Can You Remember?: Part Two
Saeleah groaned as she tried to open her eyes. Bright light burned her eyes, so she squeezed them shut again. Holding a hoof in front of her face, she attempted opening them once again. It took several minutes for her eyes to adjust. When they did, she took in her surroundings. She was in what appeared to be a bedroom. Sunlight was pouring through the window next to her and shining on her face.
Saeleah attempted to sit up to draw the shades, but an aching pain in the back of her head caused her to fall back and groan. Where was she and what happened? Why was she in pain?
Saeleah attempted to sit up again, but was yet again unsuccessful. Defeated, the Uni rolled onto her right side and rubbed the back of her head where the pain was coming from. She could feel a rather large bump, which told her that she must've hit her head, but how? She couldn't remember a thing.
A few moments later, a young woman entered the room, startling Saeleah.
"Oh good, you're finally awake," the woman said, approaching her.
"Where am I? What happened?" Saeleah was confused beyond belief.
"Relax, everything's okay. It seems you were in some kind of accident last night. My Kacheek found you unconscious in the woods early this morning. We were too far from the hospital to bring you there, so we just brought you into our home, which is in Brightvale," the woman explained.
"Oh," Saeleah replied.
"My name's Caite, by the way. Do you know what happened?" Caite asked.
Saeleah shook her head.
"Not really. I think I remember falling somewhere... but that's it." She shrugged.
"Hm, I was afraid you might've lost some of your memory. What do you remember?" she asked kindly.
Saeleah thought for a moment.
"...Nothing. I have no idea where I am or where I'm supposed to be," she said finally.
Caite sighed. "Well, I guess we'll have to wait to find out, then. Do you have an owner?" she asked.
Saeleah shrugged. "I don't know, do I?"
Caite suddenly looked extremely concerned.
"Well, I had assumed that you did, since you look well fed and groomed. Your bag only had your name, age and species on the tag, so I had to wait for you to wake up. Tell me dear, do you remember anything about yourself at all?"
"No," Saeleah answered.
"Not even your name or address?" She asked.
Saeleah shook her head.
"Hm, perhaps your possessions will spark your memory a bit. Look through your things, do they look familiar?" Caite asked, lifting the duffel bag from the floor and handing to the Uni.
She looked at the tag first. It read Saeleah. That was her name, but it didn't sound familiar to her. She was a fourteen year old striped Uni, apparently; still nothing.
Saeleah unzipped the bag and sorted through it. It contained mainly food, other than some clothes and makeup. None of it was any more familiar to her than the anything else, though.
She pulled out a small photograph of a family of four standing on a beach. In the picture there was a white Hissi, a striped Uni- obviously herself- and an electric Gnorbu. Standing in the middle was a teenage human girl with brunette hair and a pale complexion. They were all smiling happily, their arms all around each other. The picture made Saeleah smile, even though it didn't jog her memory. They all looked so happy, clearly a happy, loving family. It was her family, it must be. But what had caused her to become separated from them, Saeleah yearned to know.
"This must be my family. I'm in the picture, right?" she asked, turning it over to Caite.
Caite looked at it, and smiled.
"That Uni definitely looks like you. You don't recognize them, though?" she asked.
"No. Not at all! This is terrible, what am I going to do?" Saeleah asked.
"Don't worry, Saeleah. I'll help you find them. In the meantime, you're free to stay with me and my pet until we can find your family, if you want," Caite said.
"That sounds great. Thank you so much, Caite," Saeleah replied.
"It's no problem. You should get some rest, for now. Who knows? Maybe your memory will return by tomorrow," Caite suggested.
* * *
The next day Saeleah was able to get out of bed. She walked downstairs to find Caite and a plushie Kacheek preparing breakfast.
"Good morning, Caite! Is this the Kacheek you told me about?" Saeleah asked as she entered the kitchen.
"Yep, this is Leyla. Leyla, you already know Saeleah. She's going to be staying with us until she can find her family," Caite explained.
"Aw, you lost your family?" Leyla asked sympathetically.
Saeleah chuckled. "Well, I'm not sure that I lost them. What I lost was my memory, and I can't remember who or where they are. So I'll have to find where they live, unless I can remember." She explained. Leyla was only a child, clearly, but she was adorable.
"Aw that's awful! Me and mommy will help you find them, then, right Mommy?" Leyla asked, looking up at Caite.
Caite laughed. "Of course we will. Saeleah's family is probably worried sick about her," she replied.
After they finished eating breakfast Caite immediately headed out to begin the search for Saeleah's family. She started by making small posters to hang around the city. The posters read 'Found', and showed a picture of Saeleah with the little information known about her in the description beneath it.
When they didn't receive a reply, Saeleah and Caite expanded their search to Meridell and Kiko Lake. Weeks passed, and they didn't hear a thing from anybody about whom and where Saeleah's family might be.
