It's Ok To Not Love
Eon strode along the hallway of his school, chin up, smiling. When a large Lupe bumped into him, he didn’t say anything, but just kept on walking. The young Plushie Bori clenched his books tightly, and hoped that the Lupe that he had bumped into wasn’t injured or anything--that would just ruin his day.
“Hi, Marrisa!” he called to a Purple Eyrie that he hardly knew. Eon waved, and the Eyrie gave him a strange look, and walked on. The little Bori didn’t care, though, because he liked brightening people’s days, even if they didn’t recognize it at first.
“Hey loser, get out of our way!” a Red Grarrl snarled at him, and his cronies laughed. Eon just bit his lip and smiled up tentatively, until he found himself flat on his plushie bottom. “What a dipwad!” The Grarrl laughed as he walked away. Eon rubbed his back, and got back up. At least the bully had gotten rid of the ache that had been there all day long. Besides, he was probably in a bad mood anyways. It wasn’t his fault that he was a little grumpy that day.
“Hey, Eon!” Katie, Eon’s best friend, slid up next to him in the hallway. She was a Christmas Zafara, and very... excitable.
“Hey, Katie!” Eon chorused back, grinning. He had known Katie since the second grade, when he had accidentally spilled chocolate milk down her shirt at lunchtime, when he had been shoved by another kid. “What are we doing in geography today?”
“I dunno, I think Mrs. Wimble said something about mapping out Krawk Island?” She shrugged, stopping for a second to take a sip out of the water fountain. Eon waited for her, and once again noticed how short he was. Katie was only about four eleven, and yet the Plushie Bori was a good two heads shorter than she was. He didn’t mind, because being short had its advantages--like slipping by opponents in the Altador Cup games they played in gym.
“Good! I like mapping things!” he said lightheartedly, tail already quivering with excitement.
“You like everything, Eon,” Katie said, and then sighed dramatically. “If someone threw you in a dumpster and dropped a load of Mortogs on your head, you would just thank them for showing you a new experience.”
“I would not-” Eon protested, and then stopped himself. Yeah... he would. “Well... what’s the matter with being nice, anyway, Katie?” A Maraquan Pteri swam by in a plastic tube set at head height filled with water, and Eon waved almost unconsciously.
“There’s nothing wrong with being nice, Eon,” Katie replied, stepping in front of him. “But there is a line at nice, and... freaky nice. Sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.” She smiled sheepishly, and trotted off to talk with another friend about homework that was due two days ago.
Eon bit his lip--he wasn’t too nice, was he? There wasn’t such a thing! Was there? No! Nothing was wrong with being nice! And he stood up for himself all the time! Like when his sister Rose took the last of his favorite cereal just to make him mad... no, he had let her have it... or when his other sister Lorkine deliberately took an hour in the bathroom... wait, he hadn’t said anything there either. But when the bully had just shoved him down--nope.
“Maybe I am too nice,” Eon whispered to himself, heading into class. “I never knew anything was wrong with that...”
“I’m taking the last doughnutfruit!” Lorkine squealed, reaching across the entire dining table, and swatting aside Eon’s already reaching hand. He smiled at her, and reached back. Wait, a sudden thought occurred to him, that’s exactly what Katie means...
“That’s ok, Lor,” Eon said nicely to his Faerie Xweetok sister, before his mind could think of another answer. It was almost instinct by now.
“Did you get bullied today at school?” Rose, his other Faerie Xweetok sister, and twin to Lorkine, asked while she was chewing on a Blumaroo Steak.
“I only got pushed down three times,” Eon said meekly, looking at his sister with a little hope in his eye. “It’s going down--I’m not getting bullied nearly as much.”
“Well, maybe if you actually did something for once, instead of just taking it, and thanking the bully no less...” Lorkine and Rose were both about twenty years old, and had watched their little nine year old brother get hounded all of his life.
