A Wish for Bravery: Part One
Chloe walked miserably on one of the footpaths of a very
busy street in Neopia. The Shadow Kyrii thought of what had happened that day
again and big, fat tears leaked from his white eyes as they had done every time
Why did everybody call him a coward? It wasn't
his fault he was a little afraid of everything. And then there was Dan, the
large Skeith who just couldn't get tired of bullying him and challenging him
to do things he, himself, was afraid to do. Couldn't everyone leave him alone?
Even his teachers were all fascinated by his fear of petpets and couldn't stop
pointing him out when he started shuddering because of something he was phobic
Today had been the worst day in the entire history
of Chloe's bad days. He could write a whole book about the humiliation he had
had to suffer. It was all Dan's fault. He had tied him to a tombstone when they
had been taken on their School Trip to the cemetery. The Skeith knew that Chloe
was afraid of tombstones and cemeteries more than anything else. He had called
his entire class to where he had been fixed to the grave. He had made everyone
laugh at him. Even the teachers had chuckled and had watched him sweat and stutter
and swoon without helping him. Every day of his life, the poor Kyrii was called
names including: 'coward' and 'weak-heart' but this was the height of it.
Walking through the crowd, Chloe looked around.
Everyone's expression was the same; excitement in their laughing eyes and a
malicious grin on their faces. Every face seemed to be sneering at the Kyrii.
This was too much for him. Chloe looked at the glass windows of some shops on
the opposite side of the street. They were selling all sorts of petpet items.
Petpets. He shuddered at the very thought. He didn't know why he didn't
like them, with their small beady eyes, blank expressions and plotting looks…
Chloe tripped over something someone had thrown
on the ground. It was an empty can of Achyfi. He kicked it. As soon as his foot
connected with the metal can, a feeling of joy erupted within the Kyrii. He
was channeling his anger out of his body and was using it up when each time
he kicked the can, thus, making his anger go away. Chloe kicked the can again
and again and again. Then he kicked the poor can of Achyfi so hard that it crashed
into a brick wall with such a force that it instantly became a twisted pieces
of metal. Now it was just like Chloe, himself, felt.
"Great," thought Chloe. "What now?" Just as
he felt something might be working well for him…Whoosh - something would happen
to it. Just as he thought that the situation couldn't get worse - it did. For
running along the adjacent footpath of the very busy road was a large and heavy
green Skeith who was known as Dan.
"Hey weak-heart," shouted Dan across the street.
"How's your life going on, sweetie? Do you need more humiliation? No? Just a
bit? Yeah! Okay! That's the spirit." After saying those highly elaborated words,
the huge Skeith crossed the road and came to Chloe's side.
What happened next happened so fast that passers-by
would have thought it to be a small whirlwind of muffled yells and fists. What
had really happened was that Dan had caught Chloe from the behind in an attempt
to give him one of his Super-Painful-Extra Painful-Ultra Powerful-Sooper-Dooper-Atomic
Noogies (something too painful for words). The second Dan touched Chloe, something
inside the Kyrii snapped. He could take this humiliation no more. Chloe wouldn't
let the bully walk all over him. He would retaliate. Chloe, in turn, caught
Dan. Then the fight began. Punches, kicks, thumb jabs, eye pokes, high-jump
kicks, spinning kicks, karate chops; everything painful was used…
At last, Chloe was on top of Dan, who was lying
on the ground, sweating and panting. As soon as he caught up with his breath,
he curled his remaining hand (the one that wasn't pinning Dan) into a balled
fist and waited…He waited for his feelings of hatred and anger take their peak
within him so that it would feel better when he hit him. And then they started
rising. He felt his face burning with violent energy waiting to be released.
Chloe looked in his victim's eyes and saw something.
It was Fear.
Suddenly Chloe's hatred vanished and shame erupted
inside him. How could he hit someone who was scared? It was true that he wanted
to avenge Dan for his own humiliation but this wasn't the most dignified thing
to do. Unclenching his fist, he let go of the Skeith. For a moment, it looked
as though Dan would thank the Kyrii, but then the moment passed and Dan returned
to his usual sneering self.
