Lessons and Memories
Lucy’s little paws pressed onto the ice cold window as she stared outside. Each quick, excited breath she took fogged up the glass, for winter had arrived and the temperatures were quickly plummeting. The little Xweetok wiped the foggy window with her paw and leaned in farther, her nose pressing into the glass. Her breath caught as she gazed at the spotless, smooth blanket of snow that covered every surface in her sight.
“Ma! Ma!” she squealed, scampering to the dining table. Her mother was enjoying a cup of tea and reading a book. “It’s snowing, Ma! It snowed last night for the first time!” She pointed at the window, jumping up and down with excitement. Her mother smiled at her young, bouncing daughter and nodded.
“Wow, you’re right, dear! It snowed last night! Do you want to play outside?” she asked, taking a careful sip. Steam rose up from the cup.
“Oh yes, Ma, please!” Lucy beamed, her face beatific. Her mother set down the cup and got out of her chair to help her daughter get ready.
Ten minutes later, Lucy leaped out the door with mittens on her paws, a wool hat, and a matching winter coat and pants set. She pranced around, leaving a trail of paw prints behind her. The snow was soft and felt nice against her fur. She lay down on the snow, and waved her arms and legs to make a snow angel. It was both refreshing and delightful at the same time, for the air was cool and had a minty taste. Aside from her excited breathing and joyful humming, all was quiet.
When Lucy had finally started to grow tired and could hardly feel her numb paws anymore, she stood up, shook the snow off of her clothes, and stumbled her way back to the porch. She stared at the mess of footprints and snow angels that were imprinted into the snow and smiled. Oh, how she loved the snow.
As she looked back one last time, she spotted a strange trail of footprints that were too small to be her own. She stopped, her curiosity warring with her exhaustion. A sudden, small rustle made her heart leap, and she strained her ears to see where the sound came from. Forgetting about her indecision, she crept forward, following both the sound and the trail. The trail ended at a small, snow covered bush. Confused, Lucy shook the snow off and peered inside.
A gasp escaped her mouth as a tiny, drenched little petpet stumbled out of the twigs. Recovering from her shock, she cooed at the poor thing and picked it up gingerly. Its rich brown fur was wet, and soaked her mittens. She could feel tiny shivers emanating from its body and hear its small little whimpers. It had large, thin ears and tiny, misery filled eyes. Its tail was long and furry, and it had two little wings, one of which had a tear in it. However, she could not identify what type of petpet it was; she was inexperienced with petpets. She gazed into its eyes and cradled it soothingly in her arms.
“Oh, are you lost?” She leaned in and stroked its fur carefully. It stared back, frightened and breathing in quick, small gasps. Lucy looked at its ripped wing and felt its feeble little shivers, and she knew that she had to bring it home. Her parents had never allowed her to have a petpet because she thought Lucy was too irresponsible, but this one was hurt and cold! Lucy ran home, all traces of her past exhaustion forgotten.
“Ma! Look at this!” Lucy called. Her face was flushed and her breaths were more like gasps. Her mother turned around with a plate of cookies in her paws. Her eyes widened as she examined the wet, trembling pile of fur in Lucy’s arms.
“What is that?” She frowned, setting the plate on the table.
“I don’t know... but it was lost, and its wing is ripped! It’s so sad and cold and probably hungry. Can we keep it, Ma? Please?” Lucy stammered, her words pouring out in a rush. Her mother sighed, walked over, and took the petpet out of Lucy’s arms. Her eyes squinted as she examined it, and then they widened and lit up as recognition slowly spread across her face.
“Oh, a Faellie! I used to own one back when I was a child... Oh, the poor thing! It definitely needs a warm shower,” her mother exclaimed. She handed the Faellie to Lucy and disappeared into the kitchen. Lucy listened to the faucet running and stared back at the Faellie again. It was nervously looking around and weakly fluttering its non-torn wing. She patted the top of its head softly. Its fur was amazingly smooth even though it was wet and dirty. It was the exact color as the ground cinnamon that her mother often used while baking apple pie. She pondered on that; Cinnamon was such a pretty word...
“What do you think about the name Cinnamon?” she asked softly, rocking the Faellie gently. Cinnamon sniffed at the air and sneezed. Lucy giggled, and set the Faellie down on the table.
