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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 93 > Short Stories > Arturo's Secret

Arturo's Secret

by beau_lis

Arturo, a green Koi, sat along the bank of the creek. All around him were trees, bushes and many little creatures that come with a small wooded area. Arturo enjoyed visiting the creek when he wanted to be alone or wanted to hide. Today was no exception. This little place was located behind the Neopian Pound and if you followed the creek up a ways, you would come to a special water hole where the pets could play and swim.

      It was a warm, spring day and getting warmer by the hour. Today was the day that the pets at the Neopian Pound got to go swimming at the water hole up the road. It was for everyone who wanted to go. Ms. Snowflake was the one who would take them this time around.
Arturo liked Ms. Snowflake. She was friendly and didn’t ever push anyone to go swimming who didn’t want to. But still, he dreaded the trip to the water hole. He was afraid the others would find out his secret. After all, he was a Koi that couldn’t swim. All he could do was sink.

      “Arturo!” called Ms. Snowflake.

      Looking towards the voice, Arturo realized he couldn’t put off the trip to the water hole much longer. He slowly got up and left his safe place. As he approached the back of the pound, he saw Mr. Shankly standing by the door.

      “Hi Arturo. Ms. Snowflake is looking for you. Better get to the bus before you miss the trip,” cautioned Mr. Shankly.

      “Yes, sir,” Arturo replied half heartily.

      “Is everything alright Arturo?” Mr. Shankly asked with concern in his voice.

      Arturo was just about to answer when Ms. Snowflake came around the corner.

      “There you are Arturo,” Ms. Snowflake said quickly. “Come on, the bus is waiting for you.”

      Arturo nodded at Ms. Snowflake and walked to the bus.

      Upon entering the bus, Arturo heard his name called. He looked around and saw that it was his friend, Bello the red Koi, calling him. Arturo decided to take a seat near his friend.

      “Isn’t this great! It’s so hot already and we get to go play in the water hole!” Bello said with excitement.

      For a moment, Arturo had to laugh as he watched his friend bounce around on the seat. Then all too quickly, he remembered that he did not want to go to the water hole at all.

      “What’s a matter with you Arturo?” Daisy, a purple Peophin asked.

      “Huh?” Arturo replied looking at her. She was sitting across the aisle from him.

      “You have this strange look on your face,” Daisy stated.

      “It’s nothing at all,” Arturo replied blushing at being caught in his thoughts.

      Daisy wasn’t convinced by his answer. But she had an idea of what was bothering him.

      With the squeak of the bus breaks, they all found themselves at the watering hole. There was an air of excitement as everyone exited the bus. This was the first trip to the water hole since last summer!

      “Who wants a swim race?” yelled Benny, a striped Shoyru.

      Excited shouts of “I will” echoed through the wooded area.

      “Now hold on you guys,” Ms. Snowflake announced. “Ms. Cupcake, Ms. Pop Tart and I will be watching to make sure you guys are OK. Make sure you follow the rules of safety!”

      “And come and get us if you need us!” Ms. Pop Tart added.

      With those announcements done, all or almost all of the pets went running to the water hole.

      Bello started to run and then stopped. “Aren’t you coming Arturo?” Bello questioned.

      “Yeah, I will be there in a bit,” Arturo replied softly.

      Bello just shrugged and ran to the water with Arturo watching him.

      Arturo felt like crying. It seems as if everyone can swim except him. And the humiliation of it struck him as well. He was a KOI! He was supposed to be able to swim!

      “Arturo?” a soft voice behind him called. “Why aren’t you down at the water hole with the others?”

      Arturo turned to see Ms. Snowflake looking at him with concern.

      “I uhhh… I am... well…” Arturo mumbled. He was trying to hold back the truth because it was too painful to admit it. “I can’t swim!” he blurted out.

      He looked at Ms. Snowflake and was surprised to see a look of understanding on her face. “Why don’t you sit with us or maybe you can just sit on the bank and enjoy the day?” Ms. Snowflake asked.

      “I guess I could go down to the bank and sit for a while,” Arturo replied softly.

      Ms. Snowflake smiled as he turned towards the bank.

      Neither of them had seen Daisy on the side, sitting against a tree. But she had heard everything. She knew she had been right when she guessed that Arturo couldn’t swim. He never even stuck a fin in the water last summer. Daisy smiled to herself and knew what she would do with this new and confirmed information she had learned.

