Masks and Roses: Part Five
Just like the Grarrl had said, more of Gwendolyn’s minions came to interview Kat a few hours after she arrived in captivity. It was nighttime by then – Kat could tell because light no longer slithered in through the tiny window high upon her dungeon cell wall. When the followers came, she was curled up on the bare mattress, shivering, her face still streaked with tears.
There were three minions, and they didn’t speak to Kat as they grabbed her off the mattress and brought her to her feet. Kat wavered and sniffled, but the Wocky didn’t say anything, either. By this point, she had a terrible headache, and she was feeling ill. She also felt like the biggest fool in Neopia for ever thinking her ridiculous plan might work. Plus, she missed her mum terribly. While Kat hadn’t seen Rose in years prior to the day before, the whole reason for going after Gwendolyn had been to make sure they wouldn’t ever be separated again.
And look how well that plan had worked.
“Where are we going?” Kat asked dreamily as the minions led her out of her tiny cell and into a narrow corridor.
“None of your business,” spat a Hissi with slimy green scales.
Kat was quiet then. She stared down at the cracked concrete floor and watched her paws as she clumsily kept up pace with her captors. Soon, they brought her to a halt, in front of a plain wooden door with a wobbly silver knob. The Hissi who had chided her opened it, and then a yellow Ogrin shoved her inside.
The room was dark, lit only by a single, flickering bulb high overhead. There was a table in the middle with two chairs on either side. The Ogrin pointed to one of the chairs and told Kat to sit, and the Wocky didn’t have enough energy to resist.
The Hissi sat next to Kat, while the Ogrin and the third minion, a small red Techo, sat on the other side of the table. Kat didn’t look at any of them; she simply crossed her arms in front of her stomach and stared down at her dirt-streaked trousers.
“What’s your name?” asked the red Techo after a while.
Kat continued to stare down at her trousers as she said, “Katalynn.”
“And you’re Rose’s daughter, yes?” the Techo pressed on.
“No,” said Kat dryly, unable to resist. “I’m just a random pet who looks like her.”
“We don’t appreciate the snide comments,” snapped the Ogrin.
“Sorry,” Kat muttered, but it was insincere.
“So,” the Techo continued after a short silence, “why did you and Rose come to Mystery Island?”
“She left me a long time ago,” Kat said bluntly. “I finally found her. We decided to go on a holiday.”
“Is that so?” The Techo’s voice was flat, and Kat could tell he didn’t believe her.
The other minions didn’t, either; the Hissi said to Kat, “You’re a terrible liar, Katalynn.”
“I’m not lying,” Kat said.
“And we’re not imbeciles,” the Ogrin said. “Now tell us, Katalynn, why you and Rose went to Mystery Island, or else there will be consequences.”
Kat closed her eyes, not even wanting to imagine what consequences Gwendolyn’s minions might think up if she didn’t tell the truth. She balled up her paws and took a deep breath. Then, she said, “My mum and I came to Mystery Island to be captured.”
“Oh?” the Hissi asked. He still didn’t seem to believe her.
“She really did leave me,” Kat continued. “I really did find her. But I wanted her to come out of hiding. I told her we had to defeat Gwendolyn, but she said we’d be captured before we ever got near her. So I said we’d just have to think of a way to defeat Gwendolyn once we were imprisoned.” Kat hadn’t meant to tell the entire truth, but it was out in the open now, and there was no taking it back.
“A very interesting story,” said the Ogrin. “Although, it’s just that. A story. Not the truth.”
“No!” Kat’s eyes flew open. “No, I’m telling the truth. Why would I make up something so outlandish?”
“I’m tired of her lies,” said the red Techo. “Let’s take her back to her cell. Maybe a night spent in a frigid room will make her more honest.”
The other two minions nodded in agreement, and before Kat could speak again, they’d jerked her to her feet. She didn’t want to go back to her cell, not quite then, and they had to practically drag her down the hallway. Once they arrived back at the cell, Kat was just about thrown inside, and the minions shut and locked the door before she could plead to be given another chance.
