"Happy birthday, Kylie!" the Kougra's owner and brother
shouted. Kylie woke up with a startled noise and looked at her family.
"What is it now, Lila?" she yawned as she got
out of her bed. Kylie's brother, Marten, was making small noises. Kylie looked
at the Meerca and stifled a little giggle.
"It's not that funny!" the Meerca whined. He
was holding a tray with birthday cake in one hand and a big box in the other.
On the tip of Marten's tail there were another five boxes all stacked on top
of each other.
"Put that down, one by one. Yeah... Like that...
Easy!" Lila directed the Meerca as Kylie got up.
The Kougra looked around in her room. Perhaps
it was just her imagination, but it looked somewhat different... Yesterday it
had been completely blue, but now it was lavender!
The owner saw her pet's confusion. She grinned
and whispered to Kylie. "It was Marten's idea. He was so sure you'd love light
Kylie was stunned. Usually Marten would be teasing
her and play that despicable game of tag that she would always lose at. Sometimes
he'd even be mean to her... So why all this?
"It's your birthday!" Marten popped up behind
his sister, giving her quite a scare. The scream left the windows rattling as
the Meerca raced away.
"You can't catch me!" the Meerca blew some raspberries
at his sister and hid under her bed.
"Marten!" Lila scolded. "We agreed that you would
be on your best behavior today! That means no more chasing and making fun of
The Kougra just sat there, trying not to get
angry. Finally she couldn't resist it anymore. With a swift movement, Kylie
grabbed her brother's tail. But Marten squirmed and wiggled so horrible so she
had to let go...
With a dash, the Meerca was on her bed. "Ha,
ha, ha! You can't catch me! You'll never catch me!" He made a few funny faces
as he bounced up and down on her silk covers.
"Marten! Get off my bed!" the Kougra shouted,
jumping on her own bed to push Marten down.
"No way! You can't even catch me!" he replied
as he ran over to the window. The playful Meerca began to jump on Kylie's big,
"Get off!" Kylie shouted exasperatedly as she
tried to get him off.
"Take it easy... Otherwise you might break something!"
Lila's warning came too late. Marten had already accidentally knocked down Kylie's
The Kougra stopped and watched in horror as her
beautiful cake fell on the carpet. It just said 'splat' and then it was all
gone. The white icing was smeared across the carpet as her brother ran over
to jump on her bed again.
"Marten! Stop this right now!" Lila grabbed Marten's
tail, causing him to fall and bringing down the item that he had been standing
The item was a small snowglobe. The small snowflakes
inside it glittered and whirled around as the snowglobe fell. With a crash,
the snowglobe shattered and the snow tinkled for the last time. Soon the pink
carpet was soaked. The snowflakes had vanished in just a few seconds while the
broken glass remained there.
She would've thrown herself and caught it if
only there had been time. Kylie stood there, speechless. Even the Meerca stopped
as he realized how serious the situation was. The Kougra's lips quivered as
she walked over and picked up the fragments of glass.
"I'm so sorry, Kylie..." Lila whispered. Then
she quickly grabbed Marten to make sure he wouldn't cause any more trouble.
But the damage had already been done.
Owner and brother watched as the Kougra collected
the pieces. Then she spun around and ran out of the room.
"What was that?" Marten asked. He didn't really
understand what he had done, but he sensed that something was wrong.
Lila glared at her pet. "You really don't know
anything?" she asked suspiciously and glanced at the door.
"No," the Meerca replied frankly.
"Do you remember her last birthday?"
"Yeah..." Marten muttered. "What was so special
"The first snow of the year fell on the same
day last year..." Lila trailed off and looked worriedly at the doorway.
"And?" the Meerca asked impatiently.
"She got outside and caught some snowflakes."
"Those in that snowglobe?" The little pet was
beginning to get it.
"Yeah. I'm sure she's pretty sad... That was
a precious thing, the first snowflakes..."
"Why is it such a big deal?" Marten muttered
as he grabbed some icing from the floor and licked it.
"It's said that..." Lila suddenly stopped as
she saw her pet eating. "What are you doing? Don't you have any manners?"
"Well, you're the owner..." Marten grinned as
he took more. "I'm sorry that my owner couldn't teach me any proper manners,"
he muttered sarcastically.
"Marten! Be serious!" the owner bellowed and
the little pet stood still. "Anyway, it's said that if you get the first snow
of the year, you'll have luck..."
"...in everything?" the Meerca finished.
