Superhero Sister: Part Three
That’s what I saw.
But that was not good. I didn’t want to see the light. You heard that in books way too often.
I closed my eyes- that took way too much effort- and opened them again.
The light was still there.
I sighed, and then drifted back into oblivion.
When I awoke, I heard shouting and whispers intertwined surrounding me. The words seemed slurred to me, but they sounded excited and anxious. I tried once again with my eyes, and they opened with only a minimum of protest this time. Light flooded into them, nearly blinding me. Blurry figures shoved their heads into my field of vision, and I focused all of my effort onto one of the blobs: it was my mother.
“She really is awake!” she shouted, and I groaned. She sounded a lot like a clichéd book.
I tried lifting up my head to find my bearings, but I found the task nearly impossible. Someone’s paws helped support my back as I scooted higher up against a pillow that fit into my back.
I coughed heavily, and I found more figures by my side. I lifted a paw and carelessly waved it around, trying to tell the figures I needed my space. Someone picked up the hint as they backed away, and I could finally see my surroundings. It was my own house- I was in the very same living room where the Judge had told my family of the Defenders. Light poured in from the open window, and I could hear shouts of laughter in the distance. The room was packed with knick-knacks and books like every other room, and I was perched on an old couch that my grandmother had given her daughter, Marcy.
Now that I knew where I was, I wanted to know why. The obstinate memories refused to come, so I judged that my short-term memory had gone on vacation.
“Aryan?” someone asked. Aryan. My name.
“Yes?” I croaked, my voice protesting. I felt a ripple of relief flood through the room. The only word I could then manage was, “What?”
Someone ruffled the fur on my head. “You nearly gave us a heart attack!” That was my brother’s voice. My brother... why was that important...?
“How are you feeling?” That was Lola. Her normally jocose voice was saturated with an unknown burden she had been carrying for a while, I assumed.
“I don’t feel anything.” That was true. My senses told me nothing, with the exception that I was confused and a blanket covered most of my body.
“The doctors say you’ll be fine within two to three days. You hurt your right hind leg, so watch that for a while!” That was my brother speaking, and something stirred in me. It was an uneasy feeling that I had never felt before.
“What happened,” I said as a statement and not a question. My mother, Lola, and Rayon, exchanged looks that I caught.
Lola shifted in her seat. “Well,” she said, “We had actually...”
“Go on,” I urged her when she paused. She took a deep breath and said everything quickly.
“We were going to give your brother a one-month anniversary party of being in the Defenders. Everything was perfectly planned out –even the Judge agreed to help by luring him off- but we needed you as well to attend. He was coming soon to the park where the party was being held, but you and your mother weren’t there. I ran as fast as I could back to the house, and luckily you and your mother arrived at the house with plenty of time to spare. Things at the party were in full swing when you ran into a tree and hurt your head badly.”
There was silence. Had that really happened? With my memory gone, I had to rely on my friends and family to help piece together the puzzle. I had to trust them.
Then I remembered.
I dashed to my brother, who looked fine with the exception of a small cut on his cheek. He fluttered his eyes open and weakly lifted his head off the soaking ground when he saw me leaning over him in serious concern. “Aryan...” he muttered.
“Don’t... trust... anybody...” His head dropped into my supporting paws. He had passed out.
The rest flooded back to me. Running... panic... explosion... fear... nothing.
Lola had lied to me, and a poor lie it was. So she had lied to me when I was at my weakest state of mind. But why did she say something that never happened? Should I inform the trio that I knew something was wrong?
“Yeah, you ran head-first into the tree. We picked you up and brought you back here, and the doctors later recommended that we shouldn’t take you to the hospital as you’re fine here.”
“Is that all that happened?” I stressed the third word.
“Yes,” my mother simply stated, clearly pronouncing the one-syllable word. “Now get some rest.” The three left the room and paced into the hall where they most likely went to the kitchen.
I twitched. That still didn’t explain my hurt leg, which didn’t pain me at all. What was more bothersome was that my brother had lied, which meant my mother was going to in the future, I assumed. I had questions running rampant in my head, especially how I wanted to know more about the explosion.
If I couldn’t put my trust in my family and friends, whom could I trust?
It was dark when I opened my eyes for the third time, and instead of the sunlight being cast into the room, there were shadows dancing in the corners. I was rarely in this room at night, as every object seemed heightened in scariness. I was still on the couch, two blankets wrapped loosely around me.
I sighed as my stomach rumbled in hunger. I gingerly took the blankets off me and quietly made my way to the kitchen, where I made myself a quick sandwich. Something ticked in the back of my mind- my right rear leg didn’t hurt at all, and yet the ‘doctor’ told me to stay off of it.
Something was amiss- well, a lot of things were. Wanting to make sense of it all I took out a pad of paper and a pencil to see things. I wrote down the following:
1. Leg feels fine
2. I did not run into a tree
3. They didn’t mention the explosion
There were only three things, not enough to merit my suspicion. Perhaps my leg appeared to be badly hurt then, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it theoretically should have been. As well they may have collectively decided to not inform me of the explosion to ‘protect me’. But there was still no explanation for the fact that they had just made up the past day and inserted it in my memory... but then again, parents did strange things to protect their young.
