Blue. As far as brown eyes can see. Azure. Cerulean, sapphire, aquamarine. Ultramarine.
It is everywhere. It surrounds her, envelopes her, embraces her. Or is she, in fact, in the midst of it? Or is she in front of it, or... behind it? Is it a background she's standing against? A sheet that has fallen on top of her? Or an ocean that she is swimming in? She is not swimming, no — she realizes this suddenly. She is flying.
This is strange. She has never flown this high before. She supposes she must be up very high, and that the blue must be the sky. She cannot see anything below this sky; no green grass or brown earth or...
Wait! What is she doing? She cannot look down! She's up so high! If she looks down she may lose her balance, and fall. Oh, please no, she does not want to fall! As reality starts to set in, her heart begins to race. All of the sudden she feels dizzy, lightheaded. Her stomach feels as if it has already fallen out of her, and is plummeting towards the ground. Where is the ground? Where is the ground?!
Panic turns to terror when a strong gust of wind comes and blows her clean across the sky. Backwards! It dawns on her that she is not in control of her own movement. She flaps her little wings, tries to fly in a downward direction, but they are useless. She is trapped — trapped in a delirious sky. Let her down, oh, let her down, please, let her down!
Then, there is white. There is white right in front of her. Or is it off to the side...? Perspective is near impossible when you're up so high. It startles her; shocks her, but instead of exclaiming she merely stares, stupefied. The white comes towards her, and engulfs her. She does not scream, or flail or fret. Something about this achromatic interlude from the blinding blue quietens her, and, as if by hypnotization or a magic spell of tranquility, solaces her.
A hush. The innards of the white giant are composed of mist, more lustrous silver than anything, and it swirls in patterns of spirals and loops. It brushes against her skin, and it feels soft, like a cotton ball, or like dandelion fuzz that gets stuck to your face when you make a wish and blow, and the wind is going the wrong way. The cloud tickles her wings, and makes her laugh. Yes, this white giant she has penetrated is a cloud; it must be. Her mother has told her about such things: about clouds and the insides of them. And, if she remembers correctly...
She opens her mouth wide, and bites down hard on a wisp as it floats below her nose. Her brown eyes open as wide as her mouth. Yep! It tastes sweet! Just as she thought.
All at once her fears melt away, and the surreal feeling of a dazed calm changes to an active, lively feeling of jubilance. Through the white she catches the first glimpse of blue — beryl first, and then indigo. Soon she is surrounded by the sky once more.
The view is entrancing, breathtaking, awe-inspiring. Silver-white clouds are all around her in the distance, and she wonders: Will I be passing through any more? It would be very nice, she thinks, if she could put some in a jar and take it home to her friends and family. She has no jar, though. All she has with her is her favourite Usul doll, Betty, tucked underneath her arm.
And she rides the wind. It is a very strong wind, indeed, but it only makes the trip more fun. A flock of Beekadoodles fly past her. She says hello, and they say hello back. Funny, she thinks. She did not know birds could fly this high. It occurs to her that these are not the average, ordinary, everyday Beekadoodles that build nests in her backyard, no; they must be a very extraordinary breed that can fly extra high, and talk. She wishes she had a talking Beekadoodle... Hmm.
The sky begins to change colour again. Now it is periwinkle, or lilac, or perhaps some other flower name that means purply-blue. It is purply-blue, definitely. Is the sun setting, and if so, why wasn't it yellow first, or rosy pink? This is all very strange. The air is starting to feel different in some way, though she cannot put her finger on what it is. It's warmer, perhaps, and the wind is dying down, most certainly. She decides she must be descending. She sinks lower and lower until the ground is in view.
The first thing she sees is grey — grey fragments on a blank canvas, splashes of every shape and size. Closer and closer, and now more colours appear; muted, neutral ones mostly, but there is the odd sprinkling of red, the odd dotting of yellow, or purple, or green, or blue. These colours are buildings, she can see now. Buildings: dozens of them. Buildings: hundreds, thousands. Buildings with people, so many people, moving in and out and all about them. This is a city she is flying above.
It could be Neopia Central. She has not been here before, but she recognizes landmarks — famous ones that everybody knows about. There are silly looking buildings shaped like hotdogs and pencil cases, and perfectly ordinary houses — massive mansions and modest abodes. There is an enormous tree standing proud and singularly out of place in the concrete jungle, where poor Neopians can go to scrounge for donated items. A very short ways away is a pool of rainbow waters, where, for a copious amount of neopoints, rich Neopians can go to change their paint job. And she wonders how? How can both places exist in the same city, the same world? It doesn't make any sense to her. ...Does it to anyone?
The winds change, and already she feels herself ascending once more, returning to the unfaltering blue sky, and leaving the bustling city behind.
But the sky is no longer blue. The sun has sunken, and she can see it clearly: an aureate sphere scintillating, brilliant against a backdrop of saffron and rose. Below her is pink, but this pink is in spots. It is not solid like the sky above, but it is instead broken in pieces amidst a field of green. Could this be the ground again? Nearer and nearer and the green is grass, she observes, and the pink, cherry blossom trees.
