NOTE: Sorry again for the lateness. Just to refresh your memory, when we last left off, a portal had opened up in the forest and Isabel saw her life flash before her eyes.
Chapter 15: Written from Within
After the spectacle they had all just witnessed, the young wikians were ready to move on. Still exhausted from the night before, Isabel was sorely missing her beloved, blue, stuffed lion, Dummy; she needed the comfort and security that cuddling with a large, plush African mammal gave her. To her astonishment, without realizing it, she had bitten her nails to the core while watching her life story unfold before her. Sickly, she didn’t mind. She enjoyed the throbbing sensation that was pulsating through the nerves in her fingers.
Abysmally, it seemed as though there was nothing left to see in this depressingly dark void. After a few minutes of walking, however, Isabel noticed a scrap of notebook paper lying on the ground.
When she picked it up, she read what it said out loud, “In order to find the ultimate happiness, one must write the wrong…”
Various quizzical gabbles arose from the wiki buddies.
“What? What does that even mean?” EpicnezzEmily inquired.
“It sounds like a horrible pun…” Tash grimaced.
“Or some lame fortune cookie fortune…” PurpleJerk sneered.
As soon as Isabel let go of the sheet, it flew towards a door that appeared in front of them and stuck to it.
Intense curiosity swept over them as they all darted to it. Precariously, Isabel cracked the door open. The sight that laid waiting for them on the other side was beyond anything anyone could possibly expect or imagine. Stacks of notebooks; giant, jumbled words; loose-leaf paper scattered all across the base of the floor. Utterly disorganized but strangely beautiful.
Everyone took a moment to blink and take it all in.
Mine is a true writer’s brain… Isabel wittily observed.
As they all took a few vigilant steps forward and hesitantly glanced around, Isabel began to vaguely recognize some of the scribbles, jottings and doodles that were plastered all over the area. Suddenly enthralled, Isabel kneeled down and started flipping through the pages, one by one, rampantly recollecting when, where and why she had written them. She eagerly paged crazy stories that she and Amanda had written about their teachers and classmates as well as celebrities; countless notebooks filled with picture books she had written in her childhood along with stapled stacks of printer paper with even more storybooks. More memories began to flood Isabel’s consciousness as she grabbed another large heap of paper. In it were old historical fiction stories she had written; exceptional writing assignments from as early as elementary school onward that her language arts teachers would often request to read aloud to the class but Isabel would always refuse due to her shyness and modesty; old blogs she had written during her peak at the wiki in December ‘10/January ’11.
While Isabel was preoccupied with the rapture of skimming and reading through everything she had ever written, the rest of the young, faithful wikians casually trampled about, kicking the cluttered piles of manuscript with every step they took. Unbeknownst to them was the fact that the ever-evil Vulnerare was watching over all of them, partially controlling their thoughts and actions and manipulating their emotions, just as she had been doing ever since they had all shown up in Isabel’s fantasy world.
This notion was proven especially true when one observed Becky. Every time she wanted to talk to Alica and attempt to work things out, she felt something was stopping her. Obviously, she was rendered powerless by Vulnerare’s otherworldly tricks. Instead, Becky was mainly focused on Reason, who was standing rigidly in front of her. Even though she really liked him and was beginning to develop stronger feelings for him, she still saw him as little more than a distraction. Meanwhile, Ar0n and Alica trailed gleefully behind whilst holding hands with PurpleJerk closely following them; forming their unofficial group.
On the other side of the masses of documents, One Singular Sensation was intently examining and comprehending the assorted works that Isabel had written. Simultaneously, she was also catching up with some of her friends that she had met on the Seddie page at the wiki; 3cooldog92, Sailor*Moon*Star, Liz’sLemon and Neonpink.
“You like what you’re reading..?” Sailor asked while smiling innocently.
“Yeah, these old journal entries are very interesting…” One commented distractedly as she attentively flipped through one of Isabel’s many notebooks and journals.
At the same time, Fudge, Laters, Ace, Tash, WarmSummerBreeze, Cc, Carlaay, Amy, Lucy and EpicFork were all lounging in unison in a discreet corner.
Though she ineptly tried to keep a calm and cool composure, Lucy would offhandedly glance over at Tash, who was sitting across the way from her. The cringe-worthy scene they had shared the other day in the woods had constantly been replaying in her head. Fretfully, she wondered if their friendship would ever be the same if all these awful, mixed, confused emotions continued to resurface.
