A Weak Heart: Part One
I woke up and he was gone.
The moon still shone brightly through the window
of our shared room and a chilly breeze, which had awakened me, was coming through
the open shutters.
Shivering with the cold, I crawled out of the
warm comfort of my green and white checked sheets and hurried across the room
to close the window. My feet scratched on the chilly wooden floor and I longed
to go back to my comfy bed.
I reached the window and pulled the shutters
closed. His bed was unmade, unusual for him. But he often disappeared for a
midnight fly around the village, so his absence didn't worry me.
A great yawn captured my face and I hurried
back across the room and returned once more to the world of slumber.
I slept late the next morning and found my brother's
bed still unmade, which excited my worries. I reasoned with myself that he probably
fell asleep in the berry patch again, and the old farmer would have him sent
home in no time.
Coffee sounded good. Strong, black coffee with
a dab of sugar. I stumbled out of bed and toward the kitchen to make some.
I was halfway through my second cup and just
beginning to wake up when I heard the front door burst open.
"Dwennon!" A shrill, loud voice called my name.
"In here?" I had no idea who belonged to the
voice, except whoever belonged to it was female.
A Plushie Mynci came hopping into the kitchen.
Her eyes were agitated and she was wringing her hands furiously. "There you
"I'm sorry. Do I know you?"
She looked slightly offended. "I'm Abbi."
I must have given a blank look because she sighed,
exasperated, and put one hand on her hip. "Your brother's best friend? You do
know you have a brother, right? His name is Darin? He's an Eyrie like you, but
he's yellow instead of red--"
I cut her off. "Yes, no need to be sarcastic.
I'm sorry, I've just haven't seen you around much."
"Yeah, well." She cleared her throat. "I guess
Darin doesn't hang out around home much. He's more of a wanderer." She perked
up. "Like me."
I snorted a little and she shot me a look.
"Well, we've only met once before," she said,
picking my wing up off the table and shaking it with her own fluffy hand. "Nice
to meet you. Again."
"Likewise, I suppose." I shook her hand. "Anyway,
what brings you here this morning?"
She leaned in, looking around first as if she
was about to tell a deep, dark secret. "Something is wrong. Darin isn't anywhere
to be found." She wrung her hands together in rapid, jerky movements.
I took another sip of coffee, only slightly
perturbed. "So? He fell asleep in the berry patch or is enjoying a rousing game
"Not this time. Oh, he's disappeared before,
but this is different. I can tell something is wrong." She said the last sentence
even more dramatically than she had said the others, her eyes shifting back
and forth in her head and her voice dropped to a shrill whisper.
I took another sip of coffee, then realized
my manners. "I'm sorry. How rude of me. Did you want some coffee?" I asked her.
"Aren't you the least bit concerned?" she cried,
flailing her arms.
"Look..." I tipped my mug upside down and swallowed
the rest of my coffee in one gulp. "If it'll make you feel better, we'll go
find him." I got up and grabbed my jacket off the back of my chair. "Though
he won't like it," I muttered.
We stepped outside into the morning sunlight.
Everything took on a greenish hue as my eyes adjusted to the light. I turned
to Abbi. "You look in Merry Acres; I'll fly over the eastern part of Meridell
and look for him. Okay?"
She took off running lopsidedly in the direction
of Merry Acres.
I soared over Meridell, cutting the crisp morning
air with my wings. Looking down, I could see all the neopets just waking up
and coming out of their homes. I swooped down lower so I could make out individuals.
When he stayed out all night, he'd never fly home. He'd trudge along, shaking
his head so he could stay awake long enough to make it through the front door.
I didn't see him among the straggling early
birds that were already on the roads. I could feel it in my heart that he'd
be playing Cheeseroller, silently rolling his Spicy Juppie down the hill with
I landed at the top of the hill. Jerry, the
Cheeseroller manager, was with a customer.
"What? I've never heard of that kind of cheese.
Look, if you're going to play games with me, you'll need to be going." He saw
me over his customer's head and smiled at me. "What? No, you'll need to come
back. We're fresh out of that." He shooed his customer away and came over to
"Silly amateurs. Anyhow, what can I do ya for,
Dwennon? Special price on Spicy Juppie today." He nudged me in the ribs with
his elbow. "Only 150 np a go. What do ya say?"
"Jerry. It's 150 NP every day."
He just winked. "Ya know me too well. Going
to give it a shot anyway?"
"I was actually just wondering if you'd seen
He thought for a second. "Actually, I don't
think I have. I saw him yesterday, though. Lost three times in a row and stormed
away in a horrible mood. Why? Ya need him for something?"
"No, I just haven't seen him and a friend is
looking for him."
"Well, if he shows up, I'll send him your way.
After he's played a few games, of course." He winked again. "Sure you don't
want to play one round?"
"Sorry, the search continues!" I called as I
flew away with a heavy heart and a fluttering stomach. I stayed close to the
ground so I could examine faces, all the while admonishing my heart for tricking
my brain. Apparently, it was hope I had been feeling.
He's getting some food. It's midmorning and
he's been out all night. He just needs something to eat. I flew over to
the Ye Olde Food Shoppe as fast as I could go.
"Morning!" The door to the shop opened and a
small, grinning Red Meerca peered out at me. "Breakfast?" I noticed that she
smiled even while she talked.
"No, thank you," I began.
Her wide smile melted into a disappointed frown
and she began to close the door.
"Well, I suppose a raisin twist loaf does sound
She brightened immediately and gave me a warm
parcel wrapped in cloth. I dug out my swag bag that I'd picked up on my recent
trip to Krawk Island and paid her.
She took my money and said in one breath, "Ooh,
that's a fancy coinpurse. I want one like that, but Papa says not until I'm
older. Papa's away on business. I'm in charge of the store until he gets back.
I'm a good salesmeerca, huh?"
"Indeed you are. Have you seen a yellow Eyrie
"Actually, no. Not a one. I gotta go now. Mama
is calling." She hurried back inside the shop.
I knew there was nowhere else he would be so
early in the morning. He had sold his petpet to the neighbors, he and Illusen
had had a nasty fight a few months beforehand when he found that her cream cookies
aren't as valuable as he thought, and he hated every game but Cheeseroller.
I flew home slowly and took the scenic route,
studying every face I encountered on my way. Having no luck, I decided that
there was nothing else to do. I came back home to wait for Abbi. I could only
hope she had found him in his usual spot, sound asleep in the farmer's berries.
But my gut told me differently. The lump was rising in my throat and the fluttering
feeling was moving from my stomach to my chest. To calm down, I got a glass
of water and sat at the kitchen table.
Fifteen minutes later she came bursting through
the door and into the kitchen. "I ran," she gasped, "all the way."
I got up and offered her a glass of water. She
drank it thirstily between pants.
"So, no luck then?" My throat tightened and
my stomach jumped. I sat down again for fear of falling over.
"Nope." She swallowed the last of her water
and slammed down her glass. "You didn't have any luck either, it would appear.
I just knew something wasn't right today." She glared at the empty space by
my chair as if she thought glaring could make him appear. After a minute she
said, "Oh, Dwennon, what if he's hurt?"
Thoughts raced through my head. I knew there
were dangers that even a mostly-grown, steely-dispositioned Eyrie like my brother
couldn't handle alone. And he would be alone. I stood up suddenly, surprising
Abbi and myself.
"I'll find him." The words just tumbled out
of my mouth. I had no plan, no strategy, no clue where to look for him.
Her eyes got wide and then she stood up, too.
Her hands were clenched tight at the ends of her straight arms. "We'll find
To be continued...