A Second Chance: Part One
Here it is! The long awaited sequel series to my short story, "One Wish!" Enjoy and happy reading! :-)
Jane watched Nereid the water faerie as she swam about her grotto in search of something. And as she watched her, Jane processed in her mind the decision she just made; the choice she had resolved upon: to return to land and reunite with her owner, Abigail. She still had many questions and, though she didn't wish to admit it, a bubbling fear was in her heart. Who was this water faerie out at sea that had Nereid mentioned? And most importantly, how far must she traverse the ocean to find her?
"Ah, there it is," said Nereid finally after a long pause of silence. Jane looked up from her deep trance of thought and saw an old, tattered map rolled up in Nereid's hands. She eyed it in curiosity, wondering how the paper could survive in the water.
Nereid reached out and carefully placed the magical map in Jane's hands much to the Aisha's surprise. "This is your way to Yara, the water faerie that lives miles away from here, in parts of the sea where few to no Neopians have ever been. Those parts are very dangerous, and I encourage you to not travel alone, but on the backs of large sea creatures. They will protect you."
Jane nodded obediently. "Nereid, thank you for your kindness. I wish there were a way I could repay you for all you've done for me, but—''
Nereid shook her head. "There is no need. There's just one thing I want you to promise me. When you visit Yara and return to your owner, I want to know that you have returned home safe."
"You got it," Jane replied with a smile and confidently hugged the map to her chest.
"Now, you must go at once. Be strong. The journey will be long, Jane, but don't give up," Nereid said.
"I won't," said Jane as she quickly swam to Nereid's cave exit. The Maraquan Aisha, just before she intended to leave, turned back to Nereid. "I'll be sure to inform you of my coming home, when I do get there!"
"You will!" Nereid smiled and waved at Jane's departing form. "Goodbye, Jane! And good luck!"
It was a dark, dreary, and rainy day on the quiet shores of Mystery Island. There were hardly any tourists walking on the beaches, and the rain seemed never-ending. The weather had been this way for several weeks, casting a spell of doldrums over the tropical island.
A dark-cloaked figure made her way down the silent, sad streets of the Mystery Island marketplace. For months, she found herself continuously walking alone around the isle in desperate search. The days slowly passed by; the happy tourists came and went as always, but a great piece of her heart became missing that one morning when she realized her precious Neopet she loved and cared for was gone. Quickly, fraught with unimaginable worry, the young human girl spread the news all over Mystery Island, making it impossible for the Neopians to not know of Jane's mysterious disappearance. She confronted islanders and tourists with questions and photographs of her Aisha, but eventually, she was hopelessly ignored and turned away.
Abigail had no one to aid or comfort her. No one even offered her a helping hand. Months had gone by like summer breezes; nonetheless, she refused to give up on hope. She had to find her little Jane. Her life was gray and despondent without the bright, ambitious face of her blue Aisha. Her very existence became haunted by nightmares that kept her sleepless, reminded daily that Jane may have run away from home because she deprived her of her one great desire of the sea. Visions of her sitting on her bed with her arms wrapped around Jane filled her mind and played in front of her eyes. She was to blame--she purposely robbed Jane of her wish; and so, she became a runaway to fulfill it.
Thunder unexpectedly rumbled in the sky above Abigail's head, making her glance up from the cover of her hood to see bright lightning flash. Raindrops fell onto her exposed face and eyes, causing her to blink the water down her cheeks like tears. She quickly darted under an awning of a small shop when a torrential rain poured down. Abigail gazed around as Neopets caught in the sudden downpour scurried under canopies for shelter. Her heart throbbed in pain and grief to see a teenage boy with a young Techo and Draik run under a shop awning with merry laughter.
As Abigail stood alone under her awning, watching the rain fall from the sky, the thunder and lightning was fierce for only several minutes when the loud rumbling steadily hushed. The rain became lighter as well, causing the clouds to part and the rays of the sun to shine down upon the isle. The people smiled in joy and immediately went about their former and normal business, not at all affected by the frequent, swift showers that often occurred this time of year; but as for Abigail, she gloomily walked her solitary way back home...
Abigail slowly dragged her feet as she reached the porch steps of her seaside Neohome. She took in a deep breath of the salt air, gazing out at the vast horizon. She studied the rolling tide that crashed onto the beach that filled her with fear and yet sorrow. Abigail had convinced herself years ago that she would never overcome her terror of the ocean which afflicted her as only an innocent child at play that morphed into disaster. She could still remember when it happened; it was just as vivid and crystal clear in her mind as the day it had occurred...
There was a brisk sea wind in the air that wafted the white sails of the small yacht. The sea was calm for the most part, but waves were strong and steady, carrying them farther out to sea. Young Abigail, a bright-eyed and curious toddler, played around the freshly cleaned deck, amazed by everything around her. Her mother was sunbathing in a deck chair with sunglasses over her eyes and a novel in her hands, though she did peek over her shades to check her daughter's whereabouts periodically. Abigail's father, an experienced sailor, stood nearby and watched the horizon with an impressive brass telescope.
Abigail, gurgling and giggling, spotted the steel deck railing and saw a white-foamed wave spew up in the air, raining down on the deck and leaving behind a crisp salty scent that burnt her nostrils. She laughed and plopped down on the deck, clapping her little cubby hands in enjoyment. The yacht, riding up on another swell, made another wave gently wash the deck again, but this time a little larger and wetter. However Abigail laughed at the cool spray of the sea and beamed.
