Dasher Soley's Final Flight: Part Two
The Yooyuball sailed into the goal and the crowd roared in appreciation and triumph at the goal. They were pleased with their team. Krawk Island continued to score, and Garven Hale continued to perform as the greatest goalie Krawk Island could ever dream of. When the whistle blew, Krawk Island had made eleven goals; the other team hadn’t managed to make one point. The team roared, the fans roared, the Make Some Noise crew roared, the Tuskaninny roared.
The whole team hugged each other. No one was listening to the commentators blab on about how horrible they thought Krawk Island was doing. No one ever listened to what the commentators had to say about anything. Dasher Soley punched the air and hugged his team members. The score board flared in the air, they had won all the events except for Make Some Noise, which had been a draw. The team was pleased. The other team wasn’t.
Dasher walked over to the captain of the other team and held out his hand. Snorting, the captain walked away, his team following. One of them shot Dasher Soley an apologetic look, but the rest either refused to look at him, or shot him nasty glares. The whole crowd fell silent as the defeated team left the field, grumbling and kicking the dirt. Dasher sighed, and Garven put an arm on his shoulder.
“They’re a bit sore,” he said. Dasher knew exactly what he meant, and the two walked over to the rest of the team. They were already pulling off their gear, chattering on about the match. Dasher and Garven led them back to their tent, and Dasher stood high above them all, ready to congratulate them.
“You were all amazing!” Garven boomed before Dasher had a chance. Smiling, Dasher nodded in agreement.
“Amazing work, all of you; excellent passes, Ealyn, nice flanking Nitri, great catching Zayle!” he said. His team members beamed, and he could see the fire in their eyes, he knew they were ready to take the cup that year. They themselves knew that they were ready, and soon everyone left.
“You’d be a great captain,” Dasher said before Garven Hale could leave. He grinned.
“I prefer just being the goalkeeper, and you know they’re going to kick me off next year,” he said. Dasher shook his head.
“They can’t kick you off, Garven. You’ve led this team to fourth place with your goalkeeping, and you’ll lead them to victory this year. You could lead them to victory next year, too, but as captain and goalkeeper,” he said with a smile.
“When Snorkles fly,” Garven Hale said, smiling as well, but shaking his head. Dasher Soley laughed, but his next words were completely serious.
“Actually, I think Snorkles do fly,” he said, following Garven out of their team’s tent. Garven rolled his eyes, muttered something about not understanding expressions whatsoever, and turned to face Dasher.
“Even if they don’t kick me off, they won’t let me be captain,” Garven said. “And besides, I think it’s close to my time to retire.” Dasher didn’t want to admit that he thought Garven was right. The burly Bori knew he didn’t have to hear it.
“We’ll take the cup this year, and both of us will go down in history,” Garven Hale promised before walking down the road to his home, leaving Dasher completely alone except for a small Weewoo, which was rocking back and forth, humming to itself.
Dasher wanted to believe it.
Two figures sat in the slushie stand, the Tuskaninny waitress and Dasher Soley. The Tuskaninny waitress was pleased to find that Dasher was a lot happier, and a lot more talkative. He described the match as though he were writing a poem about it, while he slurped down the chokato slushie the waitress had gotten for him.
“When we got our first goal, I knew the match would turn out in our favor,” Dasher concluded cheerfully, sipping some of his chokato slushie. He looked worn out, and quite pleased about it. He had taken his bandana off and tied it around his arm, to keep his head cool.
“I told you you’d win,” the Tuskaninny said knowingly, cleaning the counters around the pirate Krawk. Unconsciously, she slung the wet towel across the counter. Sighing, she wished she could be something besides ‘the Tuskaninny waitress.’ She had a name, and all she ever got for her trouble was people yelling at her.
“Do you know my name?” the Tuskaninny asked suddenly. Dasher had been in the middle of slurping his slushie noisily, but he choked and looked up at the suddenness of the question.
“What?” he asked, though he’d heard perfectly well.
“Do you know my name?” the Tuskaninny waitress repeated, a bit slower. Dasher strained to remember if she’d ever told him her name, if he’d ever heard it, but he came to a conclusion. He only knew her as the Tuskaninny waitress.
“I apologize, but I don’t know your name,” Dasher said. He expected her to be angry with him that he didn’t even know her name, but she just slumped down onto a stool and sighed.
“I didn’t expect that you would,” she said with a sigh, burying her face in her hands. Dasher watched her, not knowing what to say. He was used to his team doing this, and he knew what to say when that happened, yet he had no idea what would make her feel better now.
“I’m known as the Tuskaninny waitress,” the Tuskaninny wailed. “No one knows my real name. No one cares. I’m just some Tuskaninny who serves slushies.” Dasher couldn’t think of anything to say, so he said something he wouldn’t have thought would help at all.
“What is your name?” he asked. She seemed to light up at the words, to light up that someone would care enough about ‘the Tuskaninny waitress’ to ask her what her name was, instead of just demanding a slushie and yelling at her for taking more than a few milliseconds.