Finally, Lucy decided it was time to get up and talk to him. Normally fixed and stubborn in her ways, even she could admit that her behavior was deeply regrettable. Nevertheless, it still hurt to think that someone she had liked for a really long time didn’t return or even acknowledge the feelings. All that aside, she knew she needed to at least try and repair the amity.
Lucy’s first challenge was to find the courage to get up in the first place. Clumsily, she stretched out of her slouched position and made her way over to Tash’s side. Initially, she just stood near him, hoping he would notice. However, eventually she grew impatient and felt the need to get his attention.
She gently cleared her throat.
Tash looked up. His eyes softened at the sight of his dearly beloved friend. Certainly he wanted to fix things just as much as she did but like her, didn’t exactly know where to start. For whatever reason, a touch of guilt jumbled his stomach as he witnessed her standing in front of her.
“So…um…” Lucy awkwardly began. “…What ‘cha got there…?”
She was referring to the piece of paper Tash was holding.
“Oh, just a random note that I think Toon wrote to a friend…” he explained. “There are tons of inside jokes here I don’t even understand…she keeps mentioning some kid named Dewey and there are even little drawings…”
Feeling a bit more relaxed, Lucy leaned forward to look at the drawings.
“Actually,” Tash continued. “I don’t even think Toon drew this; the writing beside it has different handwriting…”
“What’s this…?” Lucy pointed to a seemingly scantily clad woman.
Tash made a sideways look at the page, “There’s a caption right next to it that says…Miss Stripper…”
Lucy looked rather alarmed and caught off guard.
Then, they both shared a laugh. It was an uncomfortable laugh, but a laugh all the same. More importantly, this was the first laugh they had shared since their argument.
Progress…we’re making progress… Lucy reassured herself.
“Hey, guys! Look!” Daisy averted everyone’s attention to a sign on a door.
“DO NOT ENTER,” Isabel read.
“Okay, then…” Cc suspiciously raised an eyebrow.
Back at the other end of the void, One continued to scan Isabel’s works. By now, she was browsing through the mound of her amateur poetry.
She chuckled softly, “These poems are so cute.”
“Yeah, I’m reading the beginnings of her fan fiction; they have potential but she should’ve continued…” Cooldog mentioned.
In the intervening time, Isabel was still looking through all her old leaflets of sentimental inscription. Now, she was re-experiencing all her old posts on the wiki. Not just the blogs, but everything she had ever posted. Nostalgically, she laughed at all the early messages she has put on other users’ talk pages, as well as other comments she had written.
Abstracted by her reminiscence, Isabel didn’t realize how quickly she was walking and she accidentally ran into Slappy.
“Oh, sorry...” she said absent-mindedly.
“It’s fine…” Slappy flatly replied.
Not in the mood to fraternize, Isabel went back to reading and became very concentrated.
Noticing her strenuous attitude, Slappy began to snoop around her, consciously eyeing the words she had written.
All of a sudden, Isabel shut the notebook she was reading and promptly opened another one. Cunningly, he seized the notebook from her grasp and began to read it aloud.
“Imagine this…” Slappy recited.
Isabel blushed as the embarrassment of the recognition of her own words flushed over her, “Oh, my god! Don’t read that!” she pleaded as she swiped the pad from him.
“Why not?” Slappy asked with a serious undertone.
“It’s…it’s personal and you won’t like what it’s about…” Isabel expounded in mortified expression.
“Read it to me,” Slappy somberly demanded.
After a brief moment of careful consideration, Isabel looked into Slappy’s eyes, bit her lip, took a deep breath and began reading:
An innocent 16-year-old girl joins a website. Within two minutes of joining said website, she is welcomed by a nice administrator, saying that if she had any questions, she could contact him. Feeling special, she clicked his name and quickly composed a “Thank you” message and left it on his talk page. Upon doing this, she notices that he just so happens to be a 30+ year old male. Shocked by this news, she quickly composes another message putting her shock into words. In response, the man promptly reassured her that he was not like that. Relieved at this, they continue to talk, and the more they talk, the more they connect and have things in common. A tight bond forms and a friendship develops.
A month or so later, this close friendship quickly turns into a mutual attraction. This man had a way of making the girl feel like she was the only one in the world; like she was the only thing that mattered. Ordinarily, this girl was dreadfully unpopular. By visiting this website, she could go to a parallel universe where she was not only loved and accepted by her peers, but was greeted daily by a man who listened, and cared about her, and understood her in a way that no one else could. This website represented everything she wasn’t in real life. And this man wasn’t shy in describing how he wanted to meet her and how much he wanted her. Since this girl had a low self-esteem, it was a huge ego boost to be with someone who literally treated her and made her feel like a princess.
