Thursday, October 22, 2015

Spirit Stories - Blaze - Part 1

Hey jammers!  Tallstar107 here, and I am so so so so so so excited to be bringing a new weekly topic to AJS!
Writing stories has always been a passion of mine, and now I have the wonderful opportunity of writing these stories for all of you!  As you've probably noticed, school has taken its toll on me and I haven't had the opportunity to post in a while, besides yesterday.  I think I will be taking a break from daily posts, only stepping in if there isn't a post later in the day, and instead focus on Spirit Stories.  
Spirit Stories, as you've probably already guessed, are stories based in Animal Jam that I will write in segments to form a series.  I will be posting them every other Thursday, on the no-update days.  And, you ask, how can you get in on the action?  I have a cute li'l form for that (thank you Snowy ^-^).  You can create your own character to appear in the stories!  The first couple of stories in this series, Blaze, will be centered on my character, Lis, but I hope to add in others soon!  Can't wait to see all of them :P
I know what you're thinking: "Stop rambling, Tallstar!!! Get started!"
(Okay, okay, I'm just super pumped for this.)
So, let's go!

            Cough, cough. Cough, cough.
            The sound seemed to echo through Lis’ dark den as she sat up in bed, her throat aching for air.
            Cough, cough.
            It didn’t bother Lis anymore. There was nothing but a bleak emptiness. She was used to these midnight awakenings.
            Lis swallowed, hard, and concentrated as much as she could. The coughs ceased. She sighed.
            Just one more time. This might be it. Although those words were ones Lis couldn’t bring herself to believe anymore, she slid herself out of the covers and trotted over to the corner of her den.
            In the corner sat a half-finished painting of what slightly resembled a lily. Lis bent down and used her mouth to unlatch a wooden casket. Nudging it open with her head, Lis grabbed her paintbrushes and laid them in a pile next to the canvas.
            Lis rubbed her hoof against the brush, missing its feathery feel. She could think back to a time when she could use her paints and brushes as often as she wanted. She could think back to a time when she could paint in the open, without worrying that someone would tell her to stop. But that would be too painful.
            Hardly daring to hope, Lis held her paintbrush with her mouth, raised her head, and added a few new strokes to the painting. She couldn’t help but let contentment settle inside her. She missed the feel of the paintbrush in her mouth, the rhythm of the art.
            And now, the test. A knot of tension in her stomach, Lis opened her mouth and breathed in deeply.
            Her mouth filled with chemicals, toxins.
            She couldn’t breath.
            Cough, cough.
            Growling in frustration, Lis turned around, panting still. Facing the mirror, she wanted to throw something at the weak reflection in front of her.
            An almost unearthly-looking deer peered back at her. Lis’ light gray fur seemed to glow in the moonlight. Her blue eyes pulsed. But on top of all that, her eyes were swollen and red from coughing, her face tired, her back hunched over.
            Lis wanted to wail to the sky. Why can’t things be different?

*         *         *

            Lis didn’t bother knocking as she jabbed the key into the door. Swinging it open, she glanced up as her mother walked down the stairs.
            “Hey,” Lis said as she swept into the kitchen, their morning routine well established. Reaching under the counter, she brought out a small pan and set it down as her mother trotted in.
            Anemone didn’t look very much like her, with her dark brown fur and light swirls. The one thing they had in common were their eyes. Her mother had blue eyes as well. Still, they didn’t have the same glow that Lis’ did.
            “How are you?” Lis was always uncomfortable when someone asked her that question. Sure, it was a pretty common greeting. But if anyone knew her, then it would be accompanied by a sympathetic look in the eyes, as Anemone had now.
            “I’m fi-” Lis was interrupted by a coughing fit and she hunched over.
            “Oh, sweetie, wait one second. I’ll get you some water.” Anemone hurried over to the table, then sighed. “The cups are in the basement. I’ll be right back.”
            “Don’t- don’t worry about it. I’ll get them, “ Lis said, wheezing, as she walked down the hall and down the stairs to the basement.
            Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, thought Lis. The dust is making my asthma worse. She gazed around the room, trying to figure out where the glasses might be, when a glint of blue caught her eye. Looking over, a beautiful opal necklace was peeking out a box.
            Curious, Lis trotted over the box and lifted the necklace out. Words engraved on one of the stones caught her eye.
            ‘For Lis’.
            Shocked, Lis read it again. No, there was no mistaking it.
            Had Anemone been hiding this for her? Or had her mother been planning to give it to her later?
            “Mom?” Lis said as she ascended the stairs.
            “Hmm?” Anemone said from the kitchen as Lis entered. “Here, let me fill up the cup.”
            Lis blushed. She had altogether forgotten her reason for heading downstairs. “Oh, um, I’m fine now. But I did find this.” She held up the opal necklace. Perhaps it was her imagination, but Anemone’s eyes seemed to widen a bit.
            “Oh, that? That’s was just a gift from one of my friends.” Anemone laughed, her voice a bit higher-pitched than usual.
            Lis wasn’t sure why, but this made her suspicious. Perhaps it was her mother’s too-high voice, or her too-wide eyes.
            Then it hit her: Anemone didn’t have friends.
            At least, none that Lis had ever met. Nor had she ever met any family. She had long ago learned to stop asking questions about her mother’s relatives.
            Lis looked down and rubbed the stone with her hoof before flipping it over.
            “‘From Pitre’”.
            There was a shatter and looked up to see that Anemone had dropped the plate she had been holding. She was staring at her, distressed.
            “Oh,” Anemone said, just noticing the plate. “Clumsy me.” Still distracted, she swept the shards into a towel. “So,” she said all-too-brightly. “How about some breakfast?”
            “My father wanted me to have this?” Lis asked under her breath.
            “You know what? I’m actually a bit tired. I think you’d better go, Lis.”
            Before she could protest, Lis was standing outside with a door in her face, an opal necklace in her mouth, and no answers to her questions.

