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Stories from the Outsyder Fringe: Time & Punishment


by outsyder

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Jordy grumbled angrily to himself. Yet another day that everything went wrong for him. His alarm clock broke during the night so he was unable to wake up early to get the bath until his brothers and sisters were finished, was chased by a pack of feral doglefoxes who literally ate his homework and arrived late to school.

     Things didn't stop there. He then got an F for not bringing the homework, got another F on a pop quiz he failed to study for and yet another one for forgetting the diorama of the Fall of Faerieland he was bringing for History, was hit constantly with dodgeballs during Phys Ed., slipped on a small puddle of juice and his lunch fell on his face as the cafeteria kids laughed, spilled paint on his shirt during Arts & Crafts, smashed his fingers with an errant hammer swing during Workshop, got caught in a rainstorm and was soaking wet and was once again chased by the wild doglefoxes.

     At least he was happy to be home after the horrible day and read his magazines. Magazines that his parents claimed were the work of dark faeries or worse just because it features spooky stories and other articles on the weird and unusual. It didn't help matters that it was published out of some unknown location within the Haunted Woods.

     The only way the young white Lutari found out about it was by accident as he was walking home from school and spotted a strange poster placed on an alley wall shortcut he sometimes took heading from school. It claimed to be a magazine with stories of strange, unusual, weird, bizarre happenings throughout Neopia from sightings of Hubrid Nox's ghost after his demise to just what is hidden beneath Tiki Tack Man's mask. Jordy thought it was all made-up rubbish but it nonetheless intrigued him. He read on and it said to get the first "free trial" issue, he had to grab a small tag from the bottom of the poster, attach 50 neopoints, and send it to the address printed. Jordy shrugged. What was there to lose? Only 50 Neopoints and that wasn't that much.

     That's how it began. A week or so later, he received his first issue and was fascinated with the stories and articles within. However, if he wanted a subscription, he had to pay a much larger fee of 1000 Neopoints to receive the first six issues with each six afterward costing him less. He now had a collection of 50 magazines and was now an honorary fan club member with special benefit such as receiving newsletters with special offers and the like.

     Throughout all this time, though, he never saw the Postal Uni deliver his stuff. It just somehow was found in the mail slot or in the front door when anyone least expected it. Talking to the Uni, all she said was that neither she nor anyone else ever delivered those things and they just somehow appeared, considering it the work of mystery and/or dark faeries. Jordy didn't care. As long as he received his stuff, he was not worried.

     So here he was heading home and was about to open the front door when the door opened up from inside and he was pulled in.

     Jordy looked up and saw the stern look of his father looking at him. His mother was beside him with worry on her face.

     "Son, I want you to stop sending your hard earned allowance to this... this... dark faerie trash!" the adult brown Lutari snapped. "How could you even read this? Nothing but stories and things that scare your mom and your little brothers and sisters! Neopets turning into monsters and terrorizing others! Zombies overrunning Neopia in a massive apocalypse! Weird rumors about mysterious conspiracies between the governing bodies of the planet and meepits! Confessions on how the Altador Cup is rigged! Nothing but balderdash!"

     With that, he threw what remained of the latest issue of the magazine at his son. Jordy looked in shock seeing the magazine ripped apart, most likely after it arrived and his father took it in his claws and tore it up.

     "Dad, how could you do this? What I use my Neopoints for is what I want and I like these magazines!" the young Lutari snapped, rage building up within him.

     "Jordy, please listen to your father. He means well..." the worried pink female Lutari said as she cupped her hands in pleading fashion.

     "I want you to go to your room and take each and every last magazine you own and dump them in the trash. Either you do it or I will! Make your choice!" the Lutari father said coldly as he crossed his arms over his chest.

     Jordy could not believe the reactions of his parents! Just when he thought the one shining glimmer of joy of his horrid day would save him, it immediately burst in flames. He had no choice. Keeping his rage pent up, he stormed off to his room. As he did, his older siblings merely gave him smug looks, while his younger ones taunted him and laughed. This was not fair!

     He slammed the door to his room and went to pick up the stash of magazines he arranged so carefully on his bookcase, now prepared to be dumped in the trashcan outside. As he did, one small non-ripped piece of the magazine his father had torn apart caught his eye. Some parts were unreadable due to missing letters but it intrigued him.

      NEED EXTRA TIME? WANT TO REPLAY YOUR LIFE TO CH-
      Introducing the latest magical wond-
      THE REWINDER
      This little gadget has been proven to help you replay
      at the simple push of a button! Never mess up as long as you liv-
      Take control of your life! The Rewinder does this and more!

     Jordy was intrigued. Something to replay or rewind time as if by magic? It sounded too good to be true. But he was curious, nonetheless. He noticed that to order it, he had to send quite a hefty sum of neopoints to the publisher along with a note detailing he was interested in the "Rewinder" as well as why. That was a no brainer. He wrote down every misfortune that happened to him that day along with the eventual loss of his subscription.

     Putting the note in an envelope, he also dropped in the large sum of neopoints it asked for. He hid the bulging heavy envelope among the magazines he was throwing out and quickly deposited it in the mailbox on the corner. He still thought it was stupid but the magazine was not one to lie. Was it?