All of the sudden, the boat lurched violently, causing everything and everyone aboard to jump off balance. Abigail's drenched mother, shocked by the unexpected wave, stood from her lounging chair as her husband quickly walked over to her. Then, as natural instinct, they saw that their happy child was gone; only her soggy baby sun hat lay like limp seaweed on the deck. There was then a terrifying, shrill scream coming from the water below as the distressed parents dashed to the rail. Bobbling in the rough waves was their toddler Abigail.
Abigail tried hard to cry aloud, but the rocking waves only forced salt water into her mouth, and choked her. She was drowning, too young to have learned how to swim, as the sea continued to wash water into her mouth, nose, and eyes. Quickly, her father dove headlong overboard into the ocean to rescue her. Being as skilled as he was, he paddled and sliced through the water rather quickly, but the tide was still very rough, which caused him to slow down. His heart stopped beating when he saw Abigail sink below the waves. Valiantly he dove underwater after a deep breath and retrieved the sinking child.
Minutes of agony slowly dragged by for the distraught mother aboard their bobbling watercraft as her wide eyes scanned the ocean below. She gasped when her husband broke the surface with an unconscious Abigail in his arms...
Abigail gasped aloud and blinked as the startling memory she recollected went blank. She looked around as her gaze landed again on the wide sea before her. Her eyebrows drawn up in ultimate fear and anger as she whipped around to her door and swung it open to run inside.
Standing alone in the empty, still living room, Abigail threw off her damp cloak and hung it on the coat rack beside the elaborate door with a stained-glass window. Though she could no longer see the childhood memory, the frightening visions of the past when she was drowning in the violent sea current struck her heart. She couldn't possibly imagine the anxiety her parents must have felt when they rushed to her rescue and revived her on the deck of the yacht. Despite the near fatal tragedy, her parents adored the sea and continued sailing for many years to come, but Abigail had never set foot on a boat since that day. Her experience made a seemingly permanent impression on her mind and soul, never to be lifted; never could Abigail look at the sea and not feel the fear.
Abigail scooted her feet sluggishly into the kitchen and then up the stairs, continuing to torture herself in the dead silence. She gazed sorrowfully at the photographs and portraits lining the stairway wall of her and Jane, she and her parents, and she and long forgotten friends. Coming to the top of the staircase, she landed on the last portrait before turning down the hall. It was her favorite photograph out of all the many and nearly countless memories on the wall. It was a professional portrait of her and Jane, taken in a studio of course with a simulated spring time background, but it always felt ever so real to her. She smiled at the fact that Jane hated her picture taken, but at that point in the past, Jane was very young and happy and innocent. She grinned so big that her fact split in half and all her missing teeth were revealed.
Abigail smiled and placed her hand on the glass over Jane's picture, closing her eyes to try and feel closer to Jane who was very far away. And as the time had passed, they seemed to be growing more apart. Jane was undoubtedly free, out there in the sea. But she didn't have the means to get herself that far! She was probably cold and all alone. Abigail couldn't believe at first, but she was not like Jane. Jane was strong, bold, and fearless; she made her way to the sea one way or another.
Tears began to well in Abigail's eyes as she walked down the quiet hall to her bedroom. She stood for a moment, utterly overwhelmed and consumed by endless thought and question. Abigail then plopped down on the edge of her plush bed and cried out in pain and devastation. She sobbed in her hands as the tears stained her face. Abigail never had wept so hard and long in her life. It was a mournful and longing cry, one that overtook her heart and shattered it into a million pieces. She couldn't wrap her mind around the realization that Jane was gone, and that she may be gone forever.
Shakily, Abigail drew her face up from the wet pillow she lay on and sniffled, feeling her face soiled with tears. Through her tears that blinded her eyes, however, she saw something that lay untouched on the carpeted floor, having fallen possibly from her nightstand. She quickly wiped her eyes and realized it was a letter on Jane's stationary paper. Shocked, she reached down and picked it up, stirring some dust into in the air, and scanned over the words written in the note. Slowly she sat up from her lying position. It was a goodbye letter--written by Jane herself...
I am saying goodbye. Whether you approve of it or not, I am heading out to sea for a new and fresh start at life. I have been under your protective wing for much too long. I have been isolated at shore for too long. You know how much I love the sea. You know it, Abbie! I don't understand your fear of something so wonderful and beautiful. I hope there is an understandable reason behind it that I am not aware of, but I suppose I'll never know. What matters to me now is survival, and proving to you and the world that doubts a little Aisha like me can carry on in the mysterious sea. It is not impossible, Abbie! Nothing is impossible. You think it is because of fear and doubt holding you back and keeping you from your dreams. I've never limited myself because of the fear of risks and failures. I believe in my future at sea, and I will fulfill it no matter what I must do or sacrifice to get there. Because you fear the ocean so, I will most likely never see you again. I wish you could visit me, but that will never happen. This is goodbye, Abigail, forever.
Abigail stared at the letter with bitter words that clawed at her painfully, but yet gave her renewed hope of Jane's locations. The proof was in her hands; Jane had gone out to sea!
Suddenly, there was a knock at Abigail's front door. Alarmed, she gasped at the loud and somewhat urgent knocking. "Who could that be?" Abigail murmured to herself. Then, it hit her. Filled with imaginative hope, Abigail began to believe that her precious Neopet she loved and adored was just behind her closed door. Clenching the letter and pocketing it, Abigail jumped up from her bed and hurriedly rushed down the stairs, nearly tripping, but she regained her balance and skipped through the kitchen to stand in front of her Neohome door. Abigail scrutinized the door, wondering, thinking... could Jane be just the turn of a doorknob away? The mere idea gave Abigail excitement as she convinced herself that it might be true. Tears of happiness filled her eyes. Taking a deep breath and combing her short brunette hair behind her ears, she reached for the doorknob...
To be continued...