The First Zap: Through the Eyes of One Who Was an Aisha
Mom was home. Early. A sign in this family that was not very good. I quickly came up with three explanations why my mother was home so soon. One, she was out making money and we were rich! I mean, she got her paycheck and finally got a raise, two, she lost all of our money and we were now officially destitute, or three, she got the Secret Laboratory Map. I was perfectly fine with the first option, but was uneasy at the thought of the next two.
"Hi, Mom. You're back early," I say with as much confidence as one can muster after the third thought.
"Oh, why Haacci, I thought you'd be reading," she says.
"Finished number seventy-two before you left. It practically went up in a puff of smoke." I beam. I just love to read.
"You were always my brightest one. Say, would you like to go anywhere today, hon?" she says with a slight smile.
"Why? Do you want to go anywhere, Mom?" I ask almost sarcastically.
"Well, I had one place in mind... Don't tell your siblings, but..."
"We're rich! I knew it! I knew you would finally get a raise! Awesome!" I say dreamily, "Maybe now I can finally afford that new coat of paint!"
"I didn't get a raise. Sorry to rain on your parade. But you just might be able to get that new paint job," she says.
"Oh no. Don't tell me. You actually got it."
"It was worth every neopoint. And I'm glad I got it. And you will be too. Now hurry up and let's go. I don't want to forget how to get there."
So I grab my scarf, the trademark of all Snow Aishas, and make my way outside, grumbling under my breath about how she couldn't have bought me more books. Looking for number seventy-three was hard work. Not to mention the costs for slightly used books was plummeting through the roof.
"Here we are. The island he told me. Such a strange fellow. Oh, well. We shouldn't waste another minute out here," Mom says almost to herself.
I look around. "An island. Really. Everything just has to be on an island. Maybe if I dig, I'll find seventy-three..."
Mom starts up the slight hill that was at about a twenty degree angle. Who said I can't read algebra books in my spare time, eh? Anyway, she turns around to look at me digging in the sand. "Hurry up, we don't want to be late for our appointment!" she practically screams at me. She must be even more nervous than me about this.
"Coming, coming. Let's just get this over with," I reply in what seemed to be a casual tone.
"Well, we don't want to be late, now do we, Haacci?"
"I guess not."
After what seemed like a millennium of climbing that twenty degree angle, we approach what looks like a desolate cave. I look at Mom as if to say, 'Do we really have to go'. She looks around the cave to see if this is the right one. I roll my eyes because this is the only cave on the island. Typical mother, always second guessing herself. Sometimes I wish she could just make a decision and stick to it.
"Mom," I say, "are you sure we're in the right place?"
"Of course, of course. I just don't know where the darn light switch is," she responds.
"Mom, this is a cave. Caves don't have light switches," I tell her gently, knowing she has a smaller IQ than her daughter.
"Oh, but this cave is special. It looks like a cave on the outside, but is really a Secret Laboratory..." she says to me while feeling along the inside of the cave.
I start to walk in, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I stumble once, and fall after tripping over what was a rock. I get myself up with the help of the walls, and accidentally flick on a switch. As I do so, the entire cave lights up.
I look at Mom, flabbergasted, and see the same expression on her face.
She says, "We're here," with excitement in her voice, but fear on her face. How she manages to do that amazes me every time.
"I know. I can't believe it. All those months you spent out playing games have paid off. We're here in the Secret Laboratory." I turn to look at her and say, "You've dreamt of this your whole life, and now you finally have it. Aren't you excited?"
"I am. It just finally hit me. What am I going to do now that my lifelong dream has been accomplished?"
"I don't know, Mom. But we should get this over with. Besides, you said it yourself; we don't want to be late."
We keep walking deeper and deeper into the cave and finally come to a stop. Our path is blocked be a steel door with a crude sign reading: ONLY PETS ALLOWED. I go out to reach for the handle, but Mother beats me too it.
"That's alright, dear, I've got it," she says to me.
She gives me a slight push through the door, and I look back on her.
"Alright... I'm going in... to meet my doom..." I say with fear coursing through my veins.
"You'll be fine, dear, just do what the nice man says, and it'll be over in a flash."
Listening to Mom's words of slight encouragement, I walk into the dark hall from where the steel door leads. I think to myself, could this place get any creepier? I decide if there were pictures of Count Von Roo on these walls, it would reach maximum creepiness. I laugh at my own joke, knowing Roo Island is hundreds of miles away.
Reality soon hits me, and I'm flooded with fear again. What if I change into a different color? That would be kind of cool, right? I mean, how about changing into ice? That would be awesome! I'd be the envy of all my friends! I'd show them! Who's got the rare, lab-only color now! That would show those dumb Acaras, thinking they're better than us Aishas, just because they come before us in the alphabet. They are so lame. And as I'm elaborating, I absentmindedly walk right into a wall. Some snowflakes fall, and I worry if Mother will check at home to see how much weight I lost today. Being a Snow Aisha, I tend to shed a lot of weight, and so Mother has made sure to keep my weight stable so I don't melt away.
As I recover from the recent scare, I look around and see that it is not a wall, but a large person. They are wearing a white lab coat and are holding a clipboard in their right hand. They slowly turn around as I quickly freak out. What is this person going to do to me? Are they going to hurt me? Raise my stats? Change me into a boy? I shudder at the last thought. Instead, this person looks at me with curious eyes and asks, "Hessi?"
I reply to the old man with crazy white hair, "I think you mean 'Haacci'. But yes, that's me."
He does not say any more, and I decide it is because he has gathered all the information needed to send me on my way to doom. Instead, he points to the circular platform, insisting that I stand on it. So I do as told, and stand on my platform to obliteration. I close my eyes and hope to come out alive. I hear the sound of buttons being pushed, one at a time. Then, through my eyelids, I see a bright and instantaneous flash of light. I recover again from shock, wondering if I had been through enough pain today. The mad man looks at me as if I was from another planet. He shows me the way out, and I wonder what has gotten into him.
I walk out the door, not looking at myself, wanting to be surprised the same time Mother is. I make my way back to the first steel door, and open it with care. My mother waits for me on the other side to see if her ingenious plan had worked. She asks just as the crazy man had did not so long ago, "Haacci?"
I say, "Yes, Mom?"
Noticing my voice being higher than usual, I know something is different. I look down at my hands that are no longer white from the snow. Instead they are a furry red, and I immediately go into shock. I have been transformed. I am no longer a Snow Aisha, but a simple Red Kacheek.
We go back to the house in silence. When we open the door, there is silence from my two younger siblings.
I climb up the stairs to my bedroom with my head hung down in shame. I push my door open, having not been fully closed, and go to lie on my bed. I cry and cry and cry. And I promise myself to always remember today, October eighth, and to never go back to the horrible lab ever again.