When the Weather is Grey: Part Three
Next morning, conditions were the same as the last. Rain
beat against the roof, a sound that was starting to drive Nili quite insane. The
fire, she noticed reluctantly, had gone out overnight. Once she went back to the
town, she'd have to remember to grab some extra matches. Her plan was to leave
to go to the village before the sun came up, in hopes of finding a library, or
at least books, to help explain the odd reasoning behind a place where it never
Once she thought it was late enough, Nili grabbed
her empty potato sack and headed towards the village, intent on finding some
information. On the way there, Nili couldn't help but wonder how the plants
managed to stay alive and not drown. And why didn't the whole island eventually
disappear from flooding? Shouldn't she be underwater now?
In the village this time, all the huts looked
familiar. None of them seemed to hold a possibility of containing her sought-after
knowledge, but she forced herself to look anyway. No more than twenty minutes
after she had started pawing through the huts on her mad search, she heard noises
outside. Glancing out a window, she grabbed her sack and prepared to take off,
empty-handed and knowing no more than when she had come. They were
Even her quick dash wasn't enough to outrun
them. They walked towards Nili quickly, who couldn't help but compare them to
undead zombies. They scared her as they came closer, the dark bags beneath their
eyes making them seem even more lifeless.
"No, stay away!" screamed Nili, desperately
wanting to escape. Her cries went without meaning though, and she tried to run.
However, her legs and feet refused to stray from their current position on the
They captured her. Actually, Nili did have to
admit later, her immediate capture was unlike any she would or could
have ever imagined. They simply grabbed her arm lightly and took her on a short
walk to what she assumed was their cafeteria or dining hall. After they were
there, she sat down with them at a long table, and one of them, a Grey Shoyru,
got up to speak.
"Welcome to our island, Nilika. I hope you've
enjoyed it here so far, because you're going to be living here for the rest
of your life."
How do they know my name? And...rest of
"We have already assigned you your own hut.
It may be hard to find the first time, since all of our huts are uniform here.
We like them that way.
"In addition to simply living here, you may
go through a series of changes. In fact, you've already started," the Shoyru
"Excuse me? Changes?" asked Nili, becoming suspicious.
"Yes, changes. You see, your coloring will..."
The Shoyru trailed off in mid-sentence. "Well, I think you know." He gestured
to the pets sitting around him.
Nili gazed down at herself, just noticing how
her dark, shadowy coloring was fading. "But no, I can't- can't become one of...
I have to- I've got to leave, and I don't intend to- I... I..." she stumbled,
becoming alarmed at the way the other pets were staring at her.
"I'm sorry, Nilika, but you don't have many
options here. There is no way off this island. Trust me, we've all tried." The
Shoyru said in a stony tone.
"But I can't become one of you! There's got
to be a way out of here! If I stay here and become one of you, I'll go insane!"
A loud mumble went around the table, which was
quickly silenced by the Shoyru, who was clearly their leader. "Ah, so the Tuskaninny
did find you. We were all afraid he had. He's clearly brainwashed you with false
information! Us, insane? Bah, I say he's the one who has lost his mind!"
She was torn about who she believed. Did she
believe the Tuskaninny who had found her first, and led her to shelter, or did
she believe the pets who were in front of her now? The real pets, or the ghost?
Just who was correct? But why, she thought, would these
pets have a picture of the Tuskaninny on their hut walls if he had brainwashed
me? What's going on here?!
"Now, we must wait for you to become grey, and
once you are, you'll become one of us."
"Grey, grey, grey..." the others chanted.
"You must become grey..."
"Embrace the greyness..."
"Feel the depression..." moaned pets over the
Nili shoved her paws against her ears to drown
out the dreadful noise. How would she escape this? All the exits were blocked
by strong grey pets. Her situation seemed hopeless. It now seemed that she really
would be spending the rest of her days on the island.
"The portal... go to the portal." Nili
took her paws off her ears and looked around intently for whoever was trying
to help her. The others looked at her strangely, but continued their mad chanting.
"The hut with the fireplace! Go!"
Go? How? The guards block the entrances...
Suddenly, a hot coal from the room's fireplace
flew through the air, nailing one of the guards, who stumbled away from the
door. Before anyone could react, Nili jumped up from the table and ran, full
speed, away from the others and out of the building.
Now on the road, she couldn't remember which
hut she had arrived in. As she ran past, she tried to quickly check each one.
Fireplace? Nope. she thought as she checked each passing hut. By the
fourth or fifth hut, she could start to hear shouting from somewhere behind
her. They're coming! I must find the portal... It has to be around here
"She's getting away!" the voice of the Shoyru
shouted. "We must catch her! Quickly, split into two groups! She couldn't have
Nili's search became more frantic as the sounds
of heavy footsteps came closer. Which hut was it? She ran faster. Just
when she felt like she could run no longer, she peered into the right hut.
Yes! Nili thought with elation. She threw open the door to the small building
and ran inside. To help stall the others longer, she pushed the heavy wooden
table to the doorway, to block the door.
Now what? she thought frantically,
her eyes quickly scanning the dark room. Should I try to lie in the bed?
That's where I was when I got here...
As she tried the idea, she could practically
hear the voice scream, "No, no, the fireplace!"
As she reached the fireplace, the others started
banging on the door. She sat and cowered in the corner of the stone fireplace,
not knowing what to do next. "What do I do now? How will this help me get home?"
she cried out loud, wanting the Tuskaninny to help her further. No answer came.
She wanted her last thoughts as her own, individual, shadow colored self to
be of her old life, so she thought of what had been at home. Fondly she remembered
her life back home, her sister, Scri, her owner, her neohome... She would never
see them again. The pounding grew louder, and it sounded like the door was about
to crack in half. The perpetual rain still beat against the roof, a noise that
would haunt her for the rest of her life. No longer was the sound relaxing as
it had been before. I had been smart when I was younger. Rain is horrible.
I hate rain! she thought. Back into her thoughts came the memory that she
had thought of on Friday, during study hall. Make the rain go away, Scri...
she wished, even though Scri wasn't there.
Slowly at first, then more rapidly, the sounds
of the pounding and the rain faded out, along with the images of the room. Nili
was now in blackness, alone. Did they get me? Am I asleep? Where am I? What
is this place? Suddenly, the Blue Tuskaninny was standing beside her and
"Ah, so you managed to escape. Good work."
"Yes, thank you so much for your help!" Nili
said, so relieved that tears ran down her face.
"Help? Nili... I'm a figment of your imagination...
I don't exist..."
* * *
"Nilika, wake up!" She was shaken awake. Opening
her eyes slowly, she saw a familiar Green Gelert, dressed in doctor's clothes.
"You mumbled your whole story in your sleep."
"But it isn't real! It isn't!" Nili insisted,
quickly becoming hysterical over the memories on the island.
"I'd love to believe that, but..." He sighed.
"I think you should see for yourself." He handed her a small mirror. She reached
out her paw for it and froze. Her gaze drifted up her arm. Then, her breathing
becoming heavier at each breath she took, she threw off the sheet covering her.
She didn't even need the mirror. Her voice raised to a high, shrill cry. She
Author's note: I'd like to thank velveteen for providing some of the inspiration
for this series. Oh, yeah, and *looks out window* the crappy weather as well,
which was rain every day for over a week!