A fire once receded leaves not but bitter ashes…
A lonely tear rolled down Uruva's cheek. Cold lashed
at him, his long crimson fur whipping about in the harsh winds. A shudder crackled
up his spine. His paws tingled with cold. The Lupe could still feel the burning
of icy concrete under his head and the pounding of heavy raindrops against his
"Get out and STAY OUT!" shrieked the Owner from
the merrily lit NeoHome. Her eyes blazed in the moonlight as the door flew open.
Tears twinkled fresh on her cheeks as she shook her head, auburn hair flying
as the wind clawed through the doorway. She grabbed Uruva by the shoulders.
He whimpered, his small form helpless against the enraged Owner. "I've had enough
of you! You're so inconsiderate, so much of a bully to me! I took you in willingly,
and fed you everything I can afford. And how do you repay me?" She shook him
"I'm sorry…" he murmured, looking down at his
paws. The Owner's lips tightened, and she shook her head once more.
"No, it's too late. You lost your chance." She
thrust him out of the warm home and into the numbing night. Uruva stumbled;
fell. His head hit the pavement, as a clap of thunder cackled high in the sky…
Uruva trembled, the memory burning in his mind.
His temples throbbed and pounded painfully. He massaged his forehead sadly,
and staggered onwards…
The Lupe awoke to the continuous pattering of the
rain. His paws shot to his temples, and he pushed against them, holding his breath.
The anguish was unbearable. His eyes span as he laid back down on the cement.
It was cool and wet, but did not soothe the pain by slight. In an eternity of
convulsion, Uruva realized that his martyrdom would never cease. In hours he began
to adapt to the constant torment on his skull, and soon it became not but a distant
hum, and a slow ache.
Uruva heaved himself up, not without much effort.
His forearms were weak, and his legs could hardly support his weight. He limped
on with a fraudulent sense of confidence, the drumming of his paws against the
road causing his head to jerk and spasm. The Lupe did not give his NeoHome a
thought as he entered the Marketplace, and made his way to the Deep Catacombs.
The Coffee Shoppe was devoid of the usual bustling
customers, and the Shoyru shopkeeper appeared to be setting up for a day's work.
She started as a bell tinkled in the doorway. The sound make Uruva double-over,
then topple in a black faint.
His eyes flickered open, the Shoyru's nose against
his. She jumped up, waving a paper fan to better circulate the air.
"Are you alright, there?" she questioned, eyeing
him nervously. "Gave me quite a fright, you did." Uruva could never identify
her strange accent. "Uru, you're a strange little'n, you are." The Lupe moaned
and held his head. The pain had returned in full force.
The woman rushed behind the counter and dampened
a washcloth. She dabbed at Uruva's forehead gently, her bright eyes full of
care and worry.
"Maybe I should call the nurse…" she mumbled,
more to herself than to her "patient." Uruva attempted to shake his head, but
failed miserably, only resulting in more malaise. The shopkeeper touched his
shoulder fondly and then strolled to the back of the café. Uruva could barely
hear her voice through the throbbing inside his head.
The Lupe looked up into the torrential downpour,
blinking away the falling droplets. His cranium was pounding with the fresh
recollection of searing hot pain, and he closed his eyes to block it out.
Over the years that had passed, Uruva's life
had revolved round these memories. He had thrived on them, they being what he
felt was his only real connection to the world. The months had flickered by
in a heartbeat, mostly lost in the black whirlpool of forgotten memories. The
Lupe grasped hold of whatever he could remember, and lived through the past,
feeling that should he let these moments fall to pieces, he himself would do
He trudged on, the rain spinning into hail, tearing
and lodging itself as small crystal snow beads in Uruva's thick fur. His eyes
snapped open, as a bloodcurdling bellow wrenched through the swirling air. The
Lupe threw back his maned head, his jaws flying open; from the depths of his
lungs rose a high, powerful roar, that careened into a howl. His muscles tensed
as his lament went on, the intensity surging through his body like bolt of lightning.
The wild bay halted abruptly as it had begun, and Uruva struggled onwards through
the thickly packed snow drifts.
He shivered, his lips blue with cold, continuing
up the steep, steady ascent.
As has been said more than once in the past,
sometimes it takes only a snowflake to start an avalanche…
Uruva stumbled, his head heavy and hot, sweat
beads trickling down his forehead and into his eyes, blinding him momentarily.
He tumbled face-first into the white flakes. Uruva is our snowflake; the one
who commences the rumbling avalanche that tears its path down the mountainside,
leaving the remnants of woodland and villages in its horrible, death-ridden
The Lupe's eyes flickered into the blinding darkness.
They stared up at the fire, which crackled contentedly, flames eagerly licking
to get to the top… he sighed and let the heat engulf him completely, healing
his icy wounds; mending his broken body.
"Just a spark…" he murmured, eyelids drooping
over twinkling amber spheres. He allowed his body to go limp, basking in the
final moment of complete peace and happiness: the final second, his first second
of truly living. His second before the bell of death tolled above him, a deep,
and baritone boom that echoed through his mind, and into the roaring fires.