“I’m Eloise,” she said, smiling brightly. Dasher had to admit that he was somewhat unnerved at her sudden mood swing. He remained expressionless, however.
“That’s a nice name,” he said. He wished he were as good at this as he was making his team play hard.
“You really think so?” she asked in disbelief. Dasher nodded, a solid, sincere nod. Eloise smiled.
“Thank you,” she said. Dasher nodded again, and left the slushie stall. Eloise got up and flicked the lights off.
“Eloise,” she whispered into the night. It was her name. She wasn’t ‘the Tuskaninny waitress’ any longer, and she was happy.
Dasher Soley walked along the sidewalk toward his home, his head cocked slightly. He was a bit chilly after the icy slushie, so he put his bandana back on his head. He looked back at the slushie stand, completely empty now.
“Eloise,” he said to himself. He’d never known that was her name. He’d never bothered to ask. He wondered how he would feel if he was known as ‘the Krawk Island captain’, and only as ‘the Krawk Island captain’. Nothing more, just another Krawk.
The Krawk Island team captain woke up early and yawned, stretching his arms and trudging over to his small desk where his bandana lay. Yawning again, Dasher pulled it onto his head and tied it tightly so it wouldn’t come loose. He walked outside and blinked in the bright sunlight, before walking along the sidewalk toward his tent. Although he was the first to awaken, he was the last to enter the tent.
“About time you got here,” Zayle Sufhaux grumbled, sitting on their chest of gear. The others greeted him, and Dasher Soley got right to business.
“All right, we can’t underestimate Terror Mountain. They’re still a great, hardworking team. We have to play hard today, no slacking off, just like always,” he said, nodding as he spoke.
“You heard him, let’s burn it up today,” Garven Hale said, his eyes flickering at the small joke he had made. Dasher smiled in approval before getting up. The rest of his team followed immediately, and they walked out onto the field after quickly pulling on their gear.
Their ears rang with the thunderous applause and cheers of the crowd. The crew of Make Some Noise screeched, causing Dasher to hear a loud beeping noise in his ear. He shook his head to rid himself of the noise. The slushie stand was already booming with deranged, slushie deprived customers.
Dasher Soley and his team walked out to greet the other team, Terror Mountain. They both nodded at each other, Dasher shaking hands with their captain. Dasher flashed their captain a look that meant they weren’t going easy on them. Their captain flashed them a look that meant they didn’t want him to.
The two teams backed off, and the whistle rang through the field. The fans screeched, while those next to the Make Some Noise crew hid under their seats with their paws over their ears. Dasher Soley dove for the Yooyuball, a snow one, and grabbed it before the other team could get it. He took a step back and threw the ball to Nitri, who caught it and went for the goal.
She threw the ball with all her might, but it slowed to a stop right in front of the goalkeeper. She smirked and scooped it up, firing it at one of her teammates, who caught it and shot it at the goal. Garven was ready, however, and caught the ball as it lazily headed toward the goal. Groaning, both teams continued to pass the ball, unsuccessful at getting a goal.
Finally, however, the team captain of Terror Mountain managed to get the ball in at the very edge of the net. The group of Terror Mountain fans roared in approval, while the rest groaned and shook their heads. It didn’t get much better for Krawk Island when another snow Yooyuball came out.
After a long while, but was actually not that long at all, Krawk Island and Terror Mountain were tied. Their fans were sitting on the edges of the benches, biting their nails and hopping from one foot to another.
“Do you have to go to the bathroom?” one of the fans asked another. The other ignored him and continued to hop from one foot to the other. It was intense.
Another Yooyuball came flying out of the hole, a clockwork one. Dasher Soley dove for it, his arms outstretched, but the Terror Mountain team captain paused, stopping in front of the Yooyuball. She whispered something Dasher couldn’t make out, and raced away from the Yooyuball. She turned around to yell something to the confused team captain, but it was too late.
Seconds before it was supposed to, and with way too much force than a normal clockwork Yooyuball, it exploded. Dasher Soley was thrown back into the dirt, and a loud crunching noise echoed throughout the stands. Fans of both teams gasped and nearly fell into the field to get a good look at what had happened.
A few officials raced forward to inspect Dasher, and a few more went to inspect the ball. They picked up a small instrument in the pile of clockwork Yooyu parts and narrowed their eyes. They called on a Yooyu expert to examine it. They whispered for a while, the fans also whispering. Even the two teams were talking amongst themselves, Krawk Island firing mutinous glares at Terror Mountain.
“It was rigged!” one of the officials eventually shouted, holding up the instrument that he had found inside the Yooyuball. “Krawk Island wins!” It had two broken numbers on it, along with a few buttons. There had been some powerful explosives in it as well. Everyone recognized it. The pets up on Kreludor might even have heard it; one long, loud gasp rang out. The two teams gasped, the fans gasped, the Make Some Noise crew gasped, the angry customers gasped, Eloise gasped. Terror Mountain looked disbelievingly at the pile of rubble. The Krawk Island team continued to scowl at Terror Mountain.
Dasher Soley did nothing.
To be continued...