Say Nothing at All
As I walked toward my room, I could see my older sister Zoey, a yellow Wocky, blowing away on the flute of hers. She was no doubt practicing for the concert that was coming in a couple of weeks. I could feel the vibrations of the music, and I’m sure it was very beautiful.
But I couldn’t hear it.
When I went to my room, I could see some of the younger Neopians walking, talking, and playing outside. They were having fun, laughing, running, and playing, while I sat inside and just watched them.
Because I couldn’t hear them.
I guess I should explain. I’m Leiser_Engel, a Christmas Zafara, and I look very normal. Indistinguishable from any other, except for one thing. I have been deaf since I was born. I never learned to talk, instead using sign language or pencil and paper to communicate. In fact, my name means Silent Angel in a human language. Since many do not know sign language, and the pencil and paper was slow, there was nobody outside of my family that wanted to spend time with me.
As I watched, I suddenly felt a paw on my shoulder. I jumped and turned, seeing Zoey standing behind me, her flute in one hand. Once she was sure I was looking and paying attention, she used sign language to say “You should go outside with them.”
I shook my head, but didn’t turn away like most others probably would. Since I couldn’t hear, I had to keep looking at the person I was talking with. If my back was turned, I couldn’t see what they were trying to tell me.
“Why not?” she signed.
“You know why,” I replied, using sign language of my own. “Zoey, nobody wants to spend time with me, since I can’t hear them or talk back. So we can’t communicate with each other. We may as well be on two different planets.”
I saw disappointment and anger cross my sister’s face, as she turned and picked up a notepad and paper. She only used that method when what she had to say was too long to sign or wanted to get her point across more forcefully. After writing for a couple of minutes, she turned the pad and shown me what she wrote.
I am sick and tired of using your deafness as an excuse. Yes, you can’t hear anything, but you can play a lot of the games just as well as they can. If they can’t accept the fact that you’re deaf, then that’s their problem. Get out there, before I punt you out the door myself.
I reluctantly stood up and started for the door. My sister acted like she was my mother a lot, since she had to be my guardian when I was still very young. She did annoy me sometimes when she told me what to do, but I know she had my best interests at heart.
As I opened the door, I saw a couple of them look my way. Almost all of them were lined up, except for two of them standing in front of them, and they seemed to be picking teams. One of them, a yellow Mynci, gestured to me to join them.
But as I jogged over, I happened to slip on a wet patch of ground and fall face first right into a mud puddle. I looked up to see them all looking like they were laughing at me, even the Mynci that called me over.
My eyes started to fill with tears, but I didn't want them to see me cry. So I turned away and just ran. Blinded by my tears, I couldn't see where I headed; only that it was full of trees. So I ran until I happened to run into a figure in a dark cloak.
I fell for a second time, this time on my tail, as I looked up. Even with the cloak, I could see she had emerald green eyes and a lock of brown hair that made me decide she must be some kind of earth faerie. I couldn't see any wings, so I assumed they must be under her cloak.
I signed that I was sorry, and she looked down at me, before waving a hand. Then she said, "There's nothing to be sorry about, young one."
I stumbled backward in total shock, realizing that I could hear her. And once I realized that, I realized I heard other sounds, such as the wind and the noises of wild petpets. The faerie gave a smile, as she sat on a nearby stump.
"I don't get many visitors, living so deep in the forest. But when I do have one, I give them what they desire the most, as long as they don't have evil intentions in their heart. I can sense that you are pure hearted, so I gave you the ability to hear, and to speak," she told me.
"Speak?" I said, and then covered my mouth, as I realized that I could speak. The sound of my voice, the sounds around me, hearing the faerie talk, it seemed like Faerieland to me. And now knowing that now I can speak as well, I was beside myself with happiness.
"There is something you should know," the faerie said, cutting into my thoughts. "The spell isn't permanent, and will fade over time. You..."
"What?" I yelled. "What's the point of giving me a gift if it doesn't last?"
"Like I was going to say, I have powerful magical items back at home, and I can use them to make the spell last," she told me. "Come, follow me."
As she started to walk deeper into the forest, I started to follow behind. But then I heard footsteps behind me, and they seemed to be moving fast. I whirled around to see it was...
