What Makes a Family: Part Three
"Come on, Al," Pup whispered to me.
"We shouldn't be doing this," I whispered back. "Andy went to bed already."
Pup snorted. "She doesn't go to bed this early. She'll try, but she gets restless. She'll be writing in her room. Now come on. You have to see this."
As Pup and I crept through the house, everything around us was dark. We were in the main hallway, instead of turning right to go to the kitchen, she turned left. I followed her, uncertain of what was happening. Pup stopped in front of the door.
"You are about to see Mom's most precious room." She faced me. "This room took her seven years to make. Ready?"
I nodded. I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. As Pup opened the door, the breath I took was taken away as I stared in awe in the room. Slowly, we made our way in, careful not to bump anything. The small room was colored in a deep oak; walls and floor. There was a matching desk, but that wasn't the reason I held my breath. The walls were decorated, from the ceiling to the middle of the wall, with windows. Stained glass, shutters, fogged... you name it! They were all delicately placed and spaced in between each other. Pup turned on the lights, and each window came to life with their own color and story.
"Do you like it?" I spun around to see Andy. She was wearing a light blue shirt and pants, and white slippers.
"It's so pretty," I said. "I'm afraid to enter the room; I don't want to break anything."
"You won't," she said, scratching my head.
"Mom, were you asleep or working?" Pup asked.
"A little bit of both." She yawned. "I fell asleep on my desk."
All three of us laughed.
"Go on to bed, you two. Especially you, Al; you have a big day tomorrow."
"Wait... I do?" It took me a second. "Oh yeah."
"See you tomorrow, Al. G'night."
"Night, my little Princess." Andy kissed the top of Pup's head as she walked out. I followed them out of the room, and headed into my room.
It wasn't anything too special; it had a bed with sheets on it, a desk with a lamp, and the Roberta Window that Mom bought me.
Mom... did I just say Mom?
I shook my head, and tried to relax on my bed. I turned out my light, and got under the covers. As I tried to relax, my mind refused to stay still. Off and on, my mind was juggling the possibilities of what would happen if I stayed with this family. I turned a couple times, and sat up, turning on the light again. I climbed out of bed, and sat at the little desk that was in my room. In front of me was a small notebook and a few pens. Grabbing one of them, I began to write.
The world is a...
I instantly crossed out what I had; I didn't want to sound like a little Emote. I rolled my neck, and started writing again.
There is one thing that I don't understand; why people don't like me I can't seem to find a family to call my own.
Once again, I was not happy with what I scribbled down. Instead of crossing out the entire thing, I ended up tearing the page out of the notebook. Through the night, I tore out papers from that notebook. Putting your feelings on paper is really weird; it looks like dung when you read it. It took me almost the entire notebook to write out my feelings, but I managed to get something down that I felt proud of. Holding the book closer to the light, I read what I had written.
Man, people make this look easy; how can they write what they feel and make it look awesome and epic? This is really not easy. I probably killed a tree or two just scribbling in paper this notebook. I tried different forms, too: poetry, a letter... but nothing seemed to look good. So, here goes nothing.
Dragon – She's really nice. A fun girl to be around. She likes to fly in the air and take us her sisters on flights.
Sixey – When it comes to self-control, this is the Wocky to turn to. I've watched her practice her fighting and defense from the Training School.
Pup – Although a little wild at times, she has helped me find the color I look good in. Who know that I looked good in brown?
Mommy Andy -
That's all I wrote; nothing too awesome. I liked what I wrote, but the one thing that was bugging me was that I kept referring to everyone as my family... I almost threw that paper in the trashcan, but looked at it again. I watched the ink blur as tears filled my eyes.
"Al," Andy whispered to me. She wrapped her arms around me. "What's wrong? Why are you still up?"
I turned to her, and she wiped my tears away from my face. I blinked a few times.
"You called Pup your Princess." I spoke lightly.
"Yes," Andy agreed.
"What is everyone else?"
"Pup the Princess, Dragon the Duchess, and Sixey the Warrior."
Andy smiled. "Yes, she is. Why?"
"Do I get a nickname?"
Silence. Andy closed her eyes, thinking. She opened them again after a few minutes. "Well, what do you want to be called?"
"Al the Conqueror."
She cocked an eyebrow. "Conquer? Of what?"
"So, is that your decision?"
I nodded. Andy held me, rubbing her hands through my fur. I hugged her back, and we stayed that way for a little while.
"Get some sleep now," she said after we parted.
"Do you have a nickname?" I asked.
"Mommy or Mom; depending on who wants me and how much trouble they are in."
She smiled at this. "Go to bed, Conqueror."
It has been about a week since I decided to live with my new family. And I have to say that it is a choice that I do not regret. When it was announced I was staying, Sixey hugged me first. Eventually, a group hug was declared between the children of the family. The first week was quite an adventure for me; I started Neoschool yesterday. I like my teachers a lot. Mom picks me up from school on the way home from the market (or wherever she was at the time).
"What's wrong with Mom?" I asked quietly.
Mom had picked me up from school today. My sisters were with her. For some reason, she seemed down or sad.
"She's not happy," Dragon answered. "She completed a story she was working on for a year, and the Altadorian Press isn't interested in it."
"What's wrong with them?"
Pup laughed softly. "They don't like her style of writing. They say there is not enough action in it. Her writing mainly reflects what life is usually like."
"With a dose of adventure," Sixey added.
"Why doesn't she try for the NT?" I asked.
Dragon shook her head.
We got back to the house, and the first thing everyone does is work on their homework on the kitchen table and have snack time. If we were working on a big assignment, we were allowed to go into our own room to work. I set my stuff down, and showed Mom that I had no homework. She signed my Plan Book, and went into the kitchen to grab the bowl of apples and bananas. While she was distracted, I darted off into her room.
I made a straight shot to her desk and stared at the blank page. I cracked my fingers like a pianist would before playing a big song, and started writing away. I probably slaved away at the desk for a half hour before Mom came in.
"What are you working on?" she asked me.
"Well, I was going to write a story," I said lamely, "But all I could think of was an awesome title." She looked at the papers. I smiled proudly as she read my title. She looked at me. "Tell me what you had in mind."
For the next few days (when I didn't have homework), Mom and I worked together, building the plot of the story idea that I had. After we got finished, we let the other three read it. After we got the stamp of approval from all three of them, Mom and I found an envelope, and placed the final copy of the story in it. We went to the post office, and Neomailed the story to the Neopian Times.
"What do we do now?" I asked Mom as we made our way back home.
"Well, we wait," she answered. "We have to wait and see if they accept my story."
"They will; if the title doesn't work, then the first sentence will."
The first lines of the story ran through my head as we made our way home: All around me, the sounds of sorrow echoed off the empty walls as water would in a cave...