A Sparkle That Shone in Her Eyes: Part One
"Grandmother, come look!" A little blue Kacheek, no more
than a year old, hopped up and down on his feet as he pointed a chubby finger
out the chilly window. "Grandmother, please come see!"
An old, elderly Kacheek stood herself up from
her rocking chair beside the cackling fireplace, strolling to her grandson's
place by the window, the dark wool dress swaying with her step.
"Grandmother," squealed the Kacheek again, still
bouncing in his place, "That Usul has been passing our house every single week!
She was even out there in the cold when that huge snowstorm hit us! Every week,
at this time, she walks down this street alone! Grandmother, what's wrong with
her? Does she have a home? Why does she always smile, even though it's freezing
out there? Why… " The Kacheek rambled on, asking any questions that popped up
into his mind.
The aged Kacheek adjusted her thick spectacles,
peering through the window and out into the melting snow that lay before her.
Her eyes were weary, getting worse and worse with each passing year. Squinting,
she saw the blatant figure of a red Usul, draped in the heaviest fur coat decked
with shiny red buttons. Her matching rubber boots disappeared in the wet snow
as it sank underneath her weight, reappearing for only a moment before it dove
down into the snow again.
The elderly Kacheek smiled, the creases in her
face bending with her features. Her eyes softened to see the Usul clambering
up the street in the chilly weather. The young Kacheek, confused at his grandmother's
face expression, cocked his head to the side in wonderment.
"What is it Grandmother?" he peeped in a high
voice. "Who is she?"
Without a word, the old Kacheek strode back to
her chair beside the stirring fire. The young Kacheek tailed behind, his face
blank and baffled, and sat on the rug next to her, awaiting her reply.
"That Usul you see there, is named Nadia," the
elderly Kacheek spoke, still gazing into the crisp fire as it popped and sizzled.
"Why is she always walking up this street?" asked
the young Kacheek, leaning in to catch every word. "She seems very lonely, but
smiles all the time, like she knows about something very funny."
"Well, little one, that might be quiet a long
story!" replied the grandmother. "As long as you won't fidget and keep an open
mind, I'd be willing to tell you."
The little Kacheek's eyes lit up. "Yes, please
The grandmother chuckled. "Alright then. It all
began one winter a few years ago…"
* * *
"Frederick! Nadia!" A yellow Kau heavily wrapped
in wool jackets called out into the yard. "Quickly, get your sleds! The Kiko
Blimp is here!"
"Yes, Mother!" Two young Neopets, a red Usul
and a green Bruce with thick spectacles came scrambling down the hillside, skidding
and slipping down the icy slope as they went. Their little wool caps bobbed
up and down as they scurried to their mother's side, tugging their toboggans
"Alright now," the mother said sternly to them
as she wrapped a heavy scarf around the little Bruce's neck. "I expect your
best behavior on your trip to the Valley! That means no pushing, screaming,
whining, or attitude! If I hear about - "
"Muhrf!" the Bruce cried, his voice muffled as
his mother continued to wrap the scarf around his head. "Tooh tie! Tooh tie!"
"Oops, sorry Frederick," the mother said, loosening
the grip. "Anyways, if I hear about any bad manners on your behalf, this will
be the last year I'll let the both of you go alone. Is that understood?" The
two young Neopets nodded quickly, afraid to protest.
"Okay children!" The mother's forbidding gaze
lifted to reveal a radiant and cheerful smile. "The blimp is in the front. Make
sure your hats, gloves, and scarves are always on tight! Come home on the six
o'clock blimp, and stay together. Have fun you two!"
"Yay!" screamed the two young Neopets in pleasure,
despite the lecture they were just given. They hugged their mother good-bye
and hopped to the front of the yard with their toboggans dragging behind, boarding
the large and vibrant Kiko blimp that would transport them to Happy Valley.
"Oh, I can't wait!" shrieked the young Usul to
her brother as they clambered up into the blimp. "This is the first time I've
been to the Valley! Tell me, is it fun? Do you really feel the icy wind in your
hair as you ride down the hills?"
"Absolutely, Nadia!" the older Bruce replied,
his voice muffled by the layers of scarves he wore. "The fierce bite of the
wind claws at your fur, but it's all for the better. You'll have a wonderful
time, without a doubt! I've never seen anyone ride that sled as fast as you
"Is everyone set?" asked the captain with a chirpy
smile. Nadia and Frederick nodded, returning the merry gesture.
"Then off we go!" He blew the tin green whistle
strapped around his neck, and the crew lifted the blimp off. Nadia beamed, looking
up into the dull gray sky that began to encase the blimp. The muddled sun tinged
of gold as its beams fought through the thickness of the rasping air. Looking
down, she saw her mother, squinting up at them and waving. She waved back, her
smile twinkling like the pure snow, watching as her mother grew smaller and
"Next stop, Aisha Avenue!" shouted the captain,
blowing his whistle countless times and drilling the blimpmates. As the blimp
continued to load passengers from all points of Neopia, the two siblings gazed
off into the morning sky, absorbed in their own thoughts.
