Messenger: The Trouble With Selkets - Part Three
I was floating.
It was all white. And then black. My name rang in my mind, but I didn’t listen. Here I was happy. There was no pain here, in the bliss of unconsciousness.
Something began to tug at my mind, pulling me back to the real world. I tried to ignore it at first, but it came back, more definite and consistent. The voices grew louder, and the white/black faded away, to be replaced by total black. I blinked instinctively, and light filtered into my dark world. And suddenly, I was awake, and back in full swing. My head, hand, eyes, EVERYTHING was throbbing. I groaned and tried to fall into unconsciousness again, but the voices wouldn’t let me.
“Rooli, for Fyora’s sake, stop doing cartwheels all over creation. You’re frightening the nurse out of her mind.”
Faces were bent over me, peering concernedly into my face, shouting at each other. Midnight and Star were at the foot of my bed (that seemed to be what I was resting on), Rooli and Bluecloud were standing next to my parents and Lila on the side, and some strange green Gelert wearing a white raincoat and toting a black briefcase stood on the other side.
A timid-looking blue Elephante stood behind the Gelert, smiling at me nervously. The Gelert nodded at her, and she opened the black briefcase and approached me, smiling sweetly. I coughed and attempted to smile back, but I’m afraid it came out more like a grimace.
“Do you have a headache?” asked the Elephante. I nodded hesitantly, and she immediately dumped a glob of green goop on my head.
“Are your eyes all right? Are you sneezing?” she asked. I coughed again, and croaked out a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’. The Elephante nodded and handed me a pill, which I obediently swallowed. She pulled out a syringe from her pocket and injected my arm with something, then did it again on the other arm.
“Where am I?” I croaked, trying not to grimace as the needle entered my arm.
“You’re at the Neopian Hospital,” said the Gelert, smiling. Mom patted my arm and looked at me with concern.
“I know,” I coughed, “but why?”
“Does she have amnesia?!” Bluecloud gasped. She shoved her face up close to mine and scrutinized me carefully. “Do you know who I am? I’m Bluecloud, and I’m an Acara, you know. Or maybe you don’t know. Do you?”
“Yes, I remember you,” I said, annoyed. “What I mean is, why am I at the hospital? The last thing I remember was being bitten by the Selket and fainting.” I did a double-take, and realized that the doctor had taken off Bluecloud’s cast. At least, I hoped he had taken it off, and that Bluecloud hadn't lost it again.
“I told your mom what happened,” said Bluecloud proudly. “She took you to this place and what do you know, it’s the place where that doctor gave me the cast. I wouldn’t trust him, if I were you,” she added, gesturing at the Gelert, “because he has a saw, you see. He hacked off my cast, but he nearly sawed off my arm. It was only through heroic bravery and cleverness that I was able to save myself.” The Gelert doctor smiled nervously, although he looked rather annoyed.
Bluecloud showed me her left arm, which had been injured by Dole’s sword in our fight to save Maraqua and Krawk Island. Her ring finger and pinky were completely gone, and she had a couple of good scars on her wrist.
“The Selket was poisonous,” the Gelert doctor explained. “They aren’t usually, they have to be genetically altered. It was slow-spreading poison, so we were able to save you. You’re lucky you didn’t lose that hand,” he said, gesturing at my right hand, which was swathed in bandages.
“That’s strange,” commented Mom thoughtfully.
“I had planned to take Emma and my girls to the Lost Desert tomorrow, but I guess that won’t be happening since Emma’s hurt, and we’ve only found three of the Selkets,” said Midnight sadly.
“No!” announced Mom. “I WANT Emma out of the house. All of us. I closed down the clinic for a while, and I sent the petpets staying there to my friend Lucy. Rooli, Louie, Lila and I will be staying at my father’s house in Kiko Lake. I got somebody to come to our house and catch those awful Selkets, though he won’t be done for a while, and he wants the house free of people while he’s working. I won't let anyone else get hurt.” Mom tossed her head defiantly. I was shocked. This wasn’t my mom. She was usually so soft-spoken and agreeable. I guess everyone has a defiant streak in them, just hiding and waiting for the right minute to show.