Her mother returned with a steaming tub of warm water and a bottle of soap. Lucy watched as she filled the tub with soap, picked up Cinnamon, and cautiously lowered the Faellie down into the tub. No sign of hesitation was shown as Cinnamon jumped out of Lucy’s mother’s hands and splashed into the water. Lucy frowned as her mother carefully rubbed the soap bubbles into Cinnamon's fur, for she was worried that the Faellie belonged to some other neopet. Lucy did not want to have to return Cinnamon. She wanted to keep the Faellie for herself.
“Mom?” she asked. “What if Cinnamon already has another owner?”
Her mother smiled. “Cinnamon? That’s a nice name. Well, in that case we would have to return Cinnamon to its original owner, if we ever found him or her. We can take care of him for now, but make sure you don’t get too attached.”
Lucy sighed. She wanted to keep Cinnamon forever.
The days flew past quicker than ever. Lucy and her mother had taken Cinnamon to the Hospital in Neopia Central since they did not know where else to take the Faellie, and after a few stitches Cinnamon was back in perfect health. Cinnamon became Lucy’s constant companion; each morning, Lucy awoke to the sound of wings fluttering by her pillow. They would then eat breakfast together, get ready together, and set out to explore the wonders of the outside. Lucy built snowmen, and Cinnamon decorated them. They often had playful snowball fights, and Lucy would always proudly display Cinnamon to her friends as they oohed and ahhed. Every night, Lucy would gently set Cinnamon in a tiny feather covered cardboard box by her windowsill. She would always hum a sweet little melody, and kiss Cinnamon on the head when the Faellie fell asleep. It became a routine that Lucy quickly grew used to.
Yes, despite her mother’s warnings, Lucy’s heart had grown to love the Faellie as her own petpet, to adore those tiny, adorable eyes, to treasure the beautiful color of its luscious coat of fur. Even though her mother had posted posters all over the neighborhood, nobody had come looking for her beautiful little Faellie yet. This gave her hope, and soon Lucy let go of those worries, for her happiness greatly outweighed any trace of anxiety left in her mind.
The sunlight filtered through the curtains and brightened Lucy’s room. Lucy rolled over, mumbling to herself about gingerbread houses. She sniffed at the air and yawned as she slowly regained consciousness. She managed to lift her heavy eyelids the tiniest bit and she gazed sleepily around her room. A feeling of unease spread through her as her thoughts began to clear.
The room was quiet. Much too quiet. Lucy frowned and rubbed her eyes. After a few seconds, she groaned and sat up, the bed creaking below her.
“Cinnamon?” she mumbled as she kicked off her pink Fyora bed covers. “Cinnamon?!”
Lucy heard a soft tapping from the window and gasped. She sprang up from her bed and leaped over to her foggy window, and relief flooded through her when she spotted the small brown Faellie nervously jumping up and down on the windowsill. “Oh, Cinnamon, you scared me! What are you doing?” She scooped up Cinnamon into her arms and softly stroked the Faellie’s ear. Cinnamon squirmed and squeezed, squeaking strangely, and flicking its tail impatiently. With alarm, Lucy automatically dropped her arms and released her hold. She stared with frightened, confused eyes as the Faellie fluttered its tiny wings and flew gracefully back to the windowsill. Cinnamon began tapping on the window again with its tiny paw.
Feeling worried and utterly rejected, Lucy scampered to the window and followed Cinnamon’s gaze. Her eyes squinted in confusion when she caught sight of a pink Kacheek trudging through the snow and approaching her neohome. At first, she thought that Cinnamon was trying to warn her of possible danger, like any good petpet would do. However, when she looked closer through the window, she realized she was wrong when she noticed that the hopeful, longing expression on the Kacheek’s face was nearly identical to the one that was on Cinnamon’s. A horrible suspicion began to form in her mind, and she froze when she saw what was in the Kacheek’s hands.
A poster. A poster that had a picture of Cinnamon on it.
Abruptly, her heart started to race, and she froze. Cinnamon looked away from the window and glanced back at Lucy. The Faellie flew back into her arms and pointed at the Kacheek again. Lucy nodded weakly. Young as she was, she understood. Cinnamon’s owner had finally arrived.
