Hatred Because Of Love: Deyna's Story - Part Two
I dashed past and up the staircase behind her. I didn’t care what Brightmask thought of how I acted, I had a RIGHT to be like this. I ran into my room and slammed the door with a shudder. Yanking my backpack off my shoulder, I flung it across the room. I ignored the loud thump as it hit the surface of my bed and turned to lock my door.
This new pet must be a replacement for Xena. Worse yet, she looked a whole lot like Xena and had to have the same name too. She didn’t deserve to be a part of THIS family, I mean, what right does SHE have? I marked her as an outsider as soon as I first set sight on her, and I felt that because of who and what she was, I would hate her forever.
I leaned my back against the door and buried my face in my paws. How could Brightmask DO this? How COULD she replace Xena with this kid? Even if by the slim chance we found Xena someday, now she couldn’t come home. Only four neopets are allowed to be owned by a single owner. I thought that the fourth space in our number would always be left open for my big sister. Now because Brightmask created this new pet, the hope of finding her and bringing her home was gone.
I dropped my paws from my face to realize that they were slightly wet with tears. Crud, I didn’t even know I was crying. I roughly wiped my eyes on my arm and looked around my room. It was mostly blue and green themed. The carpet was soft, and forest green, while the walls of my room were a light, mint green. On the opposite end from where I stood, my bed was sided against the wall. The blanket stretched out on my bed was a midnight blue, darker than the blue of my starry fur. A petpet bed sat at the foot of my own, although its occupant was currently absent. The window of my room was above my bed, the dark blue curtains still open from this morning when Raventail woke me up. A grassy kind of green wardrobe stood against the wall on the right of where I was. Against the left wall, a black desk sat with a matching black chair. A few photo frames were arranged on the surface of the desk, along with a dark blue lamp that squatted near the left edge of it.
I slid my back down the door with a sigh and shut my eyes. Sometimes just being in my room was comforting. Though at the moment, it didn’t help by a long shot. I hugged my knees to my chest as I sat against the door, as if it needed more than a lock to keep people out. I blinked my eyes open and stiffened at the sound of Raventail’s voice going past my door with the sound of her hind paws stumping along. I kept silent, and heard another pair of hind paws quickly pass by, except they were lighter, and more like a quiet padding. The kid. I would refuse to call her my sister. No matter how blood-related we were and no matter how much she looked like Xena, she was not my sister. I’m not going to call her Xena either, I thought stubbornly. Heck, I’m not going to talk to her at all if I can help it.
My ears pricked up at the muffled sound of a conversation through the wall on my left; Raventail’s room.
“Did you read all of these?” I heard the high voice of a girl say. The Xweetok girl. I was mildly surprised. Even though I had a strong dislike of her, I had to admit she had a nicely sweet voice for a ten year-old. I heard another voice reply.
“No, I haven’t read many of them. I’m not too much of a reader. I have a different hobby.” That was Raventail. I frowned slightly irritably. So the kid was interested in books like Xena? I felt a slight anger burn in my chest at the thought of the kid’s small paws stroking the binding of Xena’s old books. She didn't deserve them any more than she deserved her name.
I got up and reached over my bed, pulling the curtains shut and casting a calm blue light over my room, emphasizing my room’s shadowy forest color scheme. I unzipped my black backpack and dug through it, my paw curled around a cool, smooth tube, about eight inches long and two inches thick. I pulled it out and slid off my bed, setting the clear tube onto my desk. The ends of the tube were black, one end of which could be opened and have neomail inserted into it. You had to write the exact name of the person you were messaging to, but the sender didn’t have to write their name. It was just something you did so the other end knew who wrote it.
I grabbed a random piece of note paper and a pen from one of the drawers of the desk and quickly scribbled a message:
Need to talk you, bro. Can I come over to your place later tonight? I’ve got a MAJOR problem here...
I rolled the note up and slid it into the tube, shutting the black cover onto it. I shook the tube and a faint glow started to appear around the letter, and shook it for a few more seconds till the letter vanished with a dim flash. Message sent.
I up-righted my messaging tube and left it standing in the middle of my desk, so I would see when I got a reply. I flopped onto my bed and watched the tube as I stretched out. I could hear voices talking through the wall, Raventail and the kid. It was impossible for me to think of that Xweetok girl with Xena’s name. It just wasn’t right. I gave up trying to relax and slid off my bed, and took to pacing around my room.
