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Pages of a Lost Past: Part Seven


by sibertiger9

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Part seven - Flashbacks

"AaaaaaaaahhhhhOOOOOoooooooohhhhhhh," I yawned. I hadn't even started reading my journal and sleep was already threatening to take over.

     Sibertiger9, Mysticat, and LuckDragon were all fast asleep on the floor. They had a long day. However Mysticat's robot Angelpuss and LuckDragon's Buzzer were wide awake and deep in discussion... at least, I think it was a discussion, you never can tell sometimes. Normally Kachie would have been eager to join them, but not tonight. For some reason she kept tugging at the small leather bound journal in my paws. It seemed as if she were encouraging me to read it.

     "Okay... okaaaay..." I yawned. "I'll read it already."

     I took my pillow and propped it up against my headboard so I could lean against it. The pillow looked so comfortable... my eyes began to droop...

     I felt a sudden searing pain in my left paw and had to bite my tongue to keep from screaming aloud. I looked down to see my Psimouse looking at me with fierce eyes.

     "Okay... I'm awake!" I hissed at Kachie. I positioned myself against the pillow and slowly opened the journal to the last entry I had read. Kachie curled up on my stomach so she could read along with me.

     "Well, here goes," I whispered half to myself, half to Kachie. She let out a soft growl in response.

          6th Day of Swimming, 1999

     I've done something horrible! I left Laquilla nearby at the ice cream parlor while I went to play tag with the Lalaboks by the old well. Later when I went to check on Laquilla she was gone and there was a piece of parchment in her place. It said: You should keep a closer eye on your sister. I and the Lalaboks looked all over town but we couldn't find her anywhere! Someone must have cheek-napped her... but who? I feel horrible. I know the little runt annoys me all the time but I still love her.

     I'm in my room right now and I can hear Mom and Dad talking to Cheader out in the living room. Actually, Mom's crying and Dad's talking. I still don't know if I'm in trouble or not... Mom and Dad haven't talked to me much since they found out Laquilla was missing. I should look for her but I don't know the first place to look. I already looked all over town unless... Maybe she's in the canyon!! Ever since that meteor storm we've heard strange noises coming from the canyon. What if Laquilla was taken by aliens? Dad heard about Alien Aisha's in some parts of Neopia when he went out trading once. Either way it couldn't hurt to look in the canyon would it? If I found her there's no way anyone could be mad at me for losing her.

     I'm going right now...

     * * *

     The soft patting of feet on the dusty ground was the only noise that disturbed the unusually quiet night air. The footsteps belonged to a small yellow Kacheek wearing a red shirt and jeans. The little Kacheek hurried towards the edge of the cliff as if her life depended on it. When she reached her destination she clutched her sides and breathed heavily, waiting for the stitch in her side to fade away. Once it subsided she slowly lowered herself over the edge of the cliff... now, to anyone else this would be considered a death wish, but you see, this little Kacheek and her community were a different race of Kacheeks. Since they lived on a cliff, each Kacheek, from the moment they could walk, was taught how to climb the cliffs that surrounded their small village. Being one of the smaller and more agile species of Neopets, they find climbing incredibly easy. Their paws are small enough to grasp at the smallest notch or hole in the rock face.

     That being said, the small Kacheek began her meticulous climb down the cliff into the canyon. The process was long. She knew better than to climb down recklessly because even with her extraordinary skill at climbing, she was taught that even the best slip up once in a while. If she were to fall now, this whole expedition would have been in vain.

     "Don't worry... I'll find you," she breathed into the air. She stopped and looked down into the canyon to gauge her distance. It was difficult to tell how far down she was since it was night, and the canyon was shielded from much the moonlight. But since she had climbed into the canyon once before she estimated that she was about halfway down.

     Slowly but surefooted, she continued on. Her breathing became heavier from the intense work of climbing down the cliff face in the dark. Suddenly a cold shiver ran down her spine, making her freeze in place. Whatever that feeling was she attempted to shake it off and she was about to continue down the cliff again when she heard a noise... a deep rumbling or growling.

     "I knew I should have eaten something before I left," she whispered to herself. But after a couple seconds the rumbling didn't cease, rather it got louder, and it continued to get louder until the cliff face itself shook with the very force of it. The intense shaking jarred the small Kacheek loose from her grip on the rock wall.

     "Waaaaaahhhhhh!" she screamed as she fell several feet before managing to grab onto a handhold. Small pieces of rock and dust rained down on her in the dark as her free hand groped the side of the cliff in search of another place to hold on to. Once she found something to hold on to she clung to the rock wall for dear life. It seemed as though an hour had passed, but the shaking finally stopped. The poor Kacheek however was breathing so heavily she was on the verge of hyperventilating. Her heart raced at a million miles a minute and she shook as though the shaking from the rock wall was transferred into her.

     Both curiosity and fear sprung to life in the small Kacheek's mind. She never remembered an earthquake like that ever happening before, and somehow she knew there had to be something more to it and she was curious to find out what. At the same time she reasoned that wherever that noise had come from, her sister was most likely in the same place. And that fact frightened her to no end.