And there is nothing else in sight. A lone Biyako lays under a tree and watches petals as they're caught in the wind. This solitary garden could not be any farther removed from the throngs of Neopia Central. How can both places exist in the same world, the same universe?
In the blink of her wide eyes the people from Neopia Central return, though not in such myriads as before. A small crowd of island natives walk up and down a beach at sunset, stopping at the merchants' stalls that line the seashore. In one such stall is an old yellow Chia with a cheerful grin across his withered face. He passes tropical fruit in cardboard cartons out to his customers, and he always throws in a bonus, a friendly word or two. There's a spring in his step as he moves about his tiny shop at the pace of a Neopian perhaps fifty years his junior, humming as he goes. My, what a character of a shopkeep he is! He must be having a good day! Or is he this way all the time? He is either a man who thoroughly enjoys his job, or thoroughly enjoys his existence.
And then she goes back up. The warm breeze carries her off, away from the island paradise and the happy shopkeeper. Away from land altogether. She is lifted up into an amaranthine sky. It is night. Already it is night. The sun has set now, and the moon is its surrogate. It glows like a streetlamp, lighting her path, though it still feels so far away. The stars seem closer, and are all around her like the clouds of the daytime. They twinkle so perfectly; shining then fading out, shining then fading out.
Suddenly the stars turn frosty, and the moon turns to ice. The temperature drops sharply, and she shivers, her wings are so cold. In a moment the ground comes back into view, and it is white — white like the clouds, except it glistens in a way that the clouds did not. It is ensorcelling, bewitching. She cannot take her eyes off it.
It is snow. There are some little houses in this winter valley, but otherwise there are no signs of life. No people are wandering about in the nighttime, and no lights are on in the little windows, except for a sole flickering candle in one frostbitten home. She must squint very hard to see a pathway: a pathway where a single neopet treads. The pet is a woman, a pastel Acara. She walks with her head down, though it is not for protection against the snow, as it is not snowing. In her eyes is a look of despondence — desolation, as if she is the only living being left in this frozen town. Perhaps she is. She has no way of knowing. Why else would she look so sad?
There could be a million reasons, a million zillion reasons, for the expression of sorrow on the Acara's face. Perhaps she has lost something, or someone. Perhaps she is out looking for them, or perhaps she is hoping a midnight walk through the biting cold will help her to forget. Is it the weather that has made her this way? And would she be quite the same if she lived in Mystery Island, or Shenkuu or Neopia Central? She will never know, for both the woman and the winter valley begin to shrink into the distance as a north wind decides it is time for her to go. She watches her, until she cannot see her anymore...
It's so dark now. What once had been royal blue is now black: pure black, the colour you cannot see through. It occurs to her that the stars are no longer there. The moon has vanished as well. She cannot see in front of her, and she does not know where she is. For the first time in such a long time, panic arrests her. What has happened to the light? It's as if she's gone into a void; a black hole, an empty eternity. It's eerily silent and sorely, painfully lonely. The darkness chokes her, but she mustn't let it suffocate her... She hums softly to herself, like the happy shopkeeper. She wishes he were here right now... Let her out, oh, let her out, please, let her out...
Cracks of light cut through the sky; crescent moons, narrow slits in the darkness. They light up the world for only a second, and then they are gone again. What is happening?
A second time slivers of light appear, two of them, this time illuminating the entire sky. She takes a deep breath, and then they close again, but she hardly notices. For this time they have brought back the sun.
It's rising in the east and paints the world in new colours she hasn't seen, but has never forgotten. There are patches of yellow and brown, spots of orange and red, and a long stream of blue. There is a small beige building, and a larger building with burgundy walls. For some reason they seem so familiar.
She knows the patch of yellow is a field of corn, and the brown a crop of potatoes. The oranges are pumpkins, the reds are gourds, and the stream of blue is the bluest stream, and it flows into a pond. Somehow she knows Mallards live in that pond. There is a big green hill, and the grass looks as though it would feel soft to the touch. Sitting at the top of her memory's hill is a biscuit Kougra. He springs to his feet when he catches sight of she, a red Draik, floating on a purple balloon.
At long last the balloon lets her all the way down so that she is standing on the hill, beside him. He throws his arms around her.
Cracks of light split through the sky again, this time radiating a white gleam, brighter even than the rising sun. The crescents widen so that they are nearly full circles, filling the picture with such intensity that the hill, the Kougra, the balloon, and she herself, fade into the glare.
She does not know why she chooses to wake up at this moment. She would have liked to return to the euphoria of flying blindly, freely, feeling the caress of the sun's rays across her weightless body. She would have liked to see the rest of the world — the world in all its grandeur, all its vast disparateness; its millions of stories and all their strange discrepancies. She would have liked to talk to the Kougra longer...
But tired eyes blink open to a sight that was inevitable to be seen. She is in her bedroom. She lies on her side in her single bed, her Usul doll tucked under her arm. Light pours in through the window behind her.
And she goes to tell her mother about the wonderful dream she's just had.