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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Celebrating, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 119 > New Series > United As One: Part One

United As One: Part One

by arden_starr

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 exhaustion.

    "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 children!"

    "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 sadly.

    "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 Kougra.

    "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 to herself.

    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...

Previous Episodes

United As One: Part Two

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