Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 112,982,760 Issue: 225 | 27th day of Sleeping, Y8
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As the Clouds Clear: Part Two


by puppy200010

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“Okay, Mr. What’s-his-face is gone. So tell me, what were you shouting about earlier that was impossible? Why didn’t you want the doctor to hear, anyway?” Jake asked, following Nili down the sidewalk.

     “Because,” she said, briefly glancing back to Jake. “He already thinks I’m crazy. I don’t need to give him more of a reason to think that, do I?” She walked up the stairs to the Lenny Library and pushed open the door.

     They walked between the aisles of books and sat at a table in a rather empty corner of the library. “I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that you and I were on the island together for a period of three days,” she whispered.

     “Yes, of course I realized that. What I can’t figure out though, is where you stayed while you were there. The island isn’t big; there aren’t that many places to stay there.”

     “That’s just the thing... I think I stayed at the same cave that you described–the one that you supposedly stayed in.”

     “But that couldn’t be possible! If you were there for three days, I would have run into or at least seen you during that period of time!”

     “That’s exactly it! I can’t figure it out. Is it even possible that there are two islands, exactly identical, where it never stops raining, grey pets run amuck, and pets trapped there are doomed to fade to grey?”

     “I suppose it’s possible, but certainly not all that likely.”

     “Maybe we were on separate islands though! Describe the island, in as much detail as you still remember...”

     The descriptions of both islands were still identical. No matter how many tiny details Jake or Nili brought up, they still could not find a single difference. Finally, they both decided to call it a day and to meet back at the library the next morning.

    ***

     “This is so impossible!” complained Jake. So far he and Nili had been at the library for several hours, trying to figure out the island. “It’s just simply not possible; you and I were on the island at the same time, staying in the same cave, so we should have seen each other before! It’s as simple as that!”

     “It should be, but it isn’t,” Nili reminded him.

     “I wish we could go back to explore the island, just to see if we really did stay in the same cave,” he mumbled, frustrated by the lack of information.

     “Wait!” shouted Nili, attracting the attention of several pets in the library. “That’s a great idea, Jake!”

     “Huh?” asked Jake, completely confused.

     “Well, maybe you were on to something. If we could go back to the island, we could get the information we need quite easily!”

     “You seem to be missing something, though, Nili. We don’t know how to get there, and we don’t know where it is.”

     “True, you’ve got a point, but what if–How did you get to the island in the first place?”

     Jake shrugged. “I don’t know... I just opened my eyes, and there I was! No explanation available!”

     “But before you got there, it was raining, correct?”

     “Well, yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” He paused. “You don’t mean to say that you want to recreate it!”

     Nili nodded. “It’s definitely worth a shot.”

    ***

     “Do you have the hose?” Jake shouted.

     Nili walked out of her garage, hose in hand. “Yup, I’ve got it.” The plan that the two had was simple. Because they had both arrived at the island after rain, they wanted to recreate the rain, in an effort to whisk them back to the island.

     She walked over to the faucet and turned the handle. Cold water sprayed out of the long, green garden hose and all over the two pets. They stood side by side, anxiously awaiting a sign.

“This isn’t going to work,” Jake whined.

     “Oh, stop it! Just because you’re grey and look sad doesn’t mean that you have to be such a pessimist!” said Nili, tired of Jake’s negativity.

     “It isn’t! We’ve been standing here for minutes and nothing has happened! Not even a sign! In fact, all that’s happened while I’ve been standing here is that I’ve been getting soaking we--” He stopped in mid-word as some dark, grey rain clouds rolled across the sky.

     “Ha, see! Told you it would work!” she boasted. The clouds then opened up, drenching the pair in real rain. As they waited in the pouring rain, minutes slowly dragged by. Finally, after standing there for fifteen minutes, Nili admitted defeat. “This is hopeless,” she moaned.

     “Well, what’s your next plan?”

     “I don’t know, but I guess it’s back to the drawing board for us.” They shuffled inside to dry off.

     Over cups of hot chocolate, they discussed new ideas. “We could research Blue Tuskaninnies and try to find the one that was on the island,” she suggested, even though she knew that the idea was ridiculous.

     “Blue Tuskaninny?” Jake shot her a strange look. “What do you know about a Blue Tuskaninny?”

     “Y-you mean...” she stuttered. “You know about the Blue Tuskaninny?” Her voice rose in excitement. “I had convinced myself that he was just a figment of my imagination!”

     “I had as well! But if you saw him too... then maybe he wasn’t after all!”

     “This may be a lead. Where should we start looking?”

     He thought for a moment, then answered, “Mystery Island. For some reason, I just cannot get over the similarities.”

     Over the next week, the pair packed and bought tickets for a ferry ride to the island. Finally, the day of the trip came, and they left, hopeful for new discoveries in the mysterious case of the island.

     After boarding the ferry, there was a silence between the two, a type of silence that hadn’t existed between them since their first introduction.

     “You know, Nili,” said Jake finally. “I was thinking about the Blue Tuskaninny and how we thought he was a figment of our imaginations. Then I realized: what if the island itself was just a daydream? It never existed; it’s all something we imagined, and it has never existed. If that’s true, we’re chasing after nothing, and we won’t ever find any information, because there’s none to be found!”

     She was startled by the proposition. “Admittedly, I’ve thought that too. After thinking about it though, I’ve realized that the island had to exist. If it didn’t, it would be impossible for both of us to be grey. I highly doubt that I somehow managed to paint myself while I was daydreaming. Plus, I woke up in a hospital bed, not in my bed at home, which was the last place I was before appearing on the island. In addition to that, it’d be just plain creepy, not to mention a huge coincidence, if we both imagined the same island.”

     Her words seemed to comfort him, but nothing more was said for the remainder of the ride. The boat reached the dock, and they disembarked.

     On Mystery Island that day, the weather was warm and sunny, with not a single cloud of any type littering the beautiful sky.

     “Today would be such a perfect day to visit the beach,” Nili sighed, momentarily forgetting her mission.

     “Uh, hello? We’re here for research, not for relaxation,” Jake reminded her. He rummaged around in his backpack for a map of the island. “Okay, if we’re here, then we should take this path to get up to the main road where the library is located...” He rambled off some more directions, but Nili paid no attention. She was already daydreaming of lying on a sunny beach, sipping a drink served in half a coconut shell with one of those little drink umbrellas in it...

     “Nili!” The dream ended, and she snapped back to attention. “We should get going to the library,” Jake said, grabbing his bag and taking a nearby path.

     There was some beautiful scenery along the path they took. On the side of the path at one point was a huge, dark rock formation, which they both stopped to look at. Large plants and vines grew up and around it, almost completely covering some areas of the rocks.

     “Wow, it’s amazing, isn’t it?” Jake commented while staring. Nili uttered no reply back to him; she was too busy gaping at the rocks. She had the strangest sense of deja vu, but she dismissed the feeling and continued down the path, following Jake, who had started walking some time ago. He was far ahead of her, but she wasn’t in any particular rush to run and catch up with him. Finally, Jake realized that she was behind and stopped to wait for her. “What was up with you back there? You were just staring at that thing and ignoring me!”

     “I–Well, you see...” She tried to make sense of what she had just realized. “Jake, back there, I got the strangest feeling...”

     “What kind of feeling?”

     “A feeling like–and this may sound crazy–but a feeling like I’ve been here before. And I don’t mean that I feel like I’ve been to Mystery Island before. I think...I think that rock formation back there was the cave we both stayed in. So, I definitely think Mystery Island has something to do with our island. I think we’re discovering why they call it Mystery Island."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» As the Clouds Clear: Part One
» As the Clouds Clear



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