As the Clouds Clear: Part Three
Jake stared. “You know, when I was standing back there,
that thought ran through my mind. I didn’t say anything, because I thought that
you would consider the possibility to be nuts. After the library, let’s check
back there. We might find something.”
After several more minutes of walking, the large
Lenny Library building came into view. The pair quickly ran up the steps and
into the building to start their research.
“Hello! What can I help you with?” chirped the young
Island Aisha sitting behind the library’s front desk.
“Where should we start?” Nili quietly asked Jake.
He shrugged, so she walked up to the front desk and said, “We’re looking for
some information about a certain pet...”
“Ah, then you’ll want to look in the biographies
section! The biographies and autobiographies are that way.” She pointed to her
left. “Good luck! I hope you find what you’re looking for!”
“We’re going to need luck,” Jake mumbled under his
breath when he saw the section they'd be searching. The biography section was
huge! There was shelf upon shelf of massive, dust-covered, musty volumes. The
aisles of books didn’t exactly look the most inviting either. All of the shelves
were made of dark wood, which made the already dark and overly quiet corner
of the library seem even more deserted. “Well, we’d better get started!” Jake
said, sighing and grabbing a book off the shelf. “Just pull a random book and
Little progress was made by the pair in the next
few hours. Dozens of books laid on the floor, open to entries about Blue Tuskaninnies.
Every few minutes or so, one of them would yell, “I’ve found another one!” The
other would race over to see, but neither of them could ever find anything to
distinguish them from any other random Blue Tuskaninny from off the street.
“He’s got to be in one of these books!” Nili groaned,
frustrated. Jake sighed in agreement, but they both went back to searching.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps interrupted the silence. Both of them looked
up to find the owner of the footsteps, but the pet taking the steps stopped
as soon as Jake and Nili looked up. Of course, the steps resumed as soon as
they looked down again. Nili shivered as a strange breeze went past her, turning
the pages in the book she was holding. Surprised, he looked up to find where
the wind had come from. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. Nili
turned and looked to her left, and there was the Tuskaninny! His one eye was
closed into a wink, and he had a smug little smile on his face. “Jake, look!”
Nili said in a loud whisper.
Jake looked up but not in time. All that he was able
to see was a flash of blue, and the Tuskaninny vanished, much in the style that
he had on the island. “What was that?” he asked with a confused look on his
“That Tuskaninny from the island was just standing
there!” She could hardly believe it herself, so she said it for as much for
Jake’s benefit as for her own. At last she turned her attention back to the
book she had been holding. The wind had turned its pages earlier, and she was
about to turn back to the page she had previously been on, but she noticed a
piece of paper laying between the two open pages.
Nili unfolded the paper slowly and carefully, expecting
it to be a note sheet or bookmark from the last person who had borrowed the
book from the library. Instead, it was a note. It simply read:
You found me. Beware of them.
Nili couldn’t believe the uselessness of the note.
She couldn’t even tell if it was supposed to actually mean something to her
or if it had been a note originally written to someone else, forgotten and left
inside the book for her to find unintentionally.
Underneath the paper had been a picture of the Blue
Tuskaninny. In fact, it appeared to be a print of the same one Nili had seen
hanging on the wall of the hut.
One of the more elite citizens of Mystery Island
of his time, this Tuskaninny was well known. He enjoyed organizing island events
and providing rules for certain organizations to follow. Eventually he decided
that simply helping to run the island wasn’t enough; he wanted more power and
his own island to run by himself. He insisted that he’d fulfill that dream someday,
but because he never took action on it, the Mystery Island citizens all insisted
it would never happen. The Tuskaninny then disappeared completely from the island
without leaving a trace. No one ever found what became of him.
“Well, that’s certainly a...” She fumbled for words.
“...An interesting bio!”
“Ha, yeah, I guess that’s one way to put it,” Jake
scoffed. “The guy vanished!”
“He vanished... just like he did on the island and
here, earlier today,” murmured Nili.