Nadia envisioned herself cascading down the slopes
as easily and water runs in the fountains of healing springs. Her heart fluttered
at the thought of whizzing down the slopes of Happy Valley on her lucky red
toboggan, the evergreen trees whisking past her as the crisp and frozen air
pricked ferociously at her ears and nose. But it would all be worth it.
A faint smile spread across Nadia's lips as she
surveyed the land below. Frederick, seeing his sister's expression, asked, "What
are you thinking about?"
"Oh, nothing," she giggled, gently poking at
Frederick's large mass of scarves. "Just picturing myself racing past you on
"Pah, you only wish Nadia," Frederick replied,
"At the rate that you go on that sled, I bet
that a Slugawoo would seem like a rocket ship roaring past!"
"Hardy har har," Frederick said as Nadia covered
her mouth to soften her chortles, although he too, had an awkward smile plastered
on his face. "At least I'll be in one piece when I'm at the bottom of the hill!"
"Oh yeah?" Nadia challenged. "Well…"
The bickering and teasing did not cease as the
duo glided over towns and cities on the blimp. All of Neopia seemed white and
bland, the smoke rising over the clouds from the tall chimneys and yellow candlelit
windows illuminating the cold thresholds. It was the time of year in which Nadia
and Frederick would carry on their annual tradition of sledding. As they continued
to hover over Neopia, the two siblings broke out in song, singing merry carols
that would crack a smile on the other passengers. In the glum of winter, this
was an event that made everything worthwhile.
After the blimp ride, the two arrived in the
snowy capes of Happy Valley. Immediately, the two raced off the boat before
the other travelers with their sleds trailing behind, tumbling into the high
snow banks that rose above along the sides of the pathway. Giggles and bundles
of laughter could be heard among the immense piles of snow.
After enjoying the high walls of snow, Nadia
and Frederick clambered out of the mounds and with their toboggans, ran up one
of the hillsides as fast as their legs could carry them. Hundreds of other Neopets
were at the sight as well, skiing and sledding down the very same slopes and
having a fantastic time.
Throughout the rest of the winter day, the two
siblings whisked down the busy hills of Happy Valley. Up and down they went,
swerving by fallen boulders and tall evergreens, descending down the sides of
the valley. Chilling winds snarled at their scarves and picked at their noses,
but nevertheless, their giggles and laughter rang throughout the entire basin.
During midday, snowflakes began to tumble from
the heavy sky and soon a heavy snowstorm was before them. Nadia and Frederick
ducked for cover, blinded by the snow, and sought shelter in one of the various
Happy Valley stores. The ended up in the Slushie Shop, filling their hungry
bellies with more icy coldness. As they were slurping their slushies, Nadia
looked out the store window, longing to go outside and sled again. Through the
cumbersome snow, she caught sight of a large, steep slope, stretching far longer
than all the other hills they had been on earlier. She watched as a dark speck
from the very top of the slope came zooming down the slope, steering past the
trees that lay in her path as easily as a Skree can out fly a Meepit. Soon,
she saw that it was a green Wocky, not much older than her brother, who was
riding on the small versatile sled. He safely skidded to a halt at the base
of the hill, and as he lifted his goggles, Nadia could clearly see the sparkle
that shone in his eyes. It was that sparkle that Nadia yearned for - the sparkle
of triumph, of defying what law said couldn't be done and proving to all that
it could. Immediately, Nadia wanted to brave the steep slope. To her it was
an opening - an opening through what door however, she did not know.
"Frederick, I wanna go on that slope right there!"
She jabbed her paw out the window, beckoning for her brother to come and see
"That one?" Frederick said in surprise,
his eyes growing wide as he stared out the glass. "Doesn't it seem a bit high
and steep for you?"
"Of course!" Nadia squealed, taking another slurp
of her delicious slushie. "That's the point of it all! It looks fun, don't you
Frederick frowned, a bit worried. "I don't know
Nadia," he spoke, shaking his head as he stared up into the slope and at the
brave Neopets that were still sliding down it despite the treacherous weather.
He quaked in his scarves and jacket, just thinking about it. Gee, I feel
like a grackle bug compared to that thing. .
"Even if you wanted to g-go up there," he stuttered,
panicking as he tried to think of an excuse, "I don't think Mother w-would let
you. You know how she is."
"Oh, but mother isn't here!" Nadia whined, not
noticing Frederick's stammer as she stomped her feet on the ground. "She won't
ever know! Since when have you become a stickler for the rules?"
Now, at this statement, Frederick felt insulted.