I try! Why don’t you help me! Eon thought furiously in his mind, all the while smiling sweetly at his siblings. “It's fine, Lor. It really is.” No! No it’s NOT fine! I want to be able to stand up for myself! Again, his mind told a completely different story than what came out of his mouth, and Eon just couldn’t bring himself to actually say it out loud.
“No, Eon. It is not fine,” Rose said suddenly. She put down her food and looked at the little Bori. “You have to learn to be assertive! You can’t go along all day with just a smile on your face! Don’t you feel any emotion but happiness and gratefulness? Anything at all?!”
Eon froze. The bully problem was just a stem off of his real one--the fact that he couldn’t bear to be mean or discomforting to anyone.
“I-I...” Yes. Yes, he did feel things. He felt them. He felt sorrow, and loss, and hatred, pain and dread. Guilt, animosity, hopefulness. He felt them, but he just couldn’t express them! “I-I have to go get some fresh air,” Eon said suddenly, standing up. Before his sisters could do anything, he was out the door and running into the Haunted Woods, where they lived in their small cottage. He ran blindly, tears stinging down his face. His sisters didn’t understand anything--nothing at all! They didn’t know what it was like to constantly want to be nice to everyone... to have it be physically impossible to express any other emotion to anyone but himself!
Eon stopped running after he could no longer hear his sisters’ calls for him, and sat down on an old, rotten log. He his face in his hands, and cried silently. What would he do now? He couldn’t go back home; he had to prove something to his sisters.
Wait a second.
A sudden idea formed in the Plushie Bori’s mind, and he swallowed. Yes, yes, it would work. He would show his family. He would show Katie and all the kids at school.
He would be bad.
A twig snapped not ten feet from Eon. He looked up sharply, eyes red rimmed. A shadow moved in the trees, which were barely visible in the dark night of the Woods.
“H-hello?” he called nervously, getting up. “I-is anybody there?”
The shadow flitted in the corner of his eye, and Eon swung around to see it; but it was gone.
“Show yourself!” he called out, swallowing hard. He was scared--the Haunted Woods was a dangerous place for anyone to be in, let alone a nine year old Plushie...
“There is no need for alarm...” a slick, oily voice soothed, stepping out of the shadows. Its owner was a tall, gangly Shadow Ruki dressed in once was an elegant three piece suit, but what were now just shreds and rags hanging over his body. “I am here... and you can trust me.”
“W-who a-are you?” Eon’s breath caught in fear; he had to get home, right now.
A small voice in his mind said firmly, pushing him away from his house. If he wanted to prove something to his family, he couldn’t run away at the first sign of danger. He had to stay and see what the Ruki wanted.
“I am Dr. Svial, owner of this land, and master of the magicks... less known to the population of Neopia,” Dr. Svial answered smoothly, taking a step forward. “Are you lost, little one?” An evil smile spread itself on Svial’s face. He reached out a clawed hand...”Come with me--you look cold.”
Eon took one last look back at the direction of his home, and set his jaw.
He took Dr. Svial’s hand.
Dr. Svial’s house was a looming, dangerous, leaning tower that rose up into the air for what seemed like forever. It was covered with black, moldy shingles, and the inside was no better. All the furniture was rotting, and the hearth looked like there hadn’t been a fire there for months. Eon sat on the couch, taking in his surroundings, while Svial made tea in the kitchen.
“Y-you said you where a master of magick?” he called meekly into the kitchen. It took all of his nerves to do so, and he almost needed to change his pants when he asked the question.
“Yes!” Svial called, sounding delighted. His voice was slimy, though, and Eon didn’t quite trust it. “As a matter of fact, I dabble in the art of animation magick...” His voice faded off, as if inviting Eon to ask more.
“What?” he squeaked, becoming a little interested. What was animation magick?