     A few weeks later as he was heading home, he was surprised to see a small package hidden carefully by a bush in front of his house. The dark wrapping paper along with the logo of the magazine alerted him that his "Rewinder" arrived. Hiding it in his backpack, he quickly made his way up to his room, took out the package, ripped the paper off, and opened the box.

     Inside was a letter, a folded check and a strange object. The Lutari picked the item first. It appeared to resemble a small pocket watch made of a strange yellow metal that certainly wasn't gold and with a face made of strange crystal. The face was adorned with three small hands made of some dark mineral, but there was no numbers in it whatsoever. Was this the Rewinder? He then picked up the letter and read it.

     To our macabre fan of the unusual JORDY:

     We are greatly disheartened at your hard-luck story concluding with the horrific cancellation of your subscription. At this, we all felt you worthy to have this Rewinder at no charge. Included is a check for you to receive refund at any local National Neopian branch near your living-dead spaces.

     The Rewinder is a wonderful tool made by our resident dark magic specialists which allows you to rewind time to any point you so desire. Merely think of it and press the button on top. You will be instantly transported to whatever moment in time is in your mind at that moment. Nobody will ever have memories of the present but you will, so be careful to not strain your brain!

     Also, you can never go forward, only backward. We are not responsible for whatever you plan to do with the Rewinder. This is a gift we can only give for the worthiest members. We are also inclined to mention that we are not responsible should it break. If you break it, it will not be repaired, so take good care of it.

     We hope you enjoy our weird little trinket.

     YOWLING MEOWCLOPS HOUSE

     Jordy put the letter down and looked at the Rewinder again. Would it really take him back to any point in time?

     Maybe he should start slow at first. He closed his eyes and thought back to a couple minutes ago as he was heading inside the house. With the memory clear in his mind's eye, he took the Rewinder in his hand and pressed the metallic dial-like button on top with his extended claw.

     Jordy then felt the warm outdoor air on his face and hear the birds chirping in the tree in front of his house. He slowly opened his eyes and gasped to see he was back outside next to the front door. He looked at himself. He was again wearing his backpack but upon opening it, the package was gone. In his right hand, however, he had the Rewinder. It worked! He really went back in time!

     He rushed to his room, flying past his parents who looked at him oddly, and looked at the bed where he left the package, letter and check. They were gone. The white Lutari grumbled angrily. He should've at least pocketed the check in his person before clicking the button. So much for a refund! But at least he could now control his time backwards. He grinned to himself as he decided to go back to that horrible day when it all started. He closed his eyes to that morning and clicked on the Rewinder.

     Opening his eyes, he was back in bed. Looking at the calendar, he was back to the 15th Day of Gathering! He really was back! He looked at his clock where it lay on the floor. The hammer which slammed against the bells was broke and he'd have to get a new one but he saw the time. A few minutes before his alarm clock would have rung. Perfect.

     He quickly got out of bed and managed to make it to the bath just before his eldest green Lutari sister could enter and slammed the door shut.

     "JORDY! I was going in! Open up, you little slorg!" she yelled as she turned the locked knob and pounded on the door.

     Jordy called out in a sing-song voice, "Sorry, Leandra! You know the house rules. First one in has the bath until they leave!"

     All he could hear was the annoyed grunt of his sister as he then heard the rest of his brothers and sisters form a line outside. Jordy could merely smile as he saw the Rewinder in his paw. He set it down and took a well-deserved shower.

     After getting dressed, he made sure to put the homework, diorama and his raincoat in the backpack and went to school. He was rounding a corner when he spotted the wild doglefoxes. He softly gulped as he forgot all about them. They barked and rushed up to attack him when he again took out the Rewinder and went back to his house a few minutes ago.

     He went straight to the kitchen and grabbed one of his younger siblings' sack lunches off the counter. Sure, the little one would go hungry, but that was none of his concern. Slowly leaving the house, he approached the doglefoxes again.

     This time, he opened the sack and saw a tasty-looking chokato sandwich, a red apple and a small carton of Kau Kau Farm milk. He then whistled to the feral petpets as he tossed the sack at them. Sensing food, the doglefoxes pounced on the sack and fought one another for the spoils. Jordy sighed relief as he carefully made his way around them and towards school.

     With his homework in his hands, he finally received an A. During the pop quiz, he decided to use the Rewinder to keep warping back seconds every time he turned in the quiz and had the stuffy Tuskaninny teacher grade it to fix his answers until they were all perfect and got another A. Finally, his diorama and explanation were so perfect, he got yet another A. A great day so far.

     With the Rewinder in his possession, he was also able to thwart every single dodgeball throw and wound up winning for his team, prevent from slipping on the juice puddle in the cafeteria, avoid getting splattered with paint, and was able to hammer his work carefully without smashing his fingers. As the school day ended, rain began to fall as expected. Calmly, he took out his raincoat and went walking merrily on through the drizzling storm. He then spotted the doglefoxes once more but this time they didn't went after him. How could they knowing well this was the kind Lutari that fed them? They wagged their tails collectively as he went past them, stopping to pet one on the head as he went home.