The tale last told went unfinished, so I bring you back the past, weave
it into your mind and memories, where it will always last. Darkness, weeping,
misery, lies ahead, yet behind. And though you may not like it, the world is
not always kind.
Uruva ran his tongue disgustedly over the thick
metal wires that looped about his teeth, and scraped his inner cheek. He winced,
looking down at his paws. His once sharp and useful claws had been torn from
him, leaving them swollen, scarred, and tender. He listened to the constant
hum of machinery from the other side of the thick metal bars.
The journey had begun proceeding the Lupe being
thrown out onto the streets by the Human. His memories were vague and misty,
but most could be recalled. He thought of the past with a lurching in his stomach.
Uruva stole a glance at the tube that was hooked to his wrist, which fed him
vitamins and iron; then to the pouch attached. The little plastic sack was void
of the usual sickly yellow liquid. The scientist had once again left his subject
Uruva paced back and forth in his cage, eyes
avoiding the wiring and tubes that suckled his body like a Snorklet to its mother.
There was something bothering Uruva. This something, like an itch that could
not be scratched, nattered at his brain. The Lupe had lost all track of the
continuum that is time, ever since he had been trapped in the snare of technology.
The sheer longing for a connecting bond with the Neopian race had him stuck-fast
in this eternity of aluminium and electricity.
The doctor strode into the laboratory, his long,
spotless, white lab coat swaying about his turquoise-furred ankles. The Gelert
held up a vile of bubbling and spitting acid-green liquid, and examined it carefully.
"No, no, much too thick…" he muttered, rubbing
his fingers together anxiously. He swung around, his coat tails blowing behind
him, and clipped swiftly from the room, the iron doors slamming loudly behind.
The nauseating odor of toxins circled back towards
the lab's single occupant in the fresh current of air. He gagged and held his
chest. The blood in his paws throbbed and bubbled painfully against torn skin.
Uruva's head span, and his dulled amber eyes
swirled back into his head…
The doctor knelt over Uruva's head, peering
at him. A worried expression played about his face, and he removed the stethoscope
ends from his ears.
"I don't know, Glenda. He is obviously
suffering from some fatal disease…"
"Fatal?!" asked Glenda incredulously,
glancing down at the Lupe. It really wasn't an ungodly statement to say he could
die from this. Toppling simply from the ringing of a bell? She sighed sadly
and pulled her thin shawl more tightly around her shoulders. "Would you like
a cup of tea, Evan?"
The doctor inclined his head, and stood
up. He wiped his brow with the backside of his paw, and gratefully accepted
a steaming mug of mint tea. He swirled the dregs about the empty cup, and handed
it back to Glenda.
"I just don't know…" he repeated with
a melancholy glance at Uruva. "He's feverish, and there's a wide gash on the
side of his head." Glenda's cup of blairnut tea tumbled from her shuddering
grasp, her eyelids peeled back in alarm.
"We should get the Chia Cops involved,
Evan!" she cried, a definite tremor marring her unusually high voice. Evan shook
"There's nothing they'd be able to do.
The cut was made from a fall, I suspect. Definitely not a weapon. The poor bloke
probably tripped on his way over here, and just continued on down. Or maybe
one of those strange writer folk did something to him… They really do give me
the creeps, you know." Glenda's back bristled: those "creeps" were her friends,
and- more importantly- her best customers.
"I don't think so. Writers and artists
may be a little weird in the head, but they really are quite nice. Really."
Evan's eyes swirled in an annoyed roll, and he knelt back down beside Uruva's
"All I can do is congeal the wound in
medical gel, and apply some thick gauze. Then I'm going to leave him with you,
and go back to the hospital. I'll bring back some of my surgical assistants,
and they can aid me in carrying the Lupe to the hospital." He patted Glenda's
shoulder reassuringly. "Don't fret, dear; he'll be mended in no time."
With this, the Gelert departed.
Glenda waited. She waited a little longer.
The Shoyru dropped a teabag into the boiling water. She watched her teapot steam
for few minutes, drumming her claws impatiently on the countertop. She endured
painfully long moments as she sipped her fresh cup of Earl Grey. After an void
of time, in which passed nothing much more eventful than the shopkeeper sitting
and dully sipping at her tea-- actually, a writer outside apparently made a
breakthrough in a story of some kind, which was accentuated by the shrill "hallelujah"
that met Glenda's ears.
The door flew open as a gust of wind erupted
from the Catacombs. Glenda shuddered and pulled her cup and saucer closer to
her, her thin wrap nothing against the opposing chill. She walked over to the
doorframe, her frailness much more perceptible to the watching eye. Gazing long
at the young crowd of beret-topped Humans and Pets out doors, Glenda pushed
the door shut. The bell tinkled softly, arousing Uruva from the unconscious…
"Get up, you lazy lab rat!" The very
much enraged sound echoed back and forth through Uruva's mind. He numbly felt
an ice-cold hand grasp the scruff of his neck, heaving him from the ground.
"I've finally got the right potency for
this new potion of mine, Lupe. I call it the "elixir of insomnia." His sharp,
white teeth spread into a maniacal grin. "And you are to be my first customer."
The Gelert uncorked the small vial, a sickly yellow steam rising from it. "Bottoms
To be continued...