There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 135,120,763 Issue: 268 | 1st day of Celebrating, Y8
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Into the Sea: Part One


by sytra

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"That's her?"

    "Mmm-hmm."

    "At first glance, she appears quite normal. Like a regular little Flotsam, happy with her life. She looks as if she has not a care in the world... Poor thing."

    "Yeah... She is normal, though," a tired sounding voice replied. A girl who looked to be about the age of seventeen stood there, her arms crossed against her chest, as she stared through the glass window, her eyes narrowed. Her crystal blue eyes followed the little red Flotsam as she played in the pool, flopping her fins around and diving under, swimming around swiftly. The girl sighed and looked down at her side, where a white Kyrii was jotting down a few notes on a ripped piece of paper that was attached to a clipboard that looked like it was ten years old. Her pencil suddenly broke, and she muttered under her breath, sighing.

    "Got an extra pencil?"

    "...Yeah." The girl rummaged around in her bag, then pulled out a small pencil, handing it down to the white Kyrii, who poked her thin light blue framed glasses up her nose as she continued to scribble her notes down on the paper. The girl quietly tapped her foot against the tiled floor, twirling her long, curly blond hair around her finger. Her eyes never left the Flotsam, who was now swimming from one end of the pool to the other. She reached the end, and came up to the surface, laughing at what seemed to be nothing in particular. She was the only one in the pool.

    "So, I've recorded my thoughts on what you've told me in letters, and I think I am starting to come to a conclusion. Learning to cope with her will not be easy..." The white Kyrii's saddened eyes glanced from her papers up at the Flotsam, who was now starting to get out of the pool. "But I can tell that you really want to do this." She looked up at the blond-haired girl, who nodded, blinking her tear-filled eyes, forcing a smile on her face. "You really love her, don't you..."

    "Of course," the girl replied, though she found it hard to speak through all of her confusing emotions. Her throat was feeling sore, and she could barely see through her eyes, they were watering so much. "She... was my first pet. I could never just leave her. Sasha... means the world to me." The girl frantically wiped at her cheeks, which were now stained with her wet tears. She saw Sasha starting to flop towards the showers, and she turned them on, cold water splashing down on her. The girl and Kyrii could tell she had started to sing, though they couldn't hear what she was saying because of the thick glass window in front of them.

    "I understand, Katrina..." the white Kyrii replied softly, staring at Sasha through the glass window with her hard green eyes. She didn't say anything more, however. She just waited for the girl called Katrina to continue talking.

    Katrina cleared her throat, clutching onto her arms, digging her nails into her skin nervously. "Yes, Doctor Velt. She's been this way her whole life, but I had never gone to get any help for her until it got really serious, which was just recently. I guess... I guess I just didn't want to admit that she was... different."

    "She likes water, hm?" Doctor Velt questioned, rubbing the frame of her glasses with her finger, looking up at the tall skinny blond.

    "Yes. She adores it. I bring her here whenever possible. She just loves to swim. The ocean is one of her favorite things, too. Whenever we go to the beach we'll just sit on the shore and look at it longingly, waiting for the sun to set." A small smile spread out on Katrina's heart-shaped face.

    "Why do you bring her here, then?"

    "Eh?"

    "Why do you bring her here to swim? We only live about a mile away from the coast. This is Mystery Island, after all," the white Kyrii said smartly, as if she knew everything.

    Katrina pursed her lips. "Let her swim in the ocean? No, I'd never let her do that. I mean, what if something happened to her?"

    Doctor Velt secretly rolled her eyes. What could happen to a Flotsam swimming in the ocean? They were one of the fastest swimmers, so even if they were suddenly threatened by a Jetsam or something of the sort, they could easily get away. So, there perhaps was more to Katrina than she knew. Overprotective, perhaps? But then again, who wouldn't be overprotective of someone like Sasha? "I see... She have any friends?"

    "...No," Katrina replied quietly. "At least, none that I know of. I don't think she does, though... After school she just comes home and sulks around most days. If I'm lucky she'll be in an okay mood. The only time she is ever really happy is when she's swimming."

