Turn Back Time
“Jaraiya! Time for breakfast! Hurry up or you’ll be late!”
The Strawberry Poogle rolled over in his bed. From far away, it seemed, he could hear his owner calling him. His eyesight went in and out of focus until he saw his room spin into place. He groaned and pulled his pillow over his head.
“Jaraiya!” Olivia called again. “If I have to yell one more time...”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Jaraiya said. A second later, his sister Sendrii bounded into the room. The Plushie Cybunny sat on his twirling Blue and Orange Bed and bounced up and down.
“You better hurry up,” she said. “Mom’s going to get mad and you know what that means. No fun trips this weekend.”
“Go away,” the Poogle muttered. “I don’t want to talk right now.”
“You weren’t in a bad mood yesterday,” Sendrii said.
“You weren’t here yesterday,” Jaraiya retorted.
Sendrii’s expression turned blank, and she hopped off the bed.
“Fine,” she said as she exited the room. “I don’t care if you miss school or not.”
When Jaraiya finally made it downstairs, he caught his owner’s disapproving look. She was putting a backpack on his other sister, Amasaia, and turned around once the Gelert had rushed outside.
“You’re going to be late,” she said. “And you don’t have time for breakfast.”
Jaraiya groaned. His stomach felt empty.
“I’ll grab a muffin,” he said. He took one off the counter and was almost to the door when he heard his owner’s voice again.
“And Jaraiya,” she said, “I want you to be nicer to your sister. You hurt her this morning.”
“Don’t care,” he mumbled through a mouthful of bread, and ran out the door. Mud from last night’s rain splashed against his paws, and by the time he reached the corner he saw that every Eyrie Taxi had already left.
As if things couldn’t go badly enough, he spent the next hour trudging uphill to the local Neoschool. The school, which wasn’t far from the Mystery Island Training School, was still a long hike from his home. When he finally entered his homeroom, he saw twenty-five pairs of eyes turn to him. The only pair that didn’t belonged to Sendrii, who unfortunately was in the same class. He sat in the empty seat next to her and pulled out his notebook.
“Now, class,” Ms. Beetle said. “I suppose that we can get started now Jaraiya has arrived.” The Zafara dragged out the Poogle’s name, and many pets in the back of the class snickered.
Science class seemed endless. Jaraiya watched the hands on the clock slowly tick by as he fantasized about going to Krawk Island after school. That would take his mind off things. As he twirled a pencil absentmindedly in his paw, the tip suddenly broke.
After glancing around quickly, Jaraiya slid out of his seat to walk to the pencil sharpener. Before he could do so, however, he felt Ms. Beetle’s cold paw at his shoulder. He turned around slowly.
“Jaraiya,” she said, “do you know what you are doing?”
“I’m sharpening my pencil,” he said. Many of his classmates laughed again, but not in a nice way. Jaraiya could hear mud from his fur drip onto the floor.
“I will not accept that as an answer,” Ms. Beetle said. “You’ll have to stay inside for recess and write me an essay on your behavior.”
Jaraiya groaned. As he walked back to his seat, he saw Sendrii’s eyes flicker with a tiny hint of sympathy, and then it was gone. When recess came around, she leaned by his desk and told him that he should re-evaluate his priorities.
It turned out that Ms. Beetle was not impressed with Jaraiya’s first attempt at the essay, and insisted that he stay through lunch. When Jaraiya finally got to the cafeteria, he couldn’t find any of his friends. He usually sat with Lex, a Faerie Lenny, and Phailayna, a Yellow Poogle, whom he didn’t see. He finally found Lex and Phai at a table in the corner, and he gingerly set his tray down.
“Hey, guys,” he said, grinning. “Sorry I’m late.”
“We heard that you had to stay behind to do the essay,” Lex said. But unlike Jaraiya, he wasn’t smiling.
“Yeah, I did. I just got out.”
“You could have told us what you were doing,” Phai said. “We looked all over for you.”