“Great,” I said, sitting up. I shook my head at the Elephante, who had opened her mouth to object. “I’ll be leaving now, then. If we’re going to be leaving to the Lost Desert tomorrow, I want to go home and pack.”
“We’re not going tomorrow,” said Midnight, looking surprised. “We’ll arrive tomorrow, but it’ll take a day to get there by ship, as I can safely assume that no one will want to take an Eyrie cab. We’ll be leaving in. . .an hour, if I calculated that correctly.” She was right. No one wanted to take an Eyrie cab, due to the bad experiences we had had in the past with them. One of the Eyrie cabs had crashed us into a cliff, and the other had collided with another cab and landed in Kiko Lake, where Clark and I had met Midnight and her daughters.
I nodded and leaped out of the bed, immediately wishing I hadn’t. The headache was back, and my hand was throbbing. I placed my uninjured hand on the wall and leaned back, feeling dizzy.
“Take good care of her,” said the Gelert, looking at me reproachfully. “I really don’t want to send her home just yet, much less send her traveling into a desert, but it seems like we don’t have much choice.” Mom nodded and placed her hand on my shoulder, steadying me.
“Louie,” said Lila plaintively, looking at Dad, “why don’t you come to Kiko Lake with us? It’ll be fun. And besides, you work too much.”
“I need a break,” Dad agreed.
“Exactly. You won’t have to work at the lake.”
“No, I mean I need a break from you, my annoying little sister; and Rooli; and Emma; and even Caroline! I’ll just stay at Clark’s place and finish painting those Deluxe Red Tree houses.”
“Louie,” complained Mom, “really. You do work too much, as Lila says. And besides, Clark will be going to the Lost Desert as well.”
“He will?” I asked, surprised. Mom nodded impatiently.
“Your father will be too busy painting tree houses to come to the lake with us, and I haven’t seen my father in years. And besides, someone needs to keep an eye on Rooli--and Lila, too. You need an adult to take you back from the Lost Desert, since you’ll be leaving Midnight and her family in Sahkmet.”
“Okay,” I said, taking Mom’s hand and massaging my goop-covered head. “This will be nice for all of us, I guess. Dad will get to work; you, Rooli, and Lila will get to relax at Kiko Lake with Grandpa; and I’ll get to go to Sahkmet with Bluecloud and rest, and have fun, without having to worry about petpets or Messengers or anything like that.”
“Yes, you definitely need a break,” laughed Bluecloud. “After your near-death experience. You must really want to do nothing other than put your feet up and rest a bit.”
“Yes,” I answered, striding toward the door, “yes. Near-death experiences tend to do that to you.”
An hour later, Bluecloud, Midnight, Star, Pecan, Clark and I stood on the deck of a ship headed toward the Lost Desert. We waved to Mom and Rooli, who had come to the dock to see us off.
“Are you feeling okay?” Midnight asked me concernedly, glancing at my arm nervously. I guessed that she was worried that my arm would turn out like Bluecloud's.
“I’m fine, thanks,” I assured Midnight. Although I wasn’t. I still had a splitting headache and my hand was still throbbing, but I wasn’t going to admit that. I staggered toward a deck chair and sank into it, resting my head on the plastic back. Pecan noticed that I was looking a little faint and bounded across the deck, his spiked tail waving as he happily bounded up onto my lap. I smiled and patted him with my left hand, pressing my head against the back of the chair and folding my wings more comfortably behind my back. My enormous Faerie wings had always been a nuisance; I couldn’t fly with them and they were stiff and cumbersome. I had gotten my Faerie color from Mom, who could fly beautifully and always seemed to have her wings neatly folded behind her back or inside her white doctor’s coat.
The shores of Neopia Central were quickly receding. It was happening again. The Messengers would be traveling the globe, although this time they would say farewell to three of their members and leave them behind in the desert forever. And this time would not be a petpet-delivering trip, but merely a chance to relax, to recuperate from my near-death experience with the Selkets, and to just enjoy Sahkmet. This time, we wouldn’t be saving the world, pulling off any dangerous stunts such as blowing up Maraqua Palace, or defeating evil geniuses. This would be solely a vacation, a time to relax.
Or so I thought.
To be continued...