Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 96,313,980 Issue: 190 | 13th day of Hunting, Y7
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Encountering Wild: Part Three


by christinetran

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The sunlight that fell upon my eyes the next morning awakened me from my position on the couch. I abruptly sat up, for I had realized that I had fallen asleep in the living room the night before. The burnt logs and ashes in the fireplace glittered in the warm morning air, and I could hear the shouts of eager tourists as they rushed towards the beach to catch the morning waves.

     Despite the fact that it was quite early, I still felt warm in house number 463. I guess it was because of the tropical temperature, and the fact that I was starting to feel at home in this place. I turned my head towards the sleeping mat that Wild had recently occupied, and I noticed that he was awake.

     His eyes were a calm blue now with no hint of fire in them like before. He did not growl or glare; instead, he just simply stared at me with a surprised look on his face. I heard him whimper for a few seconds, and then he barked softly a few times. It was as if he was trying to communicate with me. Unfortunately, though, I did not understand Lupe talk.

     "I'm sorry, Wild, but... I don't understand what you just said... if you did say anything," I said softly.

     "He asked you a question," Genee said, to my surprise, and appeared at the foot of the stairs. As he walked, I could see the flicks of electricity emit from his body, but his face was calm as he approached us. I guess that he didn't distrust Wild anymore. "Why are you taking care of me after I attacked you?"

     "Cause," I muttered softly as I glanced at Genee and then Wild. "I had to. I couldn't let you go. Not in the condition you were in."

     Genee nodded in response to my answer before he turned to look at Wild. An eerie, tangled growl echoed from his throat, and I saw Wild's expression turn into that of confusion. He growled back softly, though this time, I got the feeling that he was talking to Genee this time instead of me.

     "Genee, dear, are you telling Wild what I just said?" I asked.

     "One moment, CT," he muttered back to me and continued to growl/communicate with Wild. Their conversation lasted for a few minutes, and during that time, I continued to sit stock still on the couch. I did not want to move, mostly because I did not want to interfere in their conversation.

     Finally, after a mere ten minutes, Wild turned away from Genee and rested his head against his paws. I saw his tail flick a few times as if he was annoyed, but his eyes eventually flickered shut as if he was sleeping. Genee walked towards me after Wild closed his eyes. The way he walked was calm, but I could that he was rather annoyed as well. He jumped upon one of the plastic-covered chairs and slowly made himself comfortable while I fidgeted impatiently. I wanted to know what words were exchanged during their conversation.

     "Genee," I said quickly. "What did you two say?"

     Genee looked at me forlornly and rested his head against the back of the chair. "Wild's staying," he said shortly.

     I lifted an eyebrow in question, and asked him to elaborate on that short statement.

     "Wild's staying, what else is there to say?" he muttered, almost evilly, though I knew that it wasn't done on purpose. Genee was able to control his emotions, and they rarely ever slipped past his walled-up exterior.

     "Oh," I replied. "Did he say anything else?"

     "He didn't want to stay, CT, and I didn't want him to stay, either," Genee muttered softly and turned his eyes away from my gaze. "But I knew you wanted him to, therefore, I told him he had to stay. He's in a poor condition, all of us know that, and so does he. He wants to go back, though. He wants to return."

     "Return?" I asked. "Return to what? Does he have a family out there?"

     "I don't know, CT," Genee said back shortly. "He wouldn't answer. He just went back to sleep."

     After saying that, Genee closed his eyes and turned his back to me, signaling that he did not want to continue conversing. I understood completely, and although I still had many questions, I decided to respect his need to be alone. It's the third day of my vacation here on Mystery Island, and I haven't even left the house yet...

     "I'm gonna go out, 'kay, Genee?" I said to him. "Tell Tiger that yes, he could visit the Training School today. Hopper can't go shopping today. Instead, I want her to volunteer at the Tiki Tour Guides. Tell Bloo that he doesn't need to cook dinner or lunch today, and that he should enjoy the entire day at the beach. There's some faerie pancakes in the pan if they get hungry, and there's peach jelly in the fridge if you get hungry, Genee. I'll be back soon."

