Overboard: Part One
"Xepen, hurry up! We're going to miss the ship!" Karina called up the stairs.
"Just give me one more moment, Karina!" Xepen shouted from her bedroom, where she was holding two bottles of perfume, trying to decide which to pack for her vacation.
"Oh, I just can't decide! I'll simply have to bring both," the royal girl Wocky said to herself as she stuffed the two bottles forcefully into the already over-stuffed suitcase.
Hastily closing it, she lifted the suitcase off of her bed and grabbed her purse. She rushed downstairs to meet her owner waiting by the front door.
"Quickly, Xepen, we have to leave now if we want to catch the ship to Mystery Island!" Karina said, ushering her Wocky out the door.
"Relax, Karina, we'll make it! Don't those ships usually wait a few minutes for last-minute riders?" Xepen asked with a lack of concern.
"Not the first class ships! They leave right on the minute. They don't wait for anyone; there aren't any 'late riders' for these ships, Xepen. They're for the richest Neopians only. The tickets alone cost a fortune," the human explained.
"Oh, of course, how could I have forgotten? Let's go, then!" Xepen replied, quickening her stride, but not so much that she carried herself without grace.
The two made it to their ship just in time, boarding the ship just as it was preparing to head off.
"That was close. Xepen, you really don't need to take so long to pack, we're only going to be away for a week and a half. We must've looked like fools, running to catch our ship last-minute like a couple of commoners," Karina ranted haughtily as they were led to their sleeping quarters.
"Your room, ladies," the Blumaroo said, interrupting the two as he reached their door.
Xepen and Karina quieted as the Blumaroo entered the room and showed them the inside. He gave them a short tour of the room, which consisted of two king-sized beds, a large bathroom, two closets and two dressers. The trip was only going to be one night, and they would be arriving to Mystery Island by early morning, however for the rich pet and owner it was hardly enough.
The Blumaroo continued to explain the policies of the ship, and Xepen tuned him out as she had heard the rules enough times that she'd almost had them memorized. When he left, the small family of two headed immediately to the restaurant for lunch.
"I just can't wait to see Mystery Island! Out of all the places we've visited, I can't believe we haven't travelled to the warmest, most popular tropical island in Neopia!" Xepen exclaimed that evening as she ate her meal with Karina.
"I know you'll love it, Xepen! The beaches are beautiful, and there's so much to do every day! I never took you there before because I wanted to wait until you were old enough to shop on the Island on your own. I know how much you love to shop, and I come to Mystery Island so much just to use the Trading Post that I don't plan on shopping much this vacation. I'll be on the beach most days," Karina said.
"Oh, I'm definitely going to go to the Trading Post! I bet there'll be so many interesting clothes and jewelry to buy there!" Xepen exclaimed.
"That reminds me! Xepen, I know how much you wanted that necklace you saw on display in the Marketplace last month," Karina began with a grin, and Xepen's eyes widened.
"Well, since there are only four in existence, and I may never find one for sale again, I've decided to buy it for you now!" Karina reached into her sweater pocket and pulled out a small wrapped box.
"Oh my goodness, Karina, I can't believe you got it!" Xepen exclaimed as she excitedly, yet delicately, pulled away the red ribbon tied around it.
Xepen opened the box and pulled the necklace out. The chain was a bright silver, and hanging from it was a sapphire, surrounded by weaved white gold. Xepen put it on gently. The sapphire brought out her periwinkle colored fur.
"It's looks absolutely stunning on you, Xepen. And make sure you're careful with it; it's worth over ten million neopoints. There were many wealthy Neopians after it, and I was lucky to purchase it at all," Karina whispered.
Xepen nodded, glancing around to see if anybody had over-heard the price. When she saw no eyes cast their way, Xepen relaxed and continued to eat.
"I'll be careful, Karina, don't worry. I know how important it is to you that I cherish gifts," Xepen replied.
"Oh, I know you will. Consider this your major gift for your upcoming birthday, even though it's not for another month," Karina added with a smile.
When they finished eating, the two spent the remainder of the day participating in the many activities being held. There were contests, plays, and art displays all day long to keep the wealthy passengers occupied for the long ride. When Xepen and her owner went to bed, it was close to eleven o' clock.
