Stephanie Skala
Period 1

Halcyon

Roxy lay on her bed and sighed, thinking. Roxy was a teenage tiger. She realized how boring her life was as her gaze swept idly across her room. Everything about her house was totally normal! Roxy yearned for adventure with all her heart. Roxy was the only tiger in Halcyon, the village she lived in. Halcyon was small, and all of the animals were close-knit.
Nikki and Piper, Roxy's best friends, were very obedient. They rarely did anything fun... Not to say that they weren't good friends, because they were. They'd known each other since they were in diapers, and they stuck together no matter what happened. Nikki was an amiable young dog with soft cream-colored fur and cerulean eyes. Piper was a timid but kind bunny with tan fur and olive eyes. Roxy liked her friends and enjoyed living in Halcyon; she really did. But, sometimes she just wanted to have a more exciting life.
A new girl had just moved to Halcyon. Zorra was a young vixen from a place called Mirage. Earlier that day, Zorra had been telling Roxy about Mirage. That's what had started Roxy's rare introspective spell. It sounded like such a wonderful place! It was a jungle paradise, with many exotic animals. Zorra was friends with the Miragian princess, Callista. She was the beautiful daughter of a majestic lion named King. To Roxy, Mirage sounded too good to be true! She'd always wanted adventure, and Zorra was inviting her to meet her other friends! Roxy felt kind of bad for neglecting Piper and Nikki... But they'd known each other forever, and she really wanted to get to know Zorra better. Zorra was somewhat mysterious, but she did know how to have fun! Roxy yawned. She should go to sleep now... School is definitely no fun when you are falling asleep all day. In the morning, she'd tell Zorra that she wanted to go. But for now, she'd sleep and dream of the adventures she'd have in Mirage.
She awoke the next morning, firm in her resolve to go to Mirage. Nikki and Piper greeted her warmly, and she told them about Zorra inviting her to meet her other friends in Mirage. Nikki was slightly hurt that Roxy was going to leave them just like that, and she let her know it. Piper was sad that Roxy was leaving, but she knew that Roxy wanted adventure. She just wanted her friend to be happy. They told her that it was okay if she went. Zorra smiled slyly when she heard, but Roxy was oblivious to this. Zorra then bounded up to the trio and started babbling about how much fun they were going to have. Roxy could barely concentrate in her classes, since she would be leaving right after school that day. After what seemed like hours of teachers droning on and on about something or other, the school bell cut through the air. Roxy perked up at this, and hurriedly shoved her things into her backpack and ran out of the classroom.
Zorra's mom came to pick them up, and the girls chatted excitedly all the way to Mirage. Roxy was in awe of its beauty; it was even more splendid than she had imagined it to be! There were beautiful trees and tropical-looking flowers everywhere. She'd never even seen some of the animals she saw wandering around. There were panthers with raven-colored fur, jaguars with the loveliest of spots, and the brightest blue butterflies that she'd ever seen! Zorra told her that they were going to stay at Callista's house, so she followed her. Callista's house (well, castle) was magnificent in appearance. It must have cost millions of dollars to build. Zorra's mother knocked on the door, and a butler answered. They asked if they could see Callista. After checking to see who they were, the butler called for Callista. Callista asked Jeeves, the butler, to take their bags to one of the guest rooms. Roxy's room was small compared to the others in Callista's castle, but it was about the size of her whole house back home! The silky sheets were a lovely rose color, and each piece of furniture looked very expensive. When Roxy was done putting her things away, she went to Zorra's room, where Zorra and Callista were catching up for lost time.
After Roxy had been talking to them for a while, she noticed that Callista didn't seem to like her much. She seemed very shallow and self-absorbed, although she was beautiful. She liked to talk about guys, makeup, clothes, and beauty tips... And she didn't talk about much else. Every time she started talking about beauty, she shot weird glances at Roxy. Roxy didn't think she was that bad-looking... By the second day, Callista's disgusted glances were painfully obvious. Roxy wasn't used to being treated badly, as people back home were very kind. Callista enjoyed inviting Zorra to do things with her, and pointedly ignoring Roxy whenever she had anything to say. To top it off, anyone who lived in Mirage needed a good security system to prevent predators from getting to him or her. Roxy felt bad for the poorer animals in Mirage. They couldn't afford adequate security. She often heard stories of young children getting eaten. In Halcyon, Roxy had never feared for her life. Roxy wished she could go home soon.
When her weeklong stay was up, Roxy was finally allowed to go home. She didn't mention how little she enjoyed her trip to Zorra, as she wasn't a mean person and she didn't want to hurt Zorra's feelings. However, she was immensely relieved when she saw Halcyon again. Piper and Nikki weren't as friendly as they used to be. They were angry with Roxy for spending so much time with Zorra, and neglecting to acknowledge them as her friends. Roxy missed having close, dependable friends. When she explained to them about all that had happened with Callista, they empathized with her. However, they felt that she was being hypocritical. Nikki wondered if Zorra, being the fox she is, had being trying to break up their circle of friends. When Nikki cornered Zorra, Zorra confessed that she had been jealous that they were so close. Ever since Zorra had moved from Mirage, she hadn't had anyone to hang out with. Back home, she had been a best friend with the princess. She had wanted Roxy, the most energetic animal in Halcyon, to be her best friend. Zorra explained that she wasn't used to having to share her friends. Nikki told her that she shouldn't think of Roxy as her possession; she should think of her as a person. Little by little, Zorra was getting to be a better "person." Nikki and Piper eventually forgave Roxy and accepted her back into their group. After all, they were really close friends. Roxy really did appreciate having trustworthy friends and a safe place to live. She was ashamed of herself for coming so close to losing her only true friends.
The morals of the story are that the grass isn't any greener on the other side, and you don't know what you have until it's gone.