You are different than me.
You have a memory, a past. You also have a future. Me? I have nothing. I start from scratch every day, scrambling to recover what I have lost. You? You have no such problems. I still remember nothing before this occurrence. I find it odd that you, all of you, can remember so much. I can’t even remember my name.
It was a long time ago. Almost four years. That, even for you, is a long time. Time passes so slowly for me, every second is an hour. Every day and night, longer than they should be. Oh yes, it has been four years in your measure of time. Much, much longer in mine.
I awoke by the side of train tracks. Later, I learned I was near Meridell. Then, I had no idea. There was a huge lump on the back of my head. My furry pelt was the only clothes I owned. A rucksack lay by my paw, spilled open. My tail was knotted and full of burrs.
The one who awoke me was a girl. Young, younger than me. She looked nine years of age, still from your measurement of time. She had shoulder-length brown hair and bangs. She looked concerned as she bent over me, this Lupe who was bigger than her.
“Heyyyy...” she whispered in my ear. I flinched from her warm breath. She licked her lips anxiously, seemed to realize how loud she was, and smiled jerkily. Looking scared, she adjusted her volume and tried again. “What’s your name?”
I started to answer. “It’s...” My thought vanished. My sharp fangs pierced my lip as I bit it in worry. “I can’t remember!”
The girl’s eyebrows twitched upwards for a second. I stared at her. She almost looked amused at my predicament. As if she was laughing inside and trying not to show it.
“Are you laughing?” I drew my top lip up, exposing my eyeteeth. The look I gave her then would have terrified anyone else, but for some reason she withstood it.
“Calm down,” she muttered. Standing, she held out a small hand to me. Cautiously, I ignored it and stood on my four legs. I began to walk away, past the train tracks. My red tail darted back and forth, apprehensive. A burr caught on the creamy underfur of my leg and I stopped my slow pace to sit and try to get it.
Shaking her head, the girl carelessly reached out and pulled the burr away. I growled, but the caress of her hand felt... nice.
“You don’t have a name?” she asked, rephrasing her question from earlier.
“Would you like one?” she offered.
“No. I’m sure if I think it will come back to me.”
The girl sighed and sat back against a rock. She chewed her lip thoughtfully. “Hey!” she finally cried. I jerked out of my dazed mind.
“What?” I growled angrily.
She rounded on me herself. “You can’t yell at me. I may be smaller but I have magic you will never have!”
“Oh really?” I questioned suspiciously. “Show me.”
“Later. I just remembered something. When you awoke, you were repeating the names Vanessa, Kylee, and Izzy.”
“Show me your magic.”
“Answer my question.”
“What is your question?” I asked furiously.
“Do you want a name?” We were both screaming now, and both enjoying it more than we should. The girl suddenly began to laugh.
I joined in without thinking. Our chuckles rolled into the flat land surrounding us.
The girl put out her hand again. “Arguing... one of my favorite pastimes. Debating is very, very fun with my friends.” She sighed nostalgically. “I’m Laura. I’m new to Neopia.”
I snorted. “A newbie?” My tone came out unintentionally disdainful.
“Beggars can’t be choosers. And that, Lupe with no memory, is exactly what you are right now. A beggar. Do you want to come home with me or not?” she snapped.
I smiled slightly. “Will you help me recover my memory?”
“Then that is my answer too.”
Laura smiled and put her palm on my shoulder. “Your official name is now Soaring_Eagle2243.” Golden sparks flew from her palm to my pelt. It turned a beautiful green color, with creamy underfur and red-tipped ears. She smiled. “You are now a Christmas Lupe.”
I stayed silent. “That is your magic?” I asked after a minute. “It was beautiful. Thank you.” A pause. “Soaring Eagle is kind of long, though, and I don’t want to be called SE...”
Laura smiled. “Choose one of the names that you were mumbling before. They might be clues to your past life. I promise I will help you uncover who you used to be. For now... are you Vanessa, Kylee, or Izzy?”
“I am Vanessa then.” I grinned, feeling reinvented. We quickly hitched a ride on a slowly creeping train and rode back to Laura’s Neohome.
Laura’s Neohome, at night
Soaring Eagle, now called Vanessa, was in her bed tossing and turning fretfully. Her sleep was darkened with vague dreams... until one clear dream emerged. Sparkling clear, not easily identifiable, it finally materialized and plagued Nessa’s thoughts and dreams until morning...
She was running down a sunlit path to a Neohome. The surroundings appeared to be near Meridell’s Meri Acres farm. “Kylee!” she yelled happily. A yellow Mynci appeared in the tree and dropped to the ground near her.
“This is so cool, it’s the annual Village Festival,” the Mynci gushed. “Oooh, and Nessa, I hear Jake will be there!”
The red Lupe smiled and blushed. “Yeah, he told me,” she mumbled quietly. Jake was her best friend.
Quickly, a tall boy with sandy hair ran up to them. “Ness, Kylee,” he gasped. “Something’s wrong with Izzy. I can’t wake him up!”
Her world crashed with those few sentences. Nessa and Kylee stopped in their tracks. “No,” Vanessa whispered. “No. Izzy has to live!”
“I’m sorry, Ness,” the boy mumbled. “But you and Kylee have to get on the train that will take you to my friend NV’s account. The new technology from Virtupets... it’s so undependable, the steam train... I don’t want to use it, but it’s the only way. It’s the only way. Izzy... gone...”
The dream. It has occurred so often, and in the exact same order. Every night, it has happened. It is too strange. I have to believe it is a memory from my past. Who was Izzy? My brother? I don’t know. Once, I had a family out there. I had a past, memories, and a future. All that was taken away on that fateful day that decided the rest of my future. I had no choice. If I met Kylee today, would we pick up where our friendship left off? If I got re-acquainted with Jake, would I still idolize him? For I know I did those things. That is the kind of person my dream, my sole memory, showcases. I do not know myself, though I would like to.
You are supposed to know yourself better than anyone else. That, for me, is impossible. I cannot know myself. I cannot know who I used to be, who I was, who I was meant to be. I do not know my family, but I believe they are out there. Perhaps they are not searching for me. Maybe they are. If they love me enough, if they love that shadow of me enough, then they are looking. It is in vain, though... they will not be searching for a Christmas Lupe named Soaring Eagle. Their prize will be a red Lupe called Vanessa.
I am no longer the one they seek.