A Complete Christmas: Part One
"And then he went to Meridell to seek his wise old grandmother,
but to no avail…"
Andrea crushed the piece of paper on which she
had been furiously writing, and tossed it into the waste paper bin, which housed
many other failed manuscripts. She did not seem to notice that the basket was
already full of balls of paper identical to the one she just thrown in, and
continued writing on a fresh piece.
"Gertrude was a young Meerca who loved playing
pranks on other Neopets…"
The Kau's face crumpled into an ugly snarl, and,
shaking her head with indignation, she flung the piece of paper into the bin
Andrea was angry with herself, for not being
able to churn out wondrous pieces of writing. It was more than just mere writer's
block. Every storyline that came to her head just did not seem to be good enough,
and even if it was good, her handicapped writing skills simply did not permit
a good piece.
She glanced sadly at the basketful of badly written
openings. Every ball of paper was identical, she realised, as she slowly opened
each one up. Every one was plain white, lined, and contained only one half-complete
Andrea was never a born writer. Indeed, never
in her entire life had she written a decent piece of work. Somehow she just
couldn't, even if she tried every single way to. It made her very mad, since
she liked to write, but simply could not. Some time ago she thought it was her
hooves' problem, and she thought it must be the way she gripped the pencil that
made her a bad writer, but attempts at a change of species failed, no matter
how she whined to her stingy owner, Harriet. Another time she was almost sure
it something to do with the way the light streamed in from her window. Yet everything
she did to cover the window up did not seem to help.
Andrea glanced out of the window as she was reminded
of it. Outside, the weather was turning cold, and autumn was picking up its
remnants as winter pressed forward. It was almost Christmas.
The cold, dark winter was what described Andrea's
emotions most fittingly then.
The despondent Kau picked up the latest issue
of the Neopian Times from her table. It was, as usual, packed with stories and
articles by various authors, and as she gazed at the name of each author, an
inexplicable envy rose within her. A few familiar names of her neighbours popped
up from time to time - "Hey, isn't that the Blumaroo who lives two blocks away?"
- but most of them were either completely new to her, or seasoned writers who
lived in secretive seclusion. In fact, Andrea had read so many issues of the
Times she could recite every writer that got published at least once. She should
indeed be crowned The Neopian Times' biggest fan.
Then why is it I can never write something
precious_katuch14, plushieowner, shadih_temporary…How
she wished she could be like them, to be able to pick up a pencil and just write
so fluently! It was her biggest dream to be able to, one day, pick up the Neopian
Times to see one of her stories inside. She yearned most to write the cover
story, with a stunning picture in all its glory, and though her owner always
taught her about humility, Andrea could not help but long to be able to write
something that will impress every Neopian who read it. Everyone would say her
name with reverence, and remember her as the greatest Neopian Times writer in
all Neopian history. Imagine - the trophy she could show off to her friends,
the joy of seeing one's name in the Times, the satisfaction of having one's
story published, the respect and admiration she would get from every Neopian
in ever corner of Neopia…it was all she wanted, to see her story published in
But how far and unreachable that dream was! It
was not within her abilities, and she felt this most acutely then.
She wanted it so badly, so badly that she could
do anything just to achieve it! Anything at all, she thought.
Andrea slumped down into the beanbag chair that
sat in the living room of her cosy Neohome. In her hooves were a notepad and
a pencil, just in case a sudden stroke of genius should come upon her.
But as usual, her mind was blank of any ideas
for a splendid story.
Before long, her owner, together with her sister
April, who was out shopping, came home. The both of them were trying extremely
hard to stifle giggles, and as they plonked down on the sofa, Andrea looked
at them with curious eyes.
"Can you believe it?" April, the feisty and bubbly
Pteri, flapped her wings excitedly. "We just met the editor of The Neopian Times,
and I managed to get her autograph!" She picked up a little scrap of paper from
inside her bag, and showed her sister the stylish scrawl that was the signature
of The Editor.
Andrea sighed. Just when she thought her sister
would give her some distractions from thinking about her inability, April had
to show up with the Editor's signature. It more than reminded the Kau of her
countless rejected stories.
April was a much better writer, for some reason,
and she had nothing of this sort to worry about. Somehow she was able to produce
wonderful fiction at the snap of her finger. For a while the Kau admired and
even adored her sister's amazing ability, but after a while the admiration faded
away, and jealousy ensued. Andrea felt it was not fair that while her sister
was an essay genius, she was terrible in this area, more so since it was her
area of interest! It was simply especially unjust.
As April danced around in the air narrating of
how they ended up seeing the Editor, Andrea's mind began to run wild with imagination.
She was never an attentive Kau, and always ended up daydreaming when someone
spoke to her for more than a few minutes. This time, however, she was not only
daydreaming. A plan was forming in her head…
"Hey, April," Andrea interrupted her sister in
mid-sentence. "Sorry. But I just thought of how you're such a good writer, April,
and how you like the Neopian Times. I was just thinking, how about you write
for the Neopian Times? That'll be so much fun, wouldn't it?"
April was quiet at first, thinking over the suggestion.
Part of her wanted to say, "Me? No way! The Neopian Times is not for unpolished
writers like me!" Yet another part of her was willing her beak to utter, "Yes,
of course! Why hadn't I thought of it before?"
She was hesitant, but at long last she agreed
to Andrea's proposal. After all, what was there to lose?
After three full days of toiling and mulling
over her work, and countless rounds of editing and re-writing, April was finally
satisfied enough with her story to submit it into the Times. In fact, she was
quite happy with herself. The story, in her opinion, had a great storyline,
and contained some of her best writing skills to date.
Just as she was about to leave the Neohome to
submit her story, Andrea stopped her at the door.
"I'm going out to run an errand for Harriet.
Why don't you let me submit it for you on the way?" Andrea asked sweetly. Without
even considering, April jumped at the chance to have someone do the job for
"Sure," April answered, and promptly placed the
piece of paper into her trusted sister's hooves. "Thanks."
"You're most welcome," Andrea replied, and was
out of the Neohome in seconds. As she walked towards The Neopian Times Publishing
building which was not too far from her house in Neopia Central, Andrea gripped
her sister's work more and more tightly, as forcefully as her hooves could hold
it. The piece of paper was beginning to crumple, but it did not mind the Kau
a single bit.
Soon, she arrived at the front of the building.
It was a pretty large two-storey building, with a majestic logo of the Times
above the front door. At the door was a smart-looking Cybunny - the Neopet to
submit the story to. Andrea stopped at the table, where piles and piles of works
were submitted. The Kau could only gaze in awe of the many submissions. She
could never understand how the Cybunny or the Editor could handle such quantities.
"Your work, please." The Cybunny jerked Andrea
out of her daydreaming. Fumbling, Andrea thrust the piece of paper into the
"Please fill out this submission form." The Cybunny
handed Andrea a form with a few questions for her to answer.
"Category of work," it demanded.
"Short stories," she wrote.
"Name of author,"
Andrea hesitated. This was it. She hardened her
heart, clenched her hooves, and, trying to look confident, she wrote the answer.
"Andrea the Kau."