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A Dark Lesson


by tamarashannonhall

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She's still behind me. She has been since I left the Neopian Book Shop. My little disco hooves were heavy with books then, but I still glimpsed her chilling form as she ducked in and out of the murky shadows during her pursuit. I thought perhaps she was following someone else or playing hide and seek with a friend, but it was quite apparent that I was her target when I turned down Winding Wood Road, a residential street several blocks from my Neohome.

     Sure enough, I could see her silhouette scurrying to find cover as if I hadn't seen that she was hunting me like a cunning Kougra. I tried to convince myself that it was simply a coincidence when she lingered behind me as I took a detour on Bracknell Road. But I could deny it no longer when I picked up my pace uneasily on the gravel path, only to have her speed up as well.

     With my heart in my throat and unrest stirring in my tummy, I told my legs it was time to go faster. I scuttled over the rocky trail kicking up pebbles as I ran. Some of them pelted my shins, but I did not cry out in pain. Rocks were the least of my worries, especially when I realized she was no longer even attempting to hide from my view. She had seen that I had seen. She knew I was running from her. I recognized straight away that when she was taking the time to hide before, it had given me the advantage. I had now lost the upper hand.

     I dropped my books into the powdery dirt off the side of the path. I could no longer bother with them. They were unimportant now and they slowed me down anyway.

     My owner had warned me before I left for school this morning, "Moo Moo, I don't want you veering off into Neopia Central alone anymore. You're too young. If you want to go, wait until I get home and we will go together as a family. Is that understood?"

     I must have looked like a Disco Kau bobble-head toy because I nodded so vigorously. I had promised my owner I wouldn't stray on my walk home from school and that I would hurry home. But I had now broken that promise... and I was paying for it.

     She had been right, my owner. She had known all along that danger would find me. And why hadn't I listened to her? Why did I think it would be all right as long as I didn't get caught? Why did I have to indulge in my temptation instead of doing what was right? My owner had always tried to keep me safe and she trusted me, but now she will soon learn that I disobeyed her and that I was a bad little moo moo Kau. She would soon learn that she was wrong to trust me.

     But how will she find out, I wonder? I hope with all of my heart that I will be able to tell her myself and she will not learn the dreaded truth from the Neopian Police Department. And I promise I will tell her the truth! If... I live through this.

     An evil cloud washes over my insides as I gallop breathlessly down one road after another, trying to lose the predator at my back. She swoops back and forth in the air upon deep purple webbed wings, taunting me with a sickening grin that has manifested upon her face. I am in tears now, because I'm lost and I can't seem to shake her no matter which way I turn or how fast I run. She is simply too agile for me, and I know I don't have a chance.

     Gallant, my Gelert brother, is always telling me, "C'mon, Moo Moo, put your book down for a bit and get out of that bubble chair. Come and run through the berry fields with me! It's great fun and exercise is good for you. Let's have a race or play tag to make it more enjoyable!"

     But, of course, I never listened to him either. I'm a lazy Kau with a bit of a belly, and exercise never did appeal to me. So now, pain is shooting through my sides, sweat is drenching my handsome Disco fur and, worst of all, I'm starting to slow down from fatigue. If I had spent at least thirty minutes each day playing outside with my brother like he'd asked, perhaps it would have made my flight from "her" a little easier.

     I solemnly resolve from this point forward, I will make exercise a part of my daily ritual, and I now appreciate that Gallant takes his exercise so seriously. I would be happy to follow in his pawsteps. If... I live through this.

     I have now darted down Soup Alley and, to my surprise, my pursuer was flying so nimbly that she zoomed right past me when I turned. However, I know she will come back for me. It's me she wants. I saw it in her menacing eyes. So I continue to stumble on, taking turns right and left in between houses and over garden gnomes.

     At last, I collide sharply with a classmate of mine from school. His name is Walter Wocky and he's a bit unpopular at school. However, I fall desperately at his feet before he enters his dwelling lugging a backpack with childish images painted on the pockets behind him.

     "Walter!" I exclaim as I try to catch my breath. "Boy, am I glad to see you!"

