Ilossa stared blankly out the window, ignoring everything she saw.
The Gelert had been sitting on the cool fabric of the Zen bed all day. Her long maroon hair was untidy and fell into her grey eyes, not that she cared. The night before she had slept in her clothes, too upset to change. Even now, Ilossa was still in her black T-shirt and dark blue jeans, the same things she had been wearing when the accident happened.
All day long, she had felt empty. She felt as though nothing were left, not even any tears to cry. No matter how much she wanted to cry, she couldn’t, and she knew that she would probably never cry again. As the daylight sun kissed her face, the terrible scene kept replying in her head.
“Ilossa!” Annai cried out in terror. “Ilossa! Help me! Grab my hand!”
Ilossa blinked for the first time in moments and shook her head. No, she mustn’t think about that. It hurt too much to think of the horror on the shadow Ruki’s face. But really, what else was there to think about?
Over and over in her mind, she could see Annai reaching for her, bright red bangs falling in front of her panic filled emerald green eyes.
“Stop it,” Ilossa whispered to herself.
The scene in her mind changed, and it was peaceful. Lush green grass blanketed the ground, sprinkled with the cheeriness of a few perfectly placed flowers. All of that came to an abrupt stop as soon as it came into view.
A shudder ran through Ilossa. All day, even though she had been sitting in the sunlight, she was cold. Perhaps it was just the memory; perhaps it was more.
“Come on, Ilossa!” Annai’s voice called, filling the field where they were running. Ilossa laughed.
“I am coming!” She gasped, running to keep up to her friend. “Perfect place to write, hey?”
Annai nodded. “It is. It’s so calm, way different then Neopia Central.”
“And no one out here to annoy or interrupt us. No siblings, no owners...” She grinned. “How long do you think this field goes on for?” Ilossa asked curiously, surveying their surroundings as she came to a stop.
“Stop it!” Ilossa cried aloud, holding her head in her paws. “Just stop!”
Her mind refused to listen, and the previous day’s events continued to play.
“Annai, check it out! It’s a cliff!” Ilossa exclaimed, standing at the edge. “It’s hardly visible until you reach it!”
“I’m not going near it,” Annai replied firmly and Ilossa rolled her eyes.
“I don’t like heights either, but this is awesome!” The Gelert beamed, looking out in awe. “I wonder how many know about this?”
“Forget it, I’m not coming any closer to the edge,” The Ruki shook her head. “Now come on, we’ve probably got to start heading back. We’ve been gone a long time,” she pointed out.
“Annai, come on! Look, the ground is perfectly solid, and there’s no wind to push you over, so unless you were to dive off, you’re safe.”
“Well... All right, but if anything happens to me, it’s your fault, got it?”
“Oh whatever, just get over here!”
“STOP!” Ilossa shrieked, sounding pained from the memory. “It’s my fault! I know it’s all my fault! None of this would have happened if I had just walked away then!”
She flopped down so she was lying on the bed, but she remained curled up. Nothing in all of Neopia could have made her move at that moment. She wanted to cry more than anything, but no tears came for the Gelert.
Everything was going fine! For the two friends, it had been just another day. Why did they have to discover that cliff? Why did fate have to work against them?
“This would be an interesting setting for a story,” Annai said, more to herself. “It’d make a good suspense scene; one character falls and manages to grab on to something, then it’s up to the other character to save them.”
“But they don’t, right?” Ilossa grinned, and received a glare.
“Stop being so morbid all the time. I was planning to have the fallen character rescued.”
“But that’s too predictable!” the blue Gelert argued.
“And having one of them die is too predictable for you,” Annai replied. “Write a happy story for once in your life.”
“I don’t think that’s possible,” Ilossa replied as a cold wind swept by them. “And besides, not all of my stories have sad endings. In fact, the majority of them have bittersweet endings,” she pointed out.
“True,” Annai agreed reluctantly. “But life doesn’t always have bittersweet endings.”
“No, you’re right, there are sad endings too,” Ilossa said, looking back out over the valley. Beside her, she could hear Annai hitting her forehead with her palm.
“Why, Annai? Why did you have to listen to me?” Ilossa moaned. “Why did all this happen? Why did the ledge have to break?”
Annai couldn’t answer those questions for she couldn’t hear Ilossa anymore. Even if she could, neither could explain why things ended up happening the way they did. All they knew is that everything did happen, and nothing could be changed.
“Ilossa!” There was now panic in Annai’s voice. “The ledge, I think it’s breaking!”
Ilossa, who had been putting her hair into a ponytail, just shook her head. “It’s fine, Annai. I mean, this ground has probably been here for how many thousands of years?” To further prove her point, she jumped on it once, hard. “See? It’s...”
Her own scream interrupted her. The Ruki dressed in a green shirt and jeans had been right. The ground was indeed starting to break beneath both of the girl’s feet. It shifted, tilting towards the valley that was hundreds of feet below them. The beautiful breathtaking scenery below suddenly didn’t look nearly as wonderful as it had only moments before.
“We have to get off this ground, now!” Annai shouted, but Ilossa was frozen in fear. The shadow coloured pet jumped, and made it to safety. The ground was still falling from beneath the Gelert.
“Ilossa!” Annai cried in terror. “Ilossa! Help me! Grab my hand!”
“Ilossa! I want to help you!” she cried out again. Finally, it seemed that the Gelert was coming around, but was it too late?
“Why couldn’t I move, Annai?” Ilossa whispered, now staring emptily ahead. The doorknob to the room turned, and Annai came in. She walked over to the bed and sat down. Ilossa looked at her friend, wishing that she could be seen.
“It’s all my fault,” she whispered again. “It’s my fault. I did this to myself. It was my own foolishness, wasn’t it?”
“Why didn’t you listen to me, Ilossa?” Annai shook her head. “You’d still be alive!”
“ANNAI!” Ilossa screamed as her situation finally hit her. “Annai!” she called again, trying desperately to grab on to her friend’s hand.
It was too late, and Ilossa fell.
“Ilossa, I can see you. You do know that, right?” Annai said after a moment of sitting in silence.
Ilossa sat up and looked at her friend oddly. “You... can?”
“Yeah. Yesterday, while you were still comatose and in bad shape, your owner and I used the paintbrush you’d been keeping. You’re a ghost now.”
She looked down at her paws. “I know I’m a ghost. After all, I came in through your wall to wait for you to get back from school... wait, you mean I’m not...?”
Annai grinned. “You’re not dead, and we can have you painted blue again.”
Unsure of how to feel, Ilossa just smiled weakly. “Actually, the ghost look is kind of cool for me.”
“It’s not bad,” Annai agreed, then couldn’t resist teasing her overwhelmed friend. “See? Stories can have a happy ending after all.”