Right as they were becoming more and more intimate, the girl got grounded for four months on account of being terribly addicted to the popularity and hopelessly attached to the users; namely, this man.
Isabel then stopped reading.
“Why did you stop…?” Slappy asked.
“This is it; that’s all I wrote.” Isabel stated as she blinked vacantly.
“Well, why didn’t you finish…?” Slappy questioned as he raised an eyebrow.
Isabel pondered for a minute then chuckled, “…I think I fell asleep…”
“Well, it’s pretty obvious who that was about…” Slappy said in a solemn tone.
Isabel paused and looked sadly and shamefully at the bald bloke, “I wrote it a long time ago…no one seemed to fully understand what I was going through with Katy--not even Tuba—and I know how much you loathed him and hated that I still wanted to believe that he cared for me. So, in a desperate attempt to get you to fathom my twisted pain and suffering, I did what I do best; I wrote about it…”
Without a word, Slappy blinked and stared at her with an emotionless disposition.
Isabel harbored complicated feelings for Katy. Even though she hated what he did to her and her closest friends on the wiki, he still ironically reminded her of a better time when the wiki was prospering. Up until his revelation and subsequent banning, the wiki was basically at its prime time. All that changed after he was discovered, when Isabel realized that everything he had told her was a lie and that he had betrayed her in quite possibly the biggest way. Nevertheless, she couldn’t help but sometimes miss Katy’s presence, much to her friends’ dismay.
As all this was happening, Marc, Maryan and Rosalie were eagerly scavenging through the mess of paper like the rest of the wiki was doing. Rosalie, in particular, seemed to be enjoying what she was reading. She would start out by perusing the text with a stern, absorbed look on her face and then, out of nowhere, she would start laughing really loudly.
“What in the world is so funny?” Marc asked in confusion.
Rosalie smiled amusingly at him, “This; all of this. This chick is hilarious…”
Marc gave her a weird mien, “I see…”
Suddenly, he noticed Isabel behind him, looking rather despondent. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that she was saddened by the specific passage she was reading.
Unable to control being naturally caring towards others, Marc felt compelled to ask her what was wrong.
“What’s the matter, Cartie…?” he timidly investigated.
Isabel sighed, “…Oh, nothing…”
“Are you sure?” Marc reiterated.
“Yeah, I’m just reading over a pathetic apology I wrote to Alica a little while back…”
“What did you need to apologize to Alica for…?”
“…It’s a long story; I basically just did and said some things I’m not very proud of…”
“Well…may I read it…?” Marc requested.
Reluctantly, Isabel handed him the notebook.
Just then, she changed her mind and took it back, “You know what? On second thought, maybe I should read it…”
“…Okay, whatever you want…” Marc responded.
With that, she once again began to heart wrenchingly deliver the words handwritten in front of her:
PETITION TO BRING BACK MIWH:
NOTE: This in no way makes up for my regretful behavior. In fact, it could potentially make things worse. However, something was strongly compelling me to do this.
As is no news to anyone, this wiki and the people in it mean a lot to me. Recently, however, certain events have occurred that have made my experience here far less enjoyable.
Lately, I have been saying and doing some things that I’m not at all proud of, and as a result, 3 of our well-loved users have been driven away from the wiki. This, of course, was not my intention, as I never meant to hurt them. Nonetheless, I am still guilty and ashamed, and I feel that same pain every time I see an empty chat without said users doing their part to liven it up.
There were times when it was tempting to point fingers at others who were involved, but it got to the point where I didn’t even recognize myself anymore, feeling lost in the confusion of the situation.
Ever since these 3 users have fled, we have all suffered a devastating loss. No one deserved the consequences I have carelessly inflicted on this community.
Perhaps what hurts the most about all this is that I’ve jeopardized the friendship of someone I used to be much closer to.
From early on, Alica had always been extremely supportive of me; being there for me through everything from Katy to Slappy. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. Unfortunately, petty things on my part such as bitterness and jealousy started to tear us apart. It is because of all this that I owe Alica.
“I stopped there,” Isabel explained. “I was going to go on to say that MIWH is a good story that deserves to be finished and that we all care about her a lot and don’t want to see things end this way…”
“Wow…” Marc was stunned.