     As expected, his father confronted him about the magazines. This time, Jordy was prepared after the blue Lutari adult threatened him, recalling something he found while cleaning the small attic a few days ago before receiving the Rewinder.

     "My choice is a third option, Dad. How about you show Mom where you hid in the attic her manuscript for the book she wanted to publish?"

     With this, his father's serious expression turned white in fear while his mother went from worried to stern. "My manuscript?! You mean he hid it all this time?!" she asked as she looked at her husband sternly.

     Jordy simply said smugly, "You will find it hidden in one of the floorboards. Next to the old rocking chair."

     His mother simply stormed off upstairs while her husband pleaded his case. Jordy smiled from ear to ear as he triumphantly went to his room. All his older brothers and sister could just stare in shock while the younger siblings had their mouths open in awe. Upon entering, there were the magazines all nice and neat in the bookcase. He took out the Rewinder and gave it a long kiss. It had saved his day much to the sacrifice of others. As he set it down, little did he see one of the three hands was shaking wildly.

     From that day on, Jordy used his Rewinder to live the good life. If he wanted dibs on food that his siblings took, he rewound back and called it before they could. If he overslept for any day of school, he warped back to start fresh and early. If he wanted more time to play, he kept rewinding entire weekends to do many things over and over again without getting tired. If he had homework or reports to turn in, he simply waited until the last second to turn back and finish on time. If he thought he was going to trip or fall or injure himself, he simply went back and avoided the obstacle.

     At school, he was now considered a model student and a top athlete through the use of the Rewinder to cheat or rewind back to avoid the opponent's reflex reaction. To top it off, his father and all his siblings were scared of him as he managed to find out all their secrets. Never again did he suffer under anyone's rules. The Rewinder was the best thing he ever got and he felt invincible. Nothing would ever hurt him ever again.

     One day as he strutted proudly down the street, he heard a rumor running around local gossip that some members of the Thieves' Guild stole some very priceless artifacts and hid them in a condemned manor near the outskirts of Neopia Central. The stuff remained there as all the members of the Guild involved in the heist were quickly captured by the Defenders and were unable to recover their loot. Always looking for some extra cash flow should he turn in the recovered loot for a reward or sell it himself for a lot of Neopoints, the brash and haughty Lutari went towards another great acquisition.

     The house in question surprised Jordy on how it was able to remain standing with its decayed wood exterior, fallen columns, vernax-ridden floor and dangerous lean to a side. Naturally, the signs announcing that the house is in literal state to collapse any moment and that no one should venture in should clue Neopets that it was dangerous to set foot in there. Jordy merely humphed as he knocked one of the signs down and went in with a determined step. If anything would happen to him, the Rewinder was just a thought to freedom and a button click away.

     Inside, he made his way through the entire first floor. Five hours passed and he ended up with nothing but spyder cobwebs and dust on his clothing. Grumbling, he rewound back five hours to get himself clean and moved directly on to the second floor. Nothing up there either. If the thieves were as smart as they claimed they are, Jordy thought, they would most definitely hide their stash buried in the floor of the basement. Rewinding again to get himself clean once more and returning to the second he stepped inside, he went down to the basement.

     As he went down the stairs, the ancient wood creaked and groaned under his weight. Upon arriving to the basement, he set out to find any loose floorboards and eventually found a curious spot that was, despite the large piles of dust around the entire cellar, slightly less dusty than the rest. With a sly grin, he lifted one of the floorboards and there he saw a large burlap sack tucked away! The stolen loot! He immediately began to imagine the things he would purchased with the neopoints earn from either turning the items in for rewards or selling them on his own! Laughing joyfully, he threw the floorboard onto a wooden support beam with a loud bang and then threw another one at the same spot with another resounding bang. The beam then gave away as it landed on the floor with a clatter.

     As he lifted the sack, he felt the house start to rumble and in just that split second, the entire structure gave way and was going to fall on him. There was no way he would survive getting crushed under all that debris.

     However, he looked up with a smug smile and just as the debris was about to hit him, he whipped out the Rewinder and clicked the button.

     He began to lift the sack and once again the house came tumbling down. Jordy was confused. He should have warped back further. He quickly pressed the button again.

     Again he grabbed the sack and everything fell apart. Jordy started to show the first hints of fear after weeks of feeling invincible. He pressed the button again.

     This time he didn't touch the sack but the house started to cave in anyway. Jordy was in full-fledged panic. He began to madly tap the button. Every single time he did, he was just one second away from the house's inevitable ruination. This time, there was no escape.

     He could keep pressing the button and keep wishing he was back outside but instead all the Rewinder did was go back one second to before the house went down. The only choice was to not press the button and let nature run its inevitable course.

     No! There had to be a way out! Maybe wishing it with all his heart or pleading and begging that if he ever got out of there, he would never mess with time again!

     He pressed the button again to start the chain reaction.

     All that matters is how long he is able to keep the button pressed. Now and forever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever...

The End

 
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