The Lost City of Geraptiku
"'S too hot," a young Lupe complained, rolling onto his
stomach and facing his sister, who lay on her back lazily, watching the gnats
"It's always hot, Tumba. What makes today different?"
she shot back irritably, shutting her eyes as the sun yet again escaped the
cover of passing white clouds. He was right though; the afternoon was sweltering,
with the sun beating down on their pelts relentlessly. Rarely, a balmy breeze
passed through to bring relief. The elder of the two, a Lupess by name of Kyra,
sighed and lifted her hot, tired self to her feet. Stretching for a moment,
she surveyed the island around them.
Beaten dirt paths snaked across the island,
cutting through the overgrown jungle in the center, twisting through the clusters
of thatched huts that congregated here and there on the island. Flowers every
color of the rainbow blossomed on bushes and vines, often tucked behind the
ears of passers-by. Crystalline waters surrounded the island, lapping up onto
the white sugar sand to cool the feet of those positioned there. A beautiful
place to live, anyone would say.
"C'mon, Tumba, let's do something. I'm bored
stiff just sitting here," Kyra said, leading the way down a path known as Trade
Road. It was named appropriately; along the road, carts and tents were lined
up side by side, displaying their goods. Fruits, flowers, sand sculptures and
other novelties by Island natives, but also many weapons, books, and toys from
the mainland. Everyone came to Mystery Island to trade, from all four corners
of Neopia. It was one of Kyra's favorite places to be; watching hagglers argue
raucously over prices, pets tugging their owners' hands, leading them towards
a certain toy or book, fighters surveying weapons with masked interest.
Kyra stopped briefly, to watch two men yelling
at the tops of their voices over a particular piece of map, which was near to
being torn in half by the two. They shook fists and shouted curses, two arguing
sides, neither to win any time soon. It was only when Tumba tugged on her that
Kyra shook her head and moved forward, no longer entranced by the goings-on
of Trade Road.
The two took a side road off of the bustling
street, walking a more serene path. It wasn't one often traveled, by the looks
of it; vines creeped across from treetop to treetop, creating a sort of canopy
over the path, and bushes pushed out from their confines, stretching their roots
into the walking path. The path was mostly shaded by foliage, so it was a comfortable
route to take. Cool dirt beneath their paws, the scent of fruit and flowers
wafting past their snouts, and best of all, no heat of the sun beating on their
"Where are we going?" Tumba asked, looking up
to his big sister with curious eyes. He always counted on her to know what was
going on. Kyra didn't answer at first, but rather, scanned further down the
trail. She didn't really know herself; they hadn't walked this path in her recent
"Uhm…" she said, not really sure. As the two
reached the crest of the hill they had been slowly ascending, they looked down
around them. To their far right, a small bit of land with Easter Island heads
popping up here and there. To their far left, miles of ocean. Looking overhead,
they saw a thick chord of smoke rising unhurriedly into the cerulean sky. "We're
on Techo Mountain -" Kyra said perceptively, realizing from the smoke, "-and
that below us is Geraptiku. Where we're going."
Tumba looked up at Kyra, eyes wide. "But Mom
said we're not to go there, remember? She said -"
"I know what she said, Tumba. But you said you
wanted to have some fun, and exploring is fun, and we've never been there before.
What else are we going to do for fun, drink mango juice?" Kyra spoke in a persuading
tone, almost like that of the traders on the island when trying to sell their
goods. In truth, Tumba hadn't said anything about being bored; Kyra had. But
she was so convincing that Tumba overlooked that slight detail. He finally nodded,
after about 30 seconds of contemplation. Kyra burst into a toothy grin, and
lead the way down the path towards the lost city, tail swishing in the air.
About 20 yards from the entrance to Geraptiku,
the duo stopped, surveying their destination. A growth of trees and bushes fenced
off most of the ruined city from sight, the only visible part being the main
entrance, and two or three buildings. Kyra was sure there were more in there,
and quite keen to investigate. Much more so than Tumba, who stood stock-still
as Kyra moved towards the entrance.
"What're you waiting for?" she asked impatiently,
stopping to face him. He shook his head, looking down the path into the city
with a great distrust.
"I don't think we should," he said in a would-be
firm voice, but he wavered through his statement, obviously apprehensive about
the whole thing.
"Oh stop being a baby, Tumba, just come on!"
Kyra said. "Aw, I'm sorry, is wittle Tumba afwaid of the big, scawy city? Maybe
he should go home and take a nappie!" Kyra cackled callously, eyes gleaming.
"I'm not scared!" Tumba shouted defensively,
puffing up his chest and trying his best to look valorous. But no façade could
mask his obvious fear. Nevertheless, he took a deep breath and marched towards
where Kyra stood, just before the entrance. "Let's go," he growled, almost threateningly.
Kyra smiled inwardly, knowing she'd hit a soft spot and gotten exactly what
she wanted. She trailed her brother, both of the Lupes entering the Lost City
Upon entering the city, the very first thing
Kyra took notice of was the lack of sound. The only noises were the crunching
of twigs and long-dead leaves beneath Kyra and Tumba's paws, and their haggard
breathing. Otherwise, the silence was eerie. It was as if the birds stopped
singing in Geraptiku, for there was no song to be heard. The lulling sound of
ocean waves slapping the shore was not heard within the limits of the city;
it was like the barrier of trees and bushes could keep out sound as well. Kyra
shook the thought out of her head; it was a ridiculous thing to think. But the
silence was quite unnerving… and finally Kyra had to make some noise, otherwise
she thought she might go crazy.
