Needed: Part Seven
DANTAM HAD NO recollection of the day he had been born, but he clearly remembered
the day that he had come to live with his second "family" at the junkyard. If
he hadn't recalled it on his own, it seemed that his friends would have soon
reminded him that he had been with them for exactly one year. He woke up late
on this day, having been allowed to sleep in for once, and discovered that all
duties had been called off for the day to celebrate his anniversary.
Brenner had organised games throughout the day,
from tag to hide and seek to pin the tail on the Uni. Dantam alternated between
participating in the raucous fun and sitting back amusedly to watch the rambunctious
younger pets have at it. On another side of the camp, Silviana had put herself
in charge of entertainment. She told jokes in her usual impish manner between
each of the acts. The first act was a pair of Scorchios, who juggled flaming
batons between them to the awe of the crowd. Then Feruli sang a traditional
Eyrie flying song, the sad inflection in his deep, rich voice nearly bringing
tears to Dantam's eyes. The atmosphere livened up again as one group of pets
imitated Sticks N Stones and performed the band's famous song, "The Beast is
Angry," with only air guitars and a pair of trash cans for drums. Finally, to
wind things down, the Neopets gathered around quietly and attentively as Allegra
read Gelert on Treasure Island aloud to them, making up the words to the end
of the book that Dantam had told her about.
As the sun began to set over the western side
of the junkyard, the others brought out a towering cake that they had spent
all of the Neopoints they'd made in the past weeks to buy. Brenner went to fetch
Cap from his den. As old as he was, it wasn't odd for the Skeith to sleep through
most of the day, but they all thought that he would want to be there for at
least part of the celebration. As he stood before the humongous cake, and then
looked at the Neopets around him who had done so much simply to celebrate his
presence among them, Dantam realised anew how truly happy he felt here.
On one side, Feruli and the Sticks N Stones imitators
were discussing a collaboration while Silviana threw in witty remarks from her
usual perch atop Feruli's head. On the other side, Dantam saw Rorro, who was
sulking as usual, but present at least, and Toragi, by his side as always, who
offered the Gelert an enigmatic smile. He could not imagine never having met
this eclectic group. There was a part of him that still missed Madison, that
he realised always would, but he also realised that he had come to love his
life with these other Neopets as much as he had loved his life with her.
"Feruli, Dantam!" The panic in Brenner's voice
as he suddenly came running toward them crashed through Dantam's sense of contentment.
The young Lupe came to a halt before him, his tongue lolling out in a pant as
he struggled to speak. "It's Cap...There's something wrong...You have to come!"
The words were no sooner out of Brenner's mouth than Feruli went running at
full speed toward the old Skeith's den, and Dantam and Brenner scrambled after
Cap had used his ability as a Skeith to eat anything
in order to eat away at a pile of garbage and create the cave in which he lived.
It was normally a comfortable little hollow, welcoming to any who wished to
visit, but as Dantam approached, he found himself afraid to continue on and
face what was inside. His sense of foreboding only increased as he forced himself
onward into the dimly lit cavern and saw Cap lying quietly near the back. The
old Skeith looked pale and weak. His breathing was shallow, and it seemed a
struggle for him to open his eyes to look at them. Nevertheless, he tried to
smile as he recognised his visitors.
Dantam was struck with a horrible certainty as
he looked upon his wizened, old friend. "Feruli," he said, struggling to goad
himself into action, "You stay here with him. I'm going to go get the Soup Faerie."
Feruli nodded, but Brenner tried to stop Dantam
as he turned to race out the cave entrance. "But Dantam," he said, "It's the
Water Faerie who does healing!"
Dantam could do nothing more than turn away and
continue on his self-appointed mission. Once he was already out of earshot of
the naive young Lupe, he muttered grimly, "He's not going to be healed this
When Dantam arrived at her door, wide-eyed and
gasping for breath, the Soup Faerie seemed to sense on her own what was wrong.
As she swept him up into her arms and used her wings to fly them back toward
the junkyard, he was thankful that he hadn't had to explain. He'd rehearsed
the words over and over in his mind on the way there, but he knew that in reality
they would be too painful for him to say aloud.
By the time they arrived, the other junkyard
pets had cautiously walked up to Cap's cave to find out what was going on. Now
they crowded the cave in reverent silence and parted respectfully as Dantam
and the Soup Faerie made their way through to Cap. Once Cap was in her line
of vision, the Soup Faerie immediately ran to him. She sat down on the floor
beside him, pulled him into her lap, and began to soothingly stroke his head.
At the familiar gesture, the old Skeith looked up at her and smiled feebly.
"I'm glad I got to see you...one last time," he rasped. The Soup Faerie nodded
quietly at him and a single tear fell down onto his scaly head.
"Cap, you're going to be all right soon, aren't
you, Cap?" Brenner whimpered, sounding more and more uncertain." What's wrong,
The Skeith paused before replying, "My children,
I'm afraid that my time to leave you all has come."
"Cap, no!" Feruli burst out, sounding more like
a frightened hatchling than the strong, silent Eyrie that the world normally
Several other Neopets broke the quiet in the
cave to echo Feruli's frightened sentiment, but Cap's voice, growing ever weaker,
silenced them once again. "My children, I know that you will miss me. I will
miss you also, more than I can ever tell...But there are some things in this
world that cannot be helped. Please don't worry about me...for I know that where
I am going, there will be a warm hearth waiting for me..."
A long silence fell over the cave as the Skeith
regathered his strength and his thoughts. He turned his cloudy eyes to the shadowed
Gelert then. "Dantam, I want you to take care of them. They need to be loved...Give
them...what I...never could." Dantam nodded, not really certain of what it was
that Cap wanted him to do, but wanting to fulfill whatever wishes the old Skeith
Out of energy, Cap closed his eyes and did not
speak again. The only sound emanating from his worn out body was his laboured
breathing. Crying openly, each of the Neopets said their goodbyes to their old
friend and stayed with him throughout the night, huddled together in the tiny
cave. By morning, he was gone.
To be continued...