Jake and Nili were now standing in front of the rock
structure again. After taking another long stare, Nili suggested that they both
go inside the cave.
The cave’s entrance almost seemed smaller than Nili
remembered and it was thickly covered with vines and other overgrowth. They
fought their way through the plants the best they could and ripped down some
of the vines obscuring the entrance of the cave. Because it was sunny outside,
light was able to enter the cave. The inside of the cave was nearly bare. Near
the back, Nili could recognize the paintings she had seen before.
“They’re still here?” Jake went over to inspect them
more closely. “I remember painting these early on when I had gotten to the island,
but I would have thought they would have faded by now!”
“You painted those?” asked Nili in disbelief. Jake
nodded. “But... I saw them on the cave walls too! I also saw that soot on the
ceiling,” she said, pointing upward.
“You did? Wow, that’s quite strange then, isn’t it?
You and I never crossed paths, yet you saw my paintings and soot! So, somehow
we must have been able to see the modifications to the cave. For example, I
saw your little pile of wood. You used it for your fire, I’m assuming.” She
nodded. “Let me tell you one thing I found weird when I was on the island. I
was the one who brought this wood inside the cave. You can’t imagine how perplexing
it was to come back after looking for food and find the wood I hadn’t even touched
burnt and charred. It made no sense to me! I had just assumed that it had been
the others who had touched it.”
A light rain began to fall outside. “Darn, there
goes our day with perfect beach weather!” whined Nili. Hair prickled on the
back of her neck as the same peculiar breeze as earlier blew through the cave.
She had the eerie feeling that the Blue Tuskaninny was there again. She whipped
her head around nervously to check out the cave. Sure enough, there he was,
standing behind her, blocking the entrance of the cave. Nili stared speechlessly
with her jaw open. Gently she tapped Jake, who was currently staring at his
paintings and had his back to Nili. “Jake,” she whispered quietly, her voice
sounding slightly hoarse.
He turned around slowly, catching a view of the Tuskaninny.
Unlike last time, the Tuskaninny didn’t disappear. He stood there, smiling oddly.
“Hello, Nilika, Jacob,” he said, nodding towards
them. “Nice day we’re having, wouldn’t you agree?” The false happiness in his
voice was apparent. Neither of them answered him. They just stared in disbelief.
“Such a shame neither of you got to spend the day
at the beach, since you both were so busy with your research today!
All work and no play will make Nilika and Jacob very dull pets, you know.” He
chuckled to himself.
“What’s going on? Tell me!” Nili demanded. She was
incredulous about the Tuskaninny’s cheerful demeanor. Not for a second would
she believe what he was saying.
“Going on? Why, nothing’s going on, my dear!” he
said, trying desperately to sound innocent.
“Tell me, you big blubbery oaf, or--”
“Hey!” he roared. “Now that was uncalled
for! I was just trying to have a friendly conversation!” He rolled his eyes.
“Well, you two have appeared to fall perfectly into my trap!” He laughed evilly
as the nearby scenery started to fade out and change. “Welcome back to my island.
Your forecast for the next week is rain. Every day. All day, all night. I hope
you both brought your umbrellas.
“You both looked so very thrilled to be back! Aren’t
you happy to be here?” They both glared at him. “If you’re not...” He glared
back. “I can always arrange for you both to stay out in the rain! Or better
yet, I could call back some of those others to finish you off! That
would be fun...”
“Oh, so much fun,” said Nili, joining in on the sarcasm.
“Well, if that’s how you feel...” There was a mad
glint in the pet’s eyes. “...It can definitely be arranged.”
The grey pets were coming. The Tuskaninny had left
for them awhile ago, so they could be arriving outside the cave at any moment.
Their footsteps signaled their arrival. “Where are Nili and Jake?” they yelled.
Nili and Jake were hiding in the corner of the cave. Once the others entered
the cave, hiding was useless. “You’re coming with us,” they said, spotting Nili
and Jake’s hiding spot. They were both grabbed roughly by the arms and escorted
out of the cave into the greyness.
To be continued...