     Once her nerves had calmed a bit she continued towards the canyon's bottom with new motivation. In no time at all it seemed she had reached the moist muddy bottom of the canyon. She could hear the faint trickle of the stream running through the middle of the canyon floor. It was only during the rainy season that the canyon was filled to the brim with water. At every other time of the year the canyon was just like it was now. Just a small little stream. 'But wait', the Kacheek thought, '...rainy season is JUST ending, there should still be water in the canyon shouldn't there?'

     They weren't in the middle of a drought for sure. In fact it poured the other day for about 12 hours straight. But she shook her head of the incredibly strange lack of water. It wasn't important. What was important was finding her sister.

     The small yellow Kacheek stood there for a couple minutes as her eyes finished adjusting to the dark of the canyon. Once she could relatively see, she began padding through the soft mud. She kept one paw on the cliff face to guide her along. She hadn't a clue what she should be looking for, or if there even was anything of interest down in the canyon in the first place, she just kept walking.

     After about ten minutes or so she saw a beam of light shining onto the canyon floor. The source of light seemed to come from the adjacent cliff face. On closer inspection she found that the source of light was coming from a tunnel that went into the cliff itself. 'I never realized there was a cave down here... ' the Kacheek thought to herself. She slowly edged toward the source of light. She was about 20 feet away from the tunnel when a noise made her freeze, her fur standing on end. It was a mechanical noise, and it was growing closer... it was coming from the tunnel. The Kacheek quickly hid behind a large boulder just as something exited the tunnel. It was a fairly small robot, probably no taller than the Kacheek herself. The robot pivoted on the spot, scanning the surrounding area before turning and wheeling away back down the tunnel. The Kacheek suddenly had the horrible feeling that her sister was somewhere in that tunnel...

     * * *

     I woke up with a start. A certain little Psimouse was staring me right in the face.

     "I'm awake, I'm awake!" I sat up and yawned and stretched my arms. I blinked my eyes a few times before looking around. The early morning sunlight was streaming into the room. Everyone besides me was still fast asleep. At Kachie's incessant chirping I finally exited the room and headed for the kitchen. I glanced at the photos on the wall again as I passed by. It still confused me more than anything why Kachie was in those photos. I started to wonder if Kachie knew anything of my past.

     When I entered the kitchen Laquilla and the green Kacheek were already there, as well as Kasey and Amaranthela.

     "You're awake!" chirped Laquilla. The green Kacheek turned around.

     "Oh, good morning, sweetheart. Would you like some breakfast?"

     I nodded and sat down at the island counter with Laquilla and the others. Kachie hopped off my shoulder onto the counter and began playing with the silverware.

     "Hurry up and eat, Ruffle, there's something I want to show you," Laquilla said excitedly.

     "What is it?" I asked. At that moment the green Kacheek served us some pancakes and some of last night's left over fried Neggs.

     "Hopefully something that will help you remember everything."

     "Shouldn't we wait for the others to wake up?"

     "Nah, let them sleep."

     "Don't worry, Ruffle. Besides, this is your thing, not ours," Kasey said. I nodded and began to eat my breakfast.

     Ten minutes later I had finished and Laquilla was practically dragging me out the door.

     "So, where are we going?" I asked again.

     "Just follow me, you'll see."

     A few minutes later we were standing on the edge of the cliff staring down into the canyon. Suddenly lasts night's dream played itself over in my head.

     "There's a tunnel down there," I stated without realizing it.

     "Yeah... wait, how'd you know that?" Laquilla asked.

     "I had a dream about it last night."

     "That must mean you're starting to remember!" she said excitedly. "Come on, let's go!"

     Just like in my dream I climbed down the cliff face with Laquilla like it was second nature. How I even knew how to do that was still a mystery to me. I guessed that since Laquilla knew how, most of the Kacheeks here knew how to rock climb as well. I mean, they were only surrounded by them, so it made sense.

     Within minutes we reached the shallow river of the canyon. Without direction from Laquilla I began walking in the same direction I had been walking in my dream, as if I were on auto-pilot. I slowly came back to my senses to find myself standing outside of the entrance to the cave I saw in my dream... except it was different. It was much larger than I remembered it being in my dream.

     "Going to stand around all day or are we going in?" Laquilla asked.

     "Oh... uh... lead the way," I said, motioning with my arms. Laquilla skipped a bit as she took the lead and I followed her into the tunnel. A couple minutes later the tunnel opened into a grand circular cave. I found it odd that the cave was almost perfectly circular, and in the very center the ceiling and floor were connected. I suppose a better explanation would be that it looked like an inverse bagel.

     I gazed around the cave taking in every bit of detail. Most noticeable were the strange capsules or pods that were imbedded in the rock in the center of the cave. They were a bit dented up. The lid of one of the pods was nearly torn completely from its hinges. Some of the water had streamed in from outside through the tunnel and seemed to create a moat of sorts around the center of the cave where the pods were. A molded old plank of wood went across the moat. I assumed it was used as a makeshift bridge. Old computers and other electrical equipment sat rusting at the edge of the cave, and a smashed control panel lay at the foot of one of the pods... and like lightning images appeared in my head.