      Arturo came to the edge of the bank and sat down. He watched his friends play in the water. He wished he could just jump right in. But he knew he would sink right to the bottom. He looked on sadly.

      “Hey!” called Bello. “I was wondering where you were! Come on in! The water is so great!”

      “I will in a bit. I’m really tired right now,” Arturo yelled back.

      “Awww, come on in now! We’re just about to have races!” yelled Blue, a blue Skeith.

      “Naw, it’s OK,” Arturo responded loudly.

      Over to his left, there were a couple of pets coming out of the water to sit on the bank. Arturo moved toward them. If he sat with them, then he wouldn’t look so silly sitting by himself on the bank. So he plopped himself beside them.

      “iH,” said Nerissa, a brown Grundo. Beside her was Blossom the Island Usul and a couple of others he didn’t know very well yet.

      “Excuse me?” Arturo asked looking confused.

      “She said Hi,” Blossom said with a giggle.

      “Ohhhhhhh… hi,” replied Arturo with a smile.

      The group sat on the bank and chatted for a bit.

      Shortly after, Ms. Cupcake made the announcement to come up to the bus area and get their lunches. Everyone found their lunch and broke off into groups to find a place to eat.

      Arturo’s group, which now included Bello and Daisy, found a nice shady place on the bank of the water hole. They continued talking and eating, having a grand time.

      Arturo was so involved with what he was talking about that he jumped when he heard a cry for help!

      “HELP!” screamed a voice. “HELP ME! HELP ME!”

      Everyone jumped up to try and see where the voice was coming from!

      “It’s over there!” yelled a Christmas Blumaroo. “It’s Daisy!”

      Daisy? Arturo thought to himself. It can’t be her. She is sitting…

      He noticed that Daisy wasn’t sitting there anymore. He looked up again to the far end of the water hole. It was deep and the pets weren’t allowed to go that far!

      It WAS Daisy!

      Everyone started moving quickly to the bank. Out of the corner of his left eye, he could see Ms. Snowflake and Ms. Pop Tart running towards the bank. Ms. Cupcake was trying to calm some of the pets down.

      Before he actually thought this out and before he knew what he was doing, he threw himself into the water! He sank to the bottom! But he kept kicking. Daisy was his friend! He couldn’t just leave her!

      Arturo realized that he wasn’t on the bottom anymore. He was on the top, splashing his way to Daisy. Or where he hoped she was. He couldn’t see very much with water in his eyes.

      Oh please, oh please, help me! he thought wildly to himself.

      *clump*

      Arturo ran into something. He tried to look up but sank. He started kicking again to get to the top. He felt a paw grab him! The paw was helping him stay above water. He was amazed to see the face of Daisy. She was above water and managed to stay above water!

      How did she do that, Arturo thought to himself.

      At this point, both Ms. Snowflake and Ms. Pop Tart swam up to them. Ms. Snowflake took hold of Arturo and Daisy was taken by Ms. Pop Tart. They were led to the shore and brought up to the bank. Arturo laid back and tried to catch his breath. He swallowed so much water that he thought the water hole must be empty by now!

      Ms. Snowflake leaned over him, asking him if he was OK.

      “I’m *cough* OK,” Arturo said.

      “OK everyone. Get your things together and get ready to go back to the pound. It’s time to go,” Ms. Cupcake announced.

      After checking to make sure Daisy was alright, Ms. Pop Tart and Ms. Snowflake helped the two pets gather their things together.

      On the bus ride back to the pound, Daisy leaned over to Arturo and said, “See, I knew you could swim.”

      Arturo looked at her in confusion. Daisy just grinned. Then it suddenly dawned upon him. Daisy has won the gold medallion for swimming 3 years in a row!

      Arturo just gazed at Daisy in amazement.

      “I always knew you could swim and now you know it too,” Daisy smiled at Arturo.

EPILOGUE

      After Arturo’s heroic moment, he decided that he should take some swimming lessons to become a better swimmer. He realized that there was no shame in not knowing how to do something. The shame came from keeping his problem a secret and not allowing anyone to help him.

      Currently, Arturo joins in the water hole activities and he helps the younger pets in the pound improve their swimming.

The End

Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed my story. Please feel free to offer comments.


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