompted.
The question caught me off-guard. "I--I don't really know," I confessed. "I'm so used to the whiteness of my world that I focus on the colours when I dream. I remember seeing you both, scaling some volcano. But I didn't really pay attention to what you were doing that much. I was focusing on the determination in your faces, the crustiness of the ground beneath you, the green of the plants around you."
Michago turned to Ullaya. "He saw us climbing at Mystey Island. That's interesting." He turned back to me. "Those figurines are all of real pets."
I sighed in exasperation. "I know that!"
Michago continued, ignoring my interruption. "You only see certain pets, though. All the pets you've seen are no coincidence." Suddenly, Michago seemed to switch tracks. "Whom was the last pet you interacted with?"
I froze. There was no way he could have known. How on Neopia was this Kacheek supposed to know what had happened on that day... the day that made me live up here?
My reaction must have been all they needed. "The rumours are true," Ullaya breathed...
Date: Sep 1st
I stood there for a long time, wondering what to say.
"Why did you want to steal them?" I finally sputtered out.
"Why? Why? Who wouldn't? The only reason you've been up here alone for so long is because no one dared to climb up here after you and figure out what you're doing," Michago answered. "We need you. We need these figurines."
I gave the two a disbelieving stare. No one could need my figurines. Not more than I did.
Ullaya started to elaborate. "Seul, we're sorry. We really are. It's just... we thought stealing them was the only way we could get them. We have to know how they work, how you do it. Our friend. He's a Wocky. He's been sick for a while, and the hospital can't figure out what's wrong with him. They've tried everything. Everything except your special brand of magic." She smiled sweetly, and I didn't know whether or not I could believe her.
"Magic?" I scoffed. There was nothing magical about my figurines. No, I just dreamed of Neopians narrowly escaping from disaster and carved their images.
"They've taken him to the Healing Springs twice. The water faeries there can't figure it out. Just let us take these to him," the Poogle begged. "We'll take care of them. I promise. And bring them straight back, if that's what it takes."
"No." I stood in the snow and rifled through the bag of figurines. Ullaya and Michago's were right there on top. Mystery Island. The volcano. In my dream, nothing extraordinary happened, but the following morning the Times made a passing mention that the mountain nearly erupted. With Ullaya and Michago struggling to write their names in the tablet at the top with the bravest. I woke up, drenched in sweat, and hurriedly carved their figures out of the nearest bit of ice I could find. "No. Taking him those won't do him any good."
The volcano should have erupted, but it didn't.
"You saved us, Seul. It had to be for a reason. What happened with Angie wasn't your fault. You know that, right?" Ullaya pleaded.
"Don't go there," I warned. "You don't know what happened. No one does."
"It was an accident too. That's all I need to know. No one ever blamed you. Seul, no one even knew what you could do," Michago piped up. He eyed the bag of figurines clutched in my hand, and I took a step back, afraid that he would lunge for them.
"No. You don't understand. I dreamed about what happened, just like I dreamed about you two on the side of the Mystery Island volcano. I woke up, and I made a figurine, just like these only of glass instead. I knew the dream wouldn't come true anymore. But do you know what happened next?"
"The magic didn't work?" they both chimed in at once.
"It isn't magic!" I protested more loudly than I intended to and my voice carried down the side of Terror Mountain. I covered my mouth with a paw. I stood like that for a long time, dreaming up the courage to tell these two almost-strangers and almost-thieves what I hadn't told anyone, ever.
"No," I started, "I went to show her the figurine and tell her that everything would be okay, that no matter what she thought was about to happen, it wouldn't happen. I was going to tell her that faeries would be protecting her, that they told me so in a dream. But, on the way there, I dropped it..."
Date: Sep 1st
Right there, I started choking up. I almost couldn't finish my story. But the truth, it was there. No matter how hard I tried, it was always there, bottled up inside. Like the volcano, my feelings would eventually explode.
"I-I of course didn't mean too. She was my best friend. She was like me; some might say gifted, but I say cursed. She was my counterpart. I saw what happened before the disaster, she saw what would happen after. It was so much worse for her. Imagine, seeing all the horrible things that could happen in the world. She was never too bothered by it. Angie knew..." I paused again. Saying her name, after all those years was so, so difficult.
"Angie knew I could stop her dreams from coming true. She had such faith in me. Then, she saw her own fate. She was freaking out. I don't know why she believed that vision was so different from all the others. As soon as I had my dream about her, I made the figurine. She still wouldn't believe me, so I was going to tell her about the faerie dream, and show her the figurine. I was so preoccupied with my thoughts, I stumbled on a rock."
My mind was so far away. I barely heard my voice telling these strangers my biggest secret. I could clearly see it; the Draik figurine sparkling in my hand. I had made this one from special glass, one that reflected every colour known and unknown. It was supposed to be the most durable. I had only made figurines from glass before, so I dared not made it from something like wood.
