United As One: Part One
The sky was a churning mix of black and grey; violent golden
forks struck downwards followed by booming thunder that shook the whole of Neopia.
Most people were tucked inside their Neohomes; cosy and comfortable, safe in the
knowledge they were protected from the storm that had been brewing for a fair
few hours. Not everyone, though. A small skunk Zafara sped through the streets,
her black fur soaked and her body wet and weak. She had been travelling for days
without any food, but this was important.
Finally, she arrived at the doors of the Adoption
Center. To most people it's a place to avoid, but in her desperation this looked
welcoming, inviting and, most importantly, warm. Shaking her fur dry, she stepped
through the doors, still clutching her precious bundle to her chest. Two faint
cries could be heard from under the blanket.
"Hush," the skunk Zafara soothed, holding them closer.
She scurried up to the desk, where a friendly Elephante sat on a stool, writing
in a thick official looking book.
"Hello," the Zafara whispered, her voice weak from
"Hello dear," the secretary answered, looking caring.
"What's wrong? What happened? Do you need a place to stay?"
"No-no," she answered, placing the bundle carefully
on the secretary's desk. "Take them please, they have nowhere to go and I cannot
look after them."
"Is that Bella?" the Elephante demanded, astonished.
"What happened to you? I don't believe it! You can't abandon them, they're your
"Think I have a choice?" she answered, tears forming
in her eyes. "Take them, or they will be thrown on the streets. That is how
serious this has become."
The Elephante quickly unwrapped the bundle, to see
two green baby Zafaras, clutching each other in fear. They reached for their
mother with miniscule claws, crying out pitifully. The skunk Zafara turned away
"Make sure they go to good homes," she called, as
she walked away from the building. "Whyte -- Dayon -- I'll see you again someday."
And with that, the lonely figure disappeared into the night.
"Mum, I'm home!" Dayon called out, slamming shut the wooden front door and
greeting his mother with a hug.
"Dayon, darling!" Arden beamed. "How was school?"
"Fine," he lied, dumping his bag on the floor and
running up the stairs. He wasn't going to make her worry was he? He never told
her anything about school, and she was obliviously happy. If he told Arden that
he was bullied she would fret, and he would never want to hurt her.
In his rush, he bumped into his sister Landri, a spotted
"Watch it Dayon," she teased. "I got home before you,
as usual -- what were you doing, begging the teacher for extra homework?" She
shoved him playfully, but stopped when all her brother did was walk away.
What's wrong with him nowadays? she thought
Dayon entered his bedroom with a heavy heart. He wasn't
home late because of homework as his sister thought -- in fact, he had been
threatened by Scully the Korbat and his usual group of trouble makers. This
was another secret that Dayon carried around with him, and one that pressed
on his shoulders every day of his life.
Dayon glanced around at his bedroom; it was same as
usual. Small wooden bed, freshly cleaned sheets, navy curtains, two huge towering
bookcases and his wooden desk. He sat down eagerly at his desk, and pulled out
a pen and paper. Slowly but surely he began to write in his neat handwriting,
expressing all his emotions on papers. For hours upon hours he sat writing his
poems, some happy, some sad, but always amazing; Dayon was incredibly gifted.
All of the other mothers told Arden how lucky she
was to have such a talented child, and always Arden would smile and say how
proud she was. For Dayon was top of the class, an avid reader and a brilliant
poet. For Dayon, no poem was good enough -- he was a perfectionist, and wouldn't
rest until his latest haiku was finished. Writing was his only relief, and it
eased his pain.
Finally after four hours, Dayon put his pen down.
He had written five pages of new work to add to his collection, and for those
short hours he had felt happy. But now he had stopped, and his pain was returning.
Why am I so unhappy? he questioned himself for the thousandth time. Why?
