Pipes: Part Five
It started as just a faint little glimmer, and even then my eyes were opened wide. Pulling them even more wide, to have even better sight, was the hardest thing I had ever done. I stretched them out and the glint turned into a circle, which turned into a circle with a long stick attached to it, with lines swirling off.
Nearly falling off the surfboard into the waste, I looked around. Lionel was yelling at a Wocky for falling off their surfboard. The Skeith was asleep on his chair, and I giggled as I saw that the midsection was bending downward; it could snap any moment.
My hand snaked into the water, quickly. It was now or never. The sewage turned my paw a dark green color that made me sick to my stomach. Each of my two claws clutched the key circlet until they crossed paths. Yanking my hand out of the water, I stowed the key into a knot that I tied in my long, matted fur. Nobody would see it there.
“Daniel?” I called out, somehow trusting him more than my own mom. Daniel turned his surfboard towards me, drenching Lionel with murky sewage. It was hard not to force a laugh.
Daniel surfed over to me, a strange look on his face. He pushed his lips together and stared, giving me the awkward look that I had seen the night before. I didn’t speak, waiting for him to say at least something to break the ice.
“What?” he grumbled. Daniel obviously wasn’t in a good mood looking for something that would end up helping Lionel.
“What happens if you do find the key? Would one not want to give it Lionel, and escape for themselves?” I wondered, not telling him the whole truth. My job of hiding the key was amazing; Daniel didn’t even take a second glance.
“Lionel’s got a sweet deal for the one who finds it. Says he’d give them half the domination’s rewards, better than what he’ll get, since he’ll share his fifty percent with the Skeith. Besides, nobody here right now can climb the pipes as quick as he. Why?”
“Only wondering,” I lied. Daniel went back to searching again. My heart was racing, and I had no idea what to do next. Somehow, my brain told me to keep searching for nothing. I felt bad for forcing others to spend a day looking for something that wasn’t there, but it’d only be for the better.
After an hour of painful, pointless searching, I noticed my mother nearby Lionel. She wasn’t surfing anymore; her bottom sat on the side of the pool, Lionel stood right in front of her. I paddled myself over, not too close, but enough to hear the conversation decently. My overly large ears really helped, for if I didn’t have them, it would be too noticeable that I was eavesdropping. And every few seconds, I dipped my paws in the murky water, pretending to be looking for the key.
“Del, you know Daniel’s a jerk. Not remembering the beautiful you is quite painful, don’t you think? He obviously doesn’t care anymore. If you stay with me, we’ll find the key, and escape without the rest of them. Darling, come on.” He smiled with his maggoty teeth, and I saw him inch closer to her, slowly riding his paw up and down the side of her face. It was disgusting to see her take it.
“He’s just not very good at remembering things; you can leave by yourself for all I care. I’d rather stay down here with Daniel and Nuld and the rest than be forever with you,” she said, clawing his paw off her face and onto the ground. He clenched his teeth, and backed up the inch he had advanced.
“I forgot about the brat,” Lionel spat on the ground. What a liar he was; he promised riches to the finder, when really he’d only escape for himself.
“Nuld is more decent than you’ll ever be. Daniel will realize it, and even if,” Delia stuttered, “even if you get out without us, never to open the sewer again, you’ll be haunted by the fact that I am happy. Happy down here without you. Here in this wasteland, I’ll be happy. And it will be all without you,” she snapped. One goal got scored by Mom. I grinned slyly, and dipped my hand into the water.
Lionel growled, angrily, and slapped her. I was so surprised, my hand dipped into the water more deep and quick than it should have, and I fell overboard. The only concern I had was to keep the key tangled in my hair, and I took care of that first. Then, I pulled myself back to surface. Lionel looked over at me with a question on his face.
“I’m new at this. Sorry, Lionel,” I said, a bit loudly to give him the feeling that I thought he couldn’t hear me very well when I spoke from the distance, when I could hear him fine.