"What's wrong, weak-heart? Can't even punch
someone?" asked Dan, sneering with smugness. "You chicken? Yeah! That's it!
That was the last straw! Chloe had saved Dan's
neck and now - now this - more humiliation and insults? Then he did what he
had to - he ran; past the boulevards that formed the arteries and veins of the
heart of Neopian Central, past the cozy Neohomes flourishing in the suburbs,
past the large lush green parks and into the forests that surrounded Neopian
Central. He was heading for, there was no doubt about it, the Secret Place.
The Secret Place was a small clearing in the
middle of the forest where Chloe used to go during his most miserable hours.
It was a place where no one would tease or pester or further discomfort him…
It was a place where he could lie about for hours, telling the ever-listening
trees about his day. It was a place where the wind would whisper words of comfort
into his ear. It was a place where the roses would cheer him up with their sweet
smelling fragrances. It was his Sanctuary.
Chloe scampered through the dense and dark forest,
dodging this way and that, looking at familiar trees and undergrowth so that
he could navigate himself. At last, he came to the Place. The bright, crisp
sunlight fell on the Kyrii's face. The Secret Place was just as it had been
every time he had come there; untouched. The trees made warm gestures of welcome
as they swayed with the wind as it blew the tall, green grass. In the middle
of the clearing was a water body, too small for a lake, too big for a puddle
and just right for a pond. It was the clearest pond he had ever seen.
Lying down on the grass carpet, Chloe released
his emotions. He cried but the trees hushed him. He spoke his story but the
wind embraced him. He looked into the pond and his reflection made funny expressions
so that he laughed and it laughed with him. This was all he could wish for…
The word 'wish' echoed many times in
his heart. An idea struck him. It wouldn't be surprising if it didn't work out
but at least it would take Chloe's mind off Dan. But then again, it could
work and if it did, then, oh, then he would show him…
The Shadow Kyrii leaned on his knees and joined
the palms of his hands as when a servant begs for mercy from his master. He
closed his eyes and spoke softly, "I wish, I wish with all my heart to be given
bravery and courage."
The wind blew through the clearing and it almost
sounded as though it was saying, "Courage."
The hairs at the Kyrii's neck prickled as he
felt the queer feeling that was only felt when someone was watching you.
Chloe made a three hundred and sixty degree
turn and saw nothing peculiar. It was just his imagination.
It was getting late and he had a long way to
go so he decided to get going but something caught his attention. Among the
shadows of the forest was a shadow darker than any he had ever seen. Chloe's
curiosity got the best of him and he marched towards the shadow to find out
what was causing it. Just as the Kyrii took a step forward the shadow moved
too. Maybe it was his shadow. He waved his hand to see if it moved, but
it didn't. He took another clumsy step and the shadow moved again. Feeling reckless,
Chloe ran towards the shadow - after all, what could a shadow do?
The shadow fled, only to be tripped by a piece
of rotting log. Now was the time to see what was causing the shadow. Standing
less than a foot away from it, Chloe realized that it was not a shadow at all;
it was someone - or something - wrapped up in a black veil. Hot anger erupted
from within the Kyrii. No one came here except him…It was his Secret Place!
Jumping to conclusions, Chloe figured out that Dan must have been behind the
The Shadow Kyrii felt the same way he had done
back in the busy street but this time he wouldn't stop himself from hitting
Dan. Shouting everything he could thing of, Chloe jumped into the air, landed
on the black figure and started punching and kicking it as hard as he could.
"STOP!" shrieked a sound so shrill that it felt
as though the very air had been sliced into many pieces. It came from within
the fold of the veil. "I mean you no harm." It was a harsh yet beautiful voice,
unlike Dan's whose voice was husky and reminded you of grindstones being rubbed
against each other, and, also unlike Dan, it was a feminine voice.
To be continued...