Even though I was created by a human, it seemed like I picked up some genes from my owner. Brightmask didn’t pace around, but whenever I did, she would just laugh and say that was exactly what her older brother did sometimes. I’d met him a couple of times, but he didn’t live in Neopia, even though Brightmask encouraged him to.
I was just pacing my twentieth round when I saw my messaging tube start to glow. I quickly snatched it up as a letter materialized in it, and yanked the cover off. I tugged the letter out of it and unrolled it to see a familiar slanting scrawl.
I have no idea how major your problem is, Deyn. I’m going on a trip to Krawk Island with my family for a few weeks. We’ll get back in 20 days (Thursday). If I’m not, I may have been taken by pirates or eaten by something. But who knows? I’ll probably get home anyway, so, sure, you can come over the Friday night after we get back. Keep in mind that my little sister will likely invite Raventail over for the weekend. Would you rather talk in private or something? ‘Cause if you do, it’s a better idea if you come around midnight or something. Remember that tree outside my window? Just climb up and get in through there, it’ll be open and I’ll be awake. See you then.
I sighed with slight disappointment and wrote a reply on another slip of paper:
Thanks, Shadow. Yeah I’d rather we weren’t heard by anybody. It’s okay about Raventail being over at your place with Jenara, she won’t hear a thing. Once she’s asleep, she’s conked out. You will not believe how major this is. See you at midnight three weeks from today.
I quickly rolled it up and sent it off to Shadowtail. Alright, so at least now there was someone I could talk to about the kid, even if it was a while from now. I felt the anger start to burn again and took a deep breath. I didn’t want to blow up and break something; that’d be bad.
I climbed onto my bed and pulled open the curtains, thinking I would just calm myself down by staring at the fringe of trees that was the edge of the forest behind our neohome, until I looked directly down at our open backyard. Seamus and Raventail were talking to the small blue Xweetok, showing her around the place. How could they even talk to her? Was I the only one who missed Xena? ‘Of course not,’ my thoughts whispered to me, ‘but they’re willing to accept the truth when it happens.’ I felt another surge of fury. I would NEVER give up on my older sister, and I would NEVER accept that kid as part of my family. I yanked the curtains shut and flopped back onto my bed and stared up at the mint green ceiling as I darkly brooded away.
It was bad enough to have to live in the same house as the kid, but it was downright infuriating to eat at the same table with her. I tried to block out the chattering of Brightmask, Seamus, Raventail and the kid. At that moment, it just gave me an annoying headache. As I chewed away on a slice of pepperoni pizza from Pizzaroo (my mom wasn’t the greatest cook, you see), I could feel the kid glancing nervously from the other side of the table at me. At one point I got so irritated that when she looked at me for the umpteenth time I spat out, “WHAT, kid?” and she didn’t look at me for the rest of the meal, which suited me just fine. Every now and then Brightmask would give me a look which basically said, “Behave and be nice.” Okay, so I’d behave, but be nice? No way. How could she possibly think that getting another sister would make me happy? Especially one that looked a lot like a replacement? That’d never work for me.
I speedily crammed the last bit of pizza in my mouth and headed back up to my room, closing the door a bit more quietly this time. I didn’t want to end up getting a talk from my mom, though I probably would anyway.
It was 10:00 PM when I was sitting on the floor, playing with Jabor, when someone knocked on my door.
“Deyna?” I heard Brightmask ask. I rolled a ball under the bed for Jabor to chase after and kept silent.
“Deyna101, answer me.”
I frowned irritably. What was it with parents using kids’ whole names when they wanted us to pay strict attention? I gave in and replied, “Yeah, Mom?”
Brightmask opened the door and entered my room, and stood with her arms folded, watching me play with my petpet. “The girls are asleep,” she said.
“Well, good for them,” I replied. Brightmask stood there in silence for a few moments, while I rolled the ball back and forth for Jabor.
“How old is she anyway?” I asked.
“About ten and a half,” she replied.
I frowned at her. “Ages can be chosen more specifically now?”
Brightmask rolled her eyes, “Deyna, ages always could be chosen really specifically. I just didn’t bother doing that with the rest of you guys.”
“Whatever. So ten and a half would mean that her birthday’s in... FEBRUARY?” I gawked at my owner.