    "Doing something she loves..." Doctor Velt murmured, licking her lips, and nodding her head slightly. "You know, having an imaginary friend isn't uncommon in pets this age, especially in Sasha's case."

    Katrina cocked one of her dark eyebrows. "Imaginary friend?" She chuckled slightly. "No, Sasha doesn't have an imaginary friend." She said it as if it was the stupidest thing in all of Neopia to have an imaginary friend. There was no way her Sasha made up things to be her friends.

    Doctor Velt frowned a bit. "They're not a bad thing, you know. But by the looks of it, she does not appear to have one. At least, not from what I can tell. She doesn't seem to have one at home or anything, does she?"

    "Nope," Katrina replied firmly.

     The white Kyrii nodded. "So, Katrina, I guess I will be meeting with you later this week. In the mean time, just try not to get angry with her. Don't scold her, don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do... just let her be. I must be going. I'm sorry this meeting was so short, but I have some other business I must attend to," she explained. "I'll see you in a few days."

    The blond girl nodded, stifling a cry. "Bye, D-Doctor Velt," she managed to stutter. The white Kyrii waved to her, and then exited the aquatic center, tucking her clipboard under her arm.

    -

    Katrina watched Sasha out of the corner of her eye as she sat on the sofa in their Neohome living room, reading an old issue of the Neopian Times. Her legs were crossed and she was jiggling her foot back and forth as she watched her pet play with her yellow Flotsam plushies. Sasha had eight of them. The red Flotsam lined them up in a row, a perfectly straight row, then stacked them all up on top of each other. Katrina often wondered why she was so obsessed with the yellow Flotsam plushies. Every time they went to the toy store, Sasha wanted to get another one. Why didn't she want a different plushie? And why did they all have to be yellow?

    Katrina hated yellow.

    The girl sighed and blew a piece of stray hair off of her face, folding up the newspaper. "You're going to school tomorrow, Sasha," she said quietly. The red Flotsam froze; clutching the yellow plushie she had been playing with tighter and tighter. "It's one o'clock in the morning. You're not getting out of it. Now go to bed. Please. I'm tired."

    Sasha glared down at the plushie she was holding and then threw it across the room at Katrina, and it landed in her lap. "You don't understand! Nobody understands! Why do I have to go there? Why can't you just teach me?!" she whined loudly. Katrina picked up the plushie that had been hurled onto her lap and dropped it on the floor.

    "Sasha, I'm busy. I have things to do. A job. And I can't afford to send you anywhere else for you to be taught. This is the cheapest thing. Besides, don't you like being around all of the other pets?" she inquired, lacing her fingers together, smiling slightly at Sasha, who just folded her arms across her chest and groaned sadly.

    "No... I don't. They don't like me, either. I don't know why. Why do I have to be different, Katrina? There's nothing special about me. I should just... vanish into thin air. No one would miss me."

    Katrina swallowed hard. She was starting to tear up. "T-That's not true. You're an excellent swimmer. And of course people would miss you. Stop talking like that."

    "We should go to the beach," Sasha suggested spontaneously, as if the previous conversation had never happened. "Will you take me to the beach? I want to swim. In the ocean."

    "Let's just go to bed for now." Katrina grabbed Sasha's fin and led her down the hallway to her room tiredly. She could barely keep her eyes open they were so tired. She kept thinking of the story she had been reading in the Neopian Times. It was interesting.

    "Katrina?!" Sasha asked as she slipped into bed. "Why do you always get mad at me? What did I do?!"

    Katrina shook her head, staring down at her pet with her bloodshot eyes. "I am not mad at you! Where'd you get that idea?"

    "You look mad."

    "Go to bed now."

    -

    "Hi, Sasha," came a whisper from behind the red Flotsam as she sat in class, doodling a yellow Flotsam on the piece of paper she was supposed to be writing notes on. Sasha turned around to see a pink Xweetok, who sat in the desk right behind her, smiling at her. Sasha knew her name was Lily, and she had never really spoken to Sasha before. The red Flotsam glanced up at the teacher, who was still talking. Should she say something back? What if the teacher got mad at her for talking though? But someone was being nice to her! Sasha grinned madly and turned back around.