Jaraiya’s grin slowly disappeared as well as he looked at both his friends.
“I tried, really,” he explained. “But I didn’t see you in the hallway when I went to my next class.”
“I thought you would have told Sendrii,” Phai said. Sendrii sometimes sat with them in the cafeteria.
“Sen and I are in a kind of fight,” Jaraiya said. Both of his friends stared at his tray on the table, which they had pushed to the edge.
“I guess I’ll just... go, then,” he continued, and picked up the tray. As he was near the door, his foot caught on a hook near the wall and he stumbled again. His lunch went flying across the lunchroom and he ran outside without picking it up.
Jaraiya thought of taking a boat to Krawk Island, which wasn’t that far away, but instead settled on simply exploring. As he reached the tip of the island, he heard the Tombola Man advertising his prizes.
“EVERYONE IS A WINNER!” he called. “STEP RIGHT UP AND GET A TICKET!”
“I don’t feel like a winner today,” Jaraiya muttered to himself. But he walked up to the counter anyway.
“HELLO!” the man boomed, and Jaraiya winced.
“You don’t have to shout so loud,” he said.
“Having a bad day?” the Tombola man asked. When Jaraiya didn’t respond, he handed the Poogle a basket. Jaraiya dug his paw in and pulled out a ticket.
“Now what’s it say, little man?”
“Uh... 74,” Jaraiya said.
“I’m sorry!” the Tombola man said. “And it looks like you don’t win a booby prize either!”
Jaraiya walked away glumly as the next customer approached the counter. He made his way to the beach and collapsed on the sand dunes. Leaves from a palm tree blew over his face, and sand clung to his wet fur. As rain began pouring steadily from the sky, he heard a voice in his ear.
“Having some trouble?” the voice said. Jaraiya looked around wildly.
“Who’s there?” he said.
“It’s me,” the voice said again. Jaraiya saw a faint yellow light in the sky.
“I’m a faerie,” she said. “A light faerie, to be exact. I see you’ve been having a pretty bad day.” The light got closer, and soon it was right next to him. Jaraiya could make out a head and arms on the figure.
“It’s worse than bad,” Jaraiya sighed. “My sister and I are in a fight, my fur is a mess, I got detention, and my two best friends aren’t speaking to me. I can’t believe this all happened in eight hours.”
“You can change it, you know,” the faerie said. “If you really feel sorry for everything that you did, I’ll give you a break.”
“Really?” Jaraiya said. “You would do that?”
“Sometimes we make decisions that we regret,” she said. “But I’ll let you fix them this time.”
Jaraiya opened his mouth to speak again, but felt that he couldn’t move. The light was fading, and he felt sand swirl around his face. A second later, he heard someone calling from far away.
“Jaraiya, wake up! Time for breakfast!”
As soon as the Poogle could register the voice, he sprang out of bed just as Sendrii walked into the room.
“Hey, Jaraiya,” she said. “You’re up early.” She jumped on his bed and picked up a pillow to hit him, but he punched her arm playfully and ran out of the room.
“Bet you can’t catch me!” he called back.
When Sendrii finally came downstairs for breakfast, Jaraiya was already working his way through a stack of pancakes. Sendrii poured some syrup on the ones that Olivia handed her, and sat next to her brother. The two began talking about their plans for the weekend. Olivia looked at them.
“You two are cheery today,” she said.
“We’re just looking forward to Friday,” Sendrii said.
“Since we’re planning on going to Terror Mountain,” Jaraiya added.
“You are, are you?” Olivia asked, but her eyes twinkled. “We’ll see about that.”
Jaraiya winked at Sendrii. “I think that means yes,” he said.
Sendrii shook her head, laughing. “Let’s just wait and see,” she said. “You never know what’ll happen tomorrow.”
“Yeah, you never do,” Jaraiya answered, and smiled to himself.
All comments and suggestions are appreciated!