Mom’s eyes met mine, and I saw a red mark through her brown coat with my widened eyes. My eyes closed, as I did not want her to know that I had seen it happen. Her eyes were welling up with tears, but she was tough, and pulled them back through her eyes.
I turned, calmly looking in the water for the already found object. My ears aimed toward the conversation, but I didn’t look anymore, not wanting any more evidence to anger Lionel.
“You’re a beast, Lionel. You’ll never have me. This is why I never could love you,” Mom bawled.
“I will take you with me!”
“You terrible Tonu. You took Daniel because of me. Nuld is the way he is because of you forcing me to go after my love. A ruiner of lives does not deserve to have any love at all, let alone mine!”
“He didn’t deserve it.”
“More than you ever will!”
Splash! Delia, my mom, had dove into the water. I turned my surfboard to see what was going on. Mom had gotten back on the board and was sitting solemnly on her board, kicking her feet in the water. Lionel stormed back to his lounge chair, and sat down, watching Mom the whole time.
Finally, Lionel announced that the day had ended, which only meant he was tired of lounging in the chair. We were all allowed to go back to our species labeled dormitories, and we all did.
I sat in my dorm, looking at Mother, and then back at Daniel. They both looked depressed, each missing each other. Being the one in the middle was not enjoyable.
“Mom? Daniel? I have to show you guys something. But you can’t tell anyone, though I wouldn’t suspect you would, since we all know Lionel’s reward is fake.” I shouldn’t have said the last part. But the two nodded and walked over to me, forming a triangle.
My claws undid the blue fur knot, and the key tumbled out. There was a choir of gasps.
“Your first day, and you did it. Smartly too, I might add,” Daniel squealed, almost like a female. It was surprising. He never gave the first word, and certainly not in this voice.
“My Nuld, I knew those big eyes of yours would come in handy. Daniel, what will we do?” Mom questioned, calming down as if all were well, though I still saw a burn on her cheek. Daniel looked at her strangely, regaining his charm.
“We’ll have to escape, correct?” I bit my lip and shrugged, while the others nodded.
“There’s no way we can just live the rest of our lives looking for something that has already been found,” Daniel laughed, sounding very masculine. Mom joined in the laugh, with a look of doubt on her face.
“Nuld and I are much quicker on the pipes than you, Daniel, not to offend you. But we’ve lived there for a bit, Nuld for his whole life. He should unlock the pothole first,” Mom decided. Daniel nodded, but then looked indecisive.
“How would we all go up without Lionel and the Skeith? I mean, the Wockies all deserve to escape,” Daniel wondered out loud.
“Daniel, you’ve been down here too long,” Mom laughed, “There’s a defenders team that can always rescue the rest and arrest the bad if we get someone to alert them. Nuld should go by himself. That way, there’s nobody dragging behind him. He can find them –I’ll give him a description- and with the key they can go in and give us all what we deserve.”
Daniel brightened up instantly. He nodded, and for the first time, he smiled. His smile wasn’t moldy, despite the years down here. He picked out the bad food in the sewage, brushed his teeth with a finger, which helped a bit.
“Then it’s decided. Nuld, tomorrow you will escape up the pipes with the directions that I’ll give you when the Skeith and Lionel are asleep; you know your way around from living in the pipes, I presume. You’ll get help, and we’ll be waiting for you down here.”
“Of course,” Mother said, “there is some pressure. Don’t mind it, though. I know that you’re faster on the pipes than a Tonu, even if he’s had training.”
I choked, but agreed with the plan, since it was exquisite in itself. To make sure the sleep went well without any checking by Lionel, I retied the key in my fur. Looking at Mother, I saw her wink. Not only would I help destroy great evil, I’d have a family, and live in Neopia Central, above the pipes. We all faded into the shadows, far from the lanterns, and quick from excitement, I, Delia, and Daniel fell fast asleep.
To be continued...