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