     * * *

     The small yellow Kacheek hurried through the tunnel as quiet as possible, and kept a wary eye out should that robot return. When she reached the end of the tunnel a vast cave opened up in front of her. The cave was almost perfectly circular, with a shallow moat separating the outside half of the cave from the center where several grandeur pods stood imbedded in the rock center of the cave. There was something odd about these pods. It was difficult to see through the clear glass fronts, but why?

     The little Kacheek looked around carefully making sure no one was around before she ventured across the moat. Now standing in front of the pods she looked up in awe. They were absolutely huge, possibly three times the height of a Grarrl, if not more. Now that she was next to the pods she figured out why it was so difficult to see inside them: they were frosted over, and when the Kacheek reached her paw out to touch one of the pods it was icy to the touch. It was as if the pods were frozen from the inside.

     She removed her paw from the pod and was about to examine the others when she noticed something she hadn't seen before. Since her paw had melted some of the frost on the outside of the pod she could see what was inside just a little bit easier. What she saw was a black, red, and orange, clawed reptilian hand. This made her gasp. She looked up at the top of the pod and after a minute or two of squinting and tilting her head she finally made sense of what she was seeing: The clawed reptilian hand belonged to the single largest Grarrl she was sure anyone in Neopia had ever seen! She let out another frightened gasp and covered her mouth with her paws. Now her mind was reeling. What on Neopia was going on?

     After she recovered herself she went around to the other pods and one by one deciphered their contents: a fire Pteri, a blue Lupe, and a Mutant Buzz just to name a few. And all of them were about three times the size of a normal sized Grarrl, perhaps bigger. The yellow Kacheek's mind Buzzed with more and more questions as the seconds passed. Who was doing this and why were the major questions.

     Finally she came to the last pod; however, this one was much smaller than the others. In fact it was just about the size of the Kacheek herself. She wiped a paw over the frosted glass to clear it as she had done with the others. Slowly a small yellow face appeared from under the ice...

     "Laquilla..." the Kacheek gasped and took a step back. She shook her head in horror. No, this can't be happening, she thought. Who in their right mind would do something so horrible to these Neopets, especially her sister?

     Before she could even think of an explanation she heard echoing footsteps, and they were getting louder every second. The small Kacheek needed to hide, but where? Her eyes searched the cavern until she saw a plank of wood crossing the 'moat' not twenty feet away. She dashed over to it, splashing through the water, and crawled under the board curling herself into a tight ball. And she silently thanked Fyora that she was a Kacheek, a Neopet small enough to hide just about anywhere...

     * * *

     I took a step back and gasped. Laquilla, who was splashing in some puddles near by looked up at me.

     "What's wrong," she asked.

     "I... you... you were frozen," I stuttered, still not completely sure of what I had just seen. Laquilla gawked at me in incomprehension for a moment.

     "Huh?" was all she managed to say. I gathered my thoughts together before answering.

     "You were... frozen... in one of those pods... just frozen. And there were other Neopets too... they were frozen too, but they were HUGE..."

     Now it was Laquilla's turn to gasp in shock. "You're starting to remember!"

     "Yeah, I think so..."

     Laquilla ran up to me and grabbed my paw. "C'mon, there's more to see." She dragged me over to another part of the cave where there were more tunnels that I hadn't noticed before. We began walking through the first tunnel...

     * * *

     The echoing foot steps were getting closer and closer. The small yellow Kacheek curled into an even tighter ball under the plank of particle board she was hiding under. The foot steps were very close now. The Kacheek looked towards the direction of the foot steps to see a tall cloaked figure enter the cave from one of the many tunnels and walk straight in her direction followed by two robots just like the one she saw out in the canyon. As the cloaked figure walked ever nearer the particle board bridge the Kacheek held her breath, until the figure crossed the bridge unknowingly squishing the Kacheek underneath. She coughed as the air was squeezed out of her, and again as the two robots crossed the bridge after their leader. She was just thankful no one heard her.

     She carefully peeked out from under the board to see what the cloaked figure and the robots were up to. They walked up to a control panel and the cloaked one began pressing some buttons.

     "The machine's about ready for her... I want you two to take her back to the prep room and make sure she thaws out. I don't want a mistake like last time," the cloaked figure spoke. He hit one last button and a siren sounded making the small yellow Kacheek jump and hit her head on the board. Again she was lucky that no one heard or saw her. The hatch on the pod where here sister was being kept opened, puffs of cold icy air escaping. The robots used their grappling hooks to pry her sister-turned-ice cube from the pod, then carrying her between the two of them, they took her back to the room they had come from. Their leader followed. And twice more the Kacheek was squished under the particle board bridge.

     Determined not to lose her sister at all costs, the little Kacheek quietly followed them...

To be continued...

Questions? Comments? Feel free to neomail me. ~Sibertiger9

 
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Other Episodes


» Pages of a Lost Past: Part One
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Two
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Three
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Four
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Five
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Six
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Eight



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