A Windy Night
It's funny now, as are most memories. But it wasn't funny at all when it happened. I blame Twi, naturally. She tends to be the source of chaos around here. Or used to be the source, at least.
Okay, I'm not making any sense. I don't really know how to start though. Maybe I should just start at the beginning...
My name is WolfBayn. Bayn for short. Me and my sister, Garethina, are twins, even though you would never guess. I'm a guy, and my fur is red, while she's a blue furred girl. We're nothing alike in personality either. My mom has had us since her first day in Neopia, and we were pretty used to being the only ones in the family. Twi spoiled us with nice toys, gourmet food, and all the stories we wanted. She's really good at telling silly little nonsense stories. I guess it all went to our heads. One day, as she was tucking Gare and me into bed, she started to tell us a new story.
"'Once upon a time there was a pretty young Lupe, with no home and no family to speak of. She lived on the streets no matter the time of year or force of weather. When it was cold out, she huddled in the back of stores, as near the door as she dared get. When it rained, she hid in doorways or alleys. She ate when and what she could, though that was often little more than a scrap here and a scrap there. She could fight for herself, but the cold was making her weak. She feared illness, for there was no one to heal or care for her. One day, she woke up with a foggy head and a prickly throat. She couldn't scavenge for food or get to a warmer place. It was a miracle that a kind girl stumbled upon her. The girl brought her medicine and a meal, and the Lupe was happy for the first time in a long time. The girl even offered to let the Lupe stay with her. The Lupe was excited at first, until the girl began to talk about her twins. The Lupe became nervous, unsure of how she would fit in among the family. She asked the girl to let her think about it. And so the girl gave her a day to answer. But a day meant another night in the cold.'"
As Twi finished the story, an unsettling quiet fell upon the room. As usual, it was Gare who broke it.
"Mom, what is that supposed to mean? I didn't like that story much. It was too depressing," she said, her voice laced with suspicion. As if she hadn't already guessed what was going on.
"Her name is Laryki. She really needs a place to stay. She was so sick when I found her! Surely you two wouldn't mind a baby sister? She'd love a big brother and a big sister. You two would have loads of fun with her!" Twi whispered, her voice begging us to have a heart. It didn't do much good.
"WHAT!?!" Gare and I chorused, the full weight of the situation becoming apparent. We didn't want a baby sister. We wanted things to stay just the way they were, with us spoiled and no one else to take up Twi's time.
"Now, you two, you know things are hard for me this month. With or without Laryki, I won't be able to afford your usual allowances. But less for you is more than she's ever had. Please, at least sleep on it? You can make up your minds in the morning. But this time, I may take her in no matter what you say," she whispered. Stupid puppy eyes. You can't deny her once you've made the mistake of looking.
"Oh, fine. But don't get your hopes up. I don't want some whimpering little brat hanging around. I want a little sister even less! I'll think about it, but I won't change my mind," Gare spat venomously.
"Yah, I like things just the way they are. Make sure there's faerie pancakes for breakfast, okay Mom?" I grumbled, rolling over. What? I'm a guy. Food comes first, worries second. Twi shook her head and sighed. Oh curse that sigh. It made Garethina and I feel automatically guilty. I must remember to ask her how she does that. She got up and turned off the lights, but not before adding one last detonator.
"I may not be able to pamper you forever."
It was unfair, having all that dumped on us just before bed. We tossed and turned for a bit, trying to relax and banish the thoughts from our heads. The wind howled outside, adding to our unrest. Finally Gare sat up and crossed the room to my bed. She sat down on the edge and sighed. Not the guilt-bringing sigh, like Twi, but a confused sigh.
"It would change everything," she said at last. I sat up and looked out the window. The full moon illuminated the trees outside. The branches glittered with ice. That annoying voice in my head began to wonder how the girl, Laryki, was staying warm. I shook my head, telling myself not to care.
"Yah. But you know..." I whispered. But Garethina's glare silenced me.
"Don't start pitying her. If she's lasted this long on the streets, she can last longer!" Her voice was becoming an insistent whine. It bugged me, and that annoying voice kept insisting I do something. I leaned over and opened the window wide. An icy blast swept in, biting through my fur and stinging my eyes.
"Hey! Close that, now. It's freezing out!" Gare whined, her voice rising even more.
"She's out there now. She'll be out there all night. She could get sick. She could starve. And unlike us, there's no one to bring her to the doctor or make her pancakes in the morning. And you're saying you don't care?" I growled. It was just dawning on me that I did actually care. My little speech shocked me as much as it did her. I slammed the window shut.
"I... well... I didn't think about it like that," Gare said quietly. She looked out over our yard, and I could see the reflection of the frost glitter in her eyes.
"Maybe a sister's not that bad. We could at least give her a chance, right?" I lay back onto my pillow and stared up at the ceiling. Garethina muttered something, but I wasn't really listening. As she scuttled back to her bed, I heard something move in the hall. Twi, that sneak. She had heard everything. No turning back now. Sleep finally came, sweeping me away like a leaf in the wind...
Laryki moved in the next day. She's pretty cool, actually. She always has a tale of her days on the streets, and she's tough enough to play soccer with me and the other guys in our neighborhood. Gare is still getting used to her, but she doesn't complain much. When she does, I just open the window. Ever since that night, the feel of a frost gust of wind has an odd effect on her. She gets quiet and tends to get lost in thought when I open the window. I think it's her way of getting a reality check. We all need one once in a while.