"I still don't get why she got so sad. It's just
a bunch of stupid snowflakes. Plus, they'd melt any day..." Marten muttered
as he finished the icing.
"It doesn't matter! She got sad because you knocked
it down! If you had been more careful she wouldn't have to suffer!" Lila yelled
angrily. Sometimes she wondered why she had adopted this bothersome Meerca.
"Okay, okay! I'll go and apologize..." the Meerca
"Say it like you mean it." Lila's voice was dripping
"Well, I didn't do it intentionally. Oh, and
you grabbed me so I fell down..." Marten blew an extra-long raspberry at his
owner as a finishing touch.
However, Lila didn't react as he had expected.
She just stood there, looking rather sad. "Kylie must be very sad... She really
liked it, that's why she put it in such a high place to admire..."
"I said I would say sorry!" the Meerca yelled
as he ran off. He couldn't stand the sappy atmosphere anymore! Kylie, being
weird and running off... And then Lila, not yelling at him like she usually
"What was wrong?" he asked himself. But inside,
Marten already knew it. He always caused trouble for the two of them, never
showing any kindness to authority. They'd say that he overdid it. Again and
"I'm adopted..." the Meerca tried to defend himself,
but the guilt was overwhelming. He stopped and started to walk slowly.
"I'll have to try harder next time..." a voice
in his head said.
"You didn't really think, did you?" another voice
"I'll try..." the voice whispered.
"Trying isn't enough! Do it or don't!" the other
Then it was decided. "I'll take a nap first though,"
the Meerca thought as he walked back to his room. Suddenly he stopped.
Sobs were coming from the cleaning closet. Marten
thought for a moment and wondered if it was a ghost, but then realized it had
to be Kylie.
"But Kylie never cries... She didn't cry when
I dipped her in goo or knocked her into the tree..." he thought as his hand
reached out to open the closet.
As the guilt washed over the Meerca again, he
stopped. Kylie, crying like this? It was wrong. And he was the source of that.
As Marten slowly walked away, a new feeling awakened inside him. Before, he
had just felt guilt because they all yelled at him when he destroyed stuff...
But this... this... this was something else.
"I'm sorry, Kylie. I didn't mean it," he whispered
as he opened the door to his room. The Meerca felt very regretful as he jumped
on his bed. No, he didn't even feel like jumping...
"I'll be a better person. This time I'll try
hard. No, I won't. I'll try my best. Perhaps then I won't be remorseful..."
"It's time for lunch!" Lila's shout rang throughout
the whole NeoHome. Two little pets ran down the stairs and into the cozy dining
room. Soft orange candles and some flowers were on the table, plus a big cake.
Marten was first. He slid down the stairs and
ran over to the table. When the Meerca skipped to his seat, he threw a glance
at the stairs. A small Kougra was slowly walking down. The guilt was nagging
at him to do something.
"I'm sorry!" the Meerca yelled across the room
to his sister. Kylie looked rather shocked, but recovered and slowly sat down
at the table.
That definitely wasn't the best idea. He'd have
to try something else. Kylie seemed to be inattentive, she just dipped the spoon
and stared into space.
"Okay, I'm VERY sorry!" Marten shouted right
beside the Kougra's ears. No reaction.
"Umm... Marten, you might want to sound more
sincere," Lila commented. She felt a little bit happy about this, not just because
it was fairly funny. Perhaps Marten had finally understood that the world didn't
revolve around him...
The Meerca poked his sister throughout lunch.
Nothing happened. Kylie didn't even want any birthday cake, though Marten kept
apologizing every five minutes.
"I'll wash the dishes for you!"
"Please, just forgive me... I promise I won't
do it again!"
"Okay... you get to jump at my bed?"
The Meerca sighed with disappointment when his
sister had left the room. It didn't seem that anything was working. His knuckles
turned white from feeling of irritation.
"How does it feel to be the one to be ignored?"
"But..." Marten tried to explain, "she just wouldn't
"Remember? Sometimes you wouldn't listen either..."
The Meerca hung his head and walked away. Why
didn't anything work? Usually they'd be happy after a few hours... Then it struck
him. He had destroyed something irreplaceable. How many times would the first
snow fall on one's birthday?
Lila watched her pet slowly saunter away, lost
in his own thoughts. She smiled at herself. "Well, it worked out all right with
him. Now to a little chat with her..."
"Leave me alone!" Kylie shouted.
The door creaked and slowly moved. Lila poked
her head inside. As she had expected, the Kougra was lying on her bed and hugging
"Why did you come in here?" the Kougra asked.
