sweatdrop I feel terrible for missing the last day almost entirely... so I want to make up for it at least by making a final post.
Thank you, Ren and Roko, for devoting the time and energy to making this thread and running all these contests. I had so much fun in the few days I participated, more fun than I've had in probably many months. I feel like I learned the true meaning of Gaia Spirit in this thread, and will keep it in my memory. heart
Finally, thank you for choosing me as the female winner of the Story contest. I regret that I was not here for the announcement, but I appreciate the honor nonetheless. For the enjoyment of those who wished to read it, I include my writing here. Thank you, and farewell! heart
“Cranes for Ian”
The light of a Snuggle lamp glowed softly in one corner of the Gambino Hat Rack, one of the most successful shops on Isle de Gambino. The soft humming of a woman’s voice could be heard among sounds of crackling and crinkling. Ruby, the green-clad owner of the shop, sat in a chair behind the counter putting a few finishing touches on a few hats she was planning to display the next day. In another chair, at a smaller table, Ruby’s young son Peyo was doing work of his own.
Two wee hands smoothed out a piece of crumpled green construction paper. It hadn’t been wadded up too harshly, so it didn’t have too many wrinkles in it. Peyo was very pleased. Once the paper was flat to satisfaction, Peyo folded it diagonally and again diagonally from the other side. Sticking his tongue out to one side in his concentration, he folded, creased, and pinched the paper into various angles. In a few minutes, the slightly dented square of green paper had been transformed, not into the shape of a paper hat, but into the shape of a crane. Peyo beamed brightly and, cupping the tiny paper bird in his hand, held it out toward his mother. “Mama!” he called. “Look what I made for Mister Ian!”
“Oh, how cute,” his mother said, looking up from her own work with a smile. “Good job, Peyo.” She paused and put the hat she was working on aside to get a better look. “You made that for Ian?”
“Yes,” the little boy replied, playing with the wings of the crane he had made. “I think I read somewhere that if you make one thousand paper cranes and make a wish, your wish will come true. Maybe if I make a thousand paper cranes for Mister Ian, he’ll get all better!”
Ruby smiled at her thoughtful little boy and ruffled his red hair with one hand, straightening his little yellow visor with the other. “That’s so nice of you, Peyo. I’m sure Ian would appreciate the thought.”
Peyo beamed with a determined sparkle in his blue eyes, and went back to his little workbench, taking another piece of paper and smoothing it out as he had with the last one. He still had a long way to go, but he was determined to reach his goal. It was kind of like a little quest, but for the sake of someone else.
Later that night, in the comfort of his own room, the ducky-loving Peyo was still folding cranes. His mother knocked softly on his door. “Peyo, sweetie, you’re not still working on those cranes, are you?” her voice called through the door. “You need to get to sleep, young man.”
Pinching the beak and tail of one more crane, Peyo gently tossed it into the box beside him which was already half full of colorful paper birds. “Okay, Mama, I will!” he called back to her, meanwhile taking another piece of paper. Ruby, being the knowing mother that she was, opened the door and walked in.
“Peyo, darling, no more cranes. You need to get your rest. You can pick up where you left off tomorrow, okay?”
The little boy set down the orange crane he was folding and yawned, nodding his head in agreement. “Okay, Mama. I already folded a hundred and two!” He grinned, pointing at his boxful of cranes.
Ruby took his little yellow visor off and set it on the table. “Well, don’t forget that number, sweetie, but you need to get to bed now.” She kissed the top of his head and smoothed his curly crimson locks. Peyo got up out of his chair and climbed into his bed, fluffing his pillow before lying back on it. Ruby tucked him in, kissed his forehead, and whispered “Good night, sweetie,” before turning off the lights, leaving on one Snuggle Lamp because Peyo was afraid of the dark.
“Good night, Mama,” he said, and his mother quietly closed the door behind her. Closing his eyes, Peyo imagined hundreds upon hundreds of paper cranes dancing across his vision. Soon he was lost among them in dreams of colorful flapping wings.
The next day at the shop, Peyo had filled another box of cranes. He figured progress was going to be slow, and that it would take him a long, long time to get to one thousand cranes. Maybe it was time to get some help! Whenever customers came in to exchange the trash paper they had collected from all over Towns, Peyo asked for their help in making more paper cranes out of the recycled paper. He got quite a few volunteers to help with the job, and soon he had more cranes for Ian. After all, who could resist a cute face like Peyo’s, or the thought of helping poor Ian?
Peyo was running out of space to keep the cranes he was folding, so he asked his mother if it would be a good idea to give Ian some of the cranes now and try to get the rest later. Ruby thought it was a good idea, and brought Peyo and his boxfuls of cranes to the hospital with her on her next visit. They arranged the cranes festively around the room, with Rufus the talking cat’s help, and put the rest on the table and the shelves next to Ian’s hospital bed.
“Get well soon, Mister Ian!” Peyo whispered to the Barton Boutique owner when it was time to go. “We’ll have more cranes for you soon!”