The Young Dr_Death: Part Eight
Dr_Death ate breakfast in silence. Well, he didn’t really eat his Neocrunch, he just played with it. His eyes were red and puffy from crying, but also from lack of sleep. His somber mood affected Drew, but she didn’t say anything about it.
Shaun had hit the roof when he found out Mipsy was gone. He searched high and low, and asked all his neighbors if they’d seen her, to which everyone answered no. Drew could tell Shaun suspected them, but he had no proof. He’d walked off that morning, disheveled, unshaved, and apparently muttering about how he could have had it all.... They’d not seen him since.
Drew knew Mipsy’s disappearance affected Dr_Death, and decided to leave him alone. However, later on, Drew asked him a question.
“It’s a nice day. You want to go to Happy Valley? You know... to take your mind off things?” Drew asked apprehensively. Dr_Death shrugged heavily.
“Sure, why not?” he asked in a monotone. He really didn’t want to be anywhere on the Mountain today, anyway.
“All right!” Drew said, trying to sound exceptionally cheerful. “Let’s get our coats and we’ll go in half an hour. Hey!” she said over her shoulder as she left the kitchen. “We can stop in the Ice Caves on the way back! I may even win big at the Kiosk!” She snapped her fingers, and left Dr_Death alone over his soggy cereal. He knew she was trying to help, and he appreciated it. But she had no idea why he was so sad today.
Several hours later, Drew and Dr_Death were walking around Happy Valley. Drew was trying hard to cheer Dr_Death up.
“Ooh, look, Deathy! Look at the skaters!” she said in an awed voice, pointing. Dr_Death looked up reluctantly and saw several Bruces doing fancy pirouettes and turns on the ice. He grunted in agreement. Drew frowned a little, but then had her false smile on her face again.
“Look, you want to get a slushie?” she asked excitedly, glancing at him. Dr_Death shook his head no and continued to shuffle along with his head down. “How about looking at all the clothes in Merry Outfits? I hear they have the new spring line!” Dr_Death shook his head no again and placed his hands in his pockets. His head went lower. Drew rubbed her head. “I know! How about we go and watch the cute little petpets pla-” The sentence died in her throat at the suffering, pained look Dr_Death gave her. Her smiled faded a bit.
“Um...” Drew muttered, racking her brain. But before she came up with another suggestion, Dr_Death spoke up.
“If it’s all right, Drew, I’d just like to sit on this bench,” Dr_Death said, sitting on the bench. Drew made a move to sit as well, but he shook his head. “Alone, please,” he said calmly, without any hint of anger in his voice. Drew looked worried, but Dr_Death gave her a small, watery smile. “I’ll be fine, I promise,” he told her wistfully. Drew looked apprehensive.
“I don’t know about this...” Drew fidgeted a bit, staring around at the vast crowd that surrounded them.
“Look, I’ll be fine, all right? In fact, I think I am in the mood for a slushie. Can you get me one? Please?” Dr_Death asked, trying to look happier. Drew smiled at him understandingly and nodded. Without another word, she turned and walked away.
Dr_Death watched her receding back. He sighed and looked around, breathing the fresh mountain air, which seemed somehow heavy and stifling to him. He coughed when he tried to breathe in too deeply, and then looked around him, glaring. He though it was strange how all these pets and owners were having, could be having fun. How could they be having fun, how could the sun be shining brightly overhead as if nothing had happened? As if no one in the world felt emotional hurt?
He sighed sadly. The most painful thing about grief is that even time itself cannot lessen the pain. Nor will it stop the world just for you in your hour of need. It can make you feel so isolated, so alone....
Dr_Death jerked his head up. He wasn’t quite sure he’d heard correctly. He looked around frantically, until his eyes spotted a pair of tourists. It was a red-haired boy with a bright smile and easy-going saunter. He was clearly not from here because he was bundled neck to feet in incredibly heavy snow gear. Next to him was a Cybunny. It took Dr_Death a little while to realize this was the Royal Cybunny he’d ran into the night before.
They were walking about ten feet in front of him, and he heard their conversation become clearer and clearer as they walked through the crowd.
“Isn’t she cute?” the Cybunny was saying, rocking a pink bundle in her arms. “I found her last night as I left the café on Terror Mountain. Poor baby was all wet and freezing,” she said pouting. The red-haired boy shook his head, then smiled at her.
“Well, you certainly got her all cleaned up and comfortable. And dry. Aren’t you lucky? They’re supposed to be so rare,” the boy told the Cybunny, patting her on the head. The Cybunny smiled at him back with a rather sweet, but somewhat vacant grin.
“Yeah, who would be careless enough to lose a Kadoatie?” she asked. “It’s all right, though, Pumpkie,” she told the bundle soothingly. “I’ll take care of you from now on.” They were close enough for Dr_Death to see into her arms clearly. It wasn’t a pink bundle, it was....
“Mipsy,” he breathed quietly. So she’d come back to town after Dr_Death had tried to scare her away. She was probably looking for him. Dr_Death subconsciously half rose, telling himself he knew he’d heard a familiar mew moments before. But then he saw something he had never seen. The Cybunny was... singing to Mipsy. Apparently, she didn’t recognize her as the Kadoatie Dr_Death had been holding the night before. Dr_Death could tell she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer just by looking at her. But she seemed kind.
And Mipsy was cuddled up in her arms with her eyes closed, a warm smile on her face. The smile of a baby who knows she is well protected, who knows she is loved. She did look very comfortable.
“Little baby, don’t you cry,
Just listen to my lullaby.
Though you may wander far away,
I’ll still love you night and day.
Light of my world,
Light of my life,
Keep shining until
The end of time....”
Dr_Death heard the song fade away into the ramblings of the crowd looking for Valentine’s Day gifts. The Cybunny held her arms closer to her, and Dr_Death heard that one last mew fade away, like a speck of dust in the wind. It caught on the air and circled his head once, and then was gone
And so was Mipsy- gone from his line of sight, gone from his world, forever. He never saw her again.
Dr_Death bit his lip, and tears fell down his face at last. He knew he would never see her again, the one creature with whom he’d shared so much, that one whom he’d bestowed the phrase “best friend” upon. There would be other petpets, and other owners, as well, but never one who had touched him so deeply. He knew that she would remain in his heart forever, and he in hers, but never would they see each other in the physical world again. All their time together was now just a memory.
The hot tears fell to the earth and melted the snow beneath them. They came out easily, in a long stream. But they weren’t tears of sorrow. They were tears of joy.
Dr_Death felt like something had finally been lifted from his soul, something heavy and dark. Now he felt lighter than he ever had. He let her walk away, out of his life, and yet, he was happier than he had ever been.
There would be time later to grieve his loss, of course, but later, much later: hours, days, months, years, even, to spend crying in despair, wringing his hands, distraught, asking why all this had happened to him. There would be time later to lessen the impact of the pain, for although time will never stop, nor completely heal all wounds, it can lessen the effect.
But now was not the time. The moment was fast fading, and he wanted to enjoy it- he wanted to bask in Mipsy’s joy, and his own, preserve this one golden moment in his mind forever: Mipsy had finally found a loving family. It would be selfish of him to be stubborn and not be happy for her- how could anyone who had been so intimately entwined in her life not be happy now that she was safe? She had finally found peace for herself.
And that was all he had ever wished for her.