Eleanor’s Gift:Part Four
"I was brought up on Mystery Island," Eleanor began. "In
a small hut in the midst of Palm Trees. The view from the windows was magnificent,
and though I rarely ventured out of the hut, I could see the whole of the island.
I had two fellow Ixi living there with me. One was very, very old and wise named
Megan, and the other a sickly young Ixi called Tilly. They were my only friends,
and I felt closer to them than I had ever felt with anyone. Ever since I was young
I lived with them. Our owner was a tall, forbidding man, and we never knew his
name- for we had to call him Master. He had a pet shadow Lupe called Blackie;
they were always together, night and day, and Blackie was like Master's bodyguard.
Our Master was a tyrant to us in every way; we were left on a cold stone floor
without a fire in winter, and given barely any food. The only time we would eat
was when Master threw his scraps from his meal to us. It was dreadful.
"Master and Blackie would go out early in the
morning and not return till late, so at least they couldn't torment us for a
large portion of the day. We would entertain ourselves by singing songs that
we'd heard the natives singing out of the window. Sometimes we even made our
own songs up, which was probably one of the only good memories I have of that
place. Occasionally Master would forget to lock the door, and I being the fittest
would sneak out and steal one of Master's books. Then Megan would read it to
Tilly and me, which gave me my love of books. That and singing were my true
"As I grew older I learnt to read myself, with
Megan's guidance. Our singing became better and better, and Megan would now
tell us stories of her childhood. Master had adopted her from the Pound, but
her owner before that had been far kinder. They had traveled to all sorts of
beautiful places, like Faerieland and the Lost Desert. However, Master became
more and more brutal. We got less and less food, so that all of us became as
thin as twigs. Tilly became extremely ill, and Megan and I had to help her as
much as we could. Master often set Blackie on us, which frightened us terribly,
and sometimes when we cried with despair, he got Blackie to bite us. It was
horrifying. As Tilly slipped further and further towards death, and Megan and
I became more and more hungry, Master took even less pity.
"One day, for the first time, we got a visitor.
It was an old human, with a gray beard and a kind expression. He had come to
see Master about something, business I think, but he saw us and looked very
shocked. He began arguing with Master about how we were being treated, saying
that we looked starving. As Master got angrier, I slipped out unnoticed and
stole some of the food from the kitchens- we were that desperate. Then I slipped
back again with some omelette for Tilly. Sadly, Master saw Tilly eating it,
and set Blackie on her. Blackie was very strong, and I knew that he would harm
her, so I stood in the way, and Blackie sank his teeth into my leg.
"I gave a yelp of fright, and at that point
the visitor pulled Blackie off me shouting at the top of his voice. Master looked
like he was going to hit me, so I ran between his legs and kept running, out
of the Hut and along the coastline leaving the horrors behind me. The Island
is quite large, and I hadn't eaten for a long time so I was very weak. I had
never wanted to run away, because although it was miserable there, I didn't
want to leave Megan and Tilly. It had been raining and the side of the island
was muddy and dirty, but I had to run in the mud to avoid being seen. I ended
up very grimy, very tired and very hungry. By this time I was at the Harbour
of Mystery Island, and I collapsed on one of the boats tied there, so exhausted
that I couldn't move anymore. The boat took me to Neopia Central, and while
I was aboard I had to hide in a secret compartment. It was okay there though;
I could steal scraps off the crew, and I managed to sleep a lot. I was glad
that I had run away, because at least here I wouldn't be bullied, and who knew
what would wait for me when I arrived at Neopia Central?
"When I arrived I was in better spirits than
before, though still not very strong. My leg stung from where Blackie had bit
me, and I didn't know my way around, so I couldn't find anyone to help. I hid
in trees and bushes, frightened of other owners. I didn't know at the time that
there was such a thing as a kind owner; I had only ever known Master personally,
and he was a totally bad experience. I ate leaves and scraps I found, but still
got very hungry. One day I sat on a hill and thought of Megan and Tilly, and
remembered one song they used to sing, and so I sang all my heart out. I sang
how I felt, and it seemed as if I could portray how I was feeling with sound.
Then, I noticed someone was listening, and soon a pretty green Kacheek was in
front of me asking me how I was!
Of course, that was you Tiff. You took me home
and cleaned me, fed me, healed my leg, gave me love, gave me books, let me sing
and made me happy. The best thing that ever happened to me was escaping that
hut on Mystery Island."
Eleanor had finished telling her tale and was
gazing at me intently, but for one, I was lost for words. Who could have known
that Ellie had been through all this? Abuse and torment, starvation and neglect,
hatred and sickness? Ellie was about the same age as me, but she had been through
more than most elderly Neopets. All this time, it was no wonder that she felt
reluctant to tell us about her past. I knew that I must help her, because although
she was far happier than she had ever been, she still didn't have true content.
"Wh-what happened to Megan and Tilly?" I stammered,
finally finding my voice. Ellie shrugged.
"Who knows?" she said sadly. "I would like to
think they found happiness. But…" her voice trailed off, and all of a sudden
I grabbed Ellie and hugged her tightly.
"Ellie, you have been through so much," I said,
a lump in my throat. "But you mustn't give up because of Megan and Tilly! I'm
sure, if you had ever asked, that they wouldn't want you worrying about them
so much that you couldn't live your life."
"But Tiff… what do you mean?" she asked, a hint
of excitement in her pink eyes.
"I mean this new play," I said fiercely. "You're
going to be in it! If this is the last thing I do, you WILL be the star of the
play, Mystery On Mystery Island!"
To be continued...