Learning
Story by DoodLeS



"Doodles?"

I opened my eyes and looked around. It had been that kind of soft and echoy voice that you hear shortly before you wake up, when someone CALLS you to wake up. I couldn't tell if it was male or female. It was just... there.

Around me... was nothing. It was all white and swirly, all I knew was that I stood on SOMEthing like a ground, since I didn't float or fall. Then I saw the figure.

It was right in front of me, but I still couldn't see it clearly. I think it didn't WANT me to see it clearly. It was just a white silhouette in front of a white background.

I looked up at it, frightfully.

"Don't be afraid."

I nodded timidly.

The voice continued: "I'm here because I need to talk to you. Tell me - what is your highest aim in life?"

I didn't have to think long - I had thought about that so often. "I... would like to be a normal Hoodian. Like the others... I adore them for being so simple and happy. Ho-dad... Hoborg made his world for beings who just see the important things... they decide between right and wrong, and they don't hang to small unimportant things... like greed or envy, or arguements... they don't try to change things, they just take them as they come, and Hoborg is so kind and righteous... He made them all similar, no-one is better than anyone else, and he got us everything we need in his small world, so that no-one has to fight for it..."

I drooped my head and stared thoughtfully at the swirly ground. There was much more I could have said. Hoborg simply had managed to build a world for beings to live happily, and he made beings who didn't want to try to change it to even better. It was a really endangered world, which one evil mind easily might bring out of balance, but in the end, as long as just a *little* of the spirit of the Neverhood was left, it'd always come back to order, someday. Hoborg was like a father to all of his beings, and all his beings were brothers, in the Neverhood. It was... special. Simple and complete.

The figure in front of me nodded slowly. All I saw was that the swirly white had some movement in it, but it clearly was a nod.

"You HAVE been a good Neverhoodian. You fit in quite well into this universe, and I think it was good to bring you here, to Hoborg's world. You have learned a lot, and you know about right and wrong."

I nodded. I wasn't really sure about it all, but nodding in respected agreement was all I could think of right now.

"But take care."

I looked up. It wasn't hard to tell that I'd now find out why I was here. Wherever 'here' was.

"The time you're here now, you didn't only change between your homeworld and this universe, which must be confusing enough for you, but you also changed your klayen form a lot."

I winced, then nodded ashamed.

The voice became even softer. "Don't worry, it isn't altogether your fault. You're young. You still have to find out a lot of things, and that is good. As long as you know where it'll lead you."

I hesitated. "Yes, I... all those forms... I kinda wish they had never happened... I was curious, or I didn't think much about it, or... I don't know....! Some things WERE kinda interesting, but they were just... just WRONG...! So misplaced... I wish they had never happened... I wish I could proudly say I am a normal Hoodian, and nothing else..."

I drooped my head again, sadly. I almost had been turned into my evil self, and never had managed to get rid of it again. Normally a Hoodian wouldn't be affected by the king's crown, unless he set it on with a selfish thought... Hoodians are naturally innocent... evil thoughts must be *taught* to them at first. But humans... humans are taught good and evil thoughts from the beginning on, and being actually a human I...

I frowned. It hadn't really been my fault that I had to wear the king's crown... but it had happened. And that had parted me quite a bit more from the others.

Then, over all the time I was here, in just two little years, I had been turned into MORE different things... because of simple sillyness of myself, or because of potions I drank without thinking enough what it'd mean for me, or even just because I thought it actually MIGHT be fun... although I never could say it was. I just felt it wasn't right for me. But the more I tried to stay away from it, the more I seemed to slip into it...

Maybe it was nice for a little while... experiencing other forms and views... but it's something that should happen in a dream, or in some other universe, but not here, and not REALLY. It had some *reason* that you are what you are - it's there so that you know who you belong to. If I could change whenever I wanted to, into WHATever I want... who would I belong to then...? I was glad I never did have those changings under control, or never even had a CHOICE if I wanted them or not, so at least I was more of a victim than something completely different to the others, but it still had happened... and I wished so much it hadn't. I could never say I'm like the others... I was spoiled already... spoiled.... I'll never be able again to proudly say I was just a Hoodian, one who others would take as a GOOD example...

I felt a deep pain in my stomach. Others might take me as an example, and start this, too... It'd hurt me so ever much to see them in another form... they'd be messed up from that very moment on, and then it'd be too late for them to ever be normal again... innocence destroyed, forever... and they probably might think it's fun, and never be the old ones again... and I couldn't do anything but grow endlessly sad - they wouldn't listen to me... because I'm not any better...

Right now, the other Hoodians, all partly even hundreds of years older than me, never even had to THINK about such problems. They didn't know the complicated side of thoughts, and they don't need it. Why wanting more and *everything* if you are happy with what you have..? I was afraid that others might think that changings are something interesting, seeing me, and then become just as complicated... just as messed up...

"You can't make it undone", the voice interrupted my thoughts, seemingly reading my mind, "but you can learn to stay out of it. Don't forget your aim. In a few hundred years no-one will remember it all, and you can still be one of them. But if you keep it up... you might have to leave. I don't step in very often, but when things get out of hand too much, like it once was with the Rr's on one of Arven's worlds, it might just be better for you and all others. Right now it seems harmless - but if everyone would start it, you would get a completely different world, and Hoborg's intensions and aims of a unique world were destroyed."

I looked at the figure desperately. "L-leave...?" I bit my lip. "I... don't wanna leave... I REALLY want to stop it.. but I don't know if I CAN... it just seems to happen again and again, without me wanting it...! I don't wanna lose this all... my hoodian life has been so happy...! Why can't it all just made undone..? Why can't I just restart as a NORMAL, simple Hoodian...?" I barely whispered the last sentences. But still the figure heard them.

"You're on the right way. As long as you TRY to reach your aim, you'll be alright. You can't do anything against what fate does to you, but you CAN decide what you want to reach in this life. Never forget where you are and who you belong to. There're enough other chances and places in all the universes, so you'll never miss anything."

I saw another encouraging nod and replied it, timidly. Although it was already too late for me to ever REALLY be normal again...

I felt the figure come even a bit closer, and it was like it put a hand on my one shoulder, but there still was no hint of a shape to see. "You'll understand it all, sooner or later. It mustn't get out of hand and involve too many people. It is something that belongs somewhere else, and it DOES happen somewhere else. So just be you, never forget your origin and aim, and you'll reach it."

Suddenly, it was gone. I was left alone, still in the white nothingness. I was rather confused, too.

But I knew what I had to do. I wanted to be a good son of Hoborg and Ottoborg, so ever. I'd never forget that, and I'd never forget why: Because they accepted and liked me like I was. It was stupid to want more. If you want more, you lose what you originally searched for. I'd never forget that.

When I woke up in my own room I couldn't tell if it had been a dream or not. But all I wanted was to go outside, to see the same old Neverhood, and play the same old happy games. That is what I wanted and liked, forever.


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