     Genee didn't reply, but I knew he heard me. He always listens, even if he doesn't want to exactly listen. I got off the couch and walked out the door of house number 463, and the first thing that met my eyes was blinding sunlight and sand-filled wind. I coughed and spluttered as sand entered my mouth, and rubbed the sand out of my eyes as well. Darn tropical climate. I should get to a sheltered place; maybe the marketplace was open now.

     I shut the door behind me as I left and started to walk barefoot across the golden, sun-warmed sand. The tinted yellow sand grains and small gray pebbles clung to my toes as I walked along the beach, but I ignored them. I could easily brush off the sediments once I reach town. My eyes were starting to get used to the suns rays, and I was able to stare at the surf as it rolled in and crashed against the shore. The white-topped surf and blue rolling made me dizzy as I stared, but it was a perfect kind of dizzy. Almost nauseatingly sweet.

     Westward wind blew down and mixed with the sea-tinted breezes of the ocean, and, unfortunately, I was caught in the middle of their blend. The tropical, salty smell started to get to my head, and it made me feel both drowsy and sleepy. I placed one hand against my head, and I winced at how hot my forehead had become. This much... tropicalness, was unhealthy to me, I declared. I needed to get in shadows, or at least find a shaded, non-dizzying place. I stared around, but soon realized that I was in the middle of the beach. To my right was the ocean with it's hazy waves, and behind and in front of me was miles upon miles of shaky sand that whirled, twirled, and danced in the wind. To my left were miles upon miles of rolling hills dominated by unbearably sweet and woozy scented tropical trees. I continued to walk forward, though I stumbled, and my knees felt weak. I've been to Neopia Central's beaches many times before, and I did not understand why I felt so odd now.

     "Darn Mystery Island and it's... mysterious smells," I cursed to myself as I continued to stagger forward. The sunlight was starting to get to my head now, and the afternoon was quickly approaching. Beads of sweat was running off my neck and head like waterfalls, and it wasn't even noon. I shuddered as I thought of the heat that would soon swarm over the island.

     I just had to choose Mystery Island as a vacationing spot.

     My head was starting to feel damp from the excess sweat, and I knew I had to get in shade before I dehydrate, so I headed towards the nearest shadow I could find. There was an outcropping of rock that sat on the middle of the beachside, and I knew that it was north of house number 463. I had been walking north all this time, and I knew that I should encounter it eventually.

     Unfortunately, I did not find this rock formation; instead, I found a sandcastle that someone had built. A big sandcastle, mirrored after the King Hagan's abode in Brightvale. The child used pebbles as a foundation, and bits of green-tinted glass topped the turrets and created the windows. It was quite tall, actually; it was few inches short of my waist. It was located near the seaside, and in plain view of any spectator; nevertheless, it still cast a shadow, which was a blessing to me. I collapsed.

     *****

     When I awoke from my dreamless sleep, I could feel the waves of the ocean wash over my feet and withdraw. The tide must've increased while I slept. My forehead still felt quite feverish, but the sun was gone now. Instead, the dark sky was dotted with cold, yellow stars, and the wind was cool... scentless, too.

     I used my elbow to prop myself up, and in doing so, my head smashed against the side of my shadow-provider. Now the sand-model of the Brightvale castle was missing a turret, and my head was encrusted it it's ruins. At least it's builder wasn't here to witness it's partial destruction, I thought. Glancing around, I noticed that the beach was empty.

     "Of course it's empty, dummy, it's night," I heard myself mutter. A smile flickered on my lips as I sat up and stretched. For some odd reason, I felt rejuvenated and quite relieved. I guess some outside air did do me some good. Gallons of sand still clung to my sweaty face and arms, so I proceeded to wipe it all off. As I cleaned the left side of my face, I heard a low growl in front of me.

