A Sparkle that Shone in Her Eyes: Part Two
"Grandmother, what happened to Nadia?" asked the blue Kacheek,
now sitting on his grandmother's lap, hugging her tight around the waist. "And
what about Frederick?"
"Well, now, let me think," replied the grandmother
softly as she gently rocked in her chair. "Well…"
* * *
The next time Nadia opened her eyes was in the
Neopian Hospital, lying in a softly cushioned bed, heavily wrapped in bandages.
She was told that when the dreadful avalanche had ceased, witnesses came to
where they saw her disappear underneath the snow and dug her out. It took nearly
an hour for them to finally retrieve her, and she was flown by Meridell Plane
directly to the hospital for immediate treatment. Her mother, upon hearing about
the horrible accident, rushed to the hospital to stand by Nadia's side. She
had contracted a bad case Kikoughela, a constant coughing and sneezing, due
to the intense cold she had undergone. Hundreds of others of Neopians had heard
of Nadia's amazing story due to an article that had been published in the Neopian
Times, and thought her a role model and a heroine. But Nadia thought less of
herself - much less.
She had immediately asked about Frederick when
she woke up from her long slumber of four days. Again, she wept, upon hearing
the news that he was no where to be found. Sadness ripped apart her heart and
left it to rot in her soul. The heavy knot of guilt entangled her stomach and
caused her to wince in pain yet again. She could never forgive herself for this.
After a month's stay at the hospital, she returned
home, healthy and alive in body form. But her mind and spirit was fading away,
bit by bit, dissipating slowly but agonizingly. Everyday, she confined herself
to her room, and read. Her mother, though she too, pained at the loss of Frederick,
thought that Nadia was coping well, returning to her old lifestyle. But it was
far from okay for Nadia. Nadia could no longer enjoy the stories of Brightvale
without grieving and thinking about Frederick. Everything she read reminded
her of her dearest brother, of the memories that they had shared together as
siblings. She found herself tearing apart her most prized books in rage and
fury until they were nothing but unreadable code. Soon, there were no more books
in her room to read, and she was left to lie on her bed and stare at the white
ceiling - the ceiling that so taunted her and her memories.
Almost a year had passed since the tragedy. Nadia
found herself lying on the bed once again, like all the other mornings, staring
around at the bland objects in her room. She was now paler and skinnier, and
you'd think that she had used the weapon 'Downsize!' a bit too much. The light
from her eyes was very frail and thin, like a tiny flame on a small candlewick
that could be diminished with just a single breath. She felt disconnected from
the world. Nobody could understand what she was going through but her.
There was a soft knock as Nadia's mother creaked
open the wooden door to her room. "Nadia," she said for the hundredth time,
for it was what she said everyday, "you need to get out of your room. What about
"I don't have any friends," Nadia spoke tonelessly,
still starting up at the ceiling.
Her mother sighed. "You need to get out and about,
Nadia. I'm getting worried about you. You're as skinny as bones and you're as
pale as snowberries. You're not even a white Usul!" Nadia made no reply. "What
is wrong, Nadia?"
"As if you don't know."
"Nadia," her mother began, stepping into the
room and shutting it quietly behind her. She sat down on the bed beside her,
stroking her hair with her hooves.
"I know you've been thinking about Frederick
a lot more these days," she whispered. "You've been crying out his name in the
middle of the night these past few days."
Nadia kept her gaze strong at the ceiling as
if there was a rather interesting encryption carved on it.
"Nadia," her mother repeated, still caressing
her daughter's hair, "Frederick would want to see you happy and vibrant like
you were before, not sad and gloomy like a dreary lily gazing over an endless
pond. I think he'd be really sad to see you like this."
Still, Nadia made to reply. Her eyes stood cold
and frozen to the ceiling, her body motionless and unaffected by her other's
"Nadia," she whispered, tearful at the sight
of her suffering Nadia, "I miss you."
At this, Nadia finally batted an eye. She shifted
in her position on the bed, and finally made eye contact with her mother. She
stared, her stone cold eyes not breathing of life at all. But her lips still
"I've read in the Neopian Times that today is
the last day of the sledding celebrations at Happy Valley for the year," her
mother spoke. "Tomorrow the snow will be too wet and soggy to do anything with
it." She paused, hoping for some sign from Nadia, but received nothing of the
Her mother sighed once more, and stood herself
up from the bed. Walking towards the door, she said, "The blimp arrives at two
o'clock this afternoon." And with that, she exited, and shut the door.
Nadia stepped up into the blimp, her heavy boots
clunking on the wooden floor as she stepped. Her neck was wrapped in several
layers of scarves and her large drooping ears were masked from the cold with
a long wool hat.
She stared out into the dull sky, watching the
faint sun glimmer behind the heavy clouds. A sharp sting stung at her head as
a million memories flew into her mind. She didn't want to remember those times
of laughter and joy, for it would only make her long for it more. And she knew
that she could never find it without her brother.
From destination to destination, the blimp flew,
and Nadia was forced to look out of the blimp and into the crisp winter scenery.
She did not dare look at any of the passengers, for the sledding celebrations
at Happy Valley were associated with her name, and anyone who went to the event
surely had to know about the tragic story. Nadia could certainly do without
When the blimp docked at its final destination,
the rest of the passengers filed out quickly, their voices scattered and excited
as they set foot on the snowy slopes. Nadia, however, was very slow to get off
the blimp. It was awkward for her, seeing this place again so soon. Again, a
bundle full of images came swerving into Nadia's mind, and she found it hard
to think straight. The fleeting reflection of Frederick replayed in Nadia's
mind over and over again like a jack-in-a-box, and Nadia so wanted it to stop.