Curiosity had taken over. Lila took a deep breath. It wouldn't be easy, but
she'd have to be honest.
"I think you need to do some thinking regarding
the incident this morning," the owner said in one breath.
"What?" the Kougra burst out. "Are you kidding?"
"No. I know it was really a precious item, but
we all have to move on and let go..." Lila stopped as Kylie let out a small
"It was... last year... first snow..." Kylie
hiccupped as she wiped away some tears.
"I know, I know..." Lila stroke her pet's fur
as she shook her head sadly. After a moment she continued, "But the most important
thing right now is if you can forgive your brother."
"No way!" the Kougra exclaimed.
I knew it, Lila thought, but reasoned
with her pet. "Well, he has been begging forgiveness..."
"He certainly didn't seem sorry when he broke
it!" The memory replayed in Kylie's mind. It wasn't about the birthday cake
or anything... Just the snowglobe! On her birthday!
"Can you forgive him?" Lila asked as she turned
the pet's head so their eyes met. Kylie looked down.
"I... I don't know..." The whisper emitted from
the Kougra's mouth. She sniffled a little bit, then looked at her owner. "Perhaps..."
"Your heart will know," Lila smiled kindly at
her pet. "But don't wait too long! It isn't worth holding onto a grudge!"
"Hey, how..." Kylie didn't get to finish the
question as Lila raced out of the room. "It'll be hard to forgive him... But
bearing a grudge isn't healthy either. I'll have to think..."
She fought against herself. "He'll only do it
again if you forgive him..." The Kougra suddenly stopped and pondered. "I wonder
what she meant with the heart thing..."
"Anyways, it'll be fine..." The Kougra took out
the glass pieces and felt the overwhelming grief. "It took such a long time
to collect all of them... And now they're all gone."
"It's your birthday," a voice whispered inside
her. "That's when impossible things might occur..."
The thought of some possibilities almost made
Kylie excited. She sat up and looked at the glass pieces for a last time before
dumping them into a drawer.
"It looks like it'll be fine weather today,"
Lila told herself as she entered Marten's room. She found him walking back and
"Still thinking?" the owner muttered sarcastically
as she watched her pet.
"Very funny," he replied sourly.
"Maybe she'll forgive you..." Lila said, then
"What?" The owner smiled to herself as she heard
"Well, now that we're done with dinner, what
will we do tonight?" Lila asked.
"Nothing..." Kylie muttered, giving Marten a
"Come on, Kylie! It's your birthday!" The Meerca
made a futile attempt at sounding cheerful.
"Kylie, do you have something you want to tell
us?" the owner hinted.
"Nothing. Besides, you sound like a psychologist..."
The Kougra looked around, then got up and started to leave.
"Wait! I'm sorry!" the Meerca called out.
"All day and he's still this blunt?" Lila thought
as she quickly walked to stop Kylie. There would be no fighting in this NeoHome,
that was one thing for sure.
Kylie stopped before Lila reached her. She turned
around and looked at the Meerca auspiciously.
"Are you really sorry?" the Kougra asked, closing
in on her brother. In the big chair, her brother seemed to be rather nervous.
"Yes! I'll do anything!" the Meerca said desperately.
"Anything?" Kylie teased. Lila was beginning
to understand what was going on here. The owner suppressed a giggle as she watched
her two pets bickering. Finally it was decided that Marten would be Kylie's
servant for a week.
"So you really do forgive me?" Marten asked meekly
after the deal was sealed.
"I guess I do..." Kylie said slowly.
"Now let's all eat some cake!" Lila said happily
and started to hand out pieces of birthday cake. "Hooray for Kylie!"
"Look!" Kylie cried out. Her spoon hit the floor
as the little Kougra ran over to the window. "It's snowing!"
"You're right!" Lila said as she joined her pet.
"Why don't we go out and collect them?" Marten
said as he got off his chair.
"No way!" the Kougra protested. "You might just
break it again!"
"I won't!" the Meerca cried out as he ran outside.
"Hey! Me first!" Kylie hurried outside as Lila
grabbed a coat and followed her pets. This turned out to be quite a good birthday,
"I wish this snow would fall forever..." Kylie
said when they got outside. She caught the small glittery flakes in her hand
and put them in a plastic bag. The snow sparkled brightly as the Kougra added
yet another snowflake.
"Yeah..." Marten agreed.
"Hey, what about the cake?"