     It was Wild.

     I did not even hear him come, but I do admit that I was partially blind to all else except myself. Nevertheless, Wild was still there, and he was staring at me with the expression I have come to known. It wasn't a happy one, nor an angry one. In fact, it wasn't even neutral. His eyes were glazed over in blue and black, but they were focused and calm. His ears were perked up and pointed towards me, but they twitched occasionally, as if they were listening to something else far, far away. His mouth was a line; there was no sign of a frown or a smirk. The hair upon his face was smooth, but his whiskers popped out in a crooked fashion.

     It was a different expression. A wild one.

     Wild growled once again, and took a step forward. I saw flames flicker in his eyes, and he bent his front legs as if he was ready to spring. I cowered back and threw up one arm in protection.

     "CT!" Genee cried suddenly. "Guys, I found her!"

     I turned to my left and saw Genee rushing towards me. Since he was painted Skunk, all I could see of him were his white tinted snout, tail, and chest. As he came closer, though, his body came into view. Behind him were Bloo, Tiger, and... no, Hopper wasn't there.

     She must be at home sleeping, I thought to myself in amusement.

     "Get away from her!" Genee growled angrily as he rushed towards Wild. Wild instinctively jumped back and growled at Genee as well. He seemed ready to fight, and I could see the eagerness in his eyes, but once he heard the shock of an electricity bolt surge through Genee's fur, he flattened himself upon the ground obediently.

     "Smart Lupe," I muttered to myself and lowered my arm as Tiger and Bloo sprang towards me.

     "Oh CT, we were so worried about you," Bloo cried in glee as he showered me with hugs.

     Tiger, on the other hand, simply gave me one (weak) hug and retreated. I could see that he was relieved though, when he said, "Don't ever do that again, CT."

     Genee, on the other hand, took one step forward eagerly as well, a smile glued upon his face. This smile, though, faded when he heard static erupt from his fur, and he compliantly retreated to a safe distance. Another smile was put on, but this one was fake. I could see the hurt in his eyes as he watched Bloo throw his arms around me in delight.

     "Guys," I said quickly and pushed Bloo away from me. "Let's... let's go back to our house."

     Bloo nodded happily and started to hop towards house number 463 followed by Tiger. I followed them as well, but when I passed Genee's still figure, I whispered, "We're going to find a cure, Genee. And when we do, you can hug me as much as you want."

     Genee's head dropped slightly when he heard me say that, and he nodded slowly. "Okay," he said, but I knew he didn't believe me. He had so much hope for others, and yet he had no hope for himself. The poor thing.

     "C'mon, Genee, let's go," I said and beckoned to him with my hand. He sighed and started to follow me. The moment he stood up, though, I heard a long, saddening howl erupt from the shore.

     When I looked there, I saw Wild. His entire body was soaked in salty water, and the tips of his fur were covered in beach sand. His head was thrown up, though, and his snout was pointed toward Kreludor. He cried to the moon once again, but this time, the note lasted longer. I did not understand him, but I guess that what he must've howled was directed to his family, for I heard Genee whisper, "They miss you, too."

     Eventually, Wild stopped howling and started to walk away from the ocean. The way he walked, though, surprised me, for just moments before he seemed so fresh and alive. Now, there was no bounce in his step. Instead, he limped weakly towards us before he fell at our feet. He was still breathing, but he breathed sharply and quickly. I heard him whimper once again, so I bent down and placed one reassuring hand against his head.

     Without warning, Wild's head shot up and his jaws wrapped itself around my hand. I flinched at this reaction, but, fortunately, his bite wasn't hard. He was too weak. Still, he kept his weak hold upon my hand, but his head was starting to droop. Finally, he released my hand, and his head collapsed onto the ground.

     "He apologized," Genee whispered to me.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Encountering Wild: Part One
» Encountering Wild: Part Two



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