     Walter frowns at me and backs away. "What do you want, Moo Moo?" he grumbles impatiently with his hand on the doorknob.

     "Someone is chasing me! Please, you have to let me take refuge in your house for a while!" I plead with him.

     "Oh really?" He raises his bushy eyebrows, which really seem to form only one. "But wasn't that you who took my pencil case and tossed it out the window when I wasn't looking, making me late for my next class?"

     "Well... errrr... "

     "And wasn't it you who laughed at me when Jester Jetsam put a sign on my back that said 'Laugh at me if you think I'm a nerd'?"

     "Well, you see... "

     "And wasn't it you AGAIN who let me walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to my shoe when you were the only one who could have prevented it?" He places his paws angrily on his hips.

     I can only whimper in reply.

     "Yeah, that was you, and you know what? You're on your own." He turns his back to me, steps into his Neohome and slams the door behind him.

     I gulp and reluctantly pick myself up to continue on. I feel terrible about what has just occurred. My Ixi brother, Pixie, always scolds me when he observes that I am being "mean" or "inconsiderate." He always says to me, "Moo Moo, you should do onto others as you'd have them do onto you. How would that make you feel if someone did those things to you?" I always laugh at him and tell him to lighten up. I was only having a little fun.

     But I saw the pain in Walter's eyes. He wouldn't even help me in a life or death situation because I had hurt him so bad. Pixie was right. I need an attitude adjustment as soon as possible. And I vow from this moment forward to treat everyone with the respect I would want in return. Perhaps if I had done that with Walter, he might have been inclined to help me. I will never again let my entertainment come before anyone else's feelings. If... I live through this.

     I have now lumbered into a dead end in between two Neohomes and a fenced in alley. I contemplate bolting back to where I made a wrong turn, until I hear a maniacal laughter sear the air around me. No, I can no longer run. My only option now is to hide.

     I quickly survey my surroundings. A crate of some sort rests against the bricks next to an old Tiger Couch and three heaping trashcans. I don't have time to think! I can hear her coming! I leap recklessly behind the trashcans and lose my balance, dumping them over. Their contents spill out, revealing hordes of fishing junk and Tombola tin cans. The crash is thunderous and I know that she has heard. My hiding space has been compromised.

     Foofie, my Cybunny sister, is always complaining that I make too much noise. She constantly asks if I could tone it down when I'm ransacking the kitchen for a snack or kicking the wall in my room while I read. Despite her pleas, I've never even tried to be quiet and now it seems to have come back to bite me. Truthfully, I don't really think I know HOW to be quiet. If only I'd practiced at home out of respect for my sister, perhaps I would have better prepared to handle the garbage cans just now. But I have clumsily given away my position. "She" will be able to find me now for certain.

     So now, even in the hopelessness of the moment, I promise silently I will tiptoe everywhere like a Cloud Cybunny, careful not to disturb others. It's amazing how much noise you're making when you think you're not. Only when you become the victim of the racket do you notice its unforgiving nature. I will never fail to recognize that again. If... I live through this.

     She has indeed found me. She is advancing upon me slowly with an evil sneer plastered on her face. Her ominous form looms over me and she draws ever closer. Her long green fingernails clink together as she approaches, and I am frozen with utter terror.

     Oh please, I pray silently, please! I promise to be a better Kau and listen to my family members from now on. I promise to never be inconsiderate again, and I will stand up for Neopets like Walter. I will make it up to everyone I ever bothered for the rest of my Kau life if only I get to live through this!!

     She leans over me maliciously and I see green fire bursting in her eyes. My heart threatens to stop as she opens her baneful mouth. OH DEAR GOSH! JHUDORA IS GOING TO EAT ME!!!

     "Excuse me," she says nonchalantly. "I seem to have lost my purple lipstick. If you find it for me, I'll raise your hit points."

     I blink.

     "Well?" she demands irritably.

     "Errr... sure?" I squeak. But I will have to change my shorts first.

     And now... I have some very important promises to keep.

The End

Author's Note: How did you like the story? Comments are most welcome. Thank you to my friends and all others who have been supportive!

 
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