“It wouldn’t have mattered if she had actually seen this; she wouldn’t have bought it, anyway…” Isabel quailed. She hated how preachy her writing always sounded.
“No offense,” Tash, who was overhearing the speech, chimed in. “but what exactly was writing this going to do…?”
Isabel sighed despairingly, “Absolutely nothing.”
Still sitting in the corner, the lovely clan from Lovely Stabbing was beginning to get quite bored just lying around. In order to solve this, Ace and Fudge began crumpling up pieces of the loose-leaf paper and throwing it at each other.
Later on, Isabel got ahold of one of her college essays. Unlike the previous things she had read over that had brought back considerably unnerving memories, she couldn’t help but smirk slightly while reading this.
Mak unexpectedly approached her from behind, “What’s that you’re reading..?”
“Huh? Oh, just a college admission essay thing…” Isabel answered.
“What about?” Mak interrogated.
Isabel chortled, “Why don’t I just read it to you? I’ve been reading chiz to everyone else, today!”
Mak smiled, “Okay…”
With that, Isabel cleared her throat and began to read, yet again:
When asked of a fictional character that has had a significant influence and powerful impact on my life, one distinct character comes to mind: my alter-ego, Sydney Smith.
Who is Sydney, you may ask? Being the avid TV-watcher that I am, she was inspired by the shows that I watched and was created in the imaginative workings of my mind.
Originally conceived when I was only but 11 years old, Sydney quickly became my inner-voice and helped me through my tween and teen years. She was spawned from the two things I love to do most: writing and daydreaming. And though I never wrote down the many plots and situations I had created for Sydney, she still represented everything I wanted to be in real life.
Eventually, I essentially managed to create all kinds of friends and cohorts for her, including a little brother. All these characters had different personalities that complimented Sydney’s charm and charisma.
As Sydney’s personality continued to evolve, I developed an entire backstory for her. Here was a young, 14-year-old girl with wavy, chestnut-brown hair, pink eyes and a small build. Her parents had recently divorced and as a result, she became enraged and emotionally unstable. In spite of our lives having nothing in common, I was still able to create a character that signified my true personality that I was too afraid to show. I strived to be as sassy and self-assured as she was and longed to be as bold and assertive as she was.
Did I ever achieve such an amazing feat? To be completely honest, I never did. Tried as I might to discontinue being shy and quiet and instead get myself noticed, I was still too socially awkward to make a real impression. Pretty soon, I realized that although Sydney is a part of me, and she has been permanently engrained in my mind, I was technically not her and never could be.
To this day, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had voluntarily transformed myself into Sydney. Part of me is glad I didn’t. The more that I think about it, the more that I realize that Sydney represented my more thoughtless and negative qualities; that she was simply used as a mechanism for me to vent and let my feelings out. With this in mind, it wouldn’t make sense to completely change and act as insane as she sometimes does. It’s hard for me to describe my own personality, but I like to think its one-half Sydney and one-half someone completely unique; someone that has potential and is yet to be discovered.
“I like it,” Mak approved.
“Really?” Isabel seemed genuinely surprised. “I feel like I didn’t try very hard on it; like it’s not my best work…”
“No, it was honest. You weren’t being too show-off-y…” Mak elucidated.
Then, out of thin air, faint but distinct images began flashing in front of the crowd. Instantly, Isabel recognized the phantasmagorias. These were all scenes that she had imagined in her head for her characters but had never written down. Imageries of Sydney, Jared, Jessie, Cassie, Lilly and all her other prototype characters started twinkling before her eyes. In addition, she also witnessed extracts of another group of characters that she held close to her heart.
These were characters she had created the previous summer; ironically in the same month she had created Sydney 5 years earlier. The basic premise was that a young peasant had just been hired to look after the princess of their small, unknown village because her former lady-in-waiting left and aspired to do something else. Growing up poor, the peasant’s father left him and his mother when he was very little. Now with a recently-born sister, they were struggling to make ends meet. Though very reluctant at first, he is left with no other choice but to take the job. Prior to meeting up with the princess, the peasant bumps into a clumsy, awkward maid. There is an instant connection and he befriends her. However, once he meets the princess, he becomes absolutely smitten with her incredible beauty and fragile personality. Furthermore, the peasant also has a jolly, goofy best friend whom he often comes to for advice and distraction. In a nutshell, the series followed all four of them and their many misadventures.
Viewing the characters that she had created in real life form was a magical experience for Isabel. It was one thing to imagine the characters and their situations, but to literally see what she had imagined was almost like watching an astounding television show.