Dread washed over Lucy; the dread of knowing that she would have to return her Cinnamon to that absolute stranger outside her neohome, the dread of the thought of parting with her beloved Faellie, never to meet again.
She stared into Cinnamon’s hopeful, bright little eyes. She imagined herself as a lost petpet just like Cinnamon, wanting to return the familiar arms of her owner. Lucy sighed, and walked slowly out of her room. Her tail trailed gloomily behind her as she weaved through the mess of toys and drawings that covered her bedroom rug. The door slowly creaked shut behind her.
Just as she entered the kitchen where her mother was humming and stirring a pot of porridge, the doorbell rang. It echoed through the house, bounced across the walls, and left a horrid, hollow feeling in her chest. Cinnamon flew out her arms once again, and irritation brewed up inside of her.
“Lucy, honey, would you go get that please?” her mother asked. Like a zombie, Lucy walked slowly out of the kitchen and across the living room with a desolated expression. With each step, she stiffened, as if she were aging. The brass doorknob stung her paws with its coldness. She took a deep breath, glanced at Cinnamon hovering beside her, and opened the door. The cold air blasted against Lucy’s face, and she shivered.
The pink Kacheek at the door smiled tentatively and unraveled the wrinkled poster in her hand.
“Um, hi, I’m Lisa. Uh, I saw the posters about my Faellie around the neighborhood, and... well... I’m so glad that you found him and kept him safe, because I guess he got out of my sight while we were taking our morning walk, and he doesn’t take to getting wet and cold very well, if you know what I mean...” she rambled on in her nervous, high pitched voice, looking very nervous and awkward. Before Lucy could say anything, Cinnamon flew past Lucy and right into Lisa’s arms. Lucy fought against her sudden desire to grab Cinnamon back and slam the door in Lisa’s face. She could hear her mother’s footsteps behind her, so she attempted to smile.
“Oh, Ginger, oh my darling sweet little Ginger! Are you okay?!” Lisa exclaimed in joy, squishing the Faellie into a tight hug and kissing the top of its nose. Ginger frowned at the floor. Ginger? She liked the name Cinnamon much better. Lucy straightened up when she felt her mother’s paw on her shoulder.
“Hello! My daughter found your Faellie out in the snow a while ago, so we took it in and cared for it. It’s in perfect health, I assure you. We’re glad we finally found you; we’ve been searching for a week now!” her mother offered her paw to Lisa, and the Kacheek shook it gratefully.
“Oh, thank you very much! I was so worried that he might have gotten sick or hurt or something,” Lisa grinned. She fumbled with her coat pocket for a moment, and took out a worn cloth bag that was stuffed full of neopoints. “Um, here’s for caring for my Faellie so well; you would not believe how thankful and relieved I am to you, thank you so, so, so much...” Lisa handed Lucy’s mother the bag and stroked her Faellie lovingly.
Lucy did not listen to the rest of their conversation. She stared into Cinnamon’s (she refused to use the name Ginger) eyes, and her heart warmed when she saw that the Faellie was staring back and smiling. Cinnamon looked up at Lisa, who was still busy talking, and flew out of her arms and into Lucy’s for the last time. Lucy slowly ran her paw down Cinnamon’s beautiful fur, and she smiled softly when the Faellie nudged its snout against her cheek. She could see a happiness that she had never seen before in its eyes, and she knew that Cinnamon was better off with Lisa. Her throat felt tight, and she a tear trailed down her cheek as she lightly kissed the top of the Faellie’s head.
“Love you, Cinnamon,” she whispered, and she released the Faellie, watching as Cinnamon flew back to Lisa. She would always remember the sound of its fluttering wings, the color of its lush fur.
As Lisa walked away with her Faellie in her arms, Lucy felt no dread or anger anymore. She knew that Cinnamon would be safe and loved with someone who truly loved the Faellie, even if it wasn’t with her. Despite knowing that she would never see Cinnamon again, she cared enough for the Faellie to want that. At least Cinnamon would be happy.
Cinnamon glanced back over Lisa’s shoulder at Lucy once more. Lucy nodded, smiled with some effort, and waved. She giggled as the Faellie raised its tiny paw and waved back. When both the Kacheek and the Faellie disappeared from sight, she closed the door and thought about how thankful she was that Cinnamon had came into her life and gave her so many memories and taught her so many lessons that she would never forget.