*         *         *

            It’s possible.
            The thought rang through Lis’ head every day, less and less convincing every time.
            Lis strolled through the farmers’ market in Jamaa Township, craning her neck to see what each stall was selling.
            Baked goods, jewelry, fabric. No miraculous cure for her asthma.
            Sighing, Lis continued pushing her way through the crowd, feeling a cold spot where the opal necklace met her neck.
            “Excuse me!”
            Lis turned around to see who had a spoken. A small white rabbit was standing at the edge of the road, beckoning to her. She looked behind her, wondering whether he was looking at someone else. No, it was just her. Brow furrowed, she trotted over to where he stood.
            “Uh, I don’t mean to be rude, but, uh, do I know you?”
            The rabbit shook his head.
            Lis waited for him to say more.
            The rabbit sighed. “Liza couldn’t have been any more specific,” he muttered to himself.
            “Liza? Like, the alpha?”
            He ignored her question. “Gosh, this is hard to explain. So, uh, Lis, is it?”
            “How do you know my name?”
            He ignored her. Again. “Apparently, the phantoms are going to try to take over Jamaa.”
            “What?” Lis gasped. How does he know this? Why is he telling me?
            “You’re destined to save Jamaa from them.”
            “I can’t tell you any more. Honestly, I would if I knew. I just know that-”
            “You’re crazy!”
            Neither spoke for a moment. Lis’ labored breathing filled the silence, before she spun around and hurried away into the crowd, an unknown emotion - something like fear - coursing through her veins.
            “Wait!” His face was twisted with rage. “You can’t just turn your back on your land!”
            Pawsteps pattered right behind her and Lis ran faster. It was difficult with the crowd in her way, and she crouched down in the middle of the pathway, between two clumps of animals.
            Lis’ heart pounded in her chest as the white rabbit appeared. He looked around, bewildered and angry. She swallowed hard to keep from wheezing. He circled around, looking everywhere. She froze as he turned towards her. He was looking at the clump of animals to her right. He was looking right at her. She tensed, ready to run, but then he was looking at the clump of animals to her left. A little longer and turned around, dejected, and walked back the way he had come.
            Lis waited until he had gone before she ran home as fast as she could without collapsing, never looking back.

*         *         *

            Panting on her bed, Lis coughed. And coughed. And coughed.
            In the mirror stood, once more, the weak, hunched over image of herself.
            She was sick of this. Of her asthma. Of everything. With a sudden surge of strength, she lept up and knocked over the mirror, shattering it. For a moment, she was satisfied.
            With a sharp yelp, she picked up her hoof. A shard of the mirror had lodged itself in her hoof. Delicately, she brought it out with her mouth and laid it on the floor. There were words engraved on it.
            That mirror had been all she had left of her dead sister. When she found herself thinking of how unfair life was, she thought of how the fire that had given her asthma - only asthma - had killed her younger sister.
            Sobbing, coughs still racking her body, Lis sank back onto her bed. I can’t be Jamaa’s only hope. I just can’t be. I can’t live up to that.
            You can’t just turn your back on your land! The rabbit’s words rang through her ears.  Yes. Yes, I can.
            Wiping her eyes, she clenched her jaw resolutely. Jamaa will just have to last without me, she decided. Besides, the phantoms have tried to invade Jamaa dozens of times. What makes this time any different?

So, there you go!  If you were confused or didn't feel like reading the whole thing (don't blame ya), please ask questions!  Maybe you'll ask question I hadn't thought about, which will help me for the next one!  Also, feel free to point out plot holes, and give theories (If you give theories, please say whether or not I can steal borrow them!).  Thanks guys!

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