"Zoey!" I exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
She stumbled back a bit in surprise, obviously not expecting to hear me talk. But she shook that thought away, as she looked directly at the faerie, anger in her eyes. I glanced back at the Faerie, and noticed that she mirrored Zoey's expression.
"Alright, witch," Zoey said. "Let my sister come with me."
"Wait, I recognize you," the faerie answered. "You're the only one that got away as soon as your gift was complete."
"Wait, Zoey. You know each other?" I asked, having absolutely no idea what was going on.
"Unfortunately, yes," she answered. "Don't go with her. She'll put a spell on you, make you her slave. She gives the gifts, but at a price."
"Come, young one," the faerie answered, her voice becoming so sweet you could pour it on Faerie Pancakes. "I'm giving you what you wanted your entire life. Don't throw it away because your sister doesn't trust me."
I looked from one to the other, not quite sure who I should go with. I really do want my gift to be permanent, more than anything in Neopia. But I trusted my sister fully, never knowing her to lie. And if she knows the faerie can't be trusted, then I have no reason to doubt her. Without a word, I stepped over to where Zoey was standing.
"Ungrateful Zafara!" she yelled, her voice going from sweet to evil almost instantly. "And you, Wocky, for ruining everything again! I'll turn you both into Mootix!"
She fired a burst of magic at us, and we both jumped aside and ran toward the edge of the forest. The faerie threw off her cloak, revealing herself to be an earth faerie from her dress and wings. She spread her wings and flown up above the trees, trying to hit us from the air.
I ran in a zigzag pattern, hoping to keep her from hitting me. I saw Zoey a few feet away, and she seemed to be using the trees to try and shield her. But she tripped on a tree root and rolled once, leaving her sprawled on the ground. As I ran over to help, I saw her try to get up, only to wince in pain and fall to her knees, her paw clutching her left ankle. I glanced up to see the faerie scanning the area, looking for us.
"Leiser, get out of here and save yourself. I'll be fine," Zoey yelled. "I'll probably end up in someone's Habitarium and..."
"I am not running away and letting my own sister become a Mootix," I interrupted, as I pulled her to her feet.
With her leaning in me, the two of us were slowed down, as we hobbled toward the edge of the woods like we were some kind of three legged creature, and we were double the weight of the average female neopet. A few blasts rained down on us, near misses. We were both hoping our luck would hold out.
"We'll be safe if we can get to the edge of the woods. She can't follow us beyond there," I heard Zoey say, though I couldn't hear it as well as I did. I figured that my temporary ability to hear was wearing off.
We were two feet from the edge when we heard a very powerful beam fired behind us. We turned to see that the beam was striking the center of the forest, and a wave of powerful energy was striking through the trees, right toward us. She was probably hoping that covering the whole forest would manage her to hit us.
I grabbed tightly on her paw, and made a leap for the edge of the forest, pulling us both beyond the edge. The wave of energy, luckily for us, fizzled out when it hit the edge. The faerie saw that we made it out and yelled in frustration.
As we walked back toward home, I noticed Zoey's mouth moving, like she was talking to me. I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to my ear to tell her that I was now fully deaf again. She nodded and pulled out the notepad, and wrote down what she wanted to say.
I should explain what happened. I met the faerie years ago, and like you, she offered me what I wanted most. For me, that was a younger sister. You.
I went with her to her hut, but I soon found out what she intended to do. I put on one of my best acting jobs, as I pretended to be under her control. As soon as her back was turned, I grabbed you and ran.
She wasn't able to catch up, but she decided to curse you, taking your ability to hear and speak, and was able to do it before I left. She can't leave the forest or cast spells beyond the trees' edge, but she can cast spells on anything inside.
Though things were tough, I eventually learned how to take care of you, despite your disabilities. I loved you like a sister, took care of you like a mother, and never regretted a minute of it.
I smiled as I read her words, knowing that she meant every one of them. I took a pen of my own and wrote back.
You don't have to tell me how you feel toward me. You showed me through your actions. You also showed that, if I ever get into trouble, you will be there for me and do whatever you can to help me. I've returned the love with my own, and I know that I'll help you if you get into trouble.
She smiled back as she read what I wrote, and replied with one sentence:
We say it best, when we say nothing at all.