“What’s wrong if her birthday’s during the same month as yours?” Brightmask asked defensively.
“Maybe ‘cause she wasn’t exactly born in February to start with,” I grumbled.
“Like I said, specific ages can be decided by the owner. Her birthday’s on February 19th.”
“Well, at least it’s not on December 2nd...” I said grumpily, referring to my older sister’s birthday.
“Can’t you just be nice to her?” pleaded Brightmask. My anubis scampered over to me, and I rolled the ball again for him to run after.
“Listen, could you at least try to like her? It’s not fair to—”
“You know what’s not fair, Mom?” I broke in. “What’s not fair is that you just HAD to create another neopet as a replacement for Xena. I mean, do you think creating a mini-copy of her is going to solve anything?”
She shook her head at me. “Replacement? Is that what you think my creating her is about, Deyna?” Brightmask sighed sadly and then sat down next to me. Trying to find some excuse not to look at my mom, I tossed the ball onto my bed and propped Jabor on my lap.
Brightmask spoke up again. “You know, I still remember when it was just me and your big sister. She was a wonderful little girl. But you know, we were just such a small family, and I really thought she’d love having siblings. So I thought, okay, what neopet should I create next? And I thought that it’d be great for her to have a sibling about her age, and a brother would be good for her too. Besides, I thought it’d be fun to have a boy in the family. Hence, I brought you home.”
So this was where I came in, I thought to myself. I could remember it somewhat clearly. I guess because I was created when I was seven, my memory ability wasn’t quite so sharp yet.
“So yeah,” went on my owner. “We had a bigger family. And you two got along so well... which made me a very happy owner, as you may guess. I could see how the both of you took care of each other, and after a few years, I thought you guys would be great at taking care of younger siblings. Sure, I admit I wanted to have more pets anyhow, but I needed to consider how it would affect you two. I wanted to get another boy and another girl so you could have a brother to play rough boy games with and Xena could have another girl who would do ‘girl stuff’ with her. ‘Course, we can see that Raven’s not exactly girly right now,” she chuckled. “I wanted to create Seamus and Raventail at the same time, but I thought it’d be a good idea to give some adjustment time in between. Then, voila, I had a big family that totally loved each other and I loved every member of it.”
“Oh, so I see,” I said sarcastically. “You just wanted to have a big family again by getting a replacement for the missing fourth pet, and you somehow assumed that would make us all happy again.”
My mom stood up quickly and looked down at me. I levelly looked back at her.
“You want to know why I got your youngest sister today, Deyna?” she said sharply. “I got her not as a replacement, but because this family was broken. And a new pet, a bright little light untouched by tragedy and loss, was what I believed could heal all of us. Look, I don’t want to face it any more than you do, but I don’t think your older sister is coming home, Deyna.”
I didn’t care what Brightmask’s intention for getting a new neopet was. I still hated that kid she brought home. That Xweetok girl was definitely not a bright little light to me. As much as I knew that Xena was probably gone forever, I didn’t want to believe it. And hearing my mom say it aloud hurt even more. “How can you say that, Mom?” I asked.
“I can say that because I finally accepted that awful fact we’ve been trying to deny.” Brightmask crouched down next to me again and put her arm around me. I wanted to pull away, but comfort was something I kind of wanted right now, even if I was mad at the person who was giving it.
“I loved Xena, Deyna. I still love her, and I miss her as badly as you. Don’t you think that I don’t.” She pulled me into a hug.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I growled and wriggled out of her hug, “but I just can’t accept that brat as a family member and I think we’d be a whole lot better off if you just dumped her in the pound.”
Brightmask shot me a fierce look. “Don’t talk like that. She’s your sister, Deyna, and the least you could do is act like a decent brother to her.” With that, she turned and left my room.
The next three weeks passed by excruciatingly slowly for me. Time seemed to stretch out, as if it knew how much I wanted to talk to my best friend and was taunting me by making the wait longer.