Weeks turned into months, and Saeleah only grew closer to Caite and Leyla. Although she desperately longed to remember who she was- or once had been- Saeleah continued to feel more like a part of Caite and Leyla's family than part of some mysterious missing family. Leyla was like a little sister to her, now, and she looked up to Saeleah. Caite was starting to seem more like an owner than a friend, and Saeleah often found herself referring to their house as 'home'. When neoschool rolled around, Caite had Saeleah enrolled in Brightvale's local neoschool. It was Saeleah's ninth year of neoschool and Leyla's fifth, so since Saeleah was released an hour earlier than Leyla, she would fly to the elementary school and walk her home.
Leyla's neoschool friends were introduced to Saeleah as Leyla's 'big sister', a title Saeleah loved, and wished that she truly had.
One day towards the end of September, Saeleah came home to find Caite waiting with a surprise.
When she walked in through the front door, she found Caite standing in the middle of the hall with a box wrapped in silver and blue paper.
"What's going on?" Saeleah asked, as she closed the door behind her.
"Well, Saeleah, you've been living with us for exactly three months now," Caite began, and Saeleah raised an eyebrow.
"And since we haven't been able to track your old family, and you now seem like part of ours, I thought that it's about time you officially join it!" she explained excitedly.
Saeleah's face lit up, as did Leyla's.
"Wow, really? Are you being serious?" Saeleah exclaimed.
"Of course I am, silly! Also, since none of us know when your real birthday is, I thought we'd celebrate it on the anniversary of the day we found you, which is today!" Caite added.
"So, here." She handed Saeleah the box.
"Oh, you didn't have to get me a gift!" she exclaimed, but took it anyway with a grin.
Saeleah tore the wrapping paper off and opened the box to find a Mystery Island Paint Brush inside.
"Oh, Caite, you got me a paint brush? This is such a big gift!" Saeleah exclaimed.
"Well, you deserve it! Besides, I love island Unis! You'll look great, I know it! We can leave for Neopia Central tomorrow morning to paint you, okay?" Caite said.
"That sounds great; thank you so much, Caite," Saeleah said, hugging her new owner.
Early the following morning, the three headed to Neopia Central to paint Saeleah. As Saeleah emerged from the Rainbow Pool, now a creamy white color with golden markings and blue flowers adorning her mane and tail, Leyla and Caite embraced her immediately despite her dripping wet mane and fur.
"I don't know about my past family, but you two are the greatest family I could ever imagine," Saeleah said.
The family spent the rest of the day shopping in Neopia Central's marketplace. They ate lunch at Pizzaroo, and for the last two hours they were to spend in Neopia Central, Caite allowed Saeleah to shop on her own while she and Leyla went to the Toy Shop, promising to meet up at the bank in an hour.
Saeleah decided to wander to the petpet shop in hopes of finding a petpet friend to take home with her. She looked around for twenty minutes, but didn't end up finding a petpet she loved, and was making her way out of the store when she bumped into a white Hissi, who she knocked onto the ground.
"Oh, I'm so sorry! I wasn't looking where I was going," Saeleah said, offering her hoof to help the pet up.
"It's okay, I wasn't either," she replied, taking Saeleah's hoof and pulling herself up.
When the Hissi looked at Saeleah's face, she faltered. Something seemed to hit the Hissi, as suddenly her eyes widened and she took in a breath.
"Saeleah, is that you?" she asked. Her voice was filled with shock and disbelief.
"Um, yeah... do I know you...?" Before Saeleah could question the pet, she suddenly snapped.
"So you finally got painted, huh? What, did you finally change your mind on water? Was it too expensive?" the Hissi accused acidly.
"What are you talking a-"
"Don't play that card with me! I hope you found the perfect owner you were looking for, Saeleah. You know, you really destroyed our family by running away. Janelle was devastated! She's still miserable, and it's really affected us, especially Esianah! Of course, I doubt you care, you couldn't stand her! What's ironic is that she really loved you, Saeleah. But you just up and left on us, all because you were too selfish to accept what you had. Well, it doesn't matter anyways. Janelle gave up searching for you. She adopted a new pet to try to fill the hole you left. She decided that you must've found a wonderful new owner who you liked so much better that you even forgot all about your promise to at least write to her! And I can tell by your new paint job that she was right." When the Hissi finished her rant, she pushed Saeleah to the side and slithered away hastily.
Saeleah was too stunned to chase after her, and instead simply went over everything the Hissi had said to her. She had been a runaway? Suddenly Saeleah realized that the Hissi must've been the same one that was in the photograph she'd found the first time she woke up. When Saeleah finally decided she should chase after the Hissi, she'd already disappeared into the crowd.
For some reason, the name Kalira lingered in her head.
* * *
That evening, Saeleah hardly touched her dinner as her mind whirled with tons of thoughts and questions.
Why would I have run away from home?
Did I really hurt my family? How much and why?
Who is Janelle?
"Sweetie, is everything alright? You're being awfully quiet," Caite commented, pulling Saeleah from her musings.
"Oh, yeah I'm fine. I just have a bit of a headache. Do you mind if I go to bed early?" she asked.
"Of course not, go ahead," Caite replied.
Saeleah slowly headed to her room with a heavy feeling of uneasiness hanging on her shoulders.
"Maybe a good night's sleep is all I need," Saeleah said to herself as she crawled into her bed.
To be continued...