"It was so perfect. It was as if someone had taken a picture of her and made it into a glass sculpture. The wings were notched at the tip, and one of her eyes was slightly larger than the other. And then... in a single instant, it was there no more. The perfect replica, mini-Angie, was gone. In it's place was thousands of pieces of shattered glass -- and shattered hope. My heart stopped for an instant, and then I was running. I was running, and running, until I burst through her door."
I couldn't go on. It was just too painful. The way she was sitting there, glassy-eyed on the couch. Feeling her cold skin, beneath my paws. My shouts echoing in my ears, with no response. How her frail body just shook with no resistance.
"I-I got no response. It was as though she had replaced the figurine; she became a lifeless statue. And it's all my fault."
My body flopped to the ground. The sack of figurines fell beside me. Neither of the pets even made a movement toward it. I looked up at them through watery eyes.
"What am I supposed to do? What would stealing my figurines do?"
It was Ullaya who spoke up. "We just thought if your figurines had saved others, they could come together to save our friend."
"And do what?" My voice was full of bitterness. "You expected to climb down this entire mountain without breaking the figurines? And then they would just magically heal your friend? Life isn't full of magic. Life is full of sadness, and unhappy endings. I keep saving Neopets by making my ice replicas, and all they do is try to steal from me. I came up here for seclusion, but misery follows me..."
Date: Sep 2nd
"No!" Ullaya protested. "Life is full of magic and friendship and great things, but only if you have the open heart to be able to see and experience those things!"
I sobbed uncontrollably, not sure what to do or say, and anyway unable to speak. I felt a hand on my shoulder -- one that was trying to comfort me. "It's okay. I promise we'll bring them back safely. Besides, that was the past. If you had a chance to save somebody, to fix this, wouldn't you try? Isn't that what you're obligated to do?" Michago asked.
Michago stood me back on my feet, making sure I would stand before letting go. It was like a war going on inside my head. Part of me really just wanted to snatch the figurines from the bag, and send Ullaya and Michago back down Terror Mountain. But the other part understood what Michago had said and wanted to help. I knew I had to do the right thing -- if only I knew what that was.
Ullaya shuffled forward, extending her arm to try and take that sack I had abandoned on the ground. I didn't try to stop her, either. "Seul," she began. "We promise -- we really do -- that we will protect those figurines with our lives. If you'll just let us try. We can save our friend!"
"What if it's all in vain? Huh? What will you do then?" My voice rose to an exasperated shout.
Ullaya shrank back, but Michago stepped up in defiance. "Why are you so against us even trying? Why? You don't think it's a worthy enough task for your precious figurines?"
I sighed and began to explain my best through the tears that were beginning to return. "When I saw Angie that way -- when I saw that I had failed -- you can't imagine how I felt. What if you fail? I just don't... I don't want you to know what that feels like."
Michago's stance changed, and he looked at me with such a confused and sorry expression. "I-I had no idea... I'm so, so sorry."
Ullaya piped up. "But you have to let us try! The longer we stay here, the less time we have, come on, Michago!"
Michago turned and herded Ullaya to the edge of the mountain. Just as they were about to go, I spoke up, against my own will.
"Wait. I'm going with you..."
Date: Sep 2nd
And yet, even as I said that, I felt as though I had a made a terrible mistake. We began to descend the peak together, but the only thing on my mind was failure. It was painfully drilling through my stomach. Ullaya seemed so confident that my figurines could help their friend; she would be crushed if it didn't work, though.
Slowly my home disappeared, and with each step it would be harder for me to turn around. I didn't know how I could save their friend; making figurines after dreams had always come naturally. I'd never dreamed of whoever this sick pet was, however, and there was no figurine of him or her.
We were almost off the cliff and could I start to make out houses. Failure seemed unavoidable; even worse, I could be blamed for not being able to save this pet.
"I can't let this happen!" I cried out in pain.
I expected to find Ullaya and Michago surprised by my outburst. Instead, I woke up in my bed. That's when I realised that everything that had happened had been a dream -- it had been real, just like all of my other prophetic visions. I don't know what Angie would have seen about the result, but I decided that I did not want to know.
I went outside and found a piece of ice, which I began to sculpt into a figurine. I worked intensely for hours, shaping the ice to match my mental image. Eventually I was holding a replica of myself. I hoped that this would solve my disaster as I had helped so many others before.
Apparently I was saved, as I never met Ullaya, Michago, or anyone else. I thought about what this could mean. Had I saved their friend after all, and therefore they hadn't needed to search me out? Or rather, had I just prevented them from finding me?
I didn't need an answer; it would be too painful to realise that I had not been able to save their friend. I would continue living up here away from everyone forever. I would never have to face failure again.
Date: Sep 3rd
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