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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Gathering, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 143 > Short Stories > To Touch the Stars

To Touch the Stars

by playmobil_is_my_life

“C’mon, Seth, c’mon!” Kudo the baby Lupe was running home for dinner. His big brother Seth raced after him, deliberately trying to let his little brother win. As they conquered the hill, Seth spotted the small house that was theirs. The silver Lupe put on a burst of speed to let Kudo know that he was gaining on him.

     The two Lupes stopped before they smashed into the house, looked at each other and laughed.

     “I won!” Kudo yelled happily.

     “You did not!” Seth said, putting on a mock angry face.

     “Yes, I did,” Kudo said, jumping on his brother’s back. Seth grinned and tried to shake him off but Kudo held on too tight. He chewed Seth’s ear playfully and slid to the ground. Seth chased him around the yard until their owner, Kristen, came out of the house and rounded on Seth,

     “No rough housing, Seth, you should know better.” Seth stopped chasing Kudo and fell to the ground. “I don’t want someone to get hurt.”

     “Aw, come on, Kris, we were just playing around.”

     Kris rolled her eyes, “Dinner’s ready anyway.”

     Seth and Kudo washed their paws before sitting down to eat. Kris made tacos, which were Seth’s favorite.

     “Pass the hot sauce, please,” Kudo told Kris and she handed him the bottle of hot sauce. Seth watch in amazement as Kudo squirted the bottle hard spilling the sauce all over his plate.

     “Would you like a little taco to go with that hot sauce, Kudo?” Seth asked. The baby Lupe stuck out his tongue and squeezed the bottle again.

     Kudo seemed like such a normal Lupe: adventurous, bold, outgoing and playful. But only the family knew of his problem. He had a very rare sickness that threatened him with death, a disease that doctors could barely explain. He had been off and on in the hospital for the past couple of years. He seemed to be doing all right now, but the illness was volatile. Kris and Seth tried to do their best at watching out for him, but the baby Lupe’s time would come eventually.

     After dinner, it had started to get dark. Seth and Kudo sat outside looking at the stars, doing something that they did every night.

     “Look!” yelled Kudo pointing to the sky. “There’s the first star of the night.”

     “Make a wish.” Kudo closed his eyes and thought for a moment. Without little hesitation he said,

     “I wish I could be healthy.”

     Seth bowed his head down to look at his brother. Kudo looked dazed. He was lying back looking up at the sky as the new stars began to appear. Maybe he’s thinking of a better life, Seth thought, our worlds are so different…

     After a few minutes, Kudo asked, “Do you think Neopets can touch the stars?”

     The question struck Seth as funny, “I guess so,” he said, but he was unsure.

     Kudo sat up and snuggled up to his brother, “I’ve always wondered about it. Do you think you can just pick them out of the sky like how you reach for something?”

     The silver Lupe put his arm around Kudo, “I don’t know, buddy. But maybe one day you’ll find out.”

***

Seth went to bed that evening. Kudo was in his room asleep and Kris came to say goodnight to Seth. She sat at the foot of his bed and sighed,

     “I think Kudo’s sickness is returning. He’s been very tired recently and his appetite has decreased.”

     Seth sat up, “What do think we should do?”

     “There’s nothing we can do but be there for him. We’ll get through it and wait for it to pass.” She kissed him goodnight and left the room.

     When Seth heard her go into her bedroom across the house, he crept out of bed and into Kudo’s room. Kudo was fast asleep under his blankets. He slept on his back, his chest rising periodically. Seth put his paw on Kodu’s shoulder as if to assure him that everything would be okay.

     He turned to leave but before he did, he whispered, “Don’t worry little buddy…” he paused to wipe a tear from his face, “I’m going to get you a star.”

***

Seth spent the whole day searching for the perfect star for Kudo. He reluctantly came home when it was getting dark, and he hadn’t found a star yet. He visited Kudo for a while, and agreed to play a game of checkers on the bed. Kudo was winning, but only because Seth was letting him.