"So, little brother," she said suddenly, causing
Tumba to nearly jump out of his skin. "What do you think of this place?"
"It's really…" he trailed off, not able to find
a word to explain Geraptiku. It wasn't really scary, because there was nothing
there to scare them. The place was void of anything living, the two Lupes aside.
They hadn't seen so much as a gnat or a lizard since they entered. Nothing green
grew within the boundaries of the shrubbery fence, only the twisted remains
of dead plants, that were slowly crumbling into nothing. Huts were scattered
all around Geraptiku, most of them in pretty decent shape from the outside.
A few had holes in the roofs, as if someone had left a fire burning and not
paid attention. Left, was what it was. Left behind.
"Weird," Kyra said, finishing his sentence.
She too had noticed the up-and-gone look of the place. It was like someone had
lived there before, a lot of someones, and then they just disappeared to nowhere.
Pots were hung over long-extinguished fires, their contents nothing but rot
and ash now. Roughly-made toys were lying in the paths that cut around the city,
like children had simply left them to go in for dinner. It was creepy.
"Hey Tumba, look at this!" Kyra shouted, walking
into one of the huts that had the door swinging wide open. Two beds stood against
the circular walls, covered in blankets sewn from some kind of animal hide.
A fire pit was sunken into the floor in the center of the hut, and above it,
a large hole was burned out of the thatched roof. A spear was leaned against
the inner wall, cobwebs strung between the handle and the wall. Once the weapon
of a warrior, now the home of a lonely spider.
"Hey, Tumba, c'mere already!" she shouted again,
in awe at the abandoned home. When Tumba didn't answer, Kyra frowned. Where
was he? She exited the hut, walking around and calling his name. Her voice,
shouting, 'Tumba! Tumba!' over and over again, was the only sound in Geraptiku.
She grew worried; where was he? She had thought he was right behind her, or
in another hut looking around. Now he was nowhere.
"Tumba, this isn't funny, you know! Come out,
really!" Kyra's voice squeaked, and anxiety gripped her. What if something had
hurt him? But there wasn't anything beside for you and him here, remember? She
reasoned with herself, but it wasn't helping matters any. Kyra began running
from hut to hut, shouting his name and looking for a glimpse of his copper-red
"Tumba! Please come out!" Tears pricked at Kyra's
eyes, but she blinked them back hard. He would be okay… he had to be…
Somewhere in the distance, a young male's voice
"Kyra! Help!" At the sound, Kyra's ears swiveled
around, trying to catch where his voice was coming from. Somewhere in the back
of the forgotten city, she thought, taking off in that direction. Her paws beat
at the hard-packed dirt beneath her, breath coming out in short pants. Her eyes
were peeled, her fangs bared. Nothing would hurt her brother, if she had any
say in it.
As Kyra turned to look to the left side of her,
something very furry collided with her. Both fell to the ground, and Kyra yelped.
"Tumba!" What the -"
"No time! No time! RUN!" he shouted exasperatedly,
taking off in the direction of the entrance to the city. Kyra didn't need telling
twice; within seconds she was neck and neck with Tumba, running hard towards
their escape. Behind her, for the first time, something aside from them could
be heard. Heavy footsteps, of something rather large, were coming up behind
them. Kyra dared not turn around and take a look at whatever it was, but instead
willed herself to run faster.
With the entrance in sight, she looked to her
side to give her brother an encouraging smile. They were almost free. Instead,
she saw nothing to her left but air. Nothing to her right but air. Looking behind
her, she gasped loudly. Tumba was laid out on the ground, having tripped on
a root. His eyes were wide as saucers, and he leaped up quickly and began limping
towards the exit. Behind them, whatever it was, had disappeared. But the sound
of the heavy footsteps hadn't. Kyra even thought she might be hearing a harsh,
rattling breathing from somewhere behind a large building near the entrance.
"TUMBA! Are you okay?!" Kyra shouted, slowing
so that he would be in stride with her.
"I'm fine, let's move!" he panted, scrambling
as quickly as his 3 unharmed legs would carry him. The two made it to the exit,
and while Tumba kept up his loping sprint, Kyra came to an abrupt halt just
outside of the entrance, looking back in. Back a bit and to her left, within
Geraptiku, was what appeared to be a meeting hall sort of building. In its bamboo
side, a large hole torn. Peering out from the hole, two large, gleaming red
eyes, round as the full moon and bright as traffic lights. Rough, rattling breaths
came in short intervals as the red eyes stared hard at Kyra, unblinking.
Kyra turned and ran, and didn't stop.
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The Meerca named Jane hugged her best friend.
"I promise you a battle." She smiled. "In five years."
|Battle of the Brushes|
As they rounded the last turn in the tunnel, Jenny began to regret her reckless
decision. But her regret shriveled away to nothing as she took in the Snowager's