Isabel was soon snapped out of her dreamy daze when Alica and Ar0n came walking towards her.
“Who’s that guy in the images?” Alica queried.
“He doesn’t have a name, yet.” Isabel responded.
“And you created him…?” Alica clarified.
“Yes,” Isabel shortly replied.
“Is he based on anybody?” Alica asked curiously.
Isabel fell silent, “….Uhhhh…”
“He’s based on somebody,” Ar0n concluded.
Isabel looked down at her feet.
“Who?” Alica persisted.
“Someone on the wiki…” Isabel mumbled.
“What..?” Alica probed.
“Someone on the wiki,” Isabel repeated. “But it’s not who you would expect, at all…”
“…Okay, then…” Alica decided not to further scrutinize this and walked away.
Ar0n turned around to follow her but flashed Isabel a mocking smile.
“Don’t judge me!” Isabel defensively exclaimed.
“Oh, I’m judging you.” Ar0n said, still smiling.
At that, they both left, leaving Isabel feeling flustered and uncomfortable. Soon, however, they were both back looking a tad flustered themselves.
“Look what we found…” Alica handed her a notebook.
Isabel scanned over the page and smiled deviously, “This is the Aronica scene I wrote for MIWH…”
Nervously, Ar0n and Alica looked away from each other and started twiddling their thumbs.
Still later that day, Samlovesham, Churchpants and a few others caught up with Isabel to finish rummaging through the last of the piles.
“Um…Loony…?” Churchpants called with a sense of urgency in her voice. “What is this and why is Katy’s name on it…?”
She handed Isabel the pad and she closely analyzed it. Surprisingly, she had never seen the page in her life, yet it was written in her handwriting.
“iCarly Chat Dream Team” she read.
On it was a long list of users from the wiki that were shown in alphabetical order as follows (I know I missed a sheetload of people; I was trying to think of users who were chat regulars in some point in time. Just let me know if I missed you.):
A reasonable Seddier
Eric the Grape
Ire Flowre 23
One Singular Sensation
Rob1(I forget the rest—someone could help me here. xD)
The Sam Puckett
“I think every user who has ever been a chat regular is on this list…” Candy noted.
Isabel made a humming sound and nodded her head in trite grief.
Though she wasn’t necessarily extremely close to everyone on the list, their presence on chat literally made all the difference. Prior to all the drama that began to develop and spin out of control, there were always a lot of users on chat at all times. There was definitely a greater sense of togetherness and a familial element. Recently, however, the drama got so severe and so personal that a lot of users began to flee from chat; many of them being friends of the victims. The result was a histrionic loss of chat regulars, thus making chat eerily dead and empty. Isabel desperately longed and heart-ached for the days when she was on good terms with everybody and the fact that she was partly responsible for the demise of a community she loved and cared about so much killed her inside.
Once again snapped out of her daze, she heard the ringing of a phone. Strangely enough, there was a phone plastered to the wall right beside her. Slightly intrigued, she picked up the phone.
“Um, hey Cartie, it’s Marc…”
“Marc? How did you—”
“It’s a long story…” Marc cut her off.
“Where are you…?” Isabel was beginning to panic.
“Well, you know that sign that said ‘DO NOT ENTER’?”
“Well, I entered.”
“Ugh, Marc!” Isabel groaned.
“It actually led me back into the cottage closet, but then the portal closed up and I can’t get back in with you guys…” Marc explained.
“I’ll go get him…” Rosalie suddenly said.
“…Um, okay…” Isabel was in no position to retort.
“I’m coming, too…” Maryan declared.
And off they went. When they finally reached the forbidden door, everyone else had followed closely behind. Rosalie opened the door and a bright light flashed in front of them and blinded them. One could just barely hear Marc’s voice.
“STOP! STOP!” Marc begged.
Finally, Rosalie and Maryan made it through to the other side.
“What!? Why would we stop?” Maryan questioned.
In the blink of an eye, the portal closed up.
“That’s why,” Marc elucidated as he pointed.
Rosalie strained to get the door back open.
“It’s no use, we’re trapped…” Marc stated.
“Can’t we pick the lock or something?” Maryan suggested.
“I already tried. We’re stuck here.” Marc disclosed.
Looks of terror crossed the young teens’ faces as it began to sink in that there was no way back in.
As the light switch dangled in front of Marc and Rosalie’s face, they looked earnestly into each other’s eyes.
“You better not make out with me in here…” Rosalie warned him.