     “King me!” Kudo shouted, moving his piece to Seth’s back row. Seth placed one of Kudo’s checkers onto the new King and thought about a next move.

     The mood changed as the light dimmed outside. Kudo looked troubled. He asked Seth, “Do you think what I said last night was stupid?”

     “What did you say?” Seth asked, pretending to forget.

     “About the stars,” Kudo replied.

     “Not at all,” Seth said honestly, “It’s good to think like that. If you can touch the stars, that means that good things will happen to you.”

     “Oh,” said Kudo smiling a little, “Good.” They played a few more minutes before Kudo said with sheer determination, “’Cause one day, I’m going to touch those stars.”

***

The next morning before anyone was up, Seth raced to the shops. Around lunchtime, Seth thought he had found a star for Kudo. It was called a Nova. It was perfect—yellow and shiny that was the right size for Kudo to hold. Seth paid three thousand Neopoints for it from the Magic Shop and hurried home. When he got there, Kris was sitting at the table reading an old issue of the Neopian Times.

     “Where’s Kudo?” Seth asked after checking all of the rooms.

     Kris exhaled heavily and said, “He’s at the hospital. He got very sick last night.”

     “Is everything okay?” Seth asked. He was expecting Kris to say, ‘Of course’, but instead she said,

     “I hope so.”

     “You know…” Seth began, “he said that one day he was going to touch the stars.”

     “Let him dream,” Kris said with a small smile, “that’s about the only thing he can do right now.”

     That evening was very quiet. Usually Kudo would liven up the house, but with him away it was still. Neither Kris nor Seth said much. There was nothing new to talk about. The afternoon sun was beating down on the house. The windows were open to enjoy the nice breeze; Seth felt it unfair that Kudo had to be in the hospital on such a nice day. He sauntered outside and up to the hilltop that he and Kudo sat on to look at the stars. It was like the Wishing Spot. Seth was sure that Kudo had made at least one wish on every star that was in the sky. But his wish was the same every time. The sun started to sink below the red horizon and Seth said out loud,

     “Why does this have to be happening to my brother? What has he done to deserve this?”

     No one could answer that question.

     When it was time for bed, Seth went without being told. Kudo was still in the hospital, and going to spend the night there. Seth hoped that he would have good dreams, and when he came home, he’d get to see his present lying on his bed, waiting for him. His very own star that he could reach for anytime he needed it. Seth was asleep before Kris came to tuck him in.

***

Seth woke with a start in the middle of the night. Something felt weird. He thought he was alone. He checked Kris’s bedroom only to find that she was gone. He stumbled around the house, but she wasn’t there.

     Seth stepped outside and saw her sitting on the hill, looking up the sky like he and Kudo did. Seth walked up to her and sat down beside her. She was crying. Her face was wet with tears and her knees were drawn to her chest. Seth feared what she said to him,

     “Kudo passed away about an hour ago.”

     These words hit Seth like a thousand knives. His eyes bugged and his jaw dropped. He didn’t believe her. It couldn’t be true. Those words shattered the night’s stillness like glass. Kris and Seth wept together on that hillside for what seemed like hours, none of them saying anything.

     “I can’t believe it,” Seth whispered.

     “I’m sorry,” Kris said rubbing Seth’s back in a comforting way. “I was going to tell you in the morning.” The cool night air helped to dry their tears and the sky was luminous with stars. Seth was reminded of the Nova on Kudo’s bed. It would remain there forever, just for Kudo. Seth felt as if someone had opened his heart and all sadness was poured in.

     “Kris?”

     “Yeah?” Kris turned to look at him.

     “Do you think he really did it?” Seth asked, after controlling himself from all of the grief.

     “Did what?” Kris echoed.

     “Do you think he really touched the stars?”

     Kris thought for a moment and then she said, “Who? Kudo?” she smiled. “I know he did.”

The End

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