He wasn't really a fan of being called a sissy, especially by his little sister.
Still a bit miffed, he said in a harsher tone, "Well it's snowing as hard as
stones outside. If you wanna break your bones then I suggest you wait until
it dies down."
"Then I guess now is a good time right?" Without
waiting for a reply, Nadia hopped off away from the windowsill, tossing her
half-full slushie in the trash as she pounced out the door before Frederick
could stop her. Speechless, he watched her run off towards the steep hill with
her sled through the window, realizing that the snow had indeed amazingly tapered
off into a slow but steady snowfall. The snowflakes floated down from the sky
in the still air like a pink lily's petals do during spring's awakening wind
Frederick groaned, quickly slurping up the last
of his lime slushie before he went to pursue Nadia. He found her at the bottom
of the steep slope, grinning uncontrollably as if snickering at him as he shuffled
up to her in the cold.
"Oh come on, Frederick," Nadia said, giving out
a high-pitched chuckle upon seeing the Bruce's gruff face. "It's just another
ride in the park, only vertigo-style!"
Nadia's courageousness surprised Frederick, but
all the same made him wonder. He had never seen Nadia so straight forward and
outgoing, or even enthusiastic for anything as a matter of fact. At home she
was best known for her shyness and self-confinement, always isolating herself
from everyone and everything. She didn't have any friends, just her brother,
and a silly little Quigiki doll that she got from her first encounter with the
Money Tree. But even then, she would always lock herself up in her room and
constantly read, doing nothing else. This sudden up rise of confidence from
Nadia confused Frederick just as much as the weekly Lenny Conundrums did.
Frederick eyed her wearily. "If you end up in
the Neopian Hospital with nasty cuts and bruises, don't blame me," he replied
half-heartedly, heaving a long sigh.
"Frederick," Nadia whined, frowning now with
her eyebrows slightly furrowed, "you're coming with me too!"
The Bruce took a step back instantly, a disgusted
look on his face. "Ah, haha," Frederick spoke sarcastically. "I'd rather be
caught dead dancing with Princess Fernypoo in a fish negg costume with a matching
tiara than be caught dead at the bottom of a hill!"
"Don't be so paranoid," Nadia said, throwing
a snowball leisurely at her brother. It landed square on his face, covering
his glasses with a thick white so that he could not see.
Frederick moaned, taking off his spectacles to
wipe away the snow, and even though his vision was terrible without his glasses,
he could clearly see the cheesy grin that was plastered on Nadia's face.
"Come on Frederick," Nadia pleaded once more.
"It will be like nothing we've experienced before! I'm only asking for you to
go down the slope with me once! I'd feel far much better if you did."
"And I'd feel a whole lot better if you didn't
go at all!" Frederick said firmly. He was beginning to get annoyed with his
sister's pointless begging.
Nadia pouted and crossed her arms as she glared.
"Fine!" she retaliated. "If you don't want to go with me, fine! I'll just tell
Mother that you left me alone. Afterall, she did say to stick together!"
With that, she stomped up the hill, tugging her red toboggan behind her with
such force that at one point it flipped over from a huge tug.
Frederick rolled his eyes, irritated by his sister's
blackmail. But he knew she was right - their Mother had told them to
stick together, and had Nadia gotten injured, he would be to blame.
Maybe I am a stickler for the rules, he
thought to himself as he escalated up the hill bitterly.
"Ready?" Nadia sat down in her toboggan head
first, digging her paws into the snow so that she wouldn't slide off.
"Ready when you are, Nadia." Frederick said dimly
without much eagerness. A cold sweat broke down his neck as he hesitated to
mount his sled. He wasn't very pleased with himself. The thought of admitting
to Nadia that he was scared out of his wits was more humiliating than going
down a steep and icy slope with nothing but your feet to stop you and getting
crushed by the trees. They had gone almost to the highest point of the hill,
only a few dozen feet away from the opening to the Ice Caves. The snow was fresh,
meaning no others had gone up this far - not even the expert skiers who were
much more experienced than themselves.
"Alright," Nadia said
with utmost delight, eager to set off. She scrutinized the objects down below,
at the colorful dots that scattered the white snow and moved around like tiny
ants. She hear the soft murmur of the crowd below, going on with what they were
doing, not giving the slightest attention to the two young Neopets sitting squat
up high on the steepest slope. For some strange reason, deep in her heart she
wanted them all to gaze up at her, to watch her perform this near impossible
task and defeat it. She felt like she had something to prove, that for all these
years, this was the moment she had been waiting for. 'Twas an outlandish feeling,
"When I say go, we speed down this hill!" Nadia
cried out to her brother. "Whoever gets to those two fat trees down at the bottom
there first wins!"
Frederick frowned, his face beginning to grow
pale. Gulping, he said, "Are you sure you really want to do this, Nadia?"