“Animation magick,” Dr. Svial began, walking into the room with a steaming pot of tea, “is the art of bringing a certain form of life, or consciousness, into objects that would not normally have them. For example...” The Ruki’s eyes darted over to a broken coffee table, and his pupils grew unnaturally large for a second. A moment later, the coffee table stretched its legs, and started moving around, bumping into several things, knocking them over. Another flick of the Doctor’s eyes, and it froze again.
“Whoa...” Eon muttered, amazed. A little warning sign was going off in the back of his head, but he didn’t care. He wanted to learn this magick.
He had something to prove.
“Can you teach me?” he said firmly, couching on a stir of dust that was kicked up by the coffee table. Dr. Svial smiled faintly, menacingly, behind the teacup that he was drinking out of, as if he had won a small victory.
“Yes... Yes, I could teach you. But it would take the utmost dedication, concentration, and devotion to learn my magicks... but of course, you seem willing. But be warned!” The Ruki suddenly held up a finger and grinned wickedly. “Once you begin animation magic... there is no turning back.”
“The first lesson you must know about my magick is this!” Dr. Svial yelled, pacing in the old, torn down living room. “You must have a spark! A spark of not just anything, but hate! To bring things to life, you must jump-start them! Any emotion will work with enough of it, but hate is the most effective!”
Eon nodded, thinking of all the things that people had done to him in his life that had made him angry. It wasn’t very hard. For so long now, he had kept his emotions bottled up, and now the Doctor, if a bit.... off, was giving him a chance to turn those feelings into something useful.
“Do you have the hate welling up inside you?” the Doctor yelled, throwing up his arms. Picture frames got up and began to move, and the window curtains flew around the room. Little strands of decaying carpet pulled at Eon’s feet, and the couch started shivering. He nodded; more and more he was remembering how everyone had made fun of him, and he had just let it slide off. No more! Now, he would show them! He would show them that he was not just a cheerful little kid to be pushed around!
“Now let it out! Animate!” the Ruki screamed evilly, cackling. Eon threw out his arms, and felt the feeling of all those little things adding up come rushing through. The hearth roared to life, and tore itself from the wall. It grew brick arms, and smashed the little dancing picture frames, burned the curtains, and squashed the carpet.
“Good! Excellent!” Svial yelled, dancing around in horrid glee. “You have what it takes! Now show me more! More!”
Eon nodded in determination, thinking back further in his life. All those insults, bullies, siblings, and worst of all--the constant feeling of not being able to express anything but happiness.
Now was the time.
The Plushie Bori lifted his arms higher, and screamed a scream of his own. A violent rumble tore through the ground, and the entire house lifted itself from its foundations. Windows shattered, hallways tore apart, and doors turned into splinters. The house built legs for itself, and started walking along... toward Neovia.
Hate... all that hate, anger....
Suddenly, Eon began to feel dizzy. He couldn’t take holding the house for much longer. Not much longer at all now. The Doctor was still dancing in glee... then two shapes crashed through the window...Eon blacked out for a second... flashes of magic and fighting... yells... someone was lifting him up...
And he was flying.
Flying in the cool night air... someone was talking to him...
And he fell deep into the waiting darkness.
“Rose! Rose, I think he’s waking up!” Eon could barely hear the faint sound of his sister Lorkine’s voice. It sounded as if he was underwater, and he was hearing a conversation of twisted and bent sound.
“Eon! Eon, are you all right?” Two Faerie Xweetoks bent over him, looks of concern and relief on their faces. Eon tried to form words, but couldn’t. He needed to speak...
“Yeah...” One word escaped his lips, and instantly his sisters fell backward with sighs. “Where am I?” he asked, looking around.
“At home,” Rose said, smiling softly, which Eon had never seen her do before. “You're safe now, Eon. We went and fetched you from that sorcerer... How did you get to be with him, anyways?”
Eon took a deep breath, and resisted the urge to be nice and tell them everything. He was so tired, and talking a lot would cost him very much in energy. He had never refused to do anything before, but now...
“You know what?” he asked, and for the first time, there was a note of defiance in his voice. “I think you can wait.”