Xepen had trouble sleeping that night, however. She tossed and turned in the too-hot room for hours, and eventually gave up on sleep and got out of bed. The ship kept rocking heavily, and Xepen could feel herself begin to grow nauseous from the motion. Looking at a clock on the wall, she saw that it was a little past three in the morning. As she got out of her bed, she noticed Karina was not in the other one.
Confused and slightly concerned, Xepen got up and looked around the room, but her owner was not there.
"Perhaps she was unable to sleep as well," Xepen said to herself.
Not wanting to be alone, Xepen changed out of her pajamas and exited the room to find her owner. She thought about what Karina would most likely be doing, and decided she would either have gone outside in hopes of the calm ocean making her sleepy, or to see another play.
Xepen made her way to the theater, stumbling along the way as the ship rocked back and forth heavily. Xepen found the theater, but was shocked to see nobody inside; there wasn't even a show going on!
"What is going on? Why isn't anyone around?" Xepen asked aloud to herself.
Xepen decided to look outside next, and approached the first door she saw that lead to the deck. Xepen tried to open it, but found it to be locked. She could hear the faint sound of falling rain outside. Why would they lock the doors, even if there was a little rain?
"Surely they're not all locked," Xepen murmured as she looked around for another exit.
Xepen knew that if Karina was somewhere, it would be either in the theater or outside. Since the theater was empty, Xepen was convinced her owner was not inside the ship. Karina rarely socialized with strangers.
Xepen tried two more doors but neither of them opened. She considered asking somebody for help, until she finally came across one small door in the back of the ship that was unlocked.
Without thought or hesitation Xepen stepped outside, and immediately regretted it as she was greeted with violent winds and heavy rain thrust into her face. Immediately, she tried to turn back to the door and go back inside as quickly as possible, but the first gust of wind had caused her to stumble away from it. It became difficult to see and suddenly she couldn't find the door.
"Ugh, I didn't know there was a storm! Why did I come out here?" she yelled out, suddenly angry with herself for not thinking about why most of the doors leading outside had been closed. Now she knew why.
Highly aggravated, Xepen let out a cry for somebody to help her. When nobody came, she yelled again, but her voice was drowned out by the roar of the wind. She could hardly keep her eyes open as the wind stung her eyes and violent raindrops slapped against her face.
Suddenly a large wave struck the ship, causing it to tilt, and Xepen fell. She tumbled until she landed against the rail surrounding the rim of the ship. Xepen struggled to stand against the storm. She clutched the wall and tried to lift herself off the ground. All thoughts of where her owner had vanished to flew from her mind. Another wave struck, and Xepen was knocked over again, this time tumbling the opposite direction. Xepen continued to scream for help, but it was no use. Nobody could hear her out here.
Thoroughly soaked and shivering, Xepen managed to pull herself to her feet for a moment, and tried to get an idea as to where on the ship she had ended up. She fought to see through the darkness and wind, but all Xepen could see was the thick raindrops as they pelted her face.
The sound of thunder crashed, and was followed by lightning. The deafening sound suddenly caused the young Wocky to shift from feelings of anger and irritation to pure terror. Her heart pounded as she realized the danger she was in. Instead of focusing on the condition of her fur and clothes, Xepen concentrated on getting back inside without catching Neomonia.
Once again, the ship was hit by another wave and it tilted so far Xepen was sure she would've fallen off if she hadn't been clinging to the railing for dear life. The waves only seemed to become more violent; it was as though the ocean wanted Xepen to fall off the ship and into its icy waters.
The waves ceased for a few moments, and Xepen felt some relief as she managed to get to her feet once more. Just when she had let her guard down, the waves attacked again, and the ocean got its wish as Xepen's paws slipped from the railing she'd been clinging to and found herself falling as the ship was tilted enough to cause Xepen to fall off completely.
It all happened so fast that Xepen hardly had time to think, and the next thing she knew she was surrounded by cold, salty water. She managed to resurface, but only long enough to take in one gasp of air before an invisible force seemed to push her back under the surface.
Xepen used all the energy she had to fight against the current, but it was no use. She was exhausted; not to mention the fact she had never been the greatest swimmer. Xepen's attempts at keeping her head above the water began to cease as fatigue overcame her. Her train of thought slowed and she couldn't focus; soon enough she stopped thrashing altogether, and as she slipped into unconsciousness she became convinced that she was dreaming and would wake up safe and unharmed in the morning.
To be continued...