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 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
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
"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.
Don't talk. Let me go on.
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
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.
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
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."
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
"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
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
"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
So he knows I haven't reached the end, either,
I thought. How hard is this supposed to be?
To be continued...