    "Hi," she whispered back.

    "I like your bracelet," Lily commented, pointing to what Sasha was wearing around her fin. It was a thick white plastic bracelet and it was sort of plain, but she wore it anyway because Katrina gave it to her. Lily covered her mouth and appeared to be chuckling, and so were the people around her.

    Sasha smiled at her, and Lily just swished her tail around elegantly, batting her eyelashes in return.

    "Thanks."

    "You're welcome," Lily replied, opening up her textbook just so she had something to do. Sasha smiled at her again. Was she making a friend? Lily was being really nice to her!

    "Do you want to hang out with me during break?" Sasha asked suddenly. She was surprised she had plucked up the courage to ask such a thing. Normally she would never just ask someone to spend time with her, but she was feeling confident now that somebody was noticing her in a good way.

    Lily's cheeks suddenly flushed a bright red. She looked from side to side at the other pets sitting around her, who started to chuckle. Sasha just stared at her, smiling, waiting for an answer. "Er... no," she replied, as if it was obvious. Sasha frowned and turned around in her seat. Why were people always so cruel to her? It wasn't her fault she had trouble understanding them.

    Sasha tried to pay attention to the teacher, who was still talking about boring Maraqua or something, but she could hear giggles surrounding her. She spun around to look at Lily, who grinned back at her. What was everyone laughing about? A spotted Gelert was hiding his face behind a textbook, and Sasha could see that he was laughing by the way he was shaking up and down. The red Flotsam sighed and turned back around in her seat.

    Suddenly, a ball of paper landed on Sasha's desk. She looked around, wondering who had thrown it. She started to open what she figured was a note, and read it.

    What's on your back?

    Sasha looked behind her shoulder at her back the best she could, and out of the corner of her eye, saw a piece of paper attached to it. She tried to grab it with her fin, but it was too short to reach it. The whole class had erupted in laughter. Finally, after moments of struggling, Sasha grabbed the piece of paper and tore it off of her back, hastily reading what it said. It was written in big red letters.

    I NEED FRIENDS.

    Sasha crinkled the paper up into a ball and stood up angrily. She could feel her eyes starting to water up, and she couldn't really see anything because of all the tears. She flopped over to the classroom door as fast as she could, not caring that the teacher was still talking, or that the whole class was laughing at her. She opened the door and stormed out, heading to the nearest bathroom.

    Why her?

    As Sasha was wiping her eyes with some paper towels, she heard the sound of someone entering the bathroom. A yellow Flotsam flopped in, smirking. She was a bit bigger than Sasha, and had a longer tailfin. She stopped right in front of Sasha, staring at her.

    "Hi, Sasha."

    "Hi." Sasha looked down at the ground, trying to look like she hadn't been crying. The yellow Flotsam, who was also Sasha's best friend, Amelia, frowned at her.

    "What's wrong?" she asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

    "Everyone is mean to me."

    "I'm not."

    "Of course you aren't, Amelia," Sasha replied, holding back tears. "You're my friend. My only friend, actually."

    The Flotsam called Amelia looked at Sasha with saddened eyes. "You have to do something about it, then. Don't just let them be mean to you. Stand up for yourself!"

    Sasha nodded, sniffling. "You're right. I wish we had some classes together, Amelia. I wish I could be with you all of the time." She looked up at the bathroom ceiling, sighing heavily. "We should go swimming together soon."

    Amelia grinned. "Yeah, that sounds fun." There was a long pause. Sasha could tell something was bothering Amelia. Finally the yellow Flotsam said, "But I need some money. My owner isn't doing very well. Do you think you could get me some?"

    Sasha nodded. She'd do anything for her friend. "I'll see if I can get some from my owner tonight."

    "Really? Thanks! Okay. I've got to get back to class," Amelia explained, waving to Sasha. She went out of the bathroom, smiling to herself.

To be continued...

 
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