Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 91,831,644 Issue: 177 | 11th day of Awakening, Y7
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A Valentines Day I Will Never Forget

by orginalcliche


Valentines Day; I hadn't even noticed that it had arrived. I was too busy doing important things, like thinking about what kind of important things to do. It seemed like it had only been a couple weeks since Christmas. I had passed most of the time knitting huge sweaters. I liked to keep to myself; wool was so much more interesting than other pets. Wool couldn't be mean, or tell bad jokes, and it would mold just how I liked it. My paws weren't the most dextrous of things however, so I ended with scratchy wool pullovers that could fit even the plumpest Elephante. I had taken to wearing them around the house. RasorRasour had asked if I was an old Maraquan emperor. Kate asked if it was Halloween. I decided that even though I loved my family, this red Kougra needed a break.

      "I'm going back to school," I commented quietly one afternoon at lunch. I hoped that they wouldn't hear me.

      "What!?" the entire table crowed. Kate, my Grundo sister, accidentally knocked over her smoothie in her surprise. I suppose they all thought that I had been completely content after Christmas, that I would want to stay with them forever.

      "Listen, I need a bit of a break from vacation. Anyways, I miss the Techo Master. He was a good friend to me. He would sit by the beach with me. We would talk about philosophy and haikus. You know it is Valentines Day." I don't know why I lied like that. I don't really like the Techo Master; it was just the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe I did subconsciously like him. My horoscope said that I would begin to realize my true feelings this month. If that was true, Sloth was female.

      "I didn't know that you and the Techo Master were good friends. I always thought that you..." Kate began smugly, however a well placed glare from my left eye quickly silenced her. I looked bonkers I supposed, the right half of my face grinning wildly and the left half glaring.

      "The Techo Master and I go waaaaay back!" I exclaimed waving around one paw. I wasn't very comfortable with this topic, and I hoped to wrap it up quickly. I tipped over a vase that broke on the table. "I'll get that," I ran quickly to get a rag to clean it up. Soon a couple of flowers were standing haphazardly in a stained borovan cup.

     "I can't like, believe it. You're, like, leaving us. Oh my gosh!!" Galwvin, my red Wocky sister, tipped over her glass of milk in her distress. The table was beginning to look like a third grade Neoschool art class decided to use food as a medium.

     "Amazingly I can," I remarked sarcastically.

     "Play nice," Cliché ordered.

     "Dude, can I come along I have some business I need to take care of? That would be so groovy," Rasor, my Eyrie brother, remarked, not really paying any attention. I don't know why he wanted to come along, it really wasn't that interesting. I didn't want to upset my family more than I already had, but like my good friend Bernie says, "What's done is done."

      I turned to face Rasor. "Why do you want to go to Mystery Island?" I really didn't want this to be a family trip.

      "Well dude, you see I'm trying to figure out if the Tombola Man is fact or fiction," Rasor mumbled, his head again jerking to the window. There was nothing outside, just Rasor being a spazz again. I wish my family were more like Bernie. Bernie is like a grandfather, a nice brother all rolled in one. He only talks about important things, always has a bit of wisdom to share and can make light out of any situation.

      "Oh. My. Gosh! I want to like, come too!" Galwvin jumped up her paws on the table.

     "Erm, Galwvin? Is there any particular reason you want to come?" I could barely contain my disgust. They were like Mootixs, my family, clinging on and never letting go.

     "Umm, like, ummm, makeup?" Galwvin hurriedly explained. I could see in her eye the admiration for me. It reminded me of Kate. Kate had once looked up to me, but then she realized "what a jerk I am". She would follow me everywhere. I'm not a jerk, I just tell the truth.

     "Ehh right," I commented raising one eyebrow.

     "I'm coming too; the author of Fantastic Jhudora Stories is going to be there. I am so exited," Kate exclaimed with false happiness. I know that she just wanted to see me forced to pay homage to the Techo Master. Which I would probably have to do since that originally had been my excuse, oh joy. Can't you just taste the happiness?

     Welcome to the Association of Horrible Liars, I would like to introduce to you our president Amorada. The Vice President is Kate, the secretary is Galwvin. Rasor is our executive philosopher. The HQ is our house, and the unofficial nickname for the group is our family. "I kind of wanted to give him a valentine." Maybe they would get the hint that I wanted to go alone.

     "Ooh me too," Cliché cried. I don't know why Cliche wanted to come. I suppose she just wanted to look over things, but I really expected some darker reason. She was always doing things to supposedly better the family. Most of the times I ended up looking really stupid and mean.

      I expect too much.

     "Wait, but I still have to make my valentines. I have to give one to Betty, Beatrice, Kate, Amorada, Cliche and oh Rasor!" Galwvin was now prancing around the kitchen like a cross between a rabid Meepit and an insane Babaa.

     "I really think I should go," I said, slowly edging my way to the door. I like my family I really do, but Galwvin and glue bottles don't mix well.