For as long as he could remember, he had always had
a sense of loss. No matter how many sonnets he created, he could never find
out why he felt so lost and alone. He couldn't explain it, but it was almost
like he wasn't a full person, like some part of him was missing. He loved his
family dearly (his sister Landri was as close to him as could be) but he just
didn't belong. He knew he had been put in Neopia for a reason, and he was determined
one day he would find out who he was, and finally be happy.
He knew his mother had adopted him from the Adoption
Center, and sometimes worried if his feelings were something to do with his
past. He couldn't remember anything before he was adopted, and he wondered if
something had happened to him in the past before this. He would have loved to
find out about his old family, but never asked in case he hurt Arden, and he
adored her more than the world.
"Dayon, your dinner's ready," his owner called from
downstairs, disturbing his ponderings. Sighing, he stood up and prepared himself
to put on a brave face again.
Whyte had been working all day. From dawn to dusk she had been cleaning and
cooking, sewing and dusting, until her paws were numb and blistered. The white
Zafara threw herself onto the couch, not even stopping to admire her work. All
day she had been looking after her Neohome, so when her owner Tim came home
he would be happy and praise her. He never asked her to look after the home,
but she did it anyway because she loved him and knew he couldn't do it himself.
Just as she pulled herself up again, she heard the
front door slam and saw the stumbling figure of her owner, Tim, in the hallway.
"Dad, come through here," she called, and plumped
up the old cushions for him. He appeared in the doorway, his brown hair messy
and his face tired.
"Well dearest," Tim smiled. "I see you've been hard
at work once again." He looked around proudly, and saw the simple brown flooring
had been scrubbed and the old, tattered furniture had been carefully cleaned,
the ragged ends of the couch stitched as best as Whyte could. "You have done
well," he continued, hugging her tightly. "What did I do to deserve you, eh?
I know we haven't much money, but you always manage to make our second hand
things look as good as new!" Whyte knew this was a downright lie, because no
matter how hard she tried everything still looked worn and ancient, but she
was flattered all the same.
Everything Whyte had ever owned had been second hand,
but she knew it wasn't Tim's fault. He worked hard for the few Neopoints they
got, and all of it went on paying for food and medicine. He was very ill but
still always dragged himself up and earned a bit of money, no matter how little
it was. Whyte was becoming increasingly worried because over the past couple
of weeks, Tim's cough had become distinctly worse and couldn't sleep well.
"Here, Whyte," Tim said, taking a small bag of Neopoints
out of his pocket. Whyte took it and tipped the contents into the jar she kept
on the side, but even with the fresh amount it was still almost empty.
"Here's your medicine Dad," Whyte said, taking a brown
bottle out of the cupboard and carefully pouring some of it into a spoon. She
fed it to her father, who smiled weakly and muttered a thank you. He left the
room and wandered up to his bedroom, to sleep. Whyte knew it would be a long
time before he did finally drop off, and wondered how long it would be tonight.
Twenty minutes later, Whyte sat at her bedroom window,
drawing in her art book. She stuck her tongue out in concentration, shading
the darker parts of her picture. When it was finally finished, she stared up
at the sky, a dark blue velvet blanket dotted with stars. Where do I belong?
she thought hopelessly, tears dripping from her eyelids.
Every night ended like this: sitting drawing and wondering
why she felt so awkward and out of place. Sometimes she worried about her owner
and being poor, sometimes she stressed because she couldn't go to school and
had to stay at home and clean instead, sometimes she was anxious about the future.
But tonight she was experiencing the same feeling she had felt all her life:
loneliness and despair. She had no idea why it was like this.
All of a sudden she glimpsed a movement, and quickly
looked down to the dark bushes and hedgerows that lined the streets. She was
sure she had seen something move. She stared a little longer, then, shrugging,
she closed the window and climbed into bed.
Outside the Skunk Zafara hid in the bushes, watching Whyte. Her black and white
fur shone in the night, but was camouflaged by the leaves on the hedgerows.
There the mother sat, biding her time and waiting. Waiting for her moment.
To be continued...