Kat hadn’t wanted to talk to Gwendolyn’s followers. She really hadn’t. But she wasn’t thinking clearly anymore. She just wanted to be out of the freezing cell, no matter the reason. Kat wanted to be with her mum, too. After all, imprisonment wouldn’t be so bad if Rose was still with her. And food and drink! Kat hadn’t a bite to eat since the hot cakes that morning; tea was the last thing she’d had to quench her thirst. Not to mention, her head was still pounding ferociously.
Overall, she was a wreck.
Tears sliding down her cheeks, Kat crawled over to the lumpy mattress in the corner and lay down on top of it. She hugged herself for warmth and drew her knees up to her chin. But still, her own body heat was hardly a match against the ferocious night. Kat had only been to Mystery Island a few times in her life, but she’d never remembered it being so chilly; this kind of cold was normally reserved for the stereotypical frigid lands, like Terror Mountain or wintertime Neopia Central.
Slowly, Kat shut her eyes and let out a frosty breath. She was overcome with sudden exhaustion, and although part of the Wocky wanted to stay up and wallow, she simply could not keep awake. And after letting one last tear dribble down her cheek, Kat fell into a deep, deep sleep.
That night, Kat dreamed of her mother’s dress. She could almost feel the soft lavender material, the shimmering diamonds, the careful beading. She twirled around in it as she stood in a whole room of floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
In Kat’s dream, her mum stood beside her, a smile on the silver Wocky’s face. “You are so beautiful,” said Rose in a singsong voice, and she placed a paw on her daughter’s shoulder. “You, my love, are an angel.”
Kat blushed at her mum’s comment, feeling happier than she had in a long while – as if she was floating on air. She wanted the dream to go on forever, but then, abruptly, Kat was snapped out of it, and her real life came flooding back.
It was because someone slammed open the dungeon cell door. The metal crashed against the thick stone wall, and the sound of impact echoed throughout the room. Kat shot up from slumber, blinking once before focusing in on whoever was entering the space.
It was a Grarrl, the same one who had brought Kat to the room yesterday. Draped over his shoulder, just as she had been, was a tiny striped Shoyru who was blindfolded and gagged.
Kat watched intently as the Grarrl dropped the Shoyru on the ground and pulled the blindfold from its eyes. As the pet looked up at him in pure terror, the Grarrl smiled and proceeded to remove the tape, too.
“Please don’t hurt me,” gasped the Shoyru in a soft, feminine voice.
“Don’t do anything dense, and I won’t,” growled the Grarrl in reply.
The Shoyru nodded quickly. “I promise I won’t.”
“Good.” Then the Grarrl glanced at Kat and added, “I understand you lied to my comrades yesterday.”
“I didn’t lie,” Kat said flatly.
The Grarrl shook his head in disgust, then looked back at the Kat’s new cellmate. “Take a lesson from her,” he said. “Don’t lie, or you’ll suffer.”
The minion turned to leave, but before he could, Kat blurted, “And how am I suffering?”
Coolly, the Grarrl said to her, “When is the last time you ate or drank, ignorant Wocky?”
“Not since I’ve been here,” Kat said, and with that, her stomach began to rumble. The hunger pains had faded overnight, but the thought of food brought them back with a vengeance. But even worse was Kat’s thirst; how badly she wanted to drink, even just a little something. She didn’t care what it was. She would slurp down just about anything. In the past, Kat had always been picky. Tea and Neocola were just about the only drinks she’d have, and when food was concerned, she liked hardly anything. But now, Kat didn’t care about taste. Anything would have been heaven. But alas, she had nothing, and closing her eyes again, Kat leaned back against the stone wall. Then, she let out a quiet groan.
“Not eating or drinking,” repeated the Grarrl. “I think that is suffering enough.”
And then, with Kat still cowering in the corner, he left.
To be continued...