I stayed inside my room most of the time, except for going to the bathroom or going to eat. On the rare event that I left my room, I would catch glimpses of my family with the kid. Brightmask, of course, was happy with her. But what frustrated me even more was that Seamus and Raventail absolutely loved her! Every now and then I would see them playing tag outside, or playing hide and seek around the house. Raventail and the kid would sometimes dress up and venture over to the forest. A couple of times I saw the Xweetok girl wearing some of Xena’s old costumes, like a sleeveless silk lavender dress. Lavender was Xena’s favorite color. Sometimes when I passed her I caught a whiff of lemon blossom. How could she possibly pick up a scent that belonged to another neopet? Xena hadn’t exactly used perfume often, she just seemed to smell of it as if it were her own scent. Sometimes, I was pretty sure that it was her own scent. But was the kid picking up the scent from using Xena’s stuff? Or was it just her? Either way, I didn’t like how she was using things that shouldn’t have belonged to her.
One rainy day, I looked into Raventail and the kid’s room because my mom asked me to check on them. Unwillingly, I knocked on the door and opened it a crack to check on the two of them. Once again, they were having one of their adventure games. At the moment, they were sparring with each other using carved branches as makeshift swords. Each of them shouting made-up insults at each other that sounded almost funny. I would’ve laughed if it weren’t for my dislike of the kid.
“You’re as sissy and prissy as an angelpuss!” said the kid playfully as she diagonally blocked a blow from the Kougra.
“Oh, yeah? Well, you’re as vulnerable as a—a—a PLUSHIE!” On the last word, she jabbed at the kid, who lightly leapt onto a bed on the left side of the room before getting poked by the branch.
“Whoops! You missed me!” giggled the blue Xweetok. The kid threw her ‘sword’ across the room onto the other bed and dived off, falling into a somersault. The ball of brown and blue fur swiftly rolled past Raventail.
“Hey! No gymnastics in dueling!” protested the Christmas Kougra
“I don’t remember THAT being in the rules!” the small Xweetok replied cheekily.
I pushed the door open just as the kid was about to bang into it. Consequently, the small ball of fur barreled into me instead.
“Oof!” squeaked the ball of fur as she bumped against my firm legs. She lifted her head up from the ruffled heap of fur, and her blue eyes widened when she saw who she banged into. I watched her with a cold expression.
“Sorry!” she said and quickly got up and skipped over to bed on the right of the room, getting her branch.
Raventail sighed at me and loosely dropped her branch onto the pale blue carpet. “I’ll be back in a minute, Xena,” said the Kougra, who walked over to me. Raventail, who was still a lot shorter than me, took my large paw and pulled me out into the hallway. She closed the door behind her and turned to look at me with a reproving glare, not unlike what Brightmask sometimes did.
“What?” I asked her grumpily.
“You know what. I really think you should be nice to her,” said Raventail.
“I can’t do that.”
“Well, I think you’re being stubborn...”
“Stubborn?” I asked, aghast.
“All right then. VERY stubborn.”
“Very funny,” I grumbled.
“Enough about your darn stubbornness,” the Christmas Kougra hissed at me. “I think it’s unfair how you treat her because of her looking like and having the same name as Xena.”
“Fine. You got part of the treatment factor right. Explain the unfairness, if you please.” I folded my arms and looked down at my little sister, who now seemed to take on the role of the protective older sibling.
“Okay, you know how Shadowtail, your best friend if I’m not mistaken, is a blue Xweetok?” she said, “Why don’t you have anything against him?”
“Aw, come on!” I said exasperatedly. “That’s different. Shadowtail is completely unrelated and looks nothing like Xena aside from his color and species. There are tons of blue Xweetoks!”
“Exactly!” said Raventail. “There are tons of blue Xweetoks, and Alinae, as I will refer to her in this conversation, is just one of them. Why be against this one? Just because she looks like the other Xena doesn’t make it her fault. Also, what does it really matter that she has the same name? Mom gave her that name out of respect and memory. And by the way, Deyna101...” Oh great, now my little sister was using the whole-name thing on me too. “...in case it hasn’t hit you,” she continued, “she’s Xena’s little sister too. And tell me this, DEAR BROTHER,” she said, dripping sarcasm on ‘dear brother.’ “Would your older sister want you to treat Alinae, HER little sister, that way? If she could see you now, I KNOW she would be hugely disappointed in you and could hardly believe you were the brother she loved so much.”
“You know what?” I said hotly. “WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHUT UP?!”
Raventail gave me a surprised look from her gray eyes. I’d never told her ‘shut up’ in such a mean way before.
“Fine,” she said softly with a cool expression, and then went back into her room and shut the door in my face.
To be continued...