Finding Kayla: Part One
“Waiting for someone?”
I smiled tentatively and nodded through the sheet of rain separating us. I tightened my grip on the two beefy cheesy hotdogs I had been holding on to for about fifteen minutes. My heart was pounding, although I knew the person standing two feet away from me meant no harm.
Another nod. Another tentative smile.
“You don’t like talking much, do you?”
My head jerked accordingly.
“My, you’re so different from your sister.”
The hot dog seller’s last comment finally provoked a reaction. My head shot upwards but my lips remained still.
My sister. My other half.
I loved her for being her, yet I hated her for the same reason. We were always being compared to each other. Kayla and Karina. Two sides of the same coin. Same, yet different.
Kayla was the bright and exuberant one, her eyes seemed to dance and her hooves would follow suit, until you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when you were around her. She was described as a mystery, a ray of sunshine, an impossible rascal and a precocious little thing.
Karina, on the other hand, was different. I was silent and predictable; a shadow of the proud Kayla. I was the older pet, and the kinder ones described me as ‘the naturally quieter one’. I was described as dull, slow-witted and boring, to name a few.
Hubert sighed, tweaking the perky yellow cap on his head, “I guess the only thing you two have in common is that you both absolutely love beefy cheesy hotdogs.”
The rain pounded steadily and I gripped my umbrella tighter. The rain was loud, and I didn’t hear him. Where was Kayla? She was supposed to meet me here half an hour ago. I scoured the area for any signs of a red Uni, but all I saw was my reflection in the puddles of water. People always told me I had Kayla’s face. They never said we looked alike, they always said ‘Karina has Kayla’s face’.
Just as I was about to give up hope, I spotted a lone figure running towards me, his fur was getting soaked but he seemed too intent on getting to his destination to care about that. I immediately recognized him as my brother, Lycan, the camouflage Lupe.
“Hey, Karina, Kayla’s not coming, so Helen asked me to fetch you home,” he panted as he approached me, seeking dry solace in the umbrella I held.
I automatically moved away, shielding the hotdogs from his dripping fur, “Why? She promised she would meet me here. Look, I even bought her a hotdog.”
I waggled the food item in front of his face to prove my point, having to evade the droplets of water incessantly dripping from his fur to do so.
His face contorted, as he attempted to take my hoof and pull me along, “Come on, we’re going home.”
“You haven’t answered my question,” I pointed out, “and besides, I want to wait for Kayla.”
He ignored me, and dragged me along the wet streets. I bit down on his paw as a sign of displeasure.
“Ow! What in the name of Lord Kass’s dirtiest laundry was that for?!”
“I said: I. Want. To. Wait. For. Kayla.” He can be quite slow on the uptake sometimes.
His expression hardened, “And I said: She’s. Not. Coming.” He mimicked my tone with cruel accuracy.
“Why?!” I cried out, almost desperately.
“Please, Karina, not here,” his tone was gentler now, “not... in front of people.”
“You can say it here, I don’t care,” I insisted, noting his growing agitation, “Or I’m not moving from this spot.”
I didn’t say anything but continued to stare at him. He was the oldest out of us four siblings and he always had a soft spot for Kayla. He glared back at me and I blinked at him with Kayla’s eyes.
“Uh-huh...” I prompted him.
“Karina, look, I really don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be the one to tell you this,” he sounded almost pleading now. Still, I didn’t grace him with a reply.
“...She’s not going to see us anymore.”
“Why? Is she on holiday?” I groaned, it was not fair, if Helen sends her to the Neolodge she always sends me as well, “I guess I’ll have to keep the hotdog for her then... It will probably be cold when she eats it, but then it will serve her right...”
“Karina, she’s been Pounded.”
I ignored him. “Well, we could always use that new microwave we bought; it cost 5000 neopoints so it should work... That stupid sister...”
“She’s not your sister anymore.”
The rain poured down and I stood there in silence. Lycan fidgeted uncomfortably as the only sound that came from my direction was a wet splat!, as the two hotdogs hit the reflections in the puddle.
It had been two weeks since Kayla’s abrupt departure. I discovered the new addition to the family when I got home on that wet, rainy day. My new sibling was a little yellow Draik, and our first meeting was nothing short of disastrous.
“Hello, I’m your new sister, Karina, nice to meet you.” I extended my hoof to her claw, wanting to appear welcoming and friendly.
The Draik stared disdainfully at my extended gesture of friendship, “I know who you are. You’re that slow Uni that lives in the same house as me.”
“I heard about you. They all said you were a little off in the mind and that talking to you is like talking to a pet rock” She shrugged and continued working on her jigsaw, “and that’s an insult to all pet rocks everywhere.”
“Hey, you don’t have to be so mean,” I protested, “I was only being friendly.”
“Whatcha gonna do about it?” she drawled in a mocking tone. “Tell Helen on me?”
“Yeah, maybe I’ll just do that.” I might have let Kayla walk all over me in the past, but this little newbie was not getting away so easily.
Just at that moment, Helen waltzed into the door, arms full of omelette, “Hey guys! Sorry about this, but we have to live off omelette for the next few weeks after I splurged on that Draik egg...”
“HELEN!!” I cried out, satisfied to see that I had startled that yellow brat. “That Draik, she-”
“Ah, I see you’ve met your new sibling, go on, shake hands and say hello!” Helen was literally dancing on cloud nine.
The little irritant extended her paw in what was a shy and meek manner. “Hullo, nice to meet you, big sis!” Her smile lit up brighter than Brightvale.
I ignored her and turned to Helen, “She bullied me! She said I was slow!”
Helen frowned, “Now, Karina, don’t start telling tales about your new sibling five seconds after you meet her! Apologize, now.”
“Now.” Her tone was harsher.
I apologized but I did not mean it. Helen was always talking to me like I was a kid, even though I was the second oldest in the family. She never talked to Kayla like that, even during her most childish times.
“Good.” Helen was obviously too mesmerized by that little winged horror to note my intense displeasure. “Now, introduce yourselves.”
“I’m Karina,” I told her, grudgingly.
“Hello!” she replied, her voice laced with sugar and sweetness. “I’m Kayla!”
I refused to call her that. It was an insult to Kayla. My Kayla. My new sister was christened the Yellow Obscenity or Y.O. for short, in my head. I had expected my other siblings, Lycan and Len. E, to take my side and work to vanquishing the Y.O. from our lives, but how wrong I was.
Lycan took to the Y.O. the same way he took to Kayla. She would put on a sweet sugary falsetto and he would be wrapped around her little finger. Seeing that Lycan would be absolutely useless in this situation, I turned to Len E. for help.
“What do you want?” the mutant Lenny snapped in irritation.
“Don’t you find that stupid Draik annoying?” I whined. “All she does is eat and sleep, shirk from chores, and acting like she’s a member of this family!”
“She is a member of this family,” he pointed out, absorbed in some complicated novel.
“No, she’s not!” I almost howled, “And she wants us to call her Kayla! She’s not Kayla! And she never will be!”
“Go away,” he said so harshly that I was immediately silenced. “Don’t you dare mention that to me again. In fact, you should be grateful that she’s called Kayla, instead of Karina.”
“What do you mean?” I whispered softly, not wanting him to voice out what I was too afraid to voice out to Helen ever since that Draik came.
“It was you that should have left, not Kayla.” He returned to his book like our conversation never happened.
To be continued...
If you're reading this, it means I got published, and am celebrating somewhere! My first submission to the NT!