Nadia nodded her head vigorously, her Usul ears
flapping lazily under her wool cap. "I'm never been more sure about this in
my life, Frederick. So, are you ready?"
Frederick nodded slowly, the sweat now pouring
down his forehead like a fresh spring rain. And before he knew it, he heard
the sounding call.
"GO!" Nadia shrieked, releasing her feet from
the snow and giving herself a head start. Her shout bounced off the hills and
slopes and off the dark cliffs and the shops. The two raced down the hill, whizzing
past the trees and gray boulders.
Frederick, completely mortified, closed his eyes,
which could be the stupidest thing to do while racing down a steep hill with
rocks and evergreens in your way. He held on tight to his toboggan, hoping with
all his might that he wouldn't be thrown off.
Nadia however, felt quite different from her
brother. Exhilaration filled her lungs as she flew down the slope. Indeed, the
wind attempt claw at her fur and bite at her ears, but it seemed that she was
going too fast for them. As she came bolted down the hill, she could see the
many Neopians at the very bottom, and to her delight, she found that they were
all watching - watching her breeze through the steep slope without a scratch,
without breaking a sweat.
But something was not right. As she skidded down
the slope with her wide smile, she felt a rumbling in the ground that often
times threw her off course and nearly slammed her into a tree. As she neared,
she saw many of the Neopets running away from her as if she were Dr. Sloth himself.
The closer she came, the clearer it was that the Neopians were not staring at
her and her agile ability, but at something else.
For a split second, she looked behind her, and
immediately regretted it. There, merely a hundred feet behind her, was a large
cloud of whiteness, engulfing all in its path. It stretched almost halfway into
the sky, reaching the dull clouds that hung in the air. Trees and boulders disappeared
within a second after being encased in the large white and gray cloud of snow
that rose above and nearly blocked out the light from the sun. Its thunder was
like a stampede of a thousand Unis, roaring down the slope like wildfire. Like
a ghoul, it swallowed up the thriving life and squeezed out all that was good.
All that was left - nothing would be left.
However, it was not the sight of the tremendous
and horrifying avalanche that frightened Nadia, but rather the fact that her
brother was far behind her, closing his eyes like a fool and not realizing the
horrific beast that raged behind him that was gaining on him fast.
"FREDERICK!" she screamed, crying out to Frederick
with all her might. The green Bruce made no signal to show that he had heard
"FREDERICK!" she cried out once more in distress,
watching her brother hopelessly. The avalanche was approaching him, getting
faster and faster as Frederick and his toboggan grew slower and slower with
each foot. Finally, Frederick opened his eyes, staring fearfully through his
spectacles at the distraught Nadia.
"Look out behind you!" Nadia cried, anxious to
help her brother. She watched as Frederick slowly looked back behind him, staring
at the massive snow cloud right in the face.
"Faster, Frederick! Faster!" Nadia shouted with
all her might, but now the fierce rumble of the avalanche over powered her upsetting
cries. Frederick snapped his head around, his eyes pouring with alarm and terror,
fear and hopelessness.
Tears were surging out of Nadia's eyes now, instantly
freezing in the cold and burning her face. The frozen tears immobilized the
instant they came out, soon blurring her vision so that all she could see was
a thick white. She quickly swiped her right paw across her eyes to clear her
eyesight, her other paw clenching onto the toboggan, frozen to the handle.
Her eyesight cleared with just one swipe. Nadia
focused now behind her, only to see what she had most dreaded and feared.
Tears welled up in Frederick's soft eyes as well
as they both skidded for what seemed an eternity down the sharp slope. Nadia
had never seen her brother cry like that - the way his eyes looked. How they
looked upon her with longing and sorrow. How they looked behind those tears
of hopelessness and loss. How they spoke of vanquish and defeat though there
was not an utter of sound.
With one swift movement, Frederick was taken
by the snowy beast. He disappeared, gazing last at Nadia with his tired eyes.
Nadia wailed, her face now frozen from the wet
stream of tears that flowed down face. With every tear she wept, her face grew
colder and stiff, and with every cry she screeched was the crack of ice. She
no longer cared for the howling cloud of snow and ice that sped after her. All
she that she had cared about was gone.
As she sped down the hill, weeping in her paws,
her toboggan collided into boulder. She was flung into the air, landing flat
on her back in the snow, her limbs sprawled and aching of hurt, while her ears
pounded from the thunderous roll of the approaching avalanche. Her head seared
of pain, and she felt the sting spread throughout her entire body.
As she opened her blurry eyes, she saw the dull
gray sky looming overhead. But it was not the same sky she had seen before with
her brother on the blimp, where the sun's beams fought through the thickness
of the haze or where the sun tinged of faint gold.
It was white.
To be continued...