      "No dude, we're like gonna like make valentines. Oh yeah!" Rasor had unconsciously began to flap his wings, toppling over the flowers.

     "I think we need to clean this up first," I moaned.

      A couple of hours later, we were all sitting around the kitchen table (which was now covered with a thick plastic table cloth). Galwvin was crouched over her small pink card, squeezing a bottle of glitter glue as hard as she could. Rasor was using his talons to cut a large pan of cookie dough into small hearts. Cliché was writing a poem. I was observing it all. Whenever someone would look my way, I would pretend to be working on a valentine for the Techo Master. Really though I wanted to make one for Bernie. I didn't know why I couldn't, but I suppose that I didn't want someone to see it. I could write one later, I would have time.

     "Guys, I finished it!" Cliché squealed excitedly. I merely rolled my eyes at her.

     "Do you want to hear it?" she questioned eagerly.

     "Sure," I agreed skeptically.

     Cliche took a deep breath before beginning. What she said is too horrible to describe, her rhyme was like nails on a chalkboard and her word choice was often so confusing that I thought she was referring to me, a red Kougra, when really she was talking about a scooter. "Well it's really been wonderful in all guys, but I think it's time for me to go," I squeaked. The repulsiveness of Cliche's poetry was so offending to my ears that that they were trying to convince my mouth to go on strike with it.

     "Don't you mean us?" Kate asked skeptically.

     "Well about you coming along…" I trailed off looking upwards to the sky, hoping for some intervention from Sloth, Fyora, anybody!

      "No," Cliche stated firmly. For whatever dark deep reason, maybe she thought it would be a good time to bond, or she wanted to personally embarrass me, or thought that we needed a break from the harsh Neopia winter, we were going. She was in owner mode now. She was going and bringing the family with, and that was final.

     "Well, let's get this over with," I mumbled to myself. At least I would get to go to flightport, it was more a home to me then either the Training School or my Neohome. I spent quite a lot of time there. I liked it there, even though it was a bit gauche at times.

      "What?" asked Cliche, knowing exactly what I said.

      "Nothing," I murmured.

      It was always a large affair getting our family out of the house. First, Glawvin had to wrap on scarves that made her as big as Skeith. Kate as always wore nothing, so she was already waiting impatiently by the door for us to be ready. Rasor was adjusting his shades and grooming himself meticulously. None of this was holding Cliché up, however as she ceremoniously gathered everything we could ever possibly need, and many things we didn't. "Okay I got the winter coats," she huffed.

     I knew Cliche was a bit odd in the head, but winter coats? We were going to a tropical island for Fyora's sake. "Winter coats?!?!"

     "Yeah, in case there is a snowstorm," Cliche answered quickly.

     I looked everyone up and down, my eye catching Cliche's huge backpack. It seemed to pulse with life. The seams could be heard ripping from miles away. "Can you even move with that thing on?"

      "I've got it!" Cliche huffed, tugging along the backpack behind her like an extra limb.

     I shrugged and we were on our way. When we arrived the flight port was strangely empty. Huge displays of papier-mâché hearts took up most of the space rather then pets or humans. Long gaps of space and silence filled it, but left me feeling strangely empty. A large grumpy Skeith was at the entrance. "Name please!" she barked out.

     "The Original Family," Cliche answered pertly.

     "Go right along then," she growled glancing at us through one squinted eye. She looked about as big in my house, and most of her weight came from around her middle.

     "So you lead the way, Amorada," Kate said, subtly inserting her way into the conversation.

      "Right," I said nonchalantly, still a little disconcerted by the Skeith. "So I think he's down in the east wing now." We walked for a while. Galwvin excitedly would point out this display or the other. Kate and I didn't say much and Cliche had enough trouble lugging around the backpack.

      I didn't want to tell them, but we had already passed the east wing. We had already looped around the entire flight port. Bernie wasn't there, I was about ready to give up and find some other flight service, when I saw the big purple banner. A feeling of warmth spread through me at the site of it. I felt like I was home. It read: High Flyers: Live the Adventure. Under the banner though, instead of my old pal Bernie was a tall emerald Eyrie

     "Hey!" I yelled, searching for Bernie behind the stall.

      The Eyrie turned towards me. "Excuse me Miss," he proclaimed to the empty flightport. Too soon for my tastes he was right by my side, "Hello Miss, Leroy at your service. Anything you might need?" Following his hasty proclamation he made a deep bow.

      "I don't need your services, sir. I just want to know where Bernie is." I offered him a raised eyebrow for his pathetic efforts at customer service.

      He began shifting uncomfortably, and cast his eyes to the ground. "I'm sorry miss, Bernie has passed on. He went in his sleep, and it wasn't painful at all."

      "What?" I let out a startled choke. My eyes grew wide, allowing a couple of stray tears to slip through. He was dead. Not Bernie, why just last Christmas he had offered me a free ride. I hadn't even told him thank you. Not Bernie, he couldn't be dead. What about that Valentines Day card I had made him. It was probably in my suitcase somewhere crumpled up. "I think you are mistaken sir, now about that ride?" I hissed coldly. Kate put a comforting hand on my shoulder, I shook it off.

