It's a Long Story
I looked into the night sky, full of stars. “So what now?” I asked.
The baby Lupe beside me sighed. “I really don’t know. I guess we just keep going, huh?”
I looked up at the Lupe, who was so much bigger than me. I could see the light reflect off of her black eyes, making a perfect sparkle. She was beautiful and totally made for the night. That was why she was called Moonsongs. “I don’t know,” I replied. “It’s a little hard since we have to go along the rivers and oceans. I mean, it’s not like I can walk on land.” I looked down at my little flippers. I am a baby Nimmo and totally unfit for land. Moonsongs can swim but she doesn’t really like getting wet.
“Tate.” That’s my name. “I know you hate that you can’t walk, but really, I don’t mind walking by the water. It’s actually very peaceful.”
She smiled down at me. Of course she knew I had a problem with it. We have been together our whole lives. I love her, I really do. I mean, she is my sister. I just hate that she knows me so well. Seeing her smiling through the pain made me remember our past few days.
I had woken up thinking, “Where are we?” Well, the answer was clear to me. We were lost. That’s all there was to it. It didn’t matter where or why but we were. Moonsongs had more trouble with that one. She started howling and didn’t stop for about two hours straight. It was agony. I finally convinced her to stop but she was scared for days. That was three weeks ago.
Now we were along what we thought was the island next to Maraqua. We were scared, cold, lonely and hopeless. We had been traveling for days. The long thing we had recognized was the small blotch of red in the north, Meridell.
“Wait, haven’t we passed this before?” said Moonsongs. I thought it was unlikely but I looked anyway. She was facing a small tree-like thing, one we only have seen one. I thought she was right. We had passed it before, and that meant we were going in circles.
I sighed. All that walking for nothing. My soul was pushed farther into the sea and I stopped swimming. I floated there for a few seconds, then Moonsongs turned. “Aren’t you coming?” She looked more worried than usual.
“Yes, I’m coming. I just don’t see where we can go from here. We would have to swim to get anywhere, and I’m not going to force you to do that.” We both act very old for our ages. We are only babies after all. But even I was surprised to see her wade into the water. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m swimming to Meridell. We know where it is and it’s much better than being stranded on this island!” She had a cold fury in her eyes as her voice increased to a yell. I understood where she was coming from. I hated being stuck here. If she wasn’t with me, I would have swum off long ago.
I faced her and said, “I know you hate it here, but just swimming away isn’t going to go us any good, Moonsongs! You know that! We would get lost at sea and never make it home!” I was almost begging with her now.
“You know,” she said, “I don’t care! Where is home, anyway? It’s not like anyone on the main land wants us. Remember our first day of school? All the Blumaroos threw things at us and even the Kaus sneered. We are different, Tate. We don’t belong there.” Her eyes showed total belief in this, like it was pure fact. I remember that day. But I also remember our family.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.” And I swam a little further out into the ocean. Three hours pass, then five. I didn’t remember part of it. Now a day had passed. I looked over to Moon. She looked tired. I didn’t remember that she couldn’t ever rest. She had to swim all the time, but I could take breaks because I live in the water. I was surprised she had lasted this long so far. I swam over and nudged her. “Are you okay, Moon?” I asked.
She was startled by the sudden commotion. “Um... yeah. I’m okay. Just tired, I guess,” she replied. That I could understand. Even I was tired. I looked out across the water for the first time.
“Moons... where are we?” I asked, completely clueless.
“I... have no idea,” she said, also just noticing the scenery. Nothing. There was nothing as far as the eye could see. “I think we swam the wrong way,” she said. I nodded in agreement. We were nowhere.
Then I felt movement under me. “Moon... we may have a problem. I think there is something under us.” I didn’t want to startle her again, but she was the fighter, not me. She looked down just as a giant shadow launched out of the water.
We were both blown back four feet into the air. The large shape hovered on the surface and we both found ourselves staring. It was a Maraquan. We both sighed in relief. The Maraquan Uni skimmed the surface over to us with a heroic look. “Hello, travelers! A little lost, are we?” He seemed amused.
“Yes, a little,” I said quietly. “We got lost and ended up on an island so we tried to swim to Meridell. It’s been days since then.”
The Maraquan puffed out his chest. “Well, then I am here to rescue you! Follow me, little ones!” he said as his head went underwater again. I started to follow him, but then I remembered Moonsongs.
“Oh, right,” I said. I swam under to the Uni and nudged him to come to the surface. He looked puzzled but swam up.
“What?” he said angrily.
“Moonsongs can’t go underwater. She’s a Lupe. She doesn’t breathe water like we do. Only oxygen,” I informed him.
“Oh, right.” He laughed. “I have that under control.” He made one fluid movement and there was a bubble around Moonsongs. “There,” he said. “That will filter in new air when she runs out and won’t break underwater. Now let’s go! We’re wasting time!”
He launched into the water and now both Moonsongs and I followed. Moon started warming up to her bubble and soon learned she could move faster than me if she ran. We started up a race and didn’t even notice we were almost to Maraqua until we bumped into a building. “Wow! It’s huge!” said Moonsongs. I had been here once before, so it wasn’t so much a shock for me.
Another little Nimmo swam up to great us. “Thanks, Jake! I got it from here!” he said to the Uni. The Uni nodded and was on his way, obviously busy.
“Um,” I said to the Nimmo. “Hi. I’m Tate. This is my sister Moonsongs.” I nodded to Moon, whose reply was muffled by her bubble. The Nimmo ignored her and turned to me.
“I’m here to give you a tour and then bring you on home. Ready?” he said. I nodded. “Oh,” he added. “My name is Nimmo, by the way." I thought Nimmo was an odd name but I won’t question it. These people scared me too much for me to talk even a little bit.
We toured Maraqua for a while, Moon in awe, me just plain bored. Then finally he caught my attention. “So I guess I’ll get you home now.Your family must be pretty worried. I would be.”
Now I was excited! Home! I couldn’t wait and swam in front all the way out of Maraqua. “So, will you be taking us to Meridell?” I asked. He nodded. I sighed. Home sweet home. Our family lives in Meridell. It’s a great place with plenty to do and it is right by the water. I am in love with it.
We made quick progress and within less than a day we were on the shore of the main land. Moonsongs broke the surface and her bubble popped. She inhaled deeply.
“Finally!” she said. “Fresh air!” I smiled at her. It was great to be back. We said our goodbyes to the other Nimmo and swam the short way to the edge of our property. Our family was waiting, right where we left them. Now, I haven’t even told you the whole story, so imagine how happy I am now to tell them the story. Or, you know, not.
“My babies!” my mother screamed. What a Nimmo. She always has been overprotective. My dad also ran over to us. He’s a Lupe. I always have thought they were a weird match, but they're my mom and dad so I love them anyway.
“Young ladies,” he demanded. “Where have you been?”
I sighed. “Mom, Dad,” I said. “It’s kind of a long story.”
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