Finishing my sandwich, I went back over to the couch, too tired to make my way over to my room. However, my gut instinct pained at me still. I knew I should have listened to it, but my eyes were becoming traitorous against my body by closing steadily. I barely made it to the couch before they finally took over, throwing me into darkness for the fourth time that day.
It wasn’t the noise that woke me out from my slumber; it was the silence. After living in family-oriented neighborhood most of my life, it was not unusual to be woken up by shouts of laughter coming from outside. But today, it was silent. There was a slight ringing in my ears, one that I hadn’t noticed before.
I carefully took off the blanket, sat up, and stretched. It felt absolutely amazing to wake up and not feel like you’re about to pass out again. I slowly went over to the window and pulled open the blinds.
The sun by now had risen into a spectacular array of lights and colors, keeping shadows at bay. The oranges, pinks, and yellows dazzled me as they swirled softly to the sky, following their own beat.
I quickly put the blinds down, the colors blinding. I stood there for a few moments, not sure of what to do next.
A crash came from the kitchen, followed by a yelp. “Ack!” I heard a voice – Rayon’s - exclaim.
I quickly went to the kitchen, curious as to what had occurred. When I saw my brother, knee-high in flour, I couldn’t help but laugh. Something about my recently cocky brother making a fool of himself was highly amusing.
“Ayran! A little help would be appreciated.”
I giggled, barely able to control myself. Rayon carefully stepped out of the flour a a few paces away, trying not to leave floury footprints. “What did you do?”
A blush appeared on his face. “I... I grabbed the sack of flour from the bottom end upside-down.”
“Well done,” was my comment. I took a broom from a nearby cupboard, swept up the mess and finally got a rag for my brother to wipe his paws on.
“Thanks,” he mumbled, looking down. He both looked in separate directions, an awkward silence encroaching on us. “So what are you doing today?”
“Not much,” I said. “I planned to take it easy today, with my leg and all.”
I hoped he wouldn’t call my bluff, but he nodded wisely. “Actually, if you’re up to it, I can take you on an exclusive tour of the Defenders’ Headquarters. It’s not far of a walk, and it would save you from just sitting here.”
“Sure,” I said, not really caring where I went. All I wanted was for life to be normal again. Normal was good.
But, unfortunately, the next hours’ events would dictate that normal never be apart of my life again.
He muttered a curse, and didn’t know what to do next. It wasn’t working.
Suddenly, an idea struggled against all of the mathematical calculations in his head and surprised him. It just might work.
He took the phaser –a rectangular, menacing item with a small point at the end- and put it on the grate over the outside fire on the edges of Neopia. He was in the center of the forest, making camp in a small clearing. Storm clouds lined the horizon, warning him to move fast. He was jumpy at every movement in the distance; after swiping the phaser from Frank Sloth himself, one could never be too careful.
While the phaser heated up, he leaned back in the grass, looking at the clear sky. A gnawing pain edged at his stomach, and he realized he hadn’t eaten in hours. He rummaged through a shabby-looking bag and pulled out old bread and rotten cheese. The Kacheek grimaced, but it was the only food he had left. He shoved the food –could you even call it that? – into his mouth, quickly chewing and swallowing.
At this point, while the phaser was precariously heating up, the Kacheek allowed himself to smile. Part One of his plan had gone exceptionally well, and he recalled it with glee. The only problem, however, was a small interruption that had caused a small nuisance in the overall plan. Some sort of Bori had gotten past the barriers he had put up and had seen the damage done to the Defenders. It was no worry anymore, as he had done the same to her as he had done to the other Defenders- including... the Judge.
The fireproof material of the phaser was working well, not melting even when the flames licked at its surface. Then, when he hoped the gas’s particles had sped up and moved apart enough, he knocked the phaser off the grate with a stick. After a few seconds, the Kacheek picked up the object. It was still extremely hot, and he passed it from paw to paw to prevent burning of them.
When he finally could handle the heat and hoped the particles were still apart, he opened a small compartment on the phaser. Inside, it was a red gas floating innocently, a one-way force field preventing it from floating upwards.
Next, he fumbled in his bag for a smaller rectangle with a small button on top, and another sharp point. He took the smaller object and shoved the point through the force field on the phaser. He pressed the button, and a hiss collaborated with his theory. More of the extra particles went submissively into the phaser.
He had supersaturated the phaser, making it more deadly than ever. If his idea hadn’t worked, it most likely would have blown up. That was his life, taking risks. This idea had come from a basic technique he had been taught: heat speeds up particles, moving them apart. At this time, more particles could be added without having excess. He had used it with water and salt before when he had been... Apprenticed... and had been learning basic scientific principles, but this gas was particularly fragile. He knew he would have to use the phaser eventually, but he felt a pang of guilt.
But then the revenge flooded back through his veins. They would all pay for the humiliation they caused him.
And they would pay dearly.
To be continued...