     "Yes Miss, of course. That will be five hundred Neopoints," he replied hastily. I quickly dug around in my purse for spare Neopoints. I hastily threw them at him; he quickly scanned it counting it. I had given him too much but, he didn't say anything for fear of upsetting me further.

      The ride was a smooth one. There was something missing though, maybe it was the purple flutter of wings below me, or the idle chatter. Whatever it was it was gone and would be gone forever. I was startled out of my reverie by Rasor, shoving me roughly. "Come on we're there!"

      And we were. Mystery Island stretched beneath us like a sandy beach towel. The golden sand marred by the dotting of deep jade colored forests. I put Bernie out of my head for a moment and looked down at its splendor. Galwvin had to ruin it by yelling the obvious. "Oh my darn pigglesnapper, look Leyroy it's Mystery Island!"

      I almost chuckled at Galwvin's antics. "Pigglesnapper? Leroy?"

      "I'm Leroy, and I'm afraid the little lady might be picking up some of my vocabulary," the green Eyrie mentioned, blushing slightly. Nothing more was said for the rest of the trip and we landed and parted ways with Leroy.

      Mystery Island was mostly pink. Bottles of pink sand had been spread across the beaches, and everyone seemed to be wearing variations on the color red. I felt like a tourist, even though this was my home. "Let's get out of here," I whispered, eyeing the crowds suspiciously. I never did like the gregarious manner of the natives.

     "But, this is such an interesting portrayal of marketing; let's see if they actually buy the cheap plastic souvenirs! I mean dude this is like lame, let's go," Rasor pondered, a crazy grin on is face for a moment. I hauled him by the wing tip away from the flight port. No one said anything; they all knew I was in a bad mood.

      When we arrived at the training school I showed everyone my bamboo filled room. They all commented on how I needed new furniture. I told them it came with the tuition, which was quite high. Cliche gave a sigh as if remembering how large her bank account once was.

      I gave them a tour, showing them the beaches, but avoiding the training rooms. I knew that they would make me give that card I had made for Bernie to the Techo Master. I would need to validate my excuse.

      As we walked through the halls we saw all the students standing about soberly, did I look like this too, just standing around moping constantly? Bernie would have brought a smile to my face. Bernie, no I wouldn't think about that, at least not now. Then I saw him, the Techo Master. He was crouched over reprimanding some students, just like he reprimanded me.

      "It's the Techo Master, Amorada. Didn't you have something you wanted to give him!" Kate cried manipulatively. She, unlike everyone else was quite aware that I didn't like the Techo Master and was going to use it to her advantage. The Techo master whirled around from his meditation pose, looking quite startled.

     "Erm Hello," I mumbled awkwardly, shifting from paw to paw.

     "Yes, Amorada?" he questioned serenely. Now all of the students that had been milling around turned to look at me.

     "I just want to erm, give you this." I thrust out a purple and pink card at him. I hadn't made the card specific, but when I said how much I appreciated him, I obviously wasn't talking about the Techo Master.

      "I have to go now!" I yelled before scuttling off. I could here the suppressed smirks behind me.

      Today had just been terrible. First there was Bernie, but I wasn't going to think about that. Then Kate made me suffer the humiliation of giving him the card. I was alone for a while, sifting through the crowds. I was looking for Bernie, for some reason I thought he would be here. He would give me a smile and a pat on the back. Then it would all be all right. The tears came then, washing over me, cleansing me of my grief. My throat became like a wall, closed and thick. I let myself be consumed by it. I was no longer myself but I became a puppet, controlled my tears. This time it wasn't a few stray tears, this time I cried an ocean. I cried for everything that wouldn't be all right again. I cried about Bernie. About how I hadn't even said goodbye, hadn't even sent him a valentine.

      "What's wrong?" Galwvin's voice was soft and plaintive.

     "Go away, it's not like you understand!" I shouted, attracting some odd looks from a passerby.

      She sat down next to me, looking me over. "You should, like give me more credit. I may not sound all that smart, but emotions aren't that hard to understand."

     "Listen Galwvin, you really don't understand, so I suggest you stay out of it," I replied coldly.

     "I understand a lot more than you might know, Amorada. Anyways, remember that time Joey didn't come over? He hasn't come over since." Galwvin's tone was hushed now.

     "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have been so quick to assume. Galwvin, I didn't even tell him goo-" I couldn't finish the sentence, tears filled my eyes. I let them fall, wash down my cheeks.

     "I think where ever Bernie is he knows how much you loved him."

     "I loved him like a brother, like a friend," I whispered softly.

     "Well, now you will always remember him."

     "Yeah, this will be a Valentines day I will never forget." Then instead of crying I laughed. I laughed at the world, because that is what Bernie would have wanted me to do. He was gone, but I can remember those good times we had together, by just laughing.

The End

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