She did not have the energy to mourn again.
Nadia wandered around the site, surveying the
Neopians as they played in the snow. She watched as the skiers danced down the
hills and flew into the air as graceful as possibly the faeries themselves and
then land flat on their feet. She watched as the Neopians rode on their sleds
down the hills, observing how they giggled and laughed. Nadia had long forgotten
how it felt like to laugh. Such happiness did not exist in her world.
She wondered how the world could be so happy
when there were a lot of things to be unhappy about. How could anybody celebrate
a day in which her most beloved friend and only brother was lost among the snowy
capes? How could they live on their lives, giggling and being cheerful, when
there was much to be worried about? She grew enraged, but felt weak and frail
with a loss of energy, so the anger melted into a state of despair that was
lower than where she was before.
She found herself strolling into the Slushie
Shop in the late afternoon. She was almost dazed when she realized her surroundings.
After fishing through the pockets of her jacket and pants, she managed to scrape
up enough Neopoints for a Pebble Dash Slushie. She slurped the slushie slowly,
trying her best to block out the visions that were transcending her mind.
At one point, while she was meandering around
Happy Valley, she had a head on collision with a skier. The crash knocked Nadia
off her feet, sending the slushie in her hand crashing into the snow. The skier
ran up to Nadia to apologize, but she heedlessly made no response as always.
However, this time it was for a different reason.
The pebbles had scattered all over the frozen
snow upon impact. As Nadia looked closer however, she saw a recollection of
what had happened nearly a year ago. Vaguely, she remembered when she had been
at the top of a steep hill, gazing down below at the Neopians that appeared
as small ants to her eyes. Looking at these pebbles reminded her of this scene.
And yet, instead of attempting to shun this memory, she cherished it. It compelled
her to do something very unexpected.
Quickly, she gathered up the pebbles into the
slushie cup and rushed to the steep hill she had last seen only a year ago.
Using her instincts to guide her, she finally arrived at the location, its slope
deserted and empty. It was all the more better for Nadia.
With what little energy she had left, she ascended
up the hillside. It was not her physical strength that led her up the slope,
but rather the image of the strewn pebbles and the memory of the view on the
hillside. Up and up she went, her legs aching, ready to give out, but she went
on. Finally, when she was sure she had reached the exact location, she stopped,
Sitting up in the snow, she looked down into
the valley, just like she had done before. As if nothing had ever changed, the
Neopians seemed like little small ants, scuttling around and moving about their
daily business. The view was so tranquil - too tranquil. Nadia felt for the
first time in a year lonely.
So, she decided to build a companion. Using the
most abundant resource around her, snow, she built a life-size snow neopet companion.
It took her a great deal of the day, for she wanted it to look perfect.
However, when she was done 'perfecting' it, it
still seemed like it was missing something.
Nadia thought about the layers of scarves she
wore around her neck. "Perhaps this will keep you nice and warm," Nadia whispered
to herself as she took off one of her scarves to wrap around the snow neopet.
Still, it did not look complete. "Ah, perhaps
some eyes!" Nadia exclaimed. She dumped out her slushie and chose the two largest,
smoothest, and shiniest pebbles and placed them into the snow neopet in the
spots where eyes would typically go.
And yet, even so, she still felt that there was
She looked at her sculpture, eyeing it from head
to toe. What was it lacking? she thought to herself.
Her eyes wandered yet again towards the ant-sized
Neopians down in the valley. She tried to remember more vividly what the scenery
looked like that day. Was it a particularly a more gloomy day than usual? Had
the temperature been in the sub-zeros or was it moderately cool? Had there been
a special race competition?
A race. A race between her and Frederick.
It all clicked.
Nadia took the empty slushie container and wiped
the insides squeaky clean with the whitest snow she could find on the hillside.
Slowly, but carefully, with her old and quavering paws, she manufactured a pair
of large, thick glasses, somewhat oddly shaped. When her product was finished,
she steadily set the plastic glasses over her sculpture's round pebble eyes.
There he was.
His round and glossy pebbled eyes turned into
the dark, black pupils of warmness that had once looked upon Nadia with longing
and fear. The plastic glasses that laid steady on his beak transformed into
real glass with metal frames. Nadia could not believe her eyes.
Frederick. Here all along. Waiting; just waiting
for Nadia to find him all this time.
The young Kacheek remained silent as he sat in
his grandmother's lap, amazed by the miraculous story.
"That Usul you see walking up the street," whispered
the grandmother by the warmth of the cackling fire, "is indeed Nadia. Every
year she visits her brother in Happy Valley, who, instead of taking a ghost
form like most of the passing, has taken the form of snow. Every year, when
the sun becomes weak and cannot fight through the thick clouds, he will rise
from the snow, waiting for Nadia to come. When the sun regains its strength,
able to overcome the broad haze, he will melt, waiting for the snow to come
back so that he may return."
"It is today in which Nadia will see her brother
for the last time before the snow recedes," the grandmother continued, "waiting
six months before she can see Frederick again."
"Oh, that's long time," replied the young Kacheek.
"She must be really sad!"
"Ah, but she knows in her heart that when winter
comes the next year, she will see him again," the grandmother whispered. "Go,
look out the window. Nadia is coming back."
The young Kacheek hopped off the rocking chair
and scurried to the window side. Across the street, he saw the same red Usul
with the red-buttoned coat and matching boots, trudging through the snow in
the opposite direction.
And he saw the faint twinkle; a shimmer; a flicker
A sparkle that shone in her eyes.