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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 62 > Continuing Series > The Neverending Story: Part Three

The Neverending Story: Part Three

by polayo

Image by polayo

Each Grain of Sand
    
The next day, our plane landed at LDNA, Lost Desert National Airport. As soon as I stepped out of the terminal and the heat washed over me, I grinned. I'd only been to the Lost Desert once before, at my Wedding, and just the smell of the air brought back happy memories. I danced around and tripped, landing face-first in the sand.

     Brushing the grains of sand off my face, I giggled and dashed back towards Omni, who was calling a cab to take us to our hotel. She smiled at me as I took Tika out of her little 'petpet carrier' and let her stretch her wings a bit as she fluttered around.

     Eventually, the cab came for us, and I hopped in, shivering at the fierce air conditioning the Techo driver had on full blast. But still, being in the Lost Desert made me too happy to be angry.

     After we dropped our bags off at the hotel, Omni went shopping for a few things, and I explored the marketplace. I stopped at the Paintbrush Stall, and looked at all the beautiful desert designs. Then I sidled my way into Sakhmet palace, and gave myself a tour of the courtyards, and then I made my way to the main marketplace. I met some of the natives and the shopkeepers, and bought myself a very beautiful cape, white cloth rimmed with gold, with sparkling jewels sewn in. Surprisingly, it was supposedly 'easy' to make, and very cheap.

     I gazed at all the beautiful creations, entranced at the glimmering jewels, sun reflected on them. I moved from stall to stall until I bumped into Omni, who accompanied me back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.

     The second day was much the same. I slept late, and woke to the fierce desert sun gleaming through my window. I ate a breakfast of pyrimacakes and a sand watermelons (they taste delicious, really!), and then I spent the day in the marketplace, and wormed my way into a tour of the palace.

     Omni and I went out to dinner that night and watched a light show, which was possible out there in the desert, since the land was flat and there weren't too many bright lights. It was beautiful, the colours danced across the sky, and I felt as if I was dreaming and with the lights, flying through the air. I fell asleep in Omni's arms watching the light show, and woke the next morning in my bed, well rested and thoughtful.

     Omni had left me a note saying how she'd gone out for the morning, and turning toward the clock, there were three hours left of the morning, if she counted noon as the end of the morning. So I grabbed my cape, bounded down the stairs, and toward Coltzan's Shrine.

     On the way, I passed Osiri's Pottery and complimented her on her superb work, and wished I could be a vase for my room. Moving on, I visited Sakhmet Solitaire, and then I passed Pyramids, and said hello to Tehuti, and idol of mine. I'd never met her in person, although I'd played pyramids plenty of times, and I'd always wanted to meet her and thank her for creating such a wonderful game and hosting it.

     Finally, I arrived at the Shrine, and waited for the last of the visitors to clear away until it was deserted, except for me.

     I started to walk around the Shrine slowly, pondering it, but then I began to play a sort of game.

     "Oh, Your Coltzanism," I giggled, "Please help me." I joked as I knelt down.

     And why do you laugh? I jerked my head up and looked around frantically, searching for the source of the voice and finding nothing. It took me a while to realise it was Coltzan, and by then I was already calmed down.

     "Because...it was only a game,"

     Ah, dear, life is not a game, although some do say it's very alike to a deck of cards.

     "Well..."

     Don't talk. Let me go on.

     I nodded.

     I know why you're in the Lost Desert, and I'm certain you can predict what I'm about to tell you.

     I cringed. "Yes, I suppose I do."

     But however many times it is told to you, you must take the advice. Because it's doing you good, however you may look at it, in the long run, you'll be where you should be.

     "You're going to tell me I don't belong, aren't you."

     No. What I'm saying is that each day you live is slipping out of your hands like a grain of sand in an hourglass. Eventually, the time is up, and you must turn it over to start again. With life, you can't turn it over, you can't start again. Each grain of sand is important here, and once it's gone it won't come back. And right now, in the Lost Desert, you're wasting all that sand.

     I was silent. He was obviously waiting for me to say something.

     Not everyone gets there, you know.

     "What?"

     Not everyone makes it to their place in life. You will, in your own time. But I'm suggesting to you not to waste anytime here.

     I pondered what he said. "Number three," I muttered.

     And everyone before me was smart. You can stay here for the rest of your stay, if you'd like, but I suggest you get a move on. Because when the sun rises, the sun eventually goes down.

     I nodded my head to him and walked off, without another word. I arrived back at the hotel to find Omni there, reading a book. I crawled into her lap and, surprised, she shut her book.

     "Can we leave?" I said sadly.

     "Why? I thought you loved it here."

     "It's a long story," I explained. "And it's one you don't want to hear. At least...not yet."

     "Why?"

     I thought for a minute. "Because it doesn't have an ending."

The Light At the End of the Tunnel
    
I scrunched up my nose as soon as I stepped off the boat bringing us to Krawk Island, and I saw Omni do the same.

     "I don't like it here..." I murmured, and she nodded.

     "Me neither," she agreed as she picked up her foot which had squelched in the mud.

     "Uh, Omni? I know we were scheduled to stay here for a week, but..."

     "Sure, Po. We're leaving tomorrow..." A look of disgust passed over her face as she dragged our bags to the cab that was waiting for us.

     We stayed in a low-rate hotel, and I could tell neither of us were enjoying this. I read the whole time and fell asleep early, totally missing dinner and waking up to a very hungry stomach. Omni wasn't too happy when I woke her at 5 AM, but we had a big breakfast in the hotel restaurant when no one but the chef was there. Then we trudged back up to the room to pack, eager to be out of there.

     When the boat came at about noon, I was more than ready to leave. Something about the place gave me the creeps. Maybe it was all the myths I'd heard about Krawk Island? Or maybe it was the fact that it was dark and gloomy? Whatever it was, I didn't care, as long as I could get out of there.

***

Next on our itinerary was the Space Station. Omni chided herself for having our trip be so disorganised, but eventually we arrived at the launch pad and made it up to the station.

     It wasn't a very eventful journey either way, but when we arrived at the station, I barely paid any attention to anything around me. I was hungry, tired, and just plain annoyed with everything around me. When we unlocked our room-which, by the way, wasn't in a hotel, it was just in the 'Visitor's Section A alpha X', where they had rooms you could rent out-I just plopped down in a chair and glowered.

     "What's the matter, PO?" Omni asked as she unpacked her bag.

     "I don't know," I admitted, and my stomach agreed with a grumble.

     "Do you wanna call Ev?" She asked, and my face lit up. EverWild was my best friend, and was always able to cheer me up. Nodding fervently, Omni said she'd go scope out the restaurants and I was welcome to use the phone.

     I punched in Ev's number, and after a few rings, she picked up.

     "Hello?" She said.

     "EV!" I squealed.

     "PO! Where have you been?"

     "What?" It took me a second to realise what she was talking about. Obviously, they hadn't been told we were gone...well, no one had. "Oh, uh...Omni and I are on vacation. You didn't know?"

     "No. Anyway...what's up? Where are you taking vacation?"

     I grinned. "We're visiting all of the worlds in Neopia. We're at the Space Station right now.

     "What's happened so far?" I thought for a moment before answer. "You sure you want to know?" I finally said.

     "Well, yeah," she replied.

     "OK, then. Here goes nothing..." I told her the whole story, from the beginning, from the night before we'd left. It took quite a while to tell her all of it, but I did. And at the end, she was silent for a few moments.

     "So it's like a neverending story."

     "Whatever you want to call it, Ev." I glanced at the clock, but I didn't even have to. My stomach reminded me what time it was. "Hey, Ev? I've gotta go. I'm really hungry, and Omni should be getting back soon."

     "Oh...all right. See you soon, PO" I heard the click from her end, and hung up the phone on my line. I lay, sprawled out on the bed for a few moments before Omni returned.

     "Ready for dinner?" She sat, and I grinned and jumped off the bed. She was right. Ev had made me feel better.

     But it didn't last long. By the end of the dinner, I was back to being annoyed with everyone. I snapped, not on purpose, at Omni, told Tika to go away when she nudged her empty food bowl, and just felt like sitting down and crying somewhere.

Eventually, Omni and Tika fell fast asleep, but I was still awake, wide-awake, with no intentions of going to sleep. Something lured me to the door. I couldn't stay inside this room. I needed to get out.

     Before I realised that all the lights were off in the space station, the door had shut behind me, and I didn't have enough sense left in me to remember the key in my pocket.

     The tears came as I wandered aimlessly around in the dark, wondering what in the world was I going to do. I wasn't even thinking, only feeling sorry for myself. Finally, I found what I was looking for-there was one room in the whole space station with a light on, and I stumbled toward it. I crawled inside, and leaned up against the wall.

     The warehouse Grundo turned, surprised at the sound he'd heard while sorting prizes. He looked me up and down. "Hello?"

     "Hi," I said, tiredly.

     "What are you doing here? And why are you crying?" " He asked, kneeling in front of me, as I wiped away the last of my tears.

     "I don't know," I snapped. "I'm just not having a very good day. And I'm locked out of my hotel room."

     "Unless my eyes are defying me, you've got a key right there."

     He pointed toward my pocket and, startled, I looked down to see the silver key poking out. I felt as if a million pounds had been lifted from my shoulders, and I almost smiled...but I wasn't that happy.

     "And it's dark." I said.

     "Ah, easily solved," he handed me one of the lanterns that burned. "Keep it, it's all right," he said. "And may you be guided by more than the light at the end of the tunnel."

     I was silent for a few moments, and before I could say thank you, he was back to work. Not wanting to disrupt him again, I whispered it, and made my way out the door and back to our room easily. I slid into bed and extinguished the lantern and fell asleep, thinking about what he'd said.

     So he knows I haven't reached the end, either, I thought. How hard is this supposed to be?

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Neverending Story: Part One

The Neverending Story: Part Two

